Amazon certainly dealt Google a blow earlier this year when it swooped in and purchased Twitch out from under the search giant over the summer. There’s no denying that the live streaming video platform is immensely popular but could there be room for another major player? Valve is certainly hoping so.
The gaming giant is aiming to slay the insurmountable Twitch with a new service called Steam Broadcasting. The beta feature allows friends to pop in and check out the action as you play and vice-versa (perhaps you’re stuck on a level and in need of some assistance... or are just ridiculously bored).
To get started, you’ll need to opt into the Steam Client Beta (at the main Steam Client menu, go to Settings > Account and change your beta participation to Steam Beta Update).
Gamers are in complete control over who can watch them play. Privacy settings are aplenty so you can let friends request to watch, let friends watch without a request or let anyone watch. If you select the latter option, your broadcast will appear on that game’s hub.
You’ll be able to start a broadcast once someone starts watching (or requests to start watching). When the game is over, the transmission is terminated.
As of writing, Steam Broadcasting is only supported by the latest versions of Steam Client, Google Chrome and Apple Safari. You’ll need to be running Windows 7 or newer on a PC to participate. Support for other operating systems (Linux, OS X and Vista) is expected at a later date.
One thing that’s unclear at this hour is what kind of an impact streaming may or may not have on your bandwidth. Valve's FAQ notes there are advanced broadcast settings but doesn't delve into specifics.