Steam has just released a big new update to its chat functionality. This new update helps modernize the chat system with a bevy of new options that makes it feel not unlike Discord.
In an announcement posted on the Steam Community, Steam announced a big update to their chat system. The entire list of what has been added can be seen in the announcement, but some of the biggest changes include:
- Friends List updates: Friends are now grouped by the games they’re playing and what they’re doing in multiplayer games. There’s also improved group chats, more details on what players are doing in games, and the ability to favorite certain friends, groups, or chats. Game developers can also choose what extra information will be displayed.
- Modernized chat experience: Chat now lets users embed various bits of media into chat, including videos, tweets, GIFs, and pictures.
- Persistent group chat: Users can create persistent groups for chatting and create separate channels in each group chat.
- High-quality voice chat: A newly updated voice chat gives crisp, clear voice quality. Steam explains a bit on how it was updated:
Steam voice chat was rewritten from the ground up with a new WebRTC-based backend. 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. This keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks.
- Accessible on the web: All these features are availible on the Internet, so users can chat on the web, even if they don’t have access to a Steam client.
Steam doesn’t say it, but it’s highly apparent that many of these updates are inspired by Discord, a highly popular chat and community creation platform.
The new chat is currently in open beta. You can opt to join in on the client settings page or near the bottom of the Steam Chat page here.