Steam, the PC gaming store run by Half-Life and Portal developer Valve, has launched into beta a service that lets players stream to friends whatever games they’re playing.
It’s pretty similar in that regard to Twitch, the game-streaming site acquired by Amazon for $1.1 billion in August. But there’s one big difference: Currently, Steam Broadcasting requires that both the broadcaster and the viewer opt in to the beta service from their account settings.
Valve’s announcement of the beta emphasizes the one-to-one benefits of game streaming — such as demonstrating for a friend how to beat a tricky level or just showing off — but it will also be possible to broadcast to strangers. After one friend requests access to a game stream, broadcasters are given the choice to open it up to just that person, many friends, or all Steam users.
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