Steam will now tell you how much space a game requires before you try to install it

Alan Wake
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)
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Valve is making a change to Steam that will finally let users see how much storage space a game requires without having to try to install it first. In fact, if you're signed up for the Steam beta client program, you can take advantage of the new feature right now.

It's a relatively minor change, and easy to miss, but here's what it looks like. Currently, game listings in Steam indicate the last time a game was played, how much time has been spent playing, and the number of achievements earned:

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

In the beta build, however, "Last Played" is out, and in its place is "Space Required":

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

(Click the icon in the top-right of each image to see it full size.)

Knowing how much real estate a game is going to eat up is definitely more useful than seeing when you last fired it up, especially for gamers struggling with cramped hard drives or SSDs. It's the latest (and, perhaps, smallest) in a slow-rolling overhaul of Steam that's delivered improvements to the download page and Storage Manager (opens in new tab) in September 2021, and new Store Hubs (opens in new tab) in December that actually make browsing Steam's great, heaving mass of games much more pleasant.

Valve didn't say the change is related to the looming launch of the Steam Deck, which is expected to begin shipping on February 28 (opens in new tab)—Valve didn't say anything about it at all as far as I know, it just appeared without warning in the beta branch—but it's a reasonable inference to make, given the relatively limited storage space of the handheld device. Valve also recently updated Half-Life 2's UI (opens in new tab) for better Steam Deck functionality (have to keep that flagship series kicking somehow) and is also beginning to test games for "Deck Verified (opens in new tab)" status.

If you want to see the change for yourself, you'll need to be signed up to take part in Steam's beta program. Detailed instructions for joining the club are available from Steam Support (opens in new tab), but it's a simple process: Pop into your Steam settings, go to the Account tab (you should land on it as soon as you open the settings menu), and click the "Change" button. Select "Steam beta," wait for an update to download, restart Steam, and you'll be set to go.

The "last played" information is still available, by the way, it's just a bit less obvious now. The option is available in the "Sort by" menu in the Steam library—select that, and every game in your library will display the date on which it was last played, like this: 

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks, The Verge (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.