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Steam beta feature lets you get game files from other PCs over LAN

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Valve has pushed out a new beta update to the Steam client, and it has a nifty new feature aimed at gamers with multiple PCs (or a Steam Deck) at home. Aptly dubbed 'Local Network Game Transfers', the feature lets users get game installation and update files from a local computer that already has the content instead of relying on Steam servers over the internet.

Valve has been working on the feature behind the scenes for some time now, with strings relating to it appearing months ago in Steam updates.

"A common use case would be a home setup with multiple PCs or Steam Decks on the same local network," Valve goes on to explain the transfer option. "Once a game is installed on one PC, all other PCs or the Steam Deck can install or update that game by transferring files directly from that one PC. "

Steam Local Network Game Transfers feature in action

Valve is offering four settings to tweak how transfers work when Steam detects a local network with other eligible PCs. These are "Off, Only my own devices, Only my friends, and Any user", which are rather self-explanatory. Keep in mind only verified files from the original game content are transferred in this manner, with saves, configs, mods, shader files, and any other invalid data not being copied over.

There are other restrictions in place too. As transfers use significant disk and CPU resources, they will only be performed when the Steam clients are idle and no downloads or games are running. Moreover, only PCs with Steam Desktop Mode enabled can send files outward, meaning Steam Decks, PCs in Big Picture mode, and custom launchers can only receive files.

Those interested in testing the new Local Network Game Transfers feature can join the Steam Beta build by heading to Settings > Account > Beta Participation in the client and selecting "Steam Beta Update" from the drop-down menu.

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