Steam now lets PC gamers try out new features

Ruben Fields
July 12, 2019

Valve will take any and all feedback from those who participate in the testing, and will make a determination on whether they need more work or not. Steam Labs will be showing off some of the new features coming to the market place that seek to make things better for both consumers and retailers advertising their games on the storefront. The first one is called Micro Trailers, which are essentially even shorter game trailers compiled into one video. It uses machine learning for that and analyzes for how long each game was played by a particular user.

The last feature is...kinda weird.

Valve describes this section as "a very effective way to find hidden gems". (We had nothing to do with the PC Gamer curator page being featured on the Steam Labs page, but hey, cool).

For example, if you play a game X, and there are other players who also enjoy the same game but have other titles in their library too. You can check all those out here to see what they look like. In time, they hope to have auto-generated narration that tells you a bit about what you're seeing; for now, though, it's mostly just game footage over music.

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Three experiments are active for users to try out at the moment, all of which are created to help gamers find new titles. That's part of why Valve isn't changing the existing recommendation options, which are based on different models and data. Valve boasts that the model is based on millions of Steam users, and you can filter results with a series of sliders. Apparently Valve likes those accounts too, because as part of a set of experimental new Steam features called Steam Labs, it took the idea and ran with it: "Micro Trailers are six-second looping videos created to quickly inform viewers about titles on Steam with a presentation that's easy to skim". According to Steam, "This experiment looks at how much you've played each game in your Steam library and uses the magic of machine learning to recommend games you might like".

Perhaps the most significant additions, though, is the Interactive Recommender.

Valve says it welcomes feedback from users, including which Labs experiments are worth pursuing further and how to further develop them.

Valve tends to push mechanical, data-based solutions to Steam store problems, sometimes in situations where it seems inappropriate. We'll have to wait and see how the current test features fare once they get more eyes on them.

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