Perfect World and Valve announce Steam China

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Improvements include a simplified "favorites" list that will pin certain friends to the top, an expanded detail set for what each friend is playing and where they are in the game (for instance, sitting on the main menu or facing off in deathmatch), as well as organisational changes, such as grouping friends by the game they're now playing or the party they're in. Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: these new group chats are very similar to Discord's servers. You can also see what exactly a friend is doing in the game, whether sitting at the main menu or now in a match. 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. The company didn't elaborate on the general improvements, but it did say that you can quickly see if your friends are in a voice chat right from your friends list, and that you should notice "clear, crisp voice quality before, during, and after your games". New features include a modernized chat experience, a more flexible friend list, group chats built for gaming, and more.

Group chats, probably one of the biggest features available on Discord, has been revamped on Steam Chat.

A preview of the Steam Chat platform.                  Screenshot by Gordon Gottsegen  CNET
A preview of the Steam Chat platform. Screenshot by Gordon Gottsegen CNET

"Steam voice chat was rewritten from the ground up with a new WebRTC-based backend". It also comes with end-to-end encryption for added privacy and security.

All features of the client are available in a desktop version, as well, meaning users may continue conversations after having logged out of the Steam client. Today, though, Valve revealed a much-needed modern makeover, and you can try it now.

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