Steam is now using Skype's SILK codec for improved chat quality. There's also a new Portal 2 video, and talk about possible video capture capabilities within Steam.
Tuesday Valve Software said that its Steam distribution platform has been upgraded with the SILK voice codec, the same codec that was developed and is currently in use by Skype. Starting now, support will automatically be included in the Steam client once it's loaded or restarted.
"SILK provides a significant improvement to Steam's voice chat quality," Valve said in a brief email. "Steam voice chat is available both in one-on-one or group chats, and works both at the desktop as well as while a user is in game."
Following Valve's SILK announcement, rumors surfaced that Gabe Newell himself told long-time Team Fortress 2 community member "Political Gamer" that a video recording system for Steam would be made available "real soon." This would be the next logical step after Valve's recent addition of a screen capture feature to the Steam client.
There's also talk that Newell mentioned that Steam support may arrive on iOS and Android platforms in the near future. Valve is currently gearing up to launch Portal 2 on the PlayStation 3 which will also include the company's Steamworks client. This will be Valve's first use of its Steam platform within a console title to date.
Tuesday Valve also launched a new "investment opportunity" series of videos promoting Portal 2. The first video, pasted below, is called "Panels" and showcases one of the many lucrative products in development at the applied sciences company. The feature clip is narrated by the fictional Aperture CEO and founder, Cave Johnson.
Valve said the other three videos in the "investment opportunity" series will be unleashed at thinkwithportals.com every week leading up to the release of Portal 2 on April 19 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.