Valve is making it easier for users to connect, and chat with their friends while playing their favorite Steam games.
Valve Gives Steam Chat A Much-Needed Makeover
Although Steam's built-in chat functionality is very convenient, it is outdated and users have been asking Valve to update the chat for quite some time now. It appears that Valve has finally heard their prayers and released a new and improved version of Steam chat.
The new update, which is currently in beta for users to try, promises a "modernized chat experience" and adds a host of new features to both the standalone Steam program as well as the web-based version.
Discord-Inspired Features Like Customizable Friends Lists, Group Chat
The revamped chat functionality has made friends lists more flexible, with a customizable 'favorites' tab on top, followed by friends grouped together in a party or according to the game they're currently playing. This makes it easier for them to keep track of who's playing what, and who's playing together.
The chat also displays what each friend is playing and where they are in the game: on the main menu or facing off in deathmatch. Users can also drag friends from their friends\ list into a chat window to create a group chat. They can also create individual channels, either for text or voice, within the group chat, which is similar in many ways to the popular gaming-centric chat platform Discord.
Until now, PC gamers that used the Steam client were forced to turn to third-party programs such as Discord or Teamspeak to use in-game voice chat. Users can also send and receive gifs, images, videos, tweets, audio etc. in a chat client, and can also share trade offer links.
The new Steam chat also features a handful of other new quirks, including an invisible mode and custom friend-request links, which can be shared via email or sent outside Steam to expedite the process of adding friends.
How To Join The Beta?
Although the new chat is currently in beta, Valve said it would release the final version once it is "confident that things are working as they should, and we've finished up some of the features we have planned."
Until then, users can sign up for the beta version if they want to try out the overhauled chat client. All they need to do is find the option under the client settings tab, or do it manually from the Steam Chat page.