Valve has confirmed it is working on a new game streaming platform, dubbed Steam TV, though the leaking of an internal test build suggests it could start life as content consumption, rather than creation, service.
That Valve positions its Steam digital distribution platform for more than just buying and downloading games is no secret: Over the years since its launch Valve has added various community-building features, the Steamworks platform, mod distribution, non-gaming content, graphics driver distribution, peer-to-peer trading, mobile apps, the living-room friendly Big Picture Mode, the staggeringly unpopular Steam Machines and Linux-based SteamOS, the more popular Steam Link microconsole and compatible TVs, collectable trading cards, the Steam Controller, Early Access, game stream broadcasting, SteamVR, mobile game streaming, and most recently a revamped chat system.
Steam TV, though, appears to be something new. Accidentally leaked during internal testing at Valve and covered in detail by CNET, Steam TV was briefly live as a dedicated site showing broadcasts of The International Dota 2 multiplayer event. What isn't clear, however, is whether the company is looking to create a site for consumption of professionally-created gaming broadcasts or a next-generation replacement for its ageing Stream Broadcasting service - and if it's the latter, no sign of that functionality was yet present.
Valve, for its part, has confirmed that Steam TV was a genuine Valve project and that it was sent live by mistake during an internal test of updates to Steam Broadcasting specifically planned for The International. 'What people saw was a test feed that was inadvertently made public,' a company representative told CNET.
Those interested in seeing where things go should keep an eye on Steam.TV, which since Valve took down the test site currently loads only a blank page.
Valve's new Steam.TV service has now gone live, in pretty much the same form as the leaked internal test: An exclusive stream, for now, of The International. 'We’ve integrated Steamworks support into broadcasting to allow us to tailor the viewing experience specifically to Dota 2: you’ll see markers for match starts, first bloods and team-fights populating the timeline as you watch live,' Valve explains. 'We’ve also updated Steam Broadcasting with a new Live DVR feature, making rewind available as soon as you join the stream and allowing you to smoothly jump back and forth through the action. Combined with this custom Dota 2 Steamworks integration, you won’t miss a second of the action.
'Secondly, we’ve brought Steam Broadcasting to Steam Chat to create The International Watch Parties. In the past, if you wanted to watch TI with a select group of folks, there wasn’t really an ideal way to do that. Now there is. We’ve now integrated Steam Broadcasting into chat so those parties can now watch TI together. You can create text and voice channels on the fly and there’s effectively no limit to how big (or how small) your group can be. It is the perfect way to watch TI with friends. And if things get a little too rowdy you can always create more custom chat channels for rival fans in your group.
'This Dota 2 centred update to Steam Broadcasting currently includes some custom elements to support The International. After the tournament we plan to extend Watch Party support for all games that are broadcasting on Steam and expose a new broadcast Steamworks API to Steam partners.'
February 26 2021 | 22:15