Steam servers refuse to buckle down as the world downloads Halo Infinite
At around 11:00 a.m. PST today, Steam’s total bandwidth usage more than doubled to 23.5 RPM with the surprise release of Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer. The sudden spike wasn’t just a line on a graph: when I started the download, Steam could only deliver about 78KB / s over my high-speed fiber optic connection. The Steam client estimated that it would take me three days to download the 23.7GB Halo Infinite multiplayer package at this rate.
Others on PC Gamer were also stuck downloading Halo Infinite via a cocktail straw, and a number of fans on Twitter lamented the slow download. I also saw someone who was downloading a different game on Steam at the time complained, like a poor shopper who had been pushed into a GameStop 2003 midnight release line while looking for a used copy of Luigi’s Mansion.
But Steam has not yet fallen. If you have trouble downloading Halo Infinite on Steam, try pausing and restarting the download.
When I restarted the download, Steam hit its normal rate and Halo Infinite hit my SSD within minutes. When I tried to download another game after that it came back to a trickle of bytes. Pausing and restarting a few more times fixed the issue. (You can also try to get Halo Infinite through the Microsoft Store, of course.)
23.5 Tbps is a big spike on Steam, but not abnormal for a launch. On September 28, the day New World launched, Steam’s global bandwidth usage peaked at 24.1 Tbps (if this page archives is correct). New World’s download size is 14GB larger than Halo Infinite multiplayer, so each person would have spent more time downloading it.
Steam’s bandwidth usage tends to return to normal levels now, according to Valve Report Page.
At the time of writing this article, Halo Infinite has 139,461 concurrent players. on Steam, placing it just below the New World for active players. (Update: it peaked at 272,586.)
On a related note, we recently remembered the worst internet connections we’ve ever had, and at least we’re not in the 56kb / s days. (Although I probably still have a stack of AOL floppy disks somewhere.)