In a series of three blog posts, Valve are hoping to explain their reasoning for upcoming changes to their digital storefront. In their first post, Valve have outlined their “philosophy” for a successful Steam Store and their thinking behind a recent update to Steam’s recommendation algorithm.
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As there are two disparate groups that mainly use the Steam Store - developers and players - Valve’s main difficulty is implementing changes that benefit both groups in “a manner that they would consider fair”. Unfortunately, “these groups often have competing interests” so it is almost impossible to add features that will please everyone. As a result, Valve are hoping that by clearly explaning future changes, “everyone [will] understand what [they’re] trying to do” and thus, be more inclined to provide pointed feedback.
While features like Steam Greenlight and the Discovery update helped smaller developers get their games in front of niche audiences, these additions did not serve the “huge audience of players who just want to buy AAA titles.” To show why players are being recommeded certain games, Valve have now rolled “an algorithm section on game pages that states why the Store thinks [a] game will (or will not) be interesting to you.”
This new section will essentially let you peek inside Steam’s black box algorithm and break down why you are seeing what you’re seeing. Not only will you see the reasoning as to why the system thinks you will like a game, but you are able to see where its “decision making is going wrong".
Valve have stated that its next post will centre around how “bad actors have been gaming the Store algorithms to create revenue for themselves” and what the new Steam Store changes are doing to solve this problem. Following that, the third and final post should discuss the hotly-debated publishing fee for Steam Direct.