Steam Broadcasting privacy settings control who can watch you play games

Steam Broadcasting
Credit: Steam

Valve is giving Twitch some competition by announcing that PC gamers using the Steam Beta client can broadcast their games or watch their friends playing games. For any Steam beta gamers concerned with the privacy implications of Steam Broadcasting, there are several solutions.

Valve unveiled a new Steam beta feature that allows PC gamers to stream their games without using Twitch. Amazon bought Twitch for $970 million in August, but Valve’s newest broadcasting solution may leave Amazon feeling a bit steamed. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) The announcement for Steam Broadcasting starts off with “Watch friends play, with the click of a button.” But what about your privacy?
For anyone concerned with privacy implications of Steam Broadcasting, there are several solutions besides not signing into Steam, or changing your “Friends” status to “Offline.” For starters, to even try out Valve’s PC game broadcasting, gamers must use Steam Client Beta. That option can be found under Steam Settings>Account. If you don’t want to broadcast, don’t opt into the beta client.

Steam settings beta
If you choose to participate or already do use Steam’s beta client, then under Settings>Broadcasting the broadcasting default privacy setting option is “Friends can request to watch my games.” Just because someone requests to watch doesn’t mean you must grant permission. If you dislike the option of friends requesting to watch, then you can change broadcasting to “Only friends that I invite.”

Steam Broadcasting privacy settings
Thankfully, the creepy option to “Record my desktop when not in game” is not enabled by default. “Will people watching my game also see my desktop?” According to Steam Broadcasting support FAQs, “Only the game is visible by default, but ‘Broadcast my desktop when not in game’ is an available option in the Settings > Broadcast tab.”  Continue reading

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