Steam Chat is now out of beta, live for regular users in the Steam client itself and on the web. The expanded messaging functions offer new features like group chats and an expanded friends list, dividing your online buddies by games and parties. The update also gives the whole Steam client a slightly blue makeover.
You can force the update by hitting the ‘Steam’ menu in the upper left corner of the client and checking for updates. You’ll get a brief walkthrough of how to use the new chat features before being left to come to terms with Steam looking slightly different. It’s slightly blue. The message, announcement, and big picture icons all have slightly new looks. It’s… slightly unusual.
As we noted when the Steam Chat beta went live in June, the new chat features look a whole lot like Discord, with text and voice channels as well as member lists in your chat groups all looking pretty similar to the popular chat app. The new friends list lets you pick favourites, and will showed more detailed info when your pals are in-game, whether they’re on title screens or waiting for matches.
You can see all the new features for yourself on Steam, or take it for a spin with the web client. A handful of new features have been added since the beta, like the ability to hide offline friends, an option for 24-hour time formats, and bug fixes for issues like image and video scaling. You can find out more about those changes in the patch notes.
With the (slightly) adjusted colour palette and other niceties, this update seems to be taking us a step closer to the long-awaited Steam UI redesign, though outside of the chat and friends functions most of the details are the same. Still, it’s blue now. That’s weird.