Steam's New Chat is a Lot Like Discord

Steam goes to China with the help of Perfect World

Valve has announced a new partnership with Chinese video game developer, Perfect World, to release a new version of Steam in China, called Steam China. It features a number of improvements including options to pin friends or group chats to the top for fast access and a group chats interface that lists chats right then and there.

Valve's feeling the pressure from Discord (and other chat services) and an overhaul of the chat interface and functionality was long overdue.

Improvements include a simplified "favorites" list that will pin certain friends to the top, an expanded detail set for what each friend is playing and where they are in the game (for instance, sitting on the main menu or facing off in deathmatch), as well as organisational changes, such as grouping friends by the game they're now playing or the party they're in.

The new Steam Chat offers some great features that come as standard with other services. It only takes one click to create, join, or leave a channel.

Tencent’s We Game platform
Tencent’s We Game platform

As mentioned before, the chat window will now expand and show any media that is posted on it without needing to open the link, applying to videos, images, gifs, tweets, and more.

The new features are only available for those in the beta. Voice chat has also been rebuilt from the ground up, with Valve saying it now sounds a lot cleaner than it did before. All traffic will be sent through Stream servers rather than be directed individually to peers, meaning user IP address will remain private, keeping the possibility of network attacks minimal, as physical locations are masked.

The new Steam Chat is available now via the Steam client and web browsers.

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