Steam’s new ‘Community Recommendations’ feature is a wild ride

Today is Steam Labs' first year, a kind of ongoing PTR that Valve uses to test and repeat new Steam features before they're available to everyone. Valve has one to celebrate To update That looks back on a year of experimentation and teases a little about what's next, and finally started that Community recommendations The storefront feature was tested last year.

"Community recommendations present your reviews by displaying them directly on our homepage so that everyone can see them," says the update. "The result brings community energy to the store and enables users to learn about the titles players are enjoying and why."

That sounds pretty easy and many of the blurbs are useful. But some of them are gold of a different kind: the system seems to use the first few lines of user reviews without worrying about what they actually say (or are), and that leads to some pretty interesting places.

(Photo credit: valve)

(Photo credit: valve)

(Photo credit: valve)

(Photo credit: valve)

(Photo credit: valve)

(Photo credit: valve)

Robin said today that Steam has gotten tiring and I'm starting to think he's up to something.

It continues with an overview of the features we looked at earlier, including the Interactive recommender, play next and improved search functions. The update also touches on some Steam ideas that didn't make it to the finish line. The Automated Show was supposed to be a fully automated system to "create an entertaining production via games", with functions such as voice-over and "topic-controlled automated curation" and running times of two to 30 minutes.

But the longer format didn't work, "since viewers usually bailed out within the first few minutes of these shows," said Valve, and when she wanted to focus on a particular topic, such as the Steam Awards, it found that it was done manually a better way to get the job done anyway.

The planned Deep Dive feature suffered a similar fate: the idea of ​​using algorithms to recommend games based on an initial selection was "a hard sell", although it allowed Valve to further optimize Steam's tagging and recommendation systems , inspired tools to "identify and" organize games associated with big events ", and led Valve to think about" new navigation systems "with which they want to" experiment in labs "in the future.

The Steam News Hub experiment is still in progress, Steam’s search function is still being worked on, and the Micro Trailers feature is still under development. Valve also said it is looking for new ways to search Steam, with "new entry points, more compelling ways to browse, and more tools to filter while surfing," and it's still open to user suggestions.

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