Steam Broadcasting revealed as Twitch alternative

The biggest name in live video game streaming today is Twitch – bar none. That's no reason why Steam, the biggest name in PC game sales and hosting, can't create a competitor. That's exactly what they're doing right this minute with Steam Broadcasting, coming your way in Beta form as early as this afternoon. Steam Broadcasting appears, for now, to be sort of the opposite model Twitch is running. You'll have only to find a friend, click the "Watch Game" button, and wait to be let in.

Where Twitch is more of a "here I am, everyone come watch me" platform, Steam Broadcasting seems to be along the lines of "I'm playing, you can watch if you want, I don't really care one way or another." That's in Beta mode. It's easy to see how Steam might expand this system to allow public broadcasts in final mode.

For now this system is based on friend-to-friend contact. Steam relies on friend-to-friend contacts in their system to strengthen the bonds that keep users active and keep users loyal. If all your best friends are using Steam, you may as well be using Steam too.

According to Steam, "when you're playing a game and someone starts watching, you automatically start broadcasting. When you end the game your broadcast ends."

You'll decide whether you want your friends to watch, anyone can watch*, or several steps in-between. Your Privacy Settings will be listed as follows:

• Friends can request to watch my games• Only friends that I invite• Friends can watch my games• Anyone can watch my games

*Anyone can watch my games is the start of a more broad watching experience, like we're discussing above. For now this system will be relegated to Beta users.

If you'd like to participate in the Beta, head over to Sign In at Steam and hit the Beta button. Both you and your friends need to opt into the Steam Client Beta, then in your Steam client main menu you'll go to Settings – Account – Beta Participation and change Beta Participation to Steam Beta Update. Have at it!