UPDATE: PCGamesN is now a Steam Curator. Join us.
Last week, 15 new games were added to Steam. That’s more than you can hold in your head at once, let alone play – and beneath them are buried the 15 from the week before, and the 15 from the week before that.
“We know you can’t play them all,” say Valve. “So we’ve updated Steam with new features and functionality to help you discover the best new releases, the classics, and the unique indie gems you might be interested in.”
That all begins with the Steam home page. No longer a universal overview of what’s happening in PC games, the default tab now displays personalised recommendations based on what you’ve played and the opinions of your favourite Curators – self-appointed arbiters of what’s good in gaming.
Curators can be individuals or organisations – anybody, in fact. Tied to a Steam community group, they’ll publish reviews based on their own tastes. The idea is that you’ll find Curators with interests similar to yours and make their recommendations a part of your home page, where you can comment on and rate them.
The new centerpiece of the home page will be your personalised Discovery Queue. Composed of games you haven’t yet seen, it’ll push the most popular new releases compatible with your tastes to the front.
You can then browse through the list, selecting to add games to your Wishlist, purchase them, ‘follow’ their announcements, or ignore them entirely. The queue is clearly intended to be the first part of your regular Steam routine – it’ll be refreshed automatically every day.
An updated Steam Search system will take care of everything else. It’s now “more powerful than ever” – auto completing within a few keystrokes, and pulling in results from Steam Tags. What’s more, new filtering controls will allow you to search by genre or feature.
Valve hope the whole caboodle will “optimise the Steam shopping experience”. They point out that there are now more than 3,700 games on Steam – 1,300 of which were added in the last nine months.
The fact is that there are exponentially more PC games made today than there were in the ‘80s or ‘90s, and Steam is such an attractive platform for developers that it’s created a discoverability problem for its 100 million active users. Do you think the new setup will solve that?