Steam Introduces Improved Discoverability (So You Can Find More Games To Buy)

by Mike Futter on Sep 22, 2014 at 01:00 PM

Steam has announced a new discoverability engine that will tap the community to improve how people find games. There’s a new homepage that is the start of a way to better find one of Steam’s 3,700 games.

The new Steam homepage offers personalized recommendations that are pulled from your gameplay as well as curators you follow. This part of the storefront can be customized, so if you aren’t into early access, don’t need to see DLC up front, or just want to hide things you already own, you can do that.

There is also a new list called the “discovery queue” that is similar to a Pandora music list. You can add games to your wish list or, if you never want to see them again, mark them as “not interested.”

Sample curator page (click to enlarge).

Curators are also part of the update, giving any Steam user the opportunity to earn a following. Curators can also link to their YouTube channels. All you need is a YouTube group (you can create one if you aren’t an officer or moderator of one already). Then, users can follow your group for recommendations, or you can follow one to see their picks.

The new discovery tools also come with a component for developers that allow them to see where their titles show up. There is no way to buy into more impressions, and there are no changes to how developers will release their games.


Our Take
As storefronts become more crowded, discoverability becomes an enormous issue. Think about how hard it is to find something in the App Store or Google Play Store. If you can’t find games, then you aren’t buying them, so this is just as important for developers.

I’m interested to see this put into practice as more people become curators. With so many games (especially indie titles) hitting the platform with little fanfare, it’s hard to know what’s worth playing in the little time I have. 

It’s a good move on Steam’s part to wall off the curation system from paid impressions. Certainly there are ways around this outside of Steam’s garden, but at least it’s not built into the architecture.