Valve's Beta Chat Client for Steam - New and Improved
Valve just dropped beta access to a new, simpler HUD and chat system for Steam that changes how players interact.
With this new interface, players will be able to form parties, groups, and even place specific friends in a “favorites” section for more convenient access. The new system improves voice settings as well, allowing for parties to be formed with multiple groups and friends all accompanied by seamless voice transition.
You can also categorize your friends list by the game each of them is playing. Along with this feature, game developers will also have the option to include information about how long people are playing their game, if they are queued for matchmaking online, or even their location in-game.
Instead of sending your friends hyperlinks, the chat rooms are now fully integrated with video, images, tweets, and audio capabilities. Valve also promised improved security through a “new WebRTC- based backend”.
"As a result, voice chat uses high quality Opus encoding, voice traffic is encrypted, and all traffic is sent through Steam servers rather than directly to peers," they explained. "This keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks."