The Steam updates are flying fast and furious—after this week’s earlier Discovery Update, Valve has now pushed Steam Music to the public at large, concluding a beta period that began back in February.
Why this matters: It doesn’t, if you’re on a traditional PC or Mac. But Steam Music will be an important part of the ecosystem when living room-focused Steam Machine gaming consoles launch with Valve’s new SteamOS operating system.
I want to rock
As you might’ve guessed, Steam Music has to deal with music. Specifically, you can now listen to your tunes directly through Steam instead of needing a standalone media player. You can access Steam Music through View > Music Player or Music Details in the Steam client or in-game by pulling up the Steam Overlay (defaulted to Shift-Tab) and clicking the Music tab at the bottom.
Doing so will call up a new floating window that will list all your music (though you may have to point it to your library and direct it to scan in Steam’s preference panel). You can browse your entire collection of music by either album or artist, or create a playlist within Steam—like, for instance, that playlist you’ll inevitably make called “360 No-Scoping” that’s just Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” on repeat three-hundred and sixty times.
Steam will also scan your game folders for soundtrack files, and as a promotion Valve is currently giving away the soundtracks for Half-Life, Portal, and their respective sequels.
I don’t know how much the feature will get used on traditional PCs—it’s not exactly hard to Alt-Tab out to Spotify or your music player of choice. However, for those rare games that still break when you Alt-Tab the implementation seems solid. Besides, it’s not hurting anyone by being there, so who am I to judge? Keep on rocking in the free world, and all that jazz. Wink wink.