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Valve announces major overhaul for Steam

New system will feature improvements to game updates and better download rates

Valve will overhaul its Steam distribution platform with new server and client code.

The aim is to streamline the publishing process and provide the service's worldwide users with better download rates.

"The maximum aggregate bandwidth of the system will be greater than the current system; this will help us satisfy spikes in demand when there's a big release," Valve said in a statement.

"We will also be able to send content from more places, to better serve people all around the globe. All the content on the new system is sent via HTTP; this is more firewall-friendly than the current system, and will automatically take advantage of web-caching proxies installed at ISPs."

The overhauled Steam will also require users to download less data for game updates. At present, when an individual file on disk is modified it is necessary to download the whole file again, but the new system will be able to deliver only the difference between the old and new versions.

In addition, the new system will be able to download game updates during play, and apply the changes when the user exits the game.

"These changes have given us an opportunity to write new tools for game developers and content publishers that simplify the process of both publishing and updating a game on Steam. Simplifying the publishing process means it takes the partner and us less time to ship each product, so we can ship more stuff to more users."

Valve is also adding a number of new features in response to requests from its clients. New releases will benefit from bandwidth throttling, download scheduling, and users will be able to prioritise which purchases begin downloading first.

Currently, the only content available through the new system is a high-definition trailer, but Valve will apply the system to more content over time, including the forthcoming Dota 2.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.