This small Steam upgrade could have a big impact on my PC gaming

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I’m a fan of the Steam gaming platform; as a PC gamer it’s made buying, accessing, modding, tracking and just simply playing the best PC games a lot easier. But it’s not perfect. 

One irritating element was that Steam can make it tricky to see at a glance how much space some game will take up on your PC. And at a time when game installs are tens of gigabytes in size, if not more, the lack of insight can make managing storage space on a desktop or gaming laptop a bit of a pain.

But with the latest Steam beta update that's changing. Previously you’d have to go into your game Library and click on the big blue install button to get a breakdown on space the game requires (all on relatively small grey on darker grey text). But now the space required will be shown alongside that button in chunky text. 

A screenshot of the Steam Library space required feature

(Image credit: Future)

This information sits alongside the last played and time played date, which is something your eyes tend to rest upon, meaning the space required information is in a logical place rather than behind a button. It’s a tiny upgrade, but I can already feel this’ll make my PC gaming life a lot easier.

As I have a pathetic internet connection, I tend to hook my gaming laptop up to a better connection, say a 5G tether, download a game and shunt it over to my PC via an external hard drive. But that drive has only 500GB of space. So before I download a batch of games, I need to work out if I can carry them on a single external drive. 

Needing to click on the install button and squint at the small text detailing install sizes each time I wanted to get that information is a pain; it’s a few seconds that add up to a persistent irritation.

This space needed feature will no doubt be a boon for the Valve Steam Deck, as the portable gaming PC won’t be flush with storage space. And on a smaller screen it’s good to have important information as easy to spot at a glance as possible.

So I’m low-key thrilled Valve is taking action to make this whole process more initiative. And it's a sign that the gaming giant is looking at polishing the Steam user interface.

While I’m familiar with Steam and love the tools it offers, I do feel that it lacks the most intuitive user interface, especially when you compare it to the likes of Xbox Game Pass or other younger platforms. But Valve seems to be slowly evolving Steam, even if it’s only taking small steps. And that makes me happy.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.