Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Steam can now transfer games over your local network

No more downloading twice

A new Steam feature allows you to transfer games between machines using your local network. If you've got a game installed on your desktop PC, and you want to play it on Steam Deck for example, you can now transfer it between the machines without having to re-download any files.

Watch on YouTube

Valve announced the feature on Twitter via the official Steam Deck account. "Local Network Game Transfers are great for Steam Deck owners, multi-user Steam households, dorms, LAN parties, etc. No more worries about bandwidth or datacaps when all the files you need are already nearby," says a followup tweet.

This Steam support page offers more of an explanation of how it works. When you try to install or update a game on Steam, Steam "will first check if there are other PCs running Steam on your LAN (local area network) that could transfer the needed game content to you directly."

If such a PC is found, it will transfer as much of the files as possible across your local networkrather than downloading them from the internet. If the connection drops, Steam will revert to using Steam's content servers as before.

Transfers only currently work between PCs, or from PC to Steam Deck, and both sender and receiver must be opted into the Steam Beta. Transfers are also limited to "self only" by default, meaning local transfers will only happen between machines signed into the same Steam account. This setting can be amended to include other users on your Steam Friends list, or any other user connected to your local network.

This sounds pretty cool to me, particularly for those users who live with data transfer caps or shaky internet. It certainly sounds better than that time I had to use Steam's game backup feature to spit out a multi-part archive, burn those parts to umpteen CDs, then reconstruct them one-by-one on an internetless laptop.

There are a handful of other fixes in the latest patch notes.

Read this next