Valve recently invited two popular YouTubers to their offices. John “TotalBiscuit” Bain and Jim “Jim Sterling” Sterling had a long series of meetings with the company where they spoke about the direction in which Steam was headed. The discussion included a host of new changes coming to Steam and how Valve planned to tackle their “fake games” problem.
Both of them followed up with lengthy videos about what they’d learned in GabeN’s basement. You can watch them here:
For those of you who might not want to go through the hassle of watching lengthy videos. Here’s a summary:
- Valve is planning to overhaul Steam in order to ensure that the good stuff is visible and the lazy games or the “fake games” as Valve calls them are buried under a wave of algorithms. The groundwork has already been laid, which is why they announced Steam Direct.
- There’s a risk of the algorithms burying a few good games as well. In order to avoid that happening, Valve is planning to introduce a system called Steam Explorers. These Explorers will go through queues of games that haven’t been selling too well. If they happen to find a gem in the dirt, they can flag it. Once flagged, the algorithm gods will be more kind to them.
- There’s no restriction to who can be a Steam Explorer. They’ll also get their own forum to discuss on and arrange multiplayer matches and such.
- The Curator system is also getting an overhaul. Valve will be adding more functionality like embedding videos, top ten lists, sorting filters etc. Developers will be able to give game keys directly to curators within Steam, eliminating the need to do so via email or some other means. This should help avoid confusion, attempted fraud etc which have occurred frequently in the past.
- Curators will now have more information about how their curations affect a game’s sales. Valve is considering ways to incentivize Curators; even payment is an option.
- Valve admitted that a lot of the “fake games” on Steam make a bulk of their money from trading cards. So Valve will be making changes to the card system as well.
- Regular Steam users will have more info on games and be told why a certain game is being recommended to them. The number of impressions, where the impressions are coming from and more will be displayed to users.
- Lastly, Valve hopes to continue improving customer support, which is currently handled by external teams. They’re also hoping that the need for support will reduce after the purge.
Valve’s goal to get rid of all the sh*tty games on Steam is one that we back whole-heartedly. However, we’re a bit skeptical about the way they’re going about it. For instance, giving too much power to one group of Steam users could prove more disastrous than fortuitous. But we’re sure Valve will be monitoring how these changes play out. Here’s hoping they achieve what they set out to achieve.