Skip to main content

Steam’s revamped chat client makes it easier to game with friends


Steam’s overhauled chat client is now available to all Steam users. The client, which comes off as Valve’s answer to Discord, had been available in beta since June.

The bottom line: the client is a substantial improvement over the previous version, which badly needed an update. The mantra of the new client is versatility. It now supports group chat, differentiated channels, voice chat, and instant sharing of images and video, including YouTube clips and GIFs. You can now easily see which of your friends are online and invite them to voice chat using a simple drag and drop system.

The new client is obviously aimed at providing a better gaming experience with friends. Being able to create groups on the fly and save them for future use is one of the most impactful changes. Now you can keep your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive group separate from your League of Legends group. If you want to invite a friend to play with you, you can do that with ease now. You can also send a link through email, text, or in-app message to invite them into your game party.

Steam’s voice chat uses WebRTC on its backend for security. Voice chat is encrypted and goes through Steam’s servers, not directly to your friends. This design keeps both your IP address to yourself and hides your location.

Valve designed a fresh UI for the chat, one that it said makes it easier to improve the overall Steam experience going forward.

“Friends and chat are just the beginning. This update was built using a new UI framework and includes some important architectural improvements under the hood, all of which allow us to make more frequent updates to our web-based Steam components. There are many improvements to the overall Steam experience that we plan to tackle, and your feedback helps us to prioritize what’s next.”

The interface, as you’ll notice in the screenshot above, bears resemblance to Discord, the leading app for online gaming communication. It remains to be seen if Discord users will move over to Steam’s new and improved chat client, but at least gamers now have an option that doesn’t require them to have both Steam and Discord running at the same time.

Steam’s new chat app is available via the client app and on browsers.

Editors' Recommendations

Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
Happy birthday, Steam Deck: console and PC gamers debate its first year
Factorio running on a Steam Deck.

As the Steam Deck’s one-year anniversary approached, I found myself itching to write a reflection on my past 12 months with it. Though I love the gaming device and use it as much as my Nintendo Switch, I initially found my feelings skewing more negative than I expected. Part of that may have been a little reactionary, as I’ve developed a pet peeve in the past year: hearing people who work in games tout it as a “life-changing” device. Sure, it’s life-changing for anyone whose job hinges on having easy access to games, but some of the Steam Deck’s more frustrating quirks make it harder to recommend to a casual player.

My perspective changed when I chatted with Jacob Roach. Digital Trends’ Computing senior staff  writer. As a PC gamer, his read on the system was entirely different from mine, focusing on game-changing features that I haven’t gotten much use out of. What became clear from that conversation is that the Steam Deck is a very different device depending on whether you’re coming at it from a PC or console background.

Read more
Multiversus’ 99% player drop is a lesson in how not to make a free-to-play game
Bugs Bunny holding a pie in Multiversus.

When Warner Brothers' Super Smash Bros.-like fighting game Multiversus launched last year, it was an immediate success. Players flocked to the free-to-play game in its first few months, battling it out as their favorite WB characters. It seemed like the publisher had a rare hit on its hand, breaking through to the mainstream with a genre that's long been painted as a difficultyniche with a high barrier for entry.

MultiVersus - Rick Reveal

Read more
Hi-Fi Rush director reveals the secret to making a great music game
Chai points a finger gun at a robot in Hi-Fi Rush.

I’ve never played a rhythm game that keeps me on beat as well as Hi-Fi Rush. While I’m a musically inclined person who fronts his own band, even I have trouble keeping time in music games. I’ll inevitably start to drag behind notes and then speed up too much to overcompensate. Sometimes I lose the music altogether and need to stop clicking entirely just to rediscover the beat. But in Hi-Fi Rush, I always feel like I’m completely locked in as I attack, dodge, and zip to the sound of early 2000s alt-rock.

That’s no accident. For Game Director John Johanas and a small development team within Tango Gameworks, “accessibility” was a keyword when embarking on the unique passion project. Johanas knew that rhythm isn’t something that comes naturally to every player, putting a natural barrier to entry over any game that requires precise beat-matching and button timing. If Hi-Fi Rush was going to be a fun and welcoming experience for a wider range of players, it would require a more flexible approach to design.

Read more