Valve announces a new public Steam
beta, offering the chance to check out a
bunch of new community-oriented features:
August 6, 2007 -- The largest
update for Steam, a leading online platform for PC games and digital
entertainment, is now open for public beta testing. The update, which will be
available free of charge, introduces an expansive set of social networking and
online multiplayer features to a growing PC platform serving games and digital
entertainment to over 13 million accounts.
The new Steam community features are designed to connect gamers with friends and
other gamers, create and join groups, and organize matches and tournaments. The
initial batch of features rolled out in the beta version include: . Steam ID.
Create a personal profile-complete with a photo or avatar, biographical details,
favorites, and more-viewable on the Web and within the Steam client. . Friends.
Add peers to a personal Friends List that shows in real-time who's online and
available to chat or play a game. Accessible from within the Steam client or
while playing a game, the Friends List makes it easy to invite friends to chat,
play a game, or join a group. . Groups. Create and join public and private
groups comprised of gamers who share a common interest, such as fans of a
particular game, map or mod, or competitive teams. The Group Profile page
displays information about the group, recent activities, news and announcements,
and a schedule of upcoming events. Groups can quickly initiate a text or voice
chat; plan a game, tournament, LAN party, or any other event; and track group
gameplay statistics. . Statistics. From both a personal Steam ID or Group
profile, users can view a range of gameplay statistics, such as most played
games or maps and average playing time. . Chat. Initiate a chat with friends and
groups using integrated instant messaging, text chat, and voice features. .
Events. Schedule matches, tournaments, and in-person gatherings, such as LAN
parties. Upcoming events are displayed in both a list and calendar view, and
members can receive reminders that help keep everyone on schedule.
The Steam community features may be accessed within the Steam client or from
within any game available in the Steam library of games - a growing collection
that includes new releases and classic titles from leading publishers and
independent developers around the world. Additionally, certain features, such as
the user's Control Panel, Friend's List, and Groups pages may be accessed and
managed using any Web browser.
This upgrade marks the largest extension to the Steam platform since its first
commercial release in March 2004. In its three year history, Steam has defined
the next generation online gaming platform delivering hundreds of games to
millions of users with services such as Guest Passes, Automatic Updates, Free
Weekends, and access to purchased games from any PC.
To explore the Steam community features, install the Steam client available at
www.steampowered.com. Click the
Community tab within the Steam interface to take a tour of the features and
create a profile.