If you’re opted into Valve’s Steam client beta, you may have noticed a couple of small but potentially very helpful UI updates that rolled out in the past few hours. Changes that are available on desktop but could be even more helpful, methinks, on the upcoming Steam Deck.
The first appears on the Library page of games you own, but haven’t installed yet: a new “Space required” string that lists how much hard drive or SSD space it will need. As it stands on the main Steam client, you can’t normally see this info without clicking the Install button, so that’s a click saved whenever you’re trying to find out if a new game (or nostalgic re-install) will fit onto stuffed storage.
Clearly that’s a handy change for any PC or laptop, though I do wonder if it was made with the Steam Deck in mind. With even the most expensive Steam Deck’s SSD size maxing out at 512GB, free space could quickly fill up, unless you also shell out for an up-to-spec SD card. Or ignore Valve’s advice and upgrade the SSD itself. Either way, the Steam Deck’s UI will share plenty of elements with Steam's desktop interface, so you can probably expect the more readily available install size indicators to help allocate space on the handheld too. For now, here’s a lil' before and after:
The second change replaces that indicator once a game is installed, and it’s a new Steam Cloud icon that shows whether your save files are synced or not. Again, it’s small amendment, but one that more conveniently communicates info that you’d otherwise need to try launching the game to find out. A cloud with a tick means all is well, and if a game is out of sync, you can click the icon to attempt a re-sync. Neat!
This feature (or something near-identical to it) would also be a fine fit for the Steam Deck, given its portable nature and likelihood of being dragged out of Wi-Fi range. And keeping track of sync status would be even more important in games that support Dynamic Cloud Sync, a new version of Valve’s cloud saving system that aims to streamline switching between the Steam Deck and a PC.
All that said, these two little UI improvements are nice to have just on Steam’s desktop version. So, if you can’t wait for them to come to the main client, you can opt into the beta by opening Steam’s settings menu, clicking “Change” in the Beta participation section and selecting "Steam Beta Update" from the drop-down list.
As for the Steam Deck, its official release date is the 25th of February, so those who got their reservations in early could have the portable PC in their mitts by the end of the month.