If you’ve ever played a game through Steam and wished you had an in-client music player rather than having to alt-tab back to the desktop to manage your tunes, you’re not alone. Valve recently announced that people who have joined the Steam Music group will be given first crack at a brand-new feature being added to its popular Steam client and operating system: the ability to play music and manage your music collection directly through Steam’s Big Picture mode.
Once you’ve pointed Steam to your music folders, it will retrieve album and artist information as well, just like iTunes and other third-party music-management apps do. Currently, only MP3 files are supported but Valve said in an FAQ that “this will change over time”.
By adding a dedicated music player and playlist manager, gamers won’t have to alt-tab back to the desktop to change tracks, an action that takes precious time, plus it runs the risk of the game being played to give problems, as some fullscreen games are wont to do. Apparently, Steam Music will also be integrated into Steam’s existing in-game overlay that comes up when you press Shift and Tab, making it much easier and quicker for gamers to manage their playlists while they game.
The feature is only in its early beta stage, and hasn’t been rolled out to everyone yet. The plan is to release it to members of the Steam Music Group in waves, and then once it’s in a more polished state, to roll it out to all Steam users. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, follow that Steam Music group link and click Join Group and hope that you will be chosen as one of the first to give the new feature a go.