If there’s one area where the industry-dominating platform Steam lags behind, it’s in the intricacy and usefulness of its chat function. That’s why reports that it’s bolstering voice chat and groups are encouraging.
The details: A leaked screenshot, originally posted on Twitter and which can now be found on Reddit, appears to show group chat rooms on Steam’s interface.
SteamDB’s Twitter also revealed assets for embeds, invite links, media uploads, and update voice chat. Players can permanently save chats, and assign nicknames to their friends.
Some assets for an updated chat system were recently discovered. Includes references to: updated chat rooms, updated voice chat, embeds, media uploads, invite links, /me being back and more! All of this (incl group/voice chat) will also work on webchat. https://t.co/yx33SzQDOy
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) June 5, 2018
Note there’s a chance the leaked screenshot is fake. But Steam’s chat functions feel clunky and outdated, so I’m going to be optimistic and hope that’s not the case.
Why it matters: There’s a reason the likes of Discord — which had around 135 millions users at last report — have become such a big hit among gamers in particular. The voice and text chat functions baked into Steam aren’t adequate to create the kinds of communities which have flourished on dedicated platforms.
In fact, the functions in the alleged update look very similar to those in Discord. Chat groups can be broken down into separate text or voice chat rooms. So if you want to share pictures within a group, you can create a separate room for that — precisely how Discord groups work.
If Steam is taking inspiration from one of the most widely-adopted and functional gaming chats out there, I won’t complain. But I do wonder how well this will go over when Discord is already so thoroughly entrenched with gamers.