Steam Guard won't be the only new feature Valve is introducing to its digital distribution and online-gaming platform this month. Beyond the new security measure, Valve today announced that it has updated Steam's voice chat system with the Silk audio codec, better known as the compression format used by online-communication leader Skype.
According to Valve, the Silk codec will offer a "significant quality improvement" over Steam's previous communication technology. However, that voice-quality enhancement won't come without its drawbacks, as Valve said that the new codec may require increased bandwidth in certain situations.
Whereas the old system required 15kbps of bandwidth, the Silk protocol features a dynamic bit rate that fluctuates between 8kbps and 30 kbps. This range hinges upon "the range of data in the voice signal and current network conditions," Valve said. The studio also said that it has improved voice chat connectivity and reliability with the update.
The switch-over to the new Silk codec is effective for all Steam users as of today. It can be activated by clicking the "Start Voice Chat" button in either individual or group-chat scenarios, and it is also available for in-game communication.