On Sunday, Valve Software launched its Steam Music Beta, the next step in the company's mission to provide a complete, multimedia-rich platform in the living room. However, don't get too excited just yet; this music service plays the tunes you already own, and currently doesn't provide music to purchase.
"With Steam Music, you can now listen to your music collection while playing games. Once you've pointed Steam to your local music directory, your Steam Library will include Album and Artist views of your collection," reads Valve's introduction in the Steam Music group.
From there, users can view and play tracks, manage the queue, and access the Steam Music player by pressing the guide button on the controller. Don't have one? Access the active player from Big Picture or SteamOS for those using the classic mouse and keyboard.
When the gamer loads up a favorite title, the music player will appear in-screen on an overlay. This overlay can be accessed so that gamers can manage the current playlist, browse the music collection and listen to any track.
"With this beta, we're getting started with what we believe to be the most fundamental set of features to offer a great music listening experience within Steam," reads Valve's blog. "As always, our next steps for the feature will be influenced by your beta feedback, so please share your feature requests, thoughts, and experiences in the music discussions."
Currently, the limited beta is only planned for Big Picture and SteamOS, but a desktop version will be released soon. To get into the beta, you need to be a member of the Steam Machines group, which can be accessed right here. Beta participants will be randomly selected from members of this specific group.
Valve revealed its plans for a music service in the fall when it introduced SteamOS. "We're working with many of the media services you know and love," reads the SteamOS intro page. "Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS."
Game streaming is another feature Valve is currently testing. Invitations went out last month to random participants who signed up for the Streaming Group. Any two computers in a home can be used to stream a gameplay session, allowing users to play games on systems that would not traditionally be able to run those games.
"For example, a Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room," reads the company's explanation.