Earlier today, Valve unveiled their new broadcasting service named Steam Broadcasting. The service allows the user to stream a game of their choosing for either the public to view or for just their friends to view. The service is available for use through the Steam client and Valve have indicated that other browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari are also supported. Steam Broadcasting is currently available for use by following the instructions indicated on the Steam Broadcasting FAQ Page.
Video game streaming has been on the rise for quite some time now. Twitch, a popular streaming platform has blown up in the past couple of years gaining loads of viewers and streamers. Steam Broadcasting is aiming to make streaming as simple as possible in hopes of competing head on with rival platform Twitch. The service will automatically start broadcasting the game you are currently playing once someone begins to view the game you are playing. You will be notified once someone does begin watching so you should never be caught off guard. Steam Broadcasting also comes with 4 preset options which will determine who can view what you are currently streaming. These 4 options include,
- Only friends that I invite
- Friends can request to watch my games
- Friends can watch my games
- Anyone can watch my games
Streams can be viewed through the Steam client or through Google Chrome and Safari. The user interface also includes an integrated chat box for communication between fellow viewers and the user who is currently streaming. The user who is streaming also has the ability to add their own live voice commentary to overlay the game audio. The quality of these streams are fairly good considering the service is still in beta stages. The stream can go up to a resolution of 1080p with bit-rates of 3.5 Mb/s but Valve did warn that "bandwidth may be limited during the beta" meaning those bit-rates and resolution are not always to be expected.
Due to the fact that Steam Broadcasting is still in beta, some features that Twitch boasts such as making archives of your broadcasts and the ability to stream at any given point in time are limited or non-existent. Steam Broadcasting has bandwidth limited for the beta and due to that, you may receive an error at some points in time when you are trying to stream. Archiving streams is non-existent in the beta due to the limiting of bandwidth but is being looked towards for when Stream Broadcasting is released.
Steam Broadcasting is shaping up to be a very promising service but it is looking like it will primarily be used between friends as opposed to streaming to the public. Regardless of that, Steam Broadcasting is simplifying video game streaming so that it is more accessible for everyone. What do you think? Do you think Steam Broadcasting was a good idea? How do you think it will compete with Twitch? Leave your opinions below.