With PC gaming ever-changing in the vast landscape of gaming, Steam remains the number one online platform to buy and play PC titles. Valve has maintained such a reputation for its immense dedication to the market. While they’ve supported the community with sales, there are some decent criticisms of the changes and directions Steam is taking. With improvements to compatibility and now the Steam Deck, Valve has been upgrading its software quite a lot. While there are plenty of great changes and decent upgrades, the beta versions do often reflect upcoming implementations. Such is the case with the latest beta disabling Steam from downloading older game versions. While this feature might not be something every player uses, it’s still a decent unique feature to Steam. Creator of SteamDB, the archive, and database of Steam games, noted on Twitter the effects this will have on the community.
For more context: https://t.co/UFImcoEiNx
People use older manifests to download older game versions, for speedrunning, archival and other purposes.
The files are still encrypted, which requires ownership of the game to get a key (key works for older manifests).
— Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) September 24, 2021
What Does The Steam Beta Disabling Old Game Version Downloads Effect?
Not only is this a huge issue for preservation efforts, but also compatibility. Game preservation when it comes to updates has always been an issue, but this also presents speedrunners with a dilemma. Having little access to the most optimal versions, speedrunning on PC will become much more difficult. While Djundik points out that proof of ownership will unlock the encrypted files, it does not solve the preservation issue. While Djundik is already working towards an archival of the data, this does not solve the issues players will have down the road when access to purchasing these titles becomes impossible. Delisting titles is all too prevalent in today’s media and could even be lost despite the files remaining preserved. While these are only changes to the Steam beta, there is still a possibility Valve changes this and allows for all users to download old versions of games in their library.
So what do you think about the recent change to Steam Beta? Let us know in the comments down below!