Valve's latest project is Steam Music, the company announced yesterday. So does this mean Spotify and Beats Music have new competition?
Not exactly. Steam Music is a somewhat ostentatious name (in my opinion, at least) for an ability to play your local music via Steam. Why do you need another way to play your music? You probably don't, but the future you — the one with a shiny new Steam Machine — might. Also, if you're playing in Big Picture Mode you'll be able to control music playback using a controller, which will be handy I suppose.
Want to be in the Steam Music beta? As with most Steam betas the way to show interest is to join the group dedicated to that feature. Initially Steam Music will work in SteamOS and Steam's Big Picture Mode, but a version that works in desktop mode will follow.
In addition to sorting your music by album, artist or directory, you'll be able to set up your own playlists and...that seems to be about it. Pretty basic stuff. Only MP3 files will initially be supported, which will be a drag for all you iTunes users out there. More formats are coming, they say.
For SteamOS this is actually an important feature, and I'm sure Valve's purpose for rolling it out is to get ready for the launch of Steam Machines. For those of us who run the Steam client on Windows, Mac or Linux, well, we're probably already set up to play music, right? I guess its a nice feature for games that don't handle alt-tabbing gracefully, since you'll be able to control your music from the Steam overlay. I just hope this isn't what Valve meant when they referred to media services coming to SteamOS.
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