The Future of Steam, As Told By TotalBiscuit
TotalBiscuit and a few other guests recently made the trip to Valve HQ to talk Steam functionality, curation, data and more. This everything you need to know.
One point to note is that everything revealed by TotalBiscuit “is in various states of either concept or development, meaning that we have no timeline on it, and of course we have no idea what the final form of any of this is going to be.” Despite this, it is exciting to hear a behind-the-scenes account of the future plans of a notoriously secretive developer and publisher.
Valve are planning major changes for Steam; changes intended to dramatically improve the quality of the discovery queue and the importance of the curation system. The goal is to bring more relevant titles to the forefront, bringing players attention only to games that they will be legitimately interested in purchasing, and thus provide a better service to game developers desperate for sales.
A welcome by-product of these improvements is that bad games will be severely affected “by making them invisible.”
Valve also intends to make the data used to drive the system available for everyone to access, in the hope that the transparency will increase the time it takes for any glitches in the system to be analyzed and remedied. This should substantially reduce the number of bad games slipping through the net as time goes on.
According to TotalBiscuit, the goal is that “everybody’s Steam page looks different but it’s personalized perfectly to them, based on the data they have.”
Steam Explorers will be one of the biggest changes to the Steam formula, and no doubt one of the most visible. Players will be able to opt-in to purchase games from a pre-selected list, then play and provide their verdict within Valve specified criteria. The games are not free, however, Valve is considering providing certain perks to members of the program. Expect badges galore.
Will this make Steam Explorers the system Valve always intended Steam Greenlight to be? Only time will tell, but Valve feels that players with have more incentive to partake in the program and to contribute to the Steam ecosystem.
Steam Curators are set for a shake-up, too. Curators will be given the ability to put together “collections”, such as their top 10 favorite MMO games, or 20 most anticipated games for 2018. The increased functionality will turn Curators pages into refined small hubs of information created by the curators, a benefit to both the Curator themselves and their fans. The change is intended to “make curation a rewarding and useful experience.” And we can no doubt expect unlockable perks.
Valve have also turned their attention to Steam key fraud, taking a positive step to cut down on the practice by introducing an integrating a key mailer system. This will allow studios to give games to users without the need for Steam keys, which could then potentially be sold on for a profit.
TotalBiscuit’s full video is below (it’s pretty long, but well worth watching):
And, for reference, this is Jim Sterling’s take on the visit: