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Valve Reveals New Look Steam, Beta

Crikey, there's a new Steam then. Valve explains that "in the last 12 months Steam has grown 200%. There are now 25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month." Which means they need a newer, fresher Steam.

The opt-in beta is apparently now open. Except that it currently won't let me onto it. Which is annoying. It seems that it takes a few minutes to wake up after a client update. I have to learn patience. To get complete details of the changes, head here. And if you've got Steam running then clicking here should open up the options to get you into the beta. Lots more information below.

It's a complete overhaul. All new UI, new code, new everything. So here's a few highlights.

There's to be a greater emphasis on the social networking side of things, as you might expect. Or as I like to think of it, ways of spying on your buddies.

"Right from within your own game Library, you can now track which of your friends plays each game or invite them to play one with you. Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have. So on the store homepage, there's a new listing of what your friends have bought or played lately."

There's a new news feed, bringing info on the games they sell, both from inside and outside Valve. And a new way to organise achievements, because apparently people care about the bloody things.

I'm very pleased to see there's a way of organising your game library. If you've been buying giant bundles during the holiday sales, you probably are too.

Certainly one of the highlights about the redesign is the shedding of Internet Explorer. It always bewildered me that this most crusty of browsers underpinned it all. Now it's using WebKit-based rendering magic, which should hopefully speed everything up a deal.

Lots more details here.

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