Last Steam Deck client update added by Valve the function of transferring games over a local network – previously only available in beta – to the stable branch, marking the full launch of one of the most useful updates to the Steam Deck feature in months.
If you missed the Local Transfers beta last month, know that the name is quite literal: it allows you to transfer installed Steam games between your PC and Steam Deck over a local network, rather than re-downloading them on every device you own. This also works when transferring between a Steam Deck and another Steam Deck or between two PCs. Valve has a little explanation herebut it’s simple enough that, for example, when you hit the Install button for a game on Steam Deck, it automatically detects if your computer is on the same network and starts streaming as much as possible from your desktop instead of downloading everything. from zero.
You can even enable sending/receiving game data from other people’s computers and Steam Decks, as long as they are connected to the same local network. Those with monthly data caps (mornings, yanks) seem to benefit the most, as these shows usually don’t require additional downloads. Even so, it’s also a useful addition for all-you-can-eat data users, as local transfers are much faster than old-fashioned installations.
In my case, the best download speed I can get on Steam – and that’s on a computer connected to Ethernet – is about 19MB/s. When using this feature to install games to my Steam Deck over Wi-Fi, I typically get transfer speeds between 27MB/s and 30MB/s with peaks up to 37MB/s. That’s nearly double the maximum download speed, and Valve reckons you can hit 100MB/s with higher-end connections and hardware.
If you prefer your connections to remain blocked, you can opt out of transfer in the Downloads section of Steam’s settings, although I highly recommend this feature for Deck owners and/or anyone with multiple PCs or gaming laptops. This is the latest in a series of major feature updates that Valve has released since the launch of the handheld, so they were very pleased when I interviewed them for Steam Deck’s first anniversary.
This client update also includes a number of smaller additions and fixes to SteamOS, Steam Input, and Deck desktop mode. Patch notes there.