Valve Software announced on Tuesday that Steam Broadcasting has entered beta. This service allows players to livestream their gameplay for other members in the Steam community and the general public. However, the catch is that Steam gamers will need to install the beta build of the Steam Client to livestream their gameplay.
"When you see a friend in game, simply click on 'Watch Game' from their profile or from the Steam Client Friend's List to open a window into their gameplay -- no game ownership, special fees, or additional apps required," said a company news update.
To get the Beta client, Steam users can go to the main menu, select "Settings," select "Account" and change the "Beta Participation" option to "Steam Beta Update." This client updates a lot, but it's also a cool way to check out new features before they're finalized and go live for the masses.
According to the FAQ, games can be watched through the Steam client, Google's Chrome browser and Apple's Safari browser. Public broadcasts will be listed on the "Broadcasts" tab on the Community Home page as well as the game's hub.
The FAQ shows that users can actually decide who can watch the game. Once someone requests permission to watch, the Steam user is presented with a privacy settings window containing several options: allow anyone to watch, allow only friends, allow only people that the user invites, or allow only friends that must send a request to watch.
The FAQ also provides a list of things broadcasters are not allowed to stream including inappropriate or offensive content, copyrighted material, threats, talks about cheating and piracy, racism, abusive language, advertising, selling and more. Steam users are encouraged to report offensive Broadcasters by selecting the "Report Broadcast" option.
The company warns that the Broadcast service may suffer connection problems during the beta, and that the Broadcast capability will be offered as a "first-come, first-served" basis. Streaming issues will likely stem from the nearest Steam server's inability to provide adequate bandwidth at this time. These issues will likely be resolved before the service comes out of beta.
Unfortunately, Steam Broadcasting only works on Windows 7 and Windows 8 for now. Customers using Linux, OS X and Windows Vista will see this service added to their client at a later date.