Posted on August 6, 2007,

"Steam" Gets Fancy – Valve Releases Public Beta

cs2

What can I say? I’m old school. I bought the original Half-life when it hit stores. I watched the modding community embrace the game, creating amazing variants out of a single game. While this had been done with success in the past, Half-life set new standards for excellence in “mods”. From Counter-strike Beta 1 to Counter-strike: Source, we have seen Valve work to improve upon the gaming community that was started all those years ago.

Their biggest risk was “Steam”, an open-ended client that works as a control center for a vast array of gaming titles. Once home to only Half-life related mods, Steam has grown to include brand-new games in downloadable form, or classic titles for moderate prices. Over the course of its history, Steam has gone from sucking to good, back to sucking, then good again. The swings are sometimes attributed to risks that Valve takes with the system. It looks like we are in for the biggest swing yet.

Valve is announcing the biggest update ever, incorporating a variety of new features into their Steam system. Valve has released the updated Steam client in beta form, so be sure to hit their website for the latest details. See what fundamental changes Valve has made to this popular gaming client after the jump:

Here’s a list of some of the more notable additions:

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 game play statistics.

It’s Xbox live, mixed with some Halo 2 “Parties”. Seems like certainly a step in the right direction. While some of these features (Friends lists) are just working versions of already implemented ideas, the group aspect seems like a big step forward in organizing competitive gaming clans.

Full Press Release:

Free Update Connects Friends, Groups, Tournaments and More

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.

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5 Comments on "Steam" Gets Fancy – Valve Releases Public Beta

Joelteon7

On August 7, 2007 at 4:18 am

Meh. It’s a shame they didn’t take a risk with getting the games supported by them to run a little better or to up-date them in any way, but nevermind eh.

Fadeaway

On August 7, 2007 at 7:47 am

Steam’s always sucked. Always.

egon

On August 7, 2007 at 8:22 am

I dunno, being able to log into steam from any computer in the world and install the games I have purchased for it with no CDs is pretty cool.

Neox

On August 7, 2007 at 9:17 pm

i cant see words whn i go to friendlist while in cs menu

josh

On August 16, 2008 at 8:21 am

steam is 50% a pile of horse sh173 as you can spend over a $100 on games then someone hijacks your account changes your details and really p1ss3s you off on the other hand the games are cheaper to buy believe me you you DO NOT WANT YOUR ACCOUNT HIJACKED as it happened to me about a fortnight ago & ive still not reclaimed it . :mad: