Steam goes to China with the help of Perfect World

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Valve has released the public beta of Steam Chat, a new client that allows users to chat on the Steam platform easily.

Perfect World CEO Robert H. Xiao said in a press release his company will introduce more games to the Chinese market through Steam China, providing quality content and improving the experience for both gamers and developers. For those of you who still remember Myspace, the new friends list will also let you designate some friends as "favorites", so get ready to compete for that coveted status. In addition, Steam Chat can now show you which of your friends are in a party together. Online friends are now grouped by what game they are playing.

In-line images, video, tweets, audio, and other media can now be shared in the chat client, and you'll be able to share trade offer links as well. Your IP address is private in the new system to prevent attacks and privacy issues. Soon, the AOL-esque chat of yore will be gone, replaced by the slick, fancy Discord chat of the present.

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"Steam voice chat was rewritten from the ground up with a new WebRTC-based backend". It is now easy to really create a community using the service, you can send game invites from within groups, and create separate channels within those groups too.

All chat features are also available on the Web.

In many ways, the new Steam Chat resembles the popular voice-chat service Discord, so gamers already using that service will likely be familiar with the functionality already. As the new overhaul is only available in the client to Steam beta users, interested parties will need to go to the client's Settings and opt into the Steam Beta Update in the Accounts tab.

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