Valve released a major UI overhaul for its Steam client on October 30. The fancy new layout is now available for all users after spending two months in beta.
The change comes with several new additions that Valve says will make it easier for users to stay updated about their games. The change also makes it easier to see what friends are playing and showcases important game updates for the titles users play the most.
Users can now customize every section of the new library with new options, lists and favorites. Some new functions include the ability to pin a user-made collection or highlight a list of favorites for easy access.
The redesign kept the traditional list of games on the left-hand side, but it now includes another card-based library on the right. The right side has new sections like the “What’s New” list, a highlight reel of recent game updates and events for a user’s titles.
Developers can also use “What’s New” to highlight events like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Major tournaments or Dota 2’s The International.
These cards work differently depending on the section. For example, mousing over a card in the “What’s New” section gives users a brief overview of a game update or new DLC.
Clicking on the card will open an update page with the full patch notes or take the user to the DLC store page.
The next new section is called “Recent Friend Activity.” While users could see if their friends had recently played a game by selecting it in their library, the new Steam UI provides a visual indicator at a quick glance.
The change makes it easier for users to see which friends are playing what games, allowing for quicker partying up for a round of Counter-Strike or one more horde night in 7 Days to Die.
The patch also altered individual game pages. The same page that used to open on the right side when a user selected a game from their library can now be used by developers can now highlight things like updates, tournaments or special events with ease.
The new style of the card library is sleek and refreshing, especially after over fifteen years of the same old reliable Steam. The UI now flows more naturally than before and makes for a smoother experience as users scan their games, decide what to play and hop in. Steam’s first major visual overhaul in years is a huge step in the right direction.
The update also allows all users access to the “Remote Play Together” beta. The feature allows Steam users to play local multiplayer games across the internet in a futuristic version of couch co-op. Remote Play Together originally launched into beta earlier in October. In a surprising move, it requires only one player to own the game.
Valve’s update doesn’t make any major changes to the way Steam functions, but it didn’t have to. The client has always been a no-frills way to get into a game. With the release of Steam’s October overhaul, Valve’s reliable client now has a fresh coat of paint.