Valve adds Twitch-like broadcasting to Steam

The popularity of game streaming has exploded in the past couple years. In 2013 alone, 45 million Twitch users watched 200 million hours of content each month. Now, Valve is trying to get in on the action with a streaming system of its own. The developer has rolled broadcasting functionality right into its latest Steam beta client.

Dubbed Steam Broadcasting, the feature lets users share their gaming sessions with the Steam community at large. Audio commentary is included along with a chat interface, but I don't see any webcam overlays. Although broadcasts are limited to games by default, users can choose to stream their entire desktop, opening the door to a much broader range of content.

Steam feeds can be open for general viewing or limited to one's friends. There are also provisions to request broadcasts from friends and to make streams invite-only. The official FAQ indicates that broadcasts are "currently" limited to live sessions, seemingly leaving the door open to saved content down the road.

Would-be broadcasters need to opt in to the Steam client beta to access start streaming. They'll also have to be running Windows 7 or Win8—support for Linux, OS X, and Vista is coming "in the future." There don't appear to be any OS restrictions for viewers, who need only the Steam client, Chrome, or Safari.

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