Perfect World and Valve announce Steam China

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PC gamers using the Steam client have typically had to turn to third-party programs such as Discord or Teamspeak to power in-game voice chat, but it looks like Valve is finally getting around to integrating the much-desired feature with the introduction of a new Steam Chat service.

Steam voice chat was rewritten from the ground up with a new WebRTC-based backend.

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Starting things off, there is now a favorites tab on top of the friends list, where users can pin their friends and group chats for easy access. Game developers will now have the option of including other information in list entries as well, such as where players are located in their game, or whether they're available for matchmaking. Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: these new group chats are very similar to Discord's servers. 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. This keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks. It's not clear if this means other Valve titles won't be available in the region yet, or what that means for the wider library of games on Steam, but it seems likely that in time many of them will be released there. Valve is collecting feedback via this section of its forums. We don't know what the company plans to update, but if the overhauls are as extensive as those made to Steam Chat, the platform-slash-marketplace could soon be pretty different from what we've grown accustomed to.