Valve opens Steam community spigot

Half-Life 2 developer rolls out upgraded member-focused version of download service.

With Half-Life 2: The Orange Box's launch less than a month away, Valve has pulled the stopper on a large-scale update for its Steam download service. First hinted at in May, the update adds a robust set of community features to the game-download network, which boasts around 13 million subscribers.

New to the service are personalized member pages and profiles, as well as the ability to create and join user groups, schedule games with friends, voice chat with others both in and out of game, and track other players' in-game performances. Many of these features can also now be accessed within games hosted on Steam.

A welcome page on the just-launched Steam community Web site has an introduction to all the new features. Steam subscribers who prepurchase The Orange Box will also be able to participate in the Team Fortress 2 beta beginning September 17.

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66 comments
Oldwolf62
Oldwolf62

Wow Steam just keeps on getting better, and yes the games are much cheaper on Steam. Which I like, alot :)

BorkaBonum
BorkaBonum

Why is people crying over Xfire beeing a "resource hog", it's very small and consumes about 13mb of physical memory, don't **** around, Steam consumes alot more power than that. The new Steam in-game communicator and such works fantastic for Steam but nowhere outside that yet, I'd prefer Xfire as it's so universial but I try to use the Steam functions as much as I can while playing Steam-based titles. Crying over the "controls" of the Steam stuff is also stupid as you can set the keys from Shift + Tab to anything more convinient.... Xfire is a exceptional messenger, Steam is just getting closer to beeing useful as it's always just been a static client for locking in your CD-keys.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

i first hated steam when it first came out.... now i cant live without it and would cry if something were to happen to it.... just goes to prove that if u don't like it valve fixes the problem and u like it.... but they can never fix ricochet lol.... i think (in my opinion) that, that game is their only blemish.....

BorkaBonum
BorkaBonum

When in the name of Fidel Castro is the Beta opening? I've pre-loaded the game and is waiting like a little drugie on Christmas Eve. Add Borka, that's my SteamID.

Warshock
Warshock

WELL.. it is now 7:50 on september 17 and I have yet to see the beta be open...jesus... don't they know that they have fans ready to kill their families over this.. how unconsiderate...

GrimBee
GrimBee

I used to really HATE steam for forcing people to be online when alot of the time I didn't like to put my PC online.. Since my pc is now a bit of a piece of crap, when I get my gaming PC its only connecting for updates and game downloads - but I couldn't think of any other online service that I would want except Steam. Steam games work out INSANELY cheaper, I hope they don't change the $$ on it, because I bought half life 2 episode 1 for £5 a few months ago. And the orange box would only cost me about £20 on steam. This is why I have grown to like steam. Sure enough - you do get the odd problem and hiccup from a steam update now and again, but usually everyone is in the same boat, so its not a big deal really. But you know - try telling me that when I can't fire or spawn back in or get the magnum out (for all unknown reasons) at some critical moments online :( Overall - steam is excellent, they get alot of games first. And alot of the games on there are top notch, and with a nice access to mods from the games you have and a shopping page which isn't cluttered with ads for NON games -- steam is an excellent service. The community feature, I hope, will not turn into a "looky what I got" thing like the XBOX 360's achievement points... but more of a "look at what YOU got" sort of thing.

RussianYulia17
RussianYulia17

it's sweet no doubt but, i thought it was suppose to be more of a "Myspace" type of Profile Page... :S

Agulf
Agulf

Xfire vs Steam discussion is pointless. I myself use both; see no reason why not to. Steam provides a better in-game chat for steam games, and xifre for non steam games. Now if valve would go off and BUY Xfire from viacom, that would be ******* awesome.

beckoflight
beckoflight

I like Steam i find it more usefull & more safe than evan buyn products on disk's .... a disk an get scratched or broken ...but thei nformation on steam will never be damaged ! This is the future & i like it !

MarcoDeGammo
MarcoDeGammo

13 million subs is kind of misleading anyone whose every bought a halflife game or any game on steam has it.

GrimBee
GrimBee

its not half bad - its a bit slow for my liking, and during a freakish online deathmatch - holding shift and ctrl to access the friends menu is a bit annoying - and can cause some delays between messaging and going back to the game - but its very cool that Steam is making games on the pc feel a bit more natural.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

steam > xfire every time. Why? Cuz its useful ... i can function perfectly fine without xfire ... infact i have never used it. Why should i when my friends list functions perfectly fine integrated into the steam community. I get realtime updates to games. And its not a resource hog ... when it idles it uses only 3 megs of ram and less than .2% cpu power. Xfire is full of everything but does nothing well enough to warrant a necessity. Anyone that uses VOIP uses Teamspeak or vent if they are doing group matches so whats the point of xfire ... only one i can think of is it shows you how many hours youve wasted of your life playing a game. Something i dont want to know anyway.

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

BAh.. the only thing steam has done for me lately is become that program I close everytime I turn on my computer. WTB Half-Life 3 with a new engine?

thatguy0130
thatguy0130

I can't wait for Orange Box to be released!

