The popular PC video gaming platform Steam is adding the option to stream gameplay so that other people can watch online.
Steam’s new action may represent a concern to Twitch, a service of the same nature bought in September by Amazon for $970 million. 60 million people visit Twitch every month but Steam has over 100 million active accounts.
An expert, however, suggest that Twitch will continue to dominate the market.
Steam is software provided by Valve, a company based in the United States that gives users the possibility to buy, play, discuss and support development of titles created by numerous publishers of video games. It’s currently the most popular way of buying Windows PC games but Steam also offers software for Linux and Mac.
Anyone playing a game via Steam is can choose to let others watch their progress, and are offered numerous options regarding privacy that let them manage who can start a stream.
The people broadcasting can also offer text chat and voice over commentary, but cannot appear in a webcam window as is frequent on Twitch. However, they can show other activity on their desktop when they are not active in a game.
Other limits include not being able to save a broadcast for later watch, and that broadcasters don’t have a way of making money through their streams. Nevertheless, Steam does not require visitors to watch advertisements before a broadcast begins.
A video game analyst from the IDC consultancy, Lewis Ward commented on the fact that Steam is adding the option to stream gameplay:
“Valve has listened to what its customers have been asking for and has offered live broadcasting in its own way, which basically provides it with free marketing for the games sold on its platform. Getting into the streams is very easy, and it seems it’s done enough on the security side so if you don’t want certain people to view your activity or are a parent who has concerns about your kids, there are ways to block it.”
Twitch and Steam are not the only companies that wish to make gaming broadcasting a new thing. Ustream, Hitbox.tv and GamingLive.tv (which is currently in development) offer alternatives.