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Valve launches Steam Music Beta, reveals service features

by Mark Tyson on 5 February 2014, 12:00

Tags: Valve, PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacagz

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Valve has announced its plans to start beta testing Steam Music. The company revealed features of the invite-only limited beta version via its community blog. Anyone running SteamOS, having opted into the Steam Client Beta, will have access to the feature - we are told.

Valve aims to integrate music controls into the Steam overlay via Steam Music as currently it is an issue for users to control music from their standalone music player during gameplay. Currently if you want to fiddle with your MP3 collection it interrupts the game, switching between screens during a full-screen game tends to take a few seconds. Whilst running Big Picture mode on a TV, it makes it even more difficult as most desktop music players are not created to be controlled from a distance/joypad, exhibiting problems with small UI fonts, lists and buttons.

Steam Music provides users access to their music through their Big Picture/SteamOS interface and all they need to do it point it in the direction of their music library. It automatically syncs with the local music library creating full indexes of Albums and Artist lists. Once in-game, the music controls are integrated into the same Steam overlay which allows players to keep track of their friends and achievements. Players will be able to easily control playlists, browse their music collection and listen to any track without leaving their game.

The beta is said to include the "most fundamental set of features to offer a great music listening experience within Steam," whilst Valve will look to add extras based on user feedback from this beta program.

To have a chance to try the beta, which will be rolling out to the Big Picture and SteamOS interfaces only for now, join the Steam Music community group with your Steam account. Accepted members will be contacted by Valve to participate after their account has been approved. It works like this; "A random selection of group members will receive email invites in waves, until the feature is released to everyone." We are told a Steam Music system for desktops is also "on its way".



HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

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Valve clearly have a lot of vested interest in the living room. I hope this doesn't detract from their desktop offering. It is a nice feature, one I would of used in previous years but I now play games without my music on in the back ground so don't feel strongly either way.

If they release a good desktop version that gives me the functionality I like from Winamp without the bloat I deselect during install then I might switch my main music application over for the first time.
I'm still waiting for valve to overhaul steam to make it more responsive, steam is by far the slowest program on my PC and I have my suspicions it is just an old version of internet explorer which was re-skinned.
DemonHighwayman
I'm still waiting for valve to overhaul steam to make it more responsive, steam is by far the slowest program on my PC and I have my suspicions it is just an old version of internet explorer which was re-skinned.

In 2010 Valve ditched IE for Webkit [tomshardware.com] to improve their in game browser so I doubt that IE is the cause of the problems. I agree it is slow for an application that is meant to be light on resources but I would imagine the program is their own custom code rather than a re-skinned version of something else.

It is about time they improved its performance though. Perhaps the focus on SteamOS has distracted them from improving the desktop client.
So basically you can play music while playing games wow why didn't I think of that !?!
Noxvayl
DemonHighwayman
I'm still waiting for valve to overhaul steam to make it more responsive, steam is by far the slowest program on my PC and I have my suspicions it is just an old version of internet explorer which was re-skinned.
In 2010 Valve ditched IE for Webkit [tomshardware.com] to improve their in game browser so I doubt that IE is the cause of the problems. I agree it is slow for an application that is meant to be light on resources but I would imagine the program is their own custom code rather than a re-skinned version of something else.

tbh I don't think they've kept webkit up to date, since the Steam browser is easily slower than Chrome and IE10+ combined, especially on websites that are JS or Flash heavy (ie game Wikias)