Steam Broadcasting Now in Beta!

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Sure, there have always been alternatives to Twitch out there (such as YouTube Live), but none of these has really ever taken off to the magnitude that Twitch has. Well, many have said that if one company stood a chance to try and shake things up, it might be Valve. Indeed, I recall earlier this year wondering why Steam didn’t have a built-in video recorder or live-streamer. After all, it is a powerful client, so those features just felt like they should be included.

Well, Steam has kicked off a beta feature in their client whereby people on a user’s friends list can opt to “watch them” play whatever game they are playing. Likewise, if that person wants to stream publicly, they can change a setting to allow their stream to appear for others to see on the appropriate pages on Steam. Users can use their microphones/headset to offer commentary as they play and they can see what others are saying in a chat log, not unlike what Twitch has to offer. Yet, as of right now, these streams are only live, and therefore once you are done playing, the stream is gone forever. Valve has stated that this is only currently the case, which may imply that they will later offer the ability to export your stream data to YouTube if you desire.

I, for one, would like to see them also include a video recording option, and hopefully they will add that in a future update to their client as well. In the meantime, though, anyone can test out this feature by opting in on the beta version of the client. So, give it a try and see what you think!

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.

One Comment

  1. Sounds like a cool feature. Maybe they haven’t added the option to save footage or broadcast to a wide audience as some companies are a bit touchy about that sort of thing. On Youtube Let’s Players sometimes get struck with copyright claims for example.

    1. That’s possible, I suppose. However, it all seems to be a grey area to me. I think if a game is under an NDA or if you are including lots of outside copyright material (MP3s, etc) in the editing, then it should be able to have claims against it, but if you are just having fun showcasing a game with your own commentary, it is probably okay. Twitch has been over-aggressive with it – they “muted” one of my streams for having Mario music from an OST in it…But, as it turned out, I was actually streaming a Mario game, LOL.

      Valve said that they don’t want to use incredible amounts of bandwidth to store video indefinitely, and that’s a valid concern. However, I think the best feature they could add to the Steam client would be a local video recording option (similar to FRAPS or OBS), because even if not necessary, that’s one less application to have to run in the background 🙂

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