Valve have announced a new feature for their Steam service and SteamOS. Steam Music will allow users to play the music they own while playing their games. Of course this has been possible on the PC platform since time immemorial, with gamers able to simply run a music program in the background while muting the game’s music.
Steam Music will streamline that process, and a Beta has already begun. Those who got onto the Steam Machines beta program will be able to test the new music player, which should function similar to the way all Xbox 360 and some PS3 games play custom soundtracks. Players can operate the music player via the overlay, meaning they won’t have to use the Alt+Tab function to switch songs.
Valve made the announcement via their Steam Community Page, and said that the reason for including such a feature was that:
“…customers have been asking us to provide a basic way for them to access and play music while in-game. Task-switching between resource-intensive 3D games and other desktop apps has never been a graceful experience for gamers, so an in-game player can help by eliminating that pain point.”
Steam Music brings the Steam Machine in line with other consoles’ ability to act as living room media hubs, and the ability to play music during game-play has become a modern standard enjoyed by gamers since the Xbox 360 launch.
Valve currently have a basic music player, but any feedback it gets from its beta users (such as the issue of file formats) will be taken into account before an eventual full launch.