Steam only performs auto-updates if games have been played in past days

Valve is making an adjustment in Steam for the automatic update system. Games that have not been played recently will no longer be updated in the next quiet part of the day from now on; those automatic updates are now spread out over a few days.

Only those games that Steam users have played in the past three days will be automatically updated when available. Games that Steam users have not recently played are no longer immediately provided with an automatic update. Users can still manually download an update directly via the Download Manager. When a player launches a game in Steam, an available update will also be initiated immediately.

Valve says it wants to help manage the bandwidth of users at home with this change, pointing to the fact that many users are now using their home internet due to the corona pandemic. The company also directs users to other tools to better distribute their own bandwidth, such as scheduling automatic updates, disabling them on a game-by-game basis, or throttling the maximum download speed in Steam.

This change in Steam coincides with record numbers for the most concurrent users on the platform. In recent years, that number has been roughly between 18 and 19 million players, but at the beginning of this month a new record of 18.8 million players was set after two years. Two weeks later, the 20 million mark was broken and has now risen to a peak of 23.5 million users, according to the latest data from the Steam Database.