Steam Introduces Steam Labs, New Experimental Features Available For Users

It's a good initiative to showcase some games that are buried underneath all the other titles.
Valve launches the experimental Steam Labs, which seeks to put a limelight on lesser known titles on the storefront.
Valve launches the experimental Steam Labs, which seeks to put a limelight on lesser known titles on the storefront. Valve

With countless games under its belt, one of Steam’s main priorities has always been to find ways to better curate the titles on their platform. Scouring through the seemingly endless selection to strike gold on an unknown indie title is a mind-numbingly tedious process, so Valve is stepping up its game by implementing brand new experimental tools to help players find the right game. This is all being collated in what Valve calls Steam Labs.

Steam Labs is basically what the name is: a laboratory by Steam. And what do you do in laboratories? Experiment! Currently, Steam Labs has three active experiments that aim to improve user experience by making it easier for players to locate and discover titles.

The first one is called Micro Trailers. While pretty self-explanatory, Micro Trailers provide a six second trailer for every Steam game. You could either have the trailers play from an entire row just by hovering your mouse over them, have Scroll to Play automatically play videos as you scroll down the page, or let the Big Quad make each micro-trailer into a 2x2 grid, providing you with clips at various points in the trailers playing simultaneously.

Up next is called Interactive Recommender, which utilizes machine learning (they say all the cool kids are doing it) to predict games you’d like based on what you already have in your library. It basically lists down games you own, and you’re armed with two sliders and two filters. The two sliders customize your recommendations depending on how recent a game is and how popular or niche it is, which can help you find diamonds in the rough. The two filters then fine tune it. For example, maybe someone gifted you an RPG title, but you’re not really a fan. You can select which tags the Interactive Recommender either actively looks for or make it avoid a specific tag that you choose.

The last one is called the Automatic Show, which is basically a 30-minute automated show that provides you with the latest and greatest games on a daily basis. Think of your daily top 10 highlights from your favorite sports channel, that’s what the Automatic Show is like.

Valve has always had the yearly exercise of implementing tools to improve user experience and Steam Labs is a great way to encourage the community to test new features out and provide feedback. As of now though, everything is purely trial and error. If an experiment works, it’s probably going to get worked on and stay. If it doesn’t, it will probably be scrapped.


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