Steam is getting a new update, and it’s bringing pretty handy features to your PC games to allow you to do more without having to leave your game.
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The full update isn’t live just yet but is available through the Steam Client Beta for testing. The biggest change is Valve is overhauling the in-game overlay, which will now allow you to use several features without having to close out your game. There’s now a toolbar that lets you access several features as pop-up windows, including friends chat, achievements progress, guides, discussions, and your browser. There will also be customization options, which will let you pick and choose which of these features you actually want to use. Don’t really care about your achievements? Save that screen space by removing it from the toolbar entirely.
While the toolbar will be customizable for as much or little information as you want to see, there’s also a Game Overview, which Valve describes as a “one-stop shop” for each game in your library. It shows you things like achievements, which friends are also playing the game, and directs you to news and guides on the game in question, all accessible through a pop-up window. Most exciting for me is the Notes app, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is an in-app place to jot down notes and to-do lists for a game, which I’m sure will come in handy for the latest open-world hotness. You can also pin any of these to be visible while you’re playing, with customization options for opacity and position.
While most of these updates tie back into accessing features without having to minimize your game, there are a few general changes also coming to Steam as part of the update. This includes smaller things like streamlining the notifications menu only to notify you when something new is queued up and allowing you to change thumbnail sizes in the screenshot manager. At the moment, there’s no date on when this update will be available for general users, if you’re using Steam on Mac or Linux, Valve also says it’s enabled hardware acceleration for the launcher on those operating systems. The new client is available for Linux users now, though Mac users will have to wait “a couple weeks” before that update is available.