If you’ve somehow noticed an improvement in the online performance of your Steam games, don’t be too surprised. This is because Valve recently released a software framework that allows Steam partners to use its own network.
The new software framework is able to relay traffic anonymously onto the Steam network. This protects both the game servers and clients from denial-of-service attacks. It can also switch to a different relay within seconds if a relay becomes unavailable. In essence, players don’t have to experience downtime on multiplayer games.
In addition, Valve is also giving the client control over the routing decisions. It examines each relay access point available and determines the latency of the route. It then selects the route with the lowest latency.
Valve provided a graph with statistics on the estimations of improvement based on different region. 43% of players will see some improvement in their ping time, while 10% will reduce their ping times by 40ms or more. As you would expect, the performance improvements vary between each region.
This is only the first of several updates from Valve. The company also confirmed that it is developing its own dedicated servers which will also be available to Steam partners.