Valve patents “instant play” game downloads

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Play Games on Steam Before the Kettle Boils

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Steam owner Valve has plans for a new method of downloading games, giving players instant access to the software while they install.

  • Read more: In-game exposition dumps are nothing new – so why is ‘Deathloop’ so good?
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The system is found in a new patent filing, which you can watch online here And Here. While it has the dry title of “tracking filesystem read operations for immediate play of video games, and client-side discarding and prefetching of game data”, the implications could be significant for players and developers alike.

It seems to be based around communication about which parts of the game users typically need to access first, possibly based on what multiple players in the game do first. For example, part of the patent describes how it would “compute a statistic for individual blocks of game data based on the N users accessing those blocks during a game session”.


The technology may have been in the works for some time, as the patent was originally filed on March 17, 2020, before being published today (September 21), as seen by the SteamDB creator. Pavel Jundik.

If Steam implements the system, it can also bring benefits such as clearing hard drive space by automatically deleting unused data, or pre-fetching data when needed, which can improve loading times. Is.

Perhaps best of all, as Jundik points out, “this feature doesn’t require game developers to change anything”, which could mean easier distribution to players without any additional workload for creators.

While many games on Steam already allow owners to start playing before they are fully installed, this new way of downloading — and, importantly — playing games is part of Steam’s strategy for the upcoming Steam Deck handheld. It is possible. As a portable machine, it’s easy to imagine how the Instant Play system could be useful for gaming on the go.

It’s also worth noting that both Sony and Microsoft allow console players to start playing before the game is fully installed, although generally a substantial portion of the game still needs to be downloaded first. How or how the valve’s patency differs in practice remains to be seen.


Elsewhere, Sega has revealed the full list of retro video games that will be playable Yakuza By-product lost judgment. The roster will include arcade and master system games, including alex kidd in marvel world, fantasy realm, And sonic the fighters, and many more.

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