A beta version of an upcoming Steam patch appears to remove the ability to downgrade to older versions of games, but Valve has said this is not the case.
Update: Valve has released a statement saying “We are actually not planning to disable downloading old builds. What we are working on is an approach on handling edge cases involving unowned content, and helping partners more easily take down builds that need to be removed for things like copyright issues. We’ll have more to share on that work when it’s ready to ship.” (via pcgamesn)
Original story below:
Steam is currently testing an upcoming beta version of its software. SteamDB has noticed a change in how clients connect to the content delivery network that could prevent users from switching to an older version of the game. This could have a significant impact on speedrunners and mod users. Games are only usually downgraded by users when they want to access a speedrunning exploit that has been patched out or to use mods that rely on an older version of the game.
SteamDB explained the change in greater detail. “This method takes app id, depot id, manifest id, branch name, and the branch password. All of these parameters have to match in the current app info for it to return a valid manifest code, if something mismatches, or you don’t own the game it will return AccessDenied result. When a non-zero code is acquired, it is appended to the manifest download url. If a valid request code is provided, the manifest can be downloaded. Otherwise the content server returns an unauthorized error.”
Some users may be concerned about the change for different reasons. Keeping older versions of games around is essential for archival and historical reasons, especially in an age where games can be rendered unplayable thanks to server shutdowns. SteamDB says that they believe the change will only affect the consumer side of the system, as developers should still access older builds through the partner site and roll them back if needed. However, this still means that there is no way for users to access old builds unless developers provide specific access routes.
The change will not affect how users gain access to beta or experimental builds, which will continue to work as it currently does.
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