Since livestreams have taken off considerably, Valve is joining the pack through its custom system, Steam Broadcasting. It allows Steam users to casually drop in on games from their Friend List.
Currently, the feature is open to anyone who applies to the Steam Beta Update, found in the Account tab of the client’s Settings. When a friend wants to watch a game for the first time, the client will standardly prompt a few options.
Either friends can only drop in invited, friends can send requests or friends can just drop in unannounced. It’s also possible to let anyone watch games being played, which is further incentivized as getting put up on that title’s public hub. That would link it the closest to stream paragon Twitch, who recently was in a billion dollar buyout between Google and Amazon.
Those who have opted in to the Broadcasting Beta can find more options in a newly appeared tab in the Settings. It includes bitrate, video dimensions and where the chat box is located. It also has some options that make sense, theoretically, but perhaps aren’t the best thing to have buried away in settings.
Options in the Broadcasting settings include turning on a microphone, to make streams more interactive, just like Twitch and so on. An even more lenient option records the desktop, even when not in game. That’s, well, strange to have there. Certainly if the setting is on that anyone can drop in uninvited, which is the most enticing to people who want to broadcast, it essentially promotes voyeurism. Anyone can view what you’re doing without a problem, at any time.
Again, that’s fine in a technical sense, but perhaps such a privacy-destroying issue needs to be front and center upon any broadcast at all times. Who hasn’t forgotten to click off some random little setting in their submenus? This isn’t exactly one that’s noticeable, unless the party viewing in makes itself known. League of Legends streamer, Stephano, was already able to let their mind drift, which lead to a live display of them masturbating. That was without a system that’s designed to be on at all times.
So, given Steam Broadcasting is in Beta, consider this the first thing to improve: Don’t have ways to tune in on people’s screen at any time anywhere else than its most visible spot. Please, Valve. It’s just asking for trouble. The art of doxxing, which is collecting personal info and putting it online, is easy enough as it is these days.