Valve activated Steam Broadcasting on Tuesday, which allows Steam’s millions of PC users to broadcast live gameplay to their friends without downloading any additional software. It’s a simple way to share your screen while gaming or to watch other gamers play. Just click on “watch game” from a friend’s profile; then, like with Twitch, you’ll see a smaller chat window appear that displays the game. You can also reach broadcasts from the Community tab in Steam.
Broadcasting is even easier. Set your privacy settings; you can let anyone or just friends watch your games. (Alternatively, you can have friends watch if they request first.) Then, if you start playing and someone starts watching, you automatically start broadcasting. The feature has been available to Steam beta clients before and was still labeled as beta, but you can now find it in the latest version of full release of Steam. However, the broadcasting feature is only available for Windows; Mac and Linux users can only watch, but cannot broadcast themselves.
The Amazon-owned Twitch is the current leader in the market, boasting 60 million monthly users in at the end of 2014. The service recently expanded into music, launching a Music Library and a dedicated music category last week. Still, as one of the biggest digital gaming stores around — with 3,500 game titles and 100 million active users as of September 2014 — Steam is in a good position to take on Twitch.
We’ll have to wait and see how Twitch and Steam go head to head.