Steam, the PC gaming store run by Half-Life and Portal developer Valve, has launched into beta a service that lets players stream to friends whatever games they’re playing.
It’s pretty similar in that regard to Twitch, the game-streaming site acquired by Amazon for $1.1 billion in August. But there’s one big difference: Currently, Steam Broadcasting requires that both the broadcaster and the viewer opt in to the beta service from their account settings.
Valve’s announcement of the beta emphasizes the one-to-one benefits of game streaming — such as demonstrating for a friend how to beat a tricky level or just showing off — but it will also be possible to broadcast to strangers. After one friend requests access to a game stream, broadcasters are given the choice to open it up to just that person, many friends, or all Steam users.
Public broadcasts will be available through a new tab on the existing “community” pages for games. These pages are effectively mini social networks within Steam, featuring forum discussions, screenshots and news centered around individual software titles.
Steam recently reported that it has surpassed more than 100 million registered users. In the past 48 hours, according to its real-time stats page, nearly eight million have logged in. Twitch reports that it has more than 60 million visitors per month.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.