We've seen a few platforms allow you to play games whilst they download. While Sony and Microsoft introduced this feature with the Xbox One and PS4, both let you jump in after they've downloaded a certain amount, though this usually disables certain features.
Valve's yet to do the same for Steam on PC, but a new patent suggests that could be changing. As spotted by Pavel Djundik - creator of the SteamDB platform - Valve's filed a new patent which would allow Steam to do the same.
New Valve Patent Suggests Playable Steam Games As They Download
According to this, United States Patent 11123634 would allow Valve to implement "instant play", so players could jump in before a download finishes and save a potentially long wait. Marked down as an inventor for it is Pierre-Loup Griffais, who we've recently seen discussing Steam Deck.
As with any patents though, its worth remembering they don't guarantee a feature will be implemented, just that a company's exploring a particular option. It likely won't occur anytime soon, but we'll keep you updated if that changes.