Valve Updates Steam Chat With New Friends List, Group Tools

Steam goes to China with the help of Perfect World

Perfect World and Valve announce Steam China

The new Steam chat revamps how your friends list is organized, with a customizable "favorites" section up top followed by friends grouped up in a party or by which game they're now playing. You can now add favourite friends, groups, and chats to the top of the chat window for easy access. In addition, Steam Chat can now show you which of your friends are in a party together.

The quality and security of Steam voice chat have been revamped from the ground up, providing a new WebRTC-based backend, which comes with high-quality Opus encoding and encrypted traffic.

Steam Chat is now available to test out during its public beta.

In-line images, video, tweets, audio, and other media can now be shared in the chat client, and you'll be able to share trade offer links as well.

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China is now the world's biggest video games market, valued at more than $25 billion in 2016, according to a report from IHS Markit.

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Valve will be working with Perfect World Games, a Chinese partner, to make a version of Steam for China. It is now easy to really create a community using the service, you can send game invites from within groups, and create separate channels within those groups too. No bones about it: Steam's new persistent group chats are basically Discord. This keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks. Valve says that Steam Chat will be available to all Steam users in the future. We don't know what the company plans to update, but if the overhauls are as extensive as those made to Steam Chat, the platform-slash-marketplace could soon be pretty different from what we've grown accustomed to.

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