Valve finally updates aging Steam client with huge overhaul

Joel Loynds

Valve is finally updating its Steam client, adding a multitude of new features to the platform such as note-taking, a better web browser, and more.

If you’ve accidentally found yourself in the Steam client beta, or own a Steam Deck, you’ve potentially noticed that the app has had a bit of a makeover. In typical Valve fashion, the latest Steam desktop client update has had a stealthy overhaul.

New Steam

Currently available in the beta, the new update brings some useful additions to the in-game overlay and a general aesthetic change to menus or the download bar at the bottom of the page.

It comes as Valve appears to be tidying up its aging storefront, with the first steps to this being a total redesign of the Steam mobile app. In tandem with this, Valve also updated how you can log into Steam, adding a QR code option for new PC log-ins.

Overlays and more get redesigned on Steam

New Steam window

Next, the Big Picture mode, which was designed with couch gaming in mind for the original Steam Machines, saw a replacement. Now, Big Picture mode lines up with Valve’s Steam Deck user interface when in its gaming mode.

However, aside from an update well over a decade ago to implement a web browser and access to the Steam community, Steam’s in-game overlay has been stagnating for a while. Now you’ll be able to take notes, get a redesigned toolbar, and better integration with Steam’s community guides.

Game overlays in Steam

While a lot of the features have been available for some time, the UI hasn’t been well looked after. This has caused it to be pushed aside in favor of external apps like Discord and secondary monitors for guide purposes.

With the various windows organized in the promotional images, it seems Valve has taken a leaf out of Microsoft’s game tab that’s built into Windows.

Take notes & watch movies while in-game

elden ring with steam notes

Valve’s new Notes system will also be overlayed in-game, with transparency to still keep you fully aware of the world around you. This is going to apply to the built-in web browser too, which Valve states that users can “watch movies… if you really want to”.

Another handy feature is a more fleshed-out screenshot manager. It sounds like Valve has done more with ensuring that it’s user-friendly and not the older style, lump it or leave it design.

For those on the Steam Deck or macOS, you’ll even find that Mac and Linux have had dedicated updates to increase their overall performance. While the update has hit Linux versions of Steam, it’ll be a few weeks before macOS also sees the same update.

How to join the Steam client beta

  • Head to the top corner of Steam and choose Settings
  • Go to “Account” and choose “Beta Participation”
  • Choose “Steam Beta Update” from the list of available betas
  • Restart the app and your client should update

Steam was introduced to the world in 2004, launching alongside Half-Life 2. The old green and grey color scheme has since been ditched for a mellow blue, and Valve’s modern success has relied entirely on the sales of games through the platform.