US-based video gaming company Valve’s online gaming marketplace Steam, has been ruling the market for a while now. It used to be an all-in-all solution for the gamers including socialising with other gamers, then came apps like Twitch and Discord. And people migrated to these apps from the Steam chat. To bring back the crowd to its own platform Steam has now implemented some much-needed features to the Steam Chat.
The features were first launched as part of Steam beta, and they are now available for everyone. The update brings a new UI and eases the use of the chat system for users. New features include sharing GIFs, videos and social links on the platform with friends, sort friends so that favorites appear above others, group friends by game and party. Even the chat interface has more elements to it to make it look more like Discord.
Even the voice chat interface has seen a makeover and now comes built-in with many features like on the Discord app. The Steam voice chat now offers features like different channels, and links for inviting others.
What remains to be seen is if this will work out in Steam’s favor and bring back the crowd from Discord that made itself a platform for gamers to socialize with public as well as private communities. Even game developers have started using Discord as a medium to share their updates and communicate with the community. Discord right now may not be a big competition for Steam, but it could become one if it were to become an online game store.
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SuperData research manager Carter Rogers in a conversation with Variety back in June said, “Previously, Steam was invaluable not only because of its storefront, but because it facilitated social connections between players. In 2011, Electronic Arts got flak after breaking away from Steam to form its own storefront, Origin. At the time, players feared a slippery slope of multiple companies leaving Steam, resulting in the need to maintain friends lists across a wide range of platforms. Now, Discord is where gamers’ main friends lists live, not Steam.”