Valve to update Steam engine

Valve has announced that its giant gaming portal Steam is getting a lick of paint and a new beta version of the client is available to testers.

Valve reckons that Steam has grown over 200 per cent in the last 12 months and now boasts more than 1,000 games and 25 million active users.

The company says that the opt-in beta is available to all current and new users and that, as well as a newly refurbished UI and better social interaction with other players.

"Increasingly, the most effective way of reaching new gamers is through the existing players of a game," states a blog post. "With the new Steam release, gamers will now be able to see which games their friends have purchased directly within the Steam storefront. Twenty-five million gamers create a highly effective and knowledgeable source of purchase suggestions."

The company has also dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favour of WebKit, which should open up the service to many more browsers.

There's a full list of new features in what Valve is calling 'a major update' here.