Steam is looking twitchy: the broadcasting beta starts today

Steam Broadcasting beta

Valve continues its march towards making Steam as social as possible today, while probably hoping to take a chunk or two out of Twitch. If you jump into a game on Steam, you’ll be able to start broadcasting your in-game shenanigans, with commentary, of course. 

You can check it out now, but you’ll need to opt into the Steam beta client first. 

If you fancy watching a pal faff around in Dota 2 or commit some random acts of banditry in DayZ, all you need to do is go to their profile and hit “Watch Game” or select it after right clicking on their name in your friends list.

When you decide to broadcast your own antics, you’ll get a few different privacy settings, allowing you to limit viewers to invited friends, people that have sent you a request, any chums at all, or every single Tom, Dick and Harriet on Steam. If you make it completely open, anyone will be able to give your online adventures a watch from the game hub.

By default, only the game is broadcast, but you can fiddle around in the options and broadcast your desktop too.

If you do fancy showing off your skills or simply sharing your ineptitude, then you might want to read up on the rules of conduct. Most of them are what you’d expect, like not broadcasting porn or copyrighted materials, but it goes even further by completely banning swearing.

Here’s the full list of things you can’t broadcast:

  • Porn, inappropriate or offensive content, warez or leaked content or anything else not safe for work
  • Any discussion of piracy
  • Cheating, hacking, game exploits
  • Threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke
  • Posted copyright material such as magazine scans
  • Soliciting, begging, auctioning, raffling, selling, advertising, referrals
  • Racism or discrimination
  • Abusive language, including swearing

I can just about wrap my head around the no swearing rule for open broadcasts that anyone of any age could watch, though it’s unlikely that anyone of any age using the internet is inexperienced when it comes to colourful language. But for private streams that only your chums can watch? That’s an odd one.

Update:Valve has changed the FAQ, removing “including swearing”. In the copyright material, it no longer says “such as magazine scans” either. It’s not clear why these parts have been removed, or what Valve’s stance on swearing is at the moment. Already, the rules are being broken, with hardcore porn and copyrighted TV being streamed. It remains to be seen how Valve will deal with breaches of its conduct rules.

Take a gander at the FAQ here.