Steam Chat is Valve's new Discord-like chat platform

Jun 13, 2018, 18:02
Steam Chat is Valve's new Discord-like chat platform

Valve has already worked with Perfect World to run games like Counter-Strike and Dota 2 in China, but this expansion of their partnership means that more games will have an easier path to entering this lucrative market.

The friends list now has a customizable favorites section at the top, for quick access to the people, groups, and chats you care about most.

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The new Steam Chat's first improvement comes in the form of an upgraded friends list.

I touched on it before, but Steam's voice-chat feature was horrendously insecure before, blaring out your IP address anytime you spoke.

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Next comes the new group chats. Online friends are now grouped by what game they are playing.

China is now the world's biggest video games market, valued at more than $25 billion in 2016, according to a report from IHS Markit. No bones about it: Steam's new persistent group chats are basically Discord. Steam chat supports video embeds, e.g. from YouTube, pictures, tweets, and other media content inline now.You can paste images into the chat simply by copying them to the Clipboard and pasting them. 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. 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. Whether that is enough to convince users to skip third-party chat clients to go back to Steam remains to be seen. The new Steam Chat is also available through your web browser.

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But Valve is a big well-known gaming company, and had been the target of much of the criticism against the game. A Change.org petition calling on Valve to not launch the game garnered more than 150,000 signatures.

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