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Steam Beta

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 Click the Community tab within the Steam interface to take a tour of the features and create a profile.

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19. Re: let it burn Aug 7, 2007, 06:00 Bill Nakano
By definition you can't invoke Godwin's Law.

These community features need to be optional outside of beta too.

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