What Is Steam Chat?

Connect with your pals on Steam via text or voice

Steam Chat is a free voice and text chat system built into the Steam client. Like the Discord chat app, Steam Chat combines some of the voice aspects of services like Skype and TeamSpeak with the text chat functionality of instant messaging apps. Here's a look at how Steam Chat is used and how to get started with this communication tool.

Steam Chat is a part of Steam, so there's no separate app. Steam and Steam Chat are available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

A man using Steam Chat on a gaming laptop.
mikkelwilliam / E+ / Getty

What Is Steam Chat Used For?

Steam Chat modernizes Steam's communication tools and features. While Steam is primarily a marketplace for buying video games and organizing your video game library, it also allows you to connect and play games with friends.

Steam Chat is a free alternative to paid voice chat services like TeamSpeak, Mumble, and Ventrillo. These services all provide voice over internet protocol (VoIP) communication for gamers, so they can coordinate when they're in a game and keep in touch when they aren't playing.

Steam Chat is also an alternative to Discord, which is a free voice and text chat service with many of Steam Chat's features.

Steam Chat has two main components: text chat between individuals and groups, and voice chat between individuals and groups. Users can message each other individually and also create Group Chats, which act a lot like Discord servers.

Group Chats can have multiple text channels to organize conversations about different topics, and multiple voice channels so that group members can focus on different games or other subjects.

A Steam screen open with Steam chat and the Steam Friends List.

Steam Chat holds on to an archive of your text chat only for two weeks. Each message is deleted automatically two weeks after you send it, so don't count on Steam to store your chat information.

How to Get Started With Steam Chat

To use Steam Chat, download the Steam client or log in through the Steam Community website to use the web-based client. You'll also need a free Steam account and some friends to chat with. Here's how to get started with Steam Chat:

Access Chat After Installing Steam

It's easy to start chatting after installing the Steam version for your operating system.

  1. Navigate to the Steam Community website.

    Steam Community Website
  2. Select Sign In if you already have an account, or select Join Steam to create a free account.

    Select Sign In if you already have an account, or select Join Steam to create a free account.

    If you already have an account, skip to step 5.

  3. If you're creating an account, fill in your information, and select Continue.

    fill in your information, and select Continue.

    You'll be asked to verify your email.

  4. Add your Steam account name and verify your password. Select Done to continue.

    Add your Steam account name and verify your password.
  5. Select Install Steam.

    Select Install Steam.
  6. Steam will detect your operating system. Select Install Steam.

    Select Install Steam for your OS version.
  7. Double-click on the DMG file to install Steam.

    Double-click on the DMG file to install Steam.
  8. Launch Steam and log in to your account.

    Launch Steam and log in to your account.
  9. Select Friends & Chat from the bottom left to access Steam Chat.

    Select Friends & Chat from the bottom left to access Steam Chat.
  10. The Steam Chat window will open and you're ready to chat.

    The Steam Chat window will open

    If you're new to Steam, you will have to find and add your friends on the service before you can use Steam Chat.

  11. Select the plus sign (+) next to Friends to add friends and start a new chat.

    Select the plus sign (+) next to Friends to add friends and start a new chat.

    To start a voice chat, open a regular chat, select the drop-down arrow from the top-right of the chat window, and then choose Start Voice Chat. When your friend answers, the voice chat begins. Close the chat window to end the voice chat.

  12. Select the plus sign (+) next to Group Chats to start a new group chat.

    Select the plus sign (+) next to Group Chats to start a new group chat.

    Drag and drop other friends into an open chat window to create a group.

Using Steam's Web Client

Launching Steam Chat is even easier from Steam on the web.

  1. Navigate to the Steam Community website.

    Steam Community Website
  2. Select Login if you have an account, or Join Steam if you don't.

    Select Login if you have an account

    Follow the instructions above to create a Steam account.

  3. Enter your username and password, and then select Sign in.

    Enter your username and password, and then select Sign in.
  4. Select Chat from the top menu bar.

    Select Chat from the top menu bar.
  5. The Steam Chat web client will open.

    The Steam Chat web client will open.
  6. Select the plus sign (+) to add friends and start a new chat.

    Select the plus sign (+) to add friends and start a new chat.
  7. Select the plus sign (+) next to Group Chats to start a new group chat.

    Select the plus sign (+) next to Group Chats to start a new group chat.

    To start a voice chat, open a regular chat, select the drop-down arrow from the top-right of the chat window, and then choose Start Voice Chat. When your friend answers, the voice chat begins. Close the chat window to end the voice chat.

How Steam Group Chats Work

Group Chats on Steam look a lot like individual chats, but you can have multiple people in one, and they persist even when everyone is offline. When you sign back in, you'll still be in the group, so these groups are a good way for gaming clans, guilds, fireteams, and communities to stay in contact.

Group Chat on Steam Chat.

Create a group chat at any time by inviting additional friends into an individual chat. Alternatively, select the plus sign in the Group Chats section of your friends' list. Name your group chat and add an avatar via Settings (gear icon).

Group Chats have all of the same basic functionality of regular chats, but with more structure. Each group can have multiple text channels set up, so you can have specific places for both structured discussions and free-for-all general chat.

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