Valve, the company once known for Half-Life and Portal, is preparing to launch a streaming service that seems poised to compete with Amazon's super-dominant Twitch.TV service. The company revealed the service this past Friday when it accidentally made it live for a few hours.
While it streamed, it had a pretty limited lineup: Valve's own Dota 2 tournament, called "The International." There weren't any options to watch other streamers or channels at the time. Those who accessed the service for the short time it was up found that it was integrated with Steam's friend list service, and those accessing it in Chrome could use built-in voice chat.
In a statement to CNET, Valve said that the service was not made live intentionally. "We are working on updating Steam Broadcasting for the Main Event of the International, Dota 2's annual tournament. What people see was a test feed that was inadvertently made public.
While details are scarce while Valve presumably prepares an official unveiling, the cat is now out of the bag. It makes sense that Valve would want its own streaming service. Esports are huge, and two of the biggest games – Counter-Strike: GO and Dota 2 – are owned and operated by Valve. Meanwhile, Twitch takes advantage of its Amazon integration to sell games through the Amazon service. If you're streaming a game through there, that's money to Jeff Bezos, not Gabe Newell. Voice and text chat-service Discord has announced it plans to sell games. Activision Blizzard, Epic, Electronic Arts and Bethesda all have their own storefronts that they sell their own games through, often exclusively. Steam can no longer afford to be just a storefront.
Valve isn't talking about when Steam.TV might go live or what features it'll have when it does, but keep an eye on it.