Late last week, Steam.tv popped into existence and then quickly popped out, but not before the internet noticed that Valve had silently launched a new streaming website—cuing speculation that it plans to take on Twitch. Today, Valve has properly launched Steam.tv.
If you head to Steam.tv (opens in new tab) now, you'll find a live broadcast of the 2018 Dota 2 International, and some nice, simple features. You can scrub through the stream like you can during YouTube livestreams, and even better, team fights are marked on the timeline so you can jump to the highlights. You can also log in with your Steam account and either join the main chat, or create group chats with folks from your Steam friends list.
Watching pro Dota 2 is, of course, not where Valve plans to stop with Steam.tv and in-client broadcasting. "This Dota 2 centered update to Steam Broadcasting currently includes some custom elements to support The International," reads Valve's blog post (opens in new tab). "After the tournament we plan to extend Watch Party support for all games that are broadcasting on Steam and expose a new broadcast Steamworks API to Steam partners."
With such a big library of games and massive user count, Valve has a lot of power to improve on livestreaming here. If it can make streaming more convenient via reliable tools within the Steam client, and also give developers lots of room to customize how their games are streamed (the Dota 2 highlight markers are presumably just the beginning), it may be a real force in the scene. One place Valve doesn't have as much experience, however, is in Twitch's monetization plans—though I don't doubt Valve can figure out how to make and share money, as it does in the Steam Marketplace (and just by selling games, of course, which streaming promotes).
We'll keep a close eye on new developments as Valve expands its broadcasting platform.