Valve announced today that users of its Steam gaming platform will now be able to easily stream their game content to their friends using tools built by the Bellevue-based company. Called “Steam Broadcaster,” the new system allows people to watch what friends are doing in game, as well as check out what other people are playing on the service.
Broadcaster is currently in beta, but anyone who enables Steam’s beta client will be able to stream their games. Right now, users can choose four different privacy options: no streaming, allowing friends to request to view the game, streaming to any friends, or streaming to the world. It’s designed to allow people to choose just how far they want to share their gameplay.
People who prefer to watch can see a selection of public streams on the Steam Community site, either inside their browser or through the Steam app on their machine. Valve still has some kinks to work out there: some streamers are just broadcasting videos that they have on their computer through Steam, which isn’t exactly what the company had in mind for the system.
This is a move by Valve to compete with Twitch, the video game streaming company Amazon acquired earlier this year for $970 million.
Twitch hasn’t really created a great system for just sharing streams between friends, and Steam’s massive install base means that Valve has the potential to reach a lot of users right off the bat.
Interestingly, Steam Broadcaster should also allow users to stream gaming video from their living rooms. Valve is developing Steam Machine gaming consoles along with a number of partners that will run a dedicated flavor of Linux.