While Twitch still seems a popular venue to watch Dota 2 mega-tourney The International, Valve have rolled out a few upgrades to Steam Broadcasting. If it tickles your fancy, you can now watch the massive esport event on SteamTV, complete with Steam friends integration and the option to invite your regular Dota posse to watch the match with you in a private chat (text or voice) instance. While focused on Dota 2 for now – introducing some game-specific features to the streaming interface – Valve plan on extending “Watch Party” features to all games after the tourney.
While esports tends not to be my jam, some of the features in the SteamTV player are admittedly pretty useful to have. On top of the ability to flip around the broadcast, DVR-style (a standard feature in YouTube streaming), the timeline also includes brackets indicating when the pre-match, draft and actual game phases took place, letting you skip directly to them. Better still, highlights like individual team fights and first blood get little notes, helping you catch up on the notable moments of a match before flicking back to what’s happening live.
I’m primarily interested in how easily these features can be implemented for regular game streaming. I can think of more than a few speedrunners that would love to put highlights of notable moments live in their stream timelines, especially if they’re making dozens of runs, only a few of which come anywhere close to completion or records. Right now SteamTV is broadcasting one game and one game only – Dota 2 – but it’ll be interesting to see just how far Valve plan on taking it, and whether they have any plans to charge for any of its features in future.
You can watch The International 2018 on SteamTV right now, with the current match (at the time of writing) being VGJ Storm vs OG BO3.