Valve's Steam goes super-social, in limited beta test

Valve's Steam gets social
New features bring a Facebook-like feel to Valve's digital distribuiton platform

Hey, you got your Facebook in my Steam community.

Valve finished its four-day reveal of new social features for its Steam PC gaming service, but the way its games are displayed has also been given a bit of a refresh.

However, before we get to all the changes, let's chat timeline: Specifically, the fact that Valve isn't unveiling its new Steam tweaks to all subscribers.

Rather, the limited beta test of the new features is only accessible by the first 50,000 Steam users to achieve a "Pillar of Steam Community" badge – a virtual token for those who have taken part in a number of different activities across the service (taking a screenshot of a game, rating a Games Workship add-on, et cetera.)

According to Valve, additional beta invites will be sent on a daily basis until the public launch of the new Steam features.

Steam gets social

So, just what has Valve changed up?

On the first day of its big features reveal this week, Valve unveiled new "Game Hubs" – online gateways that will house all of a title's screenshots, videos, related discussions, and Games Workshop add-on elements in a convenient, one-stop-shop environment.

Additionally, players will be able to vote on whether content is meaningful to them, which will allow more popular content to take higher priority on each game's hub.

Valve's also changed the way that Steam groups function – giving each its own dedicated message board and moderation system instead of the simple chat system previously found on groups' profile pages (which, we note, have also been refreshed).

Finally, individuals Steam users will receive the Facebook treatment, which is to say that any content users elect to share or publish on Steam will appear in a single location on a user's profile.

And scanning for what you're friends are sharing – and accomplishing within Steam games themselves – is just as easy.

"See what your Friends are up to in the new visually rich and more interactive feed where nearly everything can be rated and commented on," reads Valve's description. "Share your opinion, taunt or help your friends, save the best content to your favorites, and rate up your friends' content to get them to the top of the Game Hubs."

And, finally, users can (finally) assign their Steam friends nicknames, making it a lot easier to track who exactly "AwesomePwn84" is in real life.

Via Hothardware