Steam finally adds voice chat and flexible friend lists in new beta

CREDIT Valve

Considering there are hundreds of millions of real and potential gamers within China, this deal is huge for Valve, which potentially opens up its library of games and trading features - which Valve makes a killing off of as well - to a much wider audience.

Available now in the Steam client beta, Steam Chat offers the ability to chat with other users on Steam with either group or individual messaging - via both text and voice - as well offering a host of improvements to the client's friends list.

There are a handful of other new quirks, too, like (finally!) a promised invisible mode and custom friend-request links you can email or send outside Steam.

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.


The chat platform lets you compile a friends list (with features like favorites and group chats) and shows what game everyone is playing.

Next comes the new group chats. Uploading images straight to the chat to share is also supported.

"Steam voice chat was rewritten from the ground up with a new WebRTC-based backend". This keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks.

Steam Chat is available to trial now and is in beta on both the desktop client and in your web browser. We don't know what the company plans to update, but if the overhauls are as extensive as those made to Steam Chat, the platform-slash-marketplace could soon be pretty different from what we've grown accustomed to.

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