Steam finally adds voice chat and flexible friend lists in new beta

Steam's game library via the Steam Link Android app.                  Taylor Martin  CNET

Steam's game library via the Steam Link Android app. Taylor Martin CNET

You can also save your group chats with a name and avatar, making it easier to come back to them later to pick up the conversation or to play games with those same friends.

The new Steam Chat offers some great features that come as standard with other services.

For PC gamers there are plenty of avenues to purchase titles digitally, yet the dominant platform most will use is Valve's Steam. While in that mode, you can see your friends (and enemies) and chat just like normal, without so many people chatting at you that you spill your tea into your lap. You can also see what exactly a friend is doing in the game, whether sitting at the main menu or now in a match. Soon, the AOL-esque chat of yore will be gone, replaced by the slick, fancy Discord chat of the present.

Group chats, probably one of the biggest features available on Discord, has been revamped on Steam Chat.

"Every chat on Steam is now multimedia friendly", Steam's page states, meaning you'll be able to share GIFs, videos from YouTube, audio from SoundCloud and more within the chat itself. It also comes with end-to-end encryption for added privacy and security.

The new Steam Chat is available now via the Steam client and web browsers.

The new chat features are now in open beta. The company said that the "new UI framework" and "important architectural improvements under the hood" will allow it to improve aspects of the core Steam experience once the new Steam Chat makes its debut.

KitGuru Says: Steam Chat desperately needed an overhaul to get with the times, and it looks as though this has pretty much everything you could need in a chat client.

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