Valve has announced a new version of its Steam game portal that’s available right now as a public beta to current Steam members. Steam delivers new releases and online services, including sections for casual, indie, family and adventure games, to more than 25 million PC users worldwide.
According to Valve, the new Steam client was created to accommodate 200% growth in the last 12 months. Today, Steam offers more than 1,000 games to 25 million players.
This opt-in beta is available immediately to all Steam users. If users already have Steam installed on their computer, they can take part in the beta by visiting steam://open/settings and then selecting “UI Update” under Beta Participation.
The new Steam client works on the philosophy that the most effective way to reach new gamers is through the existing players of a game. With the new Steam release, gamers will now be able to see which games their friends have purchased directly within the Steam storefront.
The new client also introduces library customization tools to help gamers sort, group, and find games in libraries which, for some die-hard players, can contain hundreds of titles. In addition to having lots of games, gamers can now track all of their achievements in a standardized cross-game fashion.
“We made hundreds of changes to the Steam client as a result of customer feedback on the interface, performance, and functionality,” said John Cook, Director of Steam Development at Valve. “For example, we swapped out the Internet Explorer rendering engine with WebKit, which gives us a bunch of size, stability and performance benefits. This release of Steam leaves us well prepared for another year of strong growth.”