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This guide will give you information about how to initiate a Steam Voice Chat with a single person or a group. It will also go into detail on how to configure your microphone with Steam.
Steam Voice Chat is an alternative to many voice over IP clients such as Mumble or Ventrilo. It allows you to talk privately to friends inside and outside of games so long as you both have the Steam Client running.
Before you’re able to use Steam Voice Chat you’ll need to configure your microphone within your Steam settings.
This can be done from the Steam client by clicking on the button labelled Steam and then choosing Settings from the drop down menu.
Mac users will need to choose Steam and then Preferences from the applications menu at the top of the screen.
From the Steam settings page click on the Voice tab at the top to access your microphone settings.
If you’re using Steam Big Picture these settings can be found by clicking the settings button from the main screen and choosing voice.
The microphone settings are split into three sections. The first of the three will allow you choose your recording (microphone) device. You can change which recording device Steam uses by clicking on the Change Device button.
If you’ve recently added a new microphone or removed an old one Steam can re-detect recording devices by clicking on the Detect Audio Devices button.
The next section allows you to adjust your send and receive volumes. The microphone volume will adjust how loud you are to other people, and the receive volume will adjust how loud other people transmit to you.
The last section allows you to choose if you’d like to use push-to-talk or sensitivity. Selecting Automatically transmit my voice whenever I speak will enable sensitivity; in other words your microphone will transmit if it detects sound.
If you select Use a push-to-talk key to transmit my voice you’ll need to hold down your specified Push-to-talk key to transmit. You can change the Push-to-talk key once this option is checked.
When you’re done configuring your settings click on Ok to save them.
To begin a voice chat with somebody, open a regular chat with them on Steam and click on the arrow button located at the top right of the window.
From the drop down menu select Start voice chat.
The person on the other end will be alerted by a ringing sound and a Steam notification. They will be able to choose to either answer the call or to ignore it by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the chat window.
If the voice chat request receives no response it will automatically be ignored after 20 seconds.
Once the voice chat session has started you can begin talking.
During the voice chat session you can see your incoming and outgoing volume levels by looking at the indicators at the top of the chat window. Clicking on the volume indicators will also take you directly to your voice settings. In the same area you can choose to end the call or you can place it on a temporary hold by clicking the Hold button.
Closing the chat window during an active call will also terminate the voice chat session.
If you’re Steam Big Picture you can start a voice chat with somebody by selecting the Community button from the main screen and navigating to their profile name. Selecting their name will bring up a list of options, choose Start Voice Chat.
Additionally you can start a voice chat by opening a chat window with them and selecting the Start Voice Chat button located near the bottom.
If the person on the other end is using Big Picture mode they will be alerted by a ringing sound and a notification. Opening the notification by clicking the guide button will give them the option to either answer the call or to ignore it by clicking the appropriate button at the bottom of the chat window.
The call will automatically be ignored after twenty seconds with no response.
Once the voice chat is active it can be terminated by selecting the End Voice Chat located at the bottom of the chat screen.
To begin a group voice chat, open a chat window with one of the people you want to include in the chat and select the arrow button at the top right. From the drop down menu click on the Invite to Chat button and select the person you want to add.
The person you invited to the chat will receive a notification asking them if they would like to join the private group chat.
Once the group chat has been formed each member will then need to enter the voice chat individually. This can be done at any time by selecting the arrow button at the top right of the chat window.
From the drop down menu select Start voice chat. From this menu you can also choose to add more members to the group chat by using the Invite to Chat menu.
Members who are currently using the voice chat feature within the group will have a speaker icon next to their name on the right side of the chat. Keep in mind that people who haven’t started the voice chat will not be able to hear people who have.
People can leave the voice chat at any time by clicking the End Voice Chat button.
If a user closes the chat window they will leave the group chat. This means they will need to be re-invited to the group before they can join the groups voice chat again.
This type of group voice chat is only possible within the Steam client and cannot be done using Big Picture mode at this time.