Valve completely overhauls Steam client chat, beta available to try out

CREDIT Valve

Valve has released the public beta of Steam Chat, a new client that allows users to chat on the Steam platform easily.

Xiao, Perfect World's CEO, says the company will introduce more games to China through Steam China, "providing quality content and improving the experience for both gamers and developers". For those of you who still remember Myspace, the new friends list will also let you designate some friends as "favorites", so get ready to compete for that coveted status. The improvements to Steam voice chat will make it easier for users to organize games with their friends since they will be able to see whether or not they are already in a voice channel, and may request them to join theirs with the click of a button.

The new chat features are now in open beta.

Valve's feeling the pressure from Discord (and other chat services) and an overhaul of the chat interface and functionality was long overdue. That isn't a bad thing-Discord has become popular with many gamers because it's one of the best communications platforms out there-but it's hard not to think Valve took a little too much inspiration here. Plus, all chats now display images, videos, tweets, and links inline in a rich, lovely way. Voice chat has also been rebuilt from the ground up, with Valve saying it now sounds a lot cleaner than it did before. As a result, voice chat uses high-quality Opus encoding, voice traffic is encrypted, and all traffic is sent through Steam servers rather than directly to peers. Available in beta now, the Steam Chat update acknowledges that a chat-life without animated gifs, YouTube links, and voice chat that doesn't blare out your IP address every time you speak isn't a chat-life worth living.

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