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Rumor Platform Valve Patent Looks to Make Steam Games Playable While They Download

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
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ibiza

Valve appears to be working on tech that would allow its Steam users to play their purchased games while they're downloading, according to some recently discovered patents. This type of feature is something that's been employed on consoles in the past, though it hasn't been present within Steam save for an older implementation that Valve abandoned years ago. Given the nature of these sorts of patents, however, there's no indication as to when – if ever – this kind of Steam feature would be released.

Pavel Djundik, the creator of SteamDB, pointed out the existence of the patent on Twitter this week. Djundik highlighted the phrase "instant play" which was used in part of the abstract for the patent seen below.

"This telemetry approach allows the remote system to collect access data reported by multiple client machines, to catalogue the access data according to client system configuration, and to analyze the access data to generate data that is usable by client machines to implement various game-related features including, without limitation, "instant play" of video games, discarding of unused blocks of game data to free up local memory resources, and/or local prefetching of game data for reducing latency during gameplay," the patent's abstract said.

That convoluted patent talk basically boils down to what Djundik said: "You can start a game before it finishes downloading. This means that if you want to play certain portions of a game before it concludes its download such as a tutorial, character customizations, or other entry points into a title, you'd presumably be able to do so while the game downloads until you hit a wall where you can't go any further until the required content is finished downloading.
 

Three

Member
Oct 26, 2014
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Doesn't the PS4 and PS5 already do this? I wonder what is different in their method.
 

ReBurn

Member
Dec 6, 2008
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SC USA
Is this like when I was able to play 1 v 1 in wreckfest while the rest of the modes downloaded?
 

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
Jun 29, 2020
3,510
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Games are getting more and more bloated.

This photorealism race is doing more damage than good.
 

Ozzy Onya A2Z

Member
Apr 16, 2012
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Melbourne, Australia
I'm so sick of companies and patents of bullshit all the time. What a farce patents have become. The tech exists in a few forms already, screw all the patent and IP crap to make a buck. Whatever happened to innnovations and inspirations by design? Lead the market not your legal department.
 

Sophist

Member
Feb 4, 2015
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basement
it's like running the game into a virtual machine and when the game want to read the data at X, the virtual machine then download it from internet. something like lazy evaluation but for data fetching.
 

Reizo Ryuu

Member
Jan 12, 2014
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This sounds more like a form of streaming, I doubt they'd file a patent for the already existing "ready to start/playable" states some games allow on consoles and other pc clients like Uplay/ubisoft connect.