Sure, there have always been alternatives to Twitch out there (such as YouTube Live), but none of these has really ever taken off to the magnitude that Twitch has. Well, many have said that if one company stood a chance to try and shake things up, it might be Valve. Indeed, I recall wondering earlier this year why Steam didn’t have a built-in video recorder or live streamer. After all, it is a powerful client, so those features just felt like they should be included.
Well, Steam has kicked off a beta feature in their client where people on a user’s friends list can opt to watch them play whatever game they’re playing. Likewise, if that person wants to stream publicly, they can change a setting to allow their stream to appear for others to see on the appropriate pages on Steam. Users can use their microphones/headset to offer commentary as they play, and they can see what others are saying in a chat log, not unlike what Twitch has to offer. Yet, as of right now, these streams are only live, so once you’re done playing, the stream is gone forever. Valve has stated that this is only currently the case, which may imply that they’ll later offer the ability to export your stream data to YouTube if you desire.
I, for one, would like to see them also include a video recording option, and hopefully they’ll add that in a future update to their client as well. In the meantime, though, anyone can test out this feature by opting in on the beta version of the client (instructions here). So, give it a try and see what you think!