I still have my reservations about Steam's general clunkiness and a few very user-unfriendly quirks, but I have to say, this Community update's quite a doozy. (Does anyone use the word "doozy" anymore? Did anyone ever? Am I the sole keeper of its honorable and incredibly dorky-sounding legacy?) On top of much-appreciated Game Hubs, group pages are getting an overhaul, personalized content will all display in one spot, and friends will get their own separate tab with Facebook-like statuses and feeds. But when, pray tell, can you lay claim to all these shiny new features and become a better friend? Well, it's complicated.
Now that all the changes are out in the open, a not-so-open beta's the next step. Here's Valve's stance on the matter:
"Two beta invites each are going out now to the first 50,000 recipients of the Pillar of the Steam Community badge. More invites will go out daily until we end the beta period and turn it live for everyone."
That particular badge isn't particularly difficult to earn (it simply involves joining a group, commenting on profiles, and doing other community-oriented things), so you would've needed to be pretty quick on the draw to land in the first 50,000 of more than 40 million. If you were, kudos! (Does anyone use the word "kudos" anymore? Have I been some kind of cultural caveman all along?) If not, it looks like you'll be waiting an undetermined amount of time with the rest of us misanthropes.
Everyone, however, can take their first peek at a Game Hub by visiting Team Fortress 2's here. It seems pretty convenient, too, so long as you steer clear of the "All" tab - an information overload I can best liken to that one scene from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yes, that one.
So now we wait. Fortunately, Steam betas are usually pretty brief, so it shouldn't be too agonizing. And until then, we can always take our minds off it by chatting about the recent spat of 2013 delays while queuing up for Mann vs Machine.