Steam finally adds voice chat and flexible friend lists in new beta

Group chat! Voice chat! Customizable friend lists! Get your modern chat on.

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David Lumb
June 12th, 2018

Steam's chat hasn't been updated in ages, leaving its embedded communication functionality to lag behind competitors. Today, the platform introduced new features that users can access today in a beta program, which adds sorely-needed options like voice and group chat.

The new features basically mirror a lot of Discord's functionality in a blatant attempt to catch up. The new Steam chat revamps how your friends list is organized, with a customizable 'favorites' section up top followed by friends grouped up in a party or by which game they're currently playing. Drag some of them together into a chat window to create a new group chat, which can be refined with settings for text and voice channels as well as member permissions.

There are a handful of other new quirks, too, like (finally!) a promised invisible mode and custom friend-request links you can email or send outside Steam. Heck, media links will even expand into appropriate little boxes, so drop all the GIFs and YouTube videos you desire. The updated features are long overdue, but there's no reason to punish yourself more by not signing up for the beta in the Steam client (Settings > Account) or by clicking here. It's free. You don't have to chat like it's 2004.

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