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Steam is about to get a lot more transparetnt

Published: 13:27, 04 April 2017
Updated: 13:32, 04 April 2017
Steam logo with grayscale library in background.

Valve recently invited TotalBiscuit and Jim Sterling to their offices to have a chat about upcoming changes to Steam's handling of its increasingly bloated games library. All of the announced changes sound like a step in the right direction but will sadly be arriving in Valve time.

Valve has received a lot of flak over the last year regarding the way Steam handles visibility of games on its storefront and a steady stream of what Valve themselves call "fake games" infesting the online marketplace. It seems that all this is about to change, sometime - Valve time.

YouTuber's and were invited to Valve's offices for a back and forth on the future of the platform and the way it handles game discovery and curation.

The newest feature announced is the Steam Explorer function which is still somewhere in concept stage. This would allow individual Steam users to act as freelance reviewers. These Explorers would, in theory, comb through Steam's game library and point out overlooked titles, while having access to a lot of additional functionality like insight into store page impressions of a certain game and even receive special refund options as a sort of compensation for their efforts. It sounds a lot like a crowdsourcing solution to the problem.

St. Newell of Steam St. Newell of Steam

Steam curator pages are due to receive an update as well, with additional options for filtering curated lists by things other than review/release date. On top of that, curator pages will be using an internal tagging system, which should help mitigate the issue of mislabeled or falsely tagged games in terms of genre and content.

Additional details and visual cues will also be added to explain why users are seeing the recommendations that Steam has for them on the store front page. A similar system is in place at the moment, but the existing mechanisms will be going into a lot more detail and with considerably more transparency.

While these and numerous other changes are aimed at fixing the issue of many games being overlooked on the platform, by making it easier to overlook "fake games" rather than "hidden gems" by way of algorithms, its effectiveness can only be verified in practise.

All in all, it looks like Valve is trying to enforce some semblance of order on its storefront without really directly interfering in the marketplace ecosystems themselves, by way of algorithms and community driven filtering. We will know more once the new systems are in place - probably sometime before Half-Life 3.

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