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I want to be able to play Civilization 5 on the release date, but I know that it will be at least a 4-5 GB download, so I worry that if I buy a digital copy, the high number of users hitting the distributor's servers will slow downloads to a crawl. If it's possible, I'd like to download the game in advance, so that on release day, I would only be getting a tiny activation key instead of a huge installer.

The game is available for preorder on both Steam and Direct2Drive, but neither product page seems to mention what I'm looking for, and I don't know what it's called, so it's hard to search for. Do either of them offer this service?

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People curious why the tags appear to answer half my question can check the edit history. – Larry Wang Sep 15 '10 at 20:02
up vote 11 down vote accepted

This depends entirely on the game. Steam refers to this practice as 'pre-loading' and they do it for select titles. In the specific case of Civ V, yes, you can preload. For other titles, you can check that games respective forums at the Steam community site to get the answer in most cases.

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As far as i know Steam is already pre-loading this game, however not all games can be pre-loaded on Steam.

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Thanks, since the price is the same I'll just go with this. – Larry Wang Sep 14 '10 at 23:41

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