Video game development and digital distribution company Valve is taking Twitch head on with Steam Broadcasting, its own game streaming platform which went live Tuesday via an updated Steam desktop app.
Currently in beta, Steam Broadcasting lets you watch friends play and show off your best moves in games. Streaming is supported across a range of resolutions, from the low-resolution 480p to HD-ready 720p and all the way up to Full HD 1080p, dependent on the speed and reliability of your Internet connection.
You can also choose a bitrate for audio between 750kb/s to 3500kbit/s. When you see a friend in game, just hit the newly added “Watch Game” option from their profile, or from the Friend’s List, to open a window into their gameplay.
And should someone start watching when you’re playing a game, you’ll start broadcasting, too. The first time a friend asks to watch your game, the Steam client will present you with the broadcast privacy settings.
Selecting the “Anyone can watch my games” option tells the app to make your broadcast visible on that game hub, according to this FAQ. Steam Broadcast was available in beta clients since December, but today it’s become part of the regular Steam app.
As mentioned before, the service is currently in beta and streaming is only supported in the Windows client. Mac and Linux users can watch others gaming, but can’t stream themselves as of yet.
But don’t worry, Steam has confirmed that Broadcasting is coming to the Linux and Mac client in the future. Finally, the Steam Community website allows logged-in users to watch friends play in a browser.