The Steam Deck now supports game transfers on your local network, allowing you to copy installed games from your PC to the Steam Deck without having to re-download them over the internet. This feature, which comes bundled with the Steam Deck beta update released last week, should help reduce the amount of internet data you use, especially if you find yourself frequently redownloading hefty games to your handheld.
To gain access to the feature, you first have to enable Steam’s beta on both the Steam Deck and the Steam client on your PC. From there, select the game you want to install on your Steam Deck, and Steam will automatically check to see if any PC on your network already has the game. If it finds one, Steam will begin the game transfer process.
It’s worth noting that this feature applies to PCs on the same network as well, so you’re free to transfer already-installed Steam games to your PC from any other PCs in your household. Steam goes into more detail about how it all works on its support page, and notes if the devices lose connection during the transfer process “or no more content is available,” Steam will download the rest of the game from its servers instead.
You can also adjust settings that dictate which PCs your Steam Deck (or PC) can download from. While Steam sets it to “Only my own devices by default,” which means you can only transfer games from the devices you’re logged into Steam with, you can also set it to “Only my friends” and “Any user” if you want to get games from a friend or family member’s PC. Unfortunately, Steam doesn’t support game transfers originating from the Steam Deck or PCs in Big Picture mode just yet.
I don’t have a Steam Deck (yet), but I certainly wish I had this feature when I downloaded Elden Ring from my partner’s shared Steam library. Either way, I’m happy it’s here now, as it’s nice to have something that helps me stay below my internet data cap for the month, even if it does make just a slight impact.