Downloading games to your Steam Deck can be an absolute pain, but the latest Steam Deck beta client update will make the process a little easier for those of you with both the Valve handheld and a PC.
The new update (opens in new tab) – which right now is only available to people who have opted into the Steam Deck Beta and Preview channels – allows you to transfer games between devices rather than installing them via the internet all over again. This local data transfer should generally be quicker than using the internet – especially if you want to use your Wi-Fi connection to do something else while the game downloads, like enjoy one of the best Netflix shows or stream music on Spotify.
Not only should passing the file around locally help to keep your internet connection speedy, it should also help you stay within your data caps (if you have any) while still allowing you to play your new game on your PC and Steam Deck.
What’s more, besides being able to copy Steam games from your PC to your Steam Deck, you can transfer them to other PCs, too. Though, if you’re looking to copy game files to a PC that isn’t yours (one that isn’t signed into your Steam account), you’ll need to change the Local Network Game Transfers settings from Self Only (the default) to Friends Only or Everyone.
However, the feature does have a couple of limitations to watch out for. Firstly, the PC to Steam Deck transfer is one way only. So, if you download a game to your handheld Steam Deck first, you’ll need to download it from the internet all over again if you later want to install it on your PC. Additionally, both transfers can only happen if the Steam client is idle – so you can’t play a game while you copy the files.
If you aren’t yet signed up to the Steam Deck Beta and Preview channels, you can opt into them by going into your Steam Deck’s Settings. Open up System Settings and then go to Steam Update Channel. Just note that these in-progress builds will be less stable than full releases, so while you’ll get access to sweet new features right away, you’ll risk your system being buggier, too – though you can typically solve issues that arise by leaving the beta program and returning to the last stable OS build.