Way back in August 2007, Valve first debuted the Steam Community as a public beta, open to all Steam users (13 million, at that time). Until then, things like Steam voice chat; Steam groups; the Shift + Tab overlay; and even Steam profiles, didn’t even exist. At the time, it represented Steam’s most significant extension upgrade, ever since the very first release of the Steam client on the 12th of September, 2003!
Over time, Valve has been adding many new features and systems to the Steam Community, like screenshots, recommendations, badges, just to name a few. But on the whole, the underlying latticework of the Community remains mostly the same. Certainly, some more extensive changes are needed, and I’d say it’s never been more apparent than this year. It appears Valve has been thinking the same thing, as they have been working on a very significant revamp of the Steam Community.
This new Steam Community aims to introduce a suite of new user-centric features which will make Steam’s social networking components more robust and versatile than ever before. Groups are being completely redesigned; all-new Game Hubs are being added, to serve as centers of community creativity; and the Blotter has been completely transformed into a brand new Friends Activity area, where you’ll be able to post statuses and rate and comment on other friends’ dealings or postings. And there’s loads of other miscellaneous features, like improved navigation, Friend nicknames, and quite a bit more as well.
And earlier this month, alongside the new Community’s beta roll-out, Valve introduced a revolutionary new feature to the Steam framework: volume sliders, for the Steam Store’s video player. Whoop-de-doo!
The Community beta was previously limited to Steam users who had attained the Pillar of Community Steam badge. But now, the beta is completely open to absolutely everyone. And I strongly advise you to opt into it, so that you can get acquainted with all the new bells and whistles that Valve’s introducing with this new Steam Community, before it completely goes live, presumably some time next month.
You might also want to join the new Community’s official Steam group, where Valve will be posting details on updates and Community-related announcements.
And in about two days, Steam Greenlight will be going live as well. Then on the 5th of September, Steam will be seeing its first ever non-gaming software applications being released on the Steam Store. And some time early next month, the Steam Big Picture Mode will also be entering its own public beta. Well, this certainly seems like a very exciting time to be a Steam user!