Steam Announces 'Steam Chat' Client to Improve On-Platform Communication

Valve is officially bringing Steam to China with the help of game and movie company Perfect World, it announced Monday. 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. New features include a modernized chat experience, a more flexible friend list, group chats built for gaming, and more.

Valve's feeling the pressure from Discord (and other chat services) and an overhaul of the chat interface and functionality was long overdue. You have the in-line media, the ability to create multiple text or voice channels in each group, and the ability to invite friends to a group with a link.it's nearly like someone at Valve opened Discord and chose to make the UI look more like Steams.

China is now the world's biggest video games market, valued at more than $25 billion in 2016, according to a report from IHS Markit. You can also save your group chats with a name and avatar, making it easier to come back to them later to pick up the conversation or to play games with those same friends. It is now easy to really create a community using the service, you can send game invites from within groups, and create separate channels within those groups too. Your IP address is private in the new system to prevent attacks and privacy issues.

If you are already enrolled in the beta releases, you may have to restart your client to get the new chat features. Valve is collecting feedback via this section of its forums.

This Steam Chat update looks a lot like Discord, another gaming-centric chat platform which has been called the "Slack for gamers."

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