SCPsyWarrior
SCPsyWarrior

Seems like GS deleted all the comments pointing out that they made a mistake originally with the TF2 beta start date... Anyway, the Steam Community seems pretty solid. Helps me communicate with my friends when I'm playing GMod and they're playing CS:S.

Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

Steam's MUCH better than only being to install a game on 5 computers.

NemesisLives
NemesisLives

13 million subscribers? Wow, thats a lot more than I would have guessed.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

This would all be nice and wonderful if they would just fix the problem I have with my HL2 & HL2:E2 looping sound and crashing. Fix the bugs first before adding all this fluff!!

uberjannie
uberjannie

Im still waiting for css promod..

Agulf
Agulf

Any official GameSpot steam group up yet?

easykill_astari
easykill_astari

whell ... i like the steam comunity .... it helps to get togeter in games like half life 2 online and counter strike , or even team fortress !

spraynard
spraynard

the Steam browser is freakin oogly. at least its performance and ease makes up for its butter face.

amogley
amogley

I like Steam and have only had a few problems with it. Just recently it saved my ass when my PC died. I bought a new PC, installed a new steam client, and then I was able to download and re-install all my stuff straight from the steam account. Great stuff.

Haruhi_love
Haruhi_love

I hate this steam why cant they go back to old style just CS :@ no need for Steam would make it a hell of a lot better

matt1888a
matt1888a

@vicsrealms You will be able to buy Episode 2 by itself, on October 9th.

matt1888a
matt1888a

This Steam Community thing is awesome, I hope Gamespot makes an "OFFICIAL" Group for it. Also to all of you complaining about hard copies of games did you ever notice the "Back-up" Button??? It allows you to Back-up your games to Hard-Drive or Disk, so essentially you can have both a digital and a hard copy. Once again the Back-up button is located under File/Back-up Games in Steam. You can even choose to back up multiple or single games at once, its a very awesome feature for people who need to reformat but don't wanna re-download there games after words.

draginudown
draginudown

well the reason might be the fact if they make two versions in terms of hard copies it cost twice as much as one simple type across the board, n also the making of two different dvds for black box version and then orange box version is another very costly and time comsuming waste. However i feel ur pain as i also was gonna buy just the black box, but hey this is hard copy maybe they will sell online the "black box " package we'll see in about three weeks

Astral_Vapor
Astral_Vapor

Last time I opened my spigot, I had to go to the doctor :|

KnightsofRound
KnightsofRound

I'm also pissed off that I can't buy Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal separately at retail. Nice way to treat your loyal followers Valve.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

~yawn~ Thats nice. How about Black Box? or are they going to do something nice for owner of Half Life 2 and Episode 1? I wouldn't mind a $20 dollars off coupon since I already own both and I am seriously pissed at Valve for not letting me just buy Episode 2 by itself.

Chainblast
Chainblast

Nice I was wondering when this might see a release.

Einhanderkiller
Einhanderkiller

Sandro909: "Why would they release the TF2 beta DAYS before it comes out?" The Orange Box releases on October 9th, which is three weeks after the 17th.

Einhanderkiller
Einhanderkiller

I've been using this for a while and I really like it. It notifies you who's online, who's playing what, how many hours you've played, etc. It's like XFire, but, I think, more nicely designed.

BloodMist
BloodMist

It's ok i guess.I always just used Xfire tho.

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

jdknight21 What a load of bull.. I have used STEAM since day 1.. and have over half the games off STEAM's library.. all work very well.. (some do not work offline.. but those are the HL series games and any games made for on-line play (no single player component) .. HL1 and Opposing Force work offline.. but Blue Shift does not.. weird but I don't care.. I am currently involved with Disciples 2 atm.. but have played a number of games just in spurts.. All the Pop Cap games work wonderfully offline.. as does all the Id games.. and Eidos ones.. Strategy First games also work well offline and Bloodrayne 1-2 as well.. Even the Tomb Raider games work very well.. (have yet to buy Bioshock.. waiting on a 10% discount to go into effect.. when it does, I'll let you peepz know if it works offline once downloaded.. I'm also reinstalled games from STEAM numberous times without trouble.. even ported them over to my laptop.. (work very well on Vista as well) I did have my account on hold for 3 days because they noticed I purchased quite a few titles at once but I called them up and left them support messages and was back in the games :) They were pretty speedy about it.. so far I have had good customer service with them. Hmm perhaps that is a new topic for my blogg what STEAM games work offline and which don't.. would help people who wish to know before purchasing.. BTW, I have yet to try the Community thing.. I assume it would be "less secure" than just using the Steam service itself.. I'll just wait and see...

demi-OS
demi-OS

hmmmm so myspace meets steam, weird

endtype
endtype

I think it's becuase they just want ppl to hype up the game and get mroe sales

Pete5506
Pete5506

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Sandro909
Sandro909

Why would they release the TF2 beta DAYS before it comes out?

bmaisey
bmaisey

its stuff like this that makes steam great, instead of just a pain in the ass.