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Valve finally unveils an overhauled UI for Steam, and it's awesome

I remember when Valve first revealed Steam back in 2003. No one quite knew what to make of it -- was this just another flash in the pan, or was Valve onto the next great thing? There was one thing that everyone could agree on though: it was slower than a dopefiend on horse tranquilizers. Steam's 'funky' UI with its green bits and rounded corners lagged. To this day, I don't know if Steam improved or if I just needed a 3GHz processor to run it smoothly. Anyway, that's all about to change because there's a new Steam UI in town and it's awesome.

With any niggling doubts about Steam's efficacy -- its userbase grew 200% in the last 12 months! -- a new UI was just what the doctor ordered. In-game, there's a new overlay with lots of juicy contextual info. Out-of-game, information is presented to you in a much more user-friendly fashion. It feels a lot more homey now; no surprise, considering the incoming social-networking onslaught of Blizzard's new Battlenet.

Anyway, this new version of Steam is a public beta test (you need to opt into it) but it seems fast and feature-complete to me. Neowin is saying that some users are losing game files after installing the beta, so you might want to back up your game files before taking the plunge.

To install the beta, visit your Steam settings page (View->Settings) and opt into the Beta UI Update. There's a video of the new UI after the break, if you need further convincing -- but really, it's a no-brainer. Check out the complete list of new features/changes on the Steampowered website!

Tags: content delivery, ContentDelivery, digital, on demand, OnDemand, steam, ui, valve