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How to Let Your Friends Watch You Play Games on Steam - Make Tech Easier

Steam game library

A lot of us have adapted to the hybrid work culture and as a result, might be left with more downtime than usual. While you might want to connect with your friends in person any chance you get, it’s not always possible due to conflicting schedules and the hassle of travel. The internet may not quite make up for having friends with you in real life, but with Steam, you can share memorable gaming experiences. Steam lets you broadcast your game sessions so your friends can watch you play games, leave comments, and even voice chat!

Pining for a watch party? Try these apps to watch videos with online friends.

How to Set Up a Steam Broadcast

Steam Broadcast is a native Steam feature that allows you to stream your game to your friends. Follow the steps below to start a broadcast:

Open Steam, then at the top-left corner, click Steam -> Settings -> Broadcast.

Click the Privacy setting drop-down and select either Friends can request to watch my games or Friends can watch my games. (The latter means your friends can jump in to watch any time without needing express consent.)

You can also set up a public broadcast open for anyone to join by selecting Anyone can watch my games.

Steam Broadcast Settings

You can make other changes here, such as adjusting the Video Dimensions (lower the resolution if you experience latency or quality problems) and Maximum Bitrate. You can also Optimize encoding for quality or performance, and choose to enable Record my microphone if you prefer.

Who Can Watch Me Play Steam Games?

Once you’re done configuring your Steam Broadcast settings, it’s time to let your friends watch you play games and be part of the fun.

Start the game you want to play. Your friends will be able to see the game you’re playing in the Friends List. Ask them to right-click your name in their Friends List, and click Watch Game.

Join a friend's broadcast on Steam

If you’ve set your Broadcast settings to Friends can request to watch my games, accept the watch request when it shows up.

If you’re openly letting your friends watch, then they’ll start watching right away. If you wish to stream publicly, you can choose Anyone can watch my games in the Broadcast settings. This setting works well for regular streamers and content creators.

How to Talk to Friends Watching Your Steam Game

Letting your friends join in the fun when you’re playing is great, but what if you want to chat with them as well?

You can press Shift + Tab to bring up the Steam Overlay while playing, and type in the Broadcast panel to chat with your friends. You can also voice-chat with a friend by right-clicking their name in your Friends List and clicking Start Voice Chat.

Note that Record my microphone should be enabled in the Broadcast settings for voice chat to work.

Start voice chat with a friend on Steam broadcast

How to Stop My Steam Broadcast

Steam provides a quick and easy way to stop your broadcast at any time.

Simply bring up the Steam Overlay by pressing Shift + Tab, then click Stop in the Broadcast panel to end the broadcast.

Stop Steam broadcast

Alternatively, you can just close your game, and your friend will stop seeing the broadcast. In case the broadcast doesn’t end, you can completely exit Steam to end it.

Steam is, by far, the most popular platform for buying and playing games on PC. The massive community and rich features make it hard to replace. Whether you’re a fan of Steam or Epic Games Store, there are compelling story-driven games to play that you can buy on the platform of your choice.

All screenshots by Tanveer Singh.

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Tanveer Singh

After a 7-year corporate stint, Tanveer found his love for writing and tech too much to resist. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he writes on PC hardware, technology, video games, and Windows. When not scouring the web for ideas, he can be found building PCs, watching anime, or playing Smash Karts on his RTX 3080 (sigh).


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