Valve has revealed today a new feature for Steam called Steam Broadcasting, adding the ability to stream games directly from the the popular digital distribution service.
In an update posted on the service’s website, Valve detailed that users that opt in to the latest Steam beta can have access to the new feature and that is is free of charge and doesn’t require any game ownership to utilize. You simply click on a friends profile that is playing a game and select the “Watch Game” option to send a request to view them playing whatever game they may be enjoying at the moment.
When requesting to view a friends game, the client will prompt them with options to make viewing their game streams available by invite only, accessible by request, open to all their friends or open to anyone, making their stream publicly available on a list on that select games Steam community hub. There presently are no dedicated ways to launch a broadcast on command, but users can enjoy feature like stream chat and the ability to provide your narration via a microphone.
Currently there is no way to add a camera feed, advertise or monetize your broadcasts in any fashion, leaving it a bit of a bare bones service in its present state. The lack of any integration with Twitch also makes it its own standalone service, and with some time could be the first real competition that the streaming giant has faced since being gobbled up by Amazon earlier this year.
I sampled the service with a friend breifly, and it worked rather well after making sure both our clients were updated. There is some noticable delay, somewhere about 10-15 seconds after actions had already happened when watching my friend play some Crusader Kings II. I don’t know how well it will hold up when tested with more intense games at higher speeds like shooters, only time and some testing will tell. You can opt in to the beta on Steam and checkout the feature for yourself now and see an example of what the service looks like working in the picture below.