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Valve stares down Twitch with the launch of Steam Broadcasting

Valve has joined the game streaming scene with the announcement of Steam Broadcasting. This new feature, just launched in beta, allows Steam users to watch other people playing games live without leaving Valve’s storefront/launcher client.

Steam users already get a pop-up notification whenever someone from their friend list starts playing a game. Now they also have the option to jump right in to observing and commenting with the click of a button. The user of course has control over their privacy settings for a stream, ranging from invitation-only to public. Public play is accessible through the given game’s hub page.

Streams can be watched both from the Steam client and in a Chrome or Safari browser. Currently, the service only enables live streaming, with no way to archive and share feeds later.

Related: Amazon gets into games by acquiring Twitch streaming service for $970 million

Twitch, the current leader in game streaming (recently acquired by Amazon), has already responded to the new competition, expressing satisfaction that the field is growing.

VP of Marketing Matthew DiPietro explained in a statement: “We are huge fans of Steam and work with Valve regularly on various events and product integrations. While Steam’s broadcasting solution and the Twitch platform are very different things with vastly different feature sets, it’s really validating to see a company like Valve embrace streaming in this way. Live video is the future of social connectivity for gamers and this is another proof point. We wish them the best of luck.”

Any Steam user can give the new feature a try now. Go to Settings > Account and set “Beta Participation” to “Steam Beta Update” to enable it.