Steam is slowly making changes to its UI in order to customize the experience for each user. Valve is now working with a new interface that delivers a more tailored list of games to users based on their interests and existing library of games.
The main aspect of this new system is the “Upcoming” tab on the Steam service. This new tab builds from Steam’s appraisal of interest in upcoming games, with data coming from sources like wishlists, pre-orders, and the success of past titles from the publisher or developer. The goal with this tab is to deliver personalized offerings directly to gamers, making it easier to find games they want to play, without having to wade through the muck on the service.
One of the biggest concerns coming from developers, especially smaller indies, is that these changes will make it harder for small teams to get their games noticed if they don’t have the pre-existing user base to drive sales on launch. This problem seems to be made worse due to the lack of quality controls on Steam, at least from the casual observer perspective.
To this concern, Valve had the following to say:
“We’ve spent a lot of time looking at data about how folks find and buy games and are certain that isn’t the case. The previous iteration of Upcoming was just too unfiltered for most customers to use it effectively. A piece of data for you: the old Upcoming list was only clicked on by less than half of one percent of customers whereas Top Sellers is clicked on by almost four percent. It’s clear to us that a brief (and sometimes very brief) spot on Steam’s front page isn’t useful if your game is shown to a random set of customers – what’s best for everyone is if your game is shown to the right customers, ones who have shown that they might like your game. If you’re building a great, entertaining product with a store page to match, these improvements will facilitate connections to those customers in a higher quality way.”
So for now at least, Steam does give some coverage to lesser known titles, we’ll just have to wait and see if that even distribution of traffic holds up over time. It looks like Steam is committed to making the service a little easier to use, what with the introduction of new Developer Store pages, but it’s still not enough to deal with problems on the platform.
Or you know Valve, you could actually police your own service and deal with the low-quality games and outright bigotry infesting your platform. No? OK, guess we’ll just have to deal with that.
Check out the full post over on the Steam community site.