Steam Chat is Valve's new Discord-like chat platform

Steam goes to China with the help of Perfect World

Steam's game library via the Steam Link Android app. The gaming company just announced Steam Chat, which is now in beta for anyone to try.

The friends list now has a customizable favorites section at the top, for quick access to the people, groups, and chats you care about most. Rich presence has arrived as well, where users will now display their current in-game status such as the game mode or if they are currently matchmaking.

The new Steam Chat's first improvement comes in the form of an upgraded friends list.

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As mentioned before, the chat window will now expand and show any media that is posted on it without needing to open the link, applying to videos, images, gifs, tweets, and more. It's free. You don't have to chat like it's 2004. "Persistent groups" and channels are supported, and Valve also promised improved security via "a new WebRTC-based backend". As a result, voice chat uses high quality Opus encoding, voice traffic is encrypted, and all traffic is sent through Steam servers rather than directly to peers.

Steam Chat is available to trial now and is in beta on both the desktop client and in your web browser. The company said that the "new UI framework" and "important architectural improvements under the hood" will allow it to improve aspects of the core Steam experience once the new Steam Chat makes its debut.

In many ways, the new Steam Chat resembles the popular voice-chat service Discord, so gamers already using that service will likely be familiar with the functionality already.

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