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Steam.tv is live — and it appears to be Valve’s Twitch competitor

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steam-controller

The Steam Controller. Unrelated to this announcement, but it’s a nice visual way to represent Valve’s gaming initatives, yeah?


Valve

Over the past couple hours, we’ve seen a smattering of reports that PC gaming giant Valve had registered a new domain name: Steam.tv

The reports speculated that Valve would soon launch a service designed to compete with Amazon’s popular game streaming website Twitch.tv. Since, you know, esports are kind of a big deal these days, with millions upon millions of dollars on the line, and Valve’s own Dota 2 game is the focus of one of the biggest esports events of the year, one which just so happens to kick off next week.

But there’s no need to speculate any longer. Steam.tv is live right now. It looks like this:


Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Right now, the Steam.tv website is only showing off The International, which is the giant Dota 2 tournament I was referring to earlier — so it’s not exactly allowing any ol’ Steam gamer to livestream their gameplay sessions quite yet. 

Here’s what it looks like when you log in with your Steam account. 


Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

But we can already see that the interface is vastly advanced compared to Steam’s existing Steam Broadcasting website. It feels far more like a native web app. 

Once I logged in, I was able to access my new Steam Chat friends list and group chats — the interface seems very similar to steamcommunity.com/chat, but with more functionality — and invite friends to watch videos together while we chat. (hey there @seaniccus!) The interface has room for quite a few tabs up top for additional chat windows, but weirdly the video gets minimized when you invite friends. You have to expand it again.


Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Oh, and there’s built-in voice chat right there in your web browser, at least in Google Chrome. While the Steam.tv interface works in Firefox and Microsoft Edge, voice chat isn’t supported in those browsers yet.

steam-tv-browser-limitations

Screenshot by Sean Buckley/CNET

I also just downloaded the latest Steam Beta Update on desktop to see if it unlocked any new functionality, but it doesn’t seem to support Steam.tv videos — not only could I not watch The International, but when I started broadcasting a session of Into the Breach, and my buddy tried to join via Steam.tv, it kicked him to the old Steam Broadcasting webpage instead.

I pinged Valve to find out what its ambitions are for Steam.tv, but Valve didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. I’ll let you know if that changes. For now, it looks like a way to hang with friends while watching esports, and perhaps soon an alternative to Amazon’s Twitch, Microsoft’s Mixer and Google’s YouTube Gaming.



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