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Valve have detailed some changes coming to Steam in an overview post

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I said before we would see Valve start talking a lot more this year, especially with the Epic Store being a thing and we're starting to see that now. Valve have put out a post giving some background on Steam and what's to come in future.

For those that missed it, a most recent change this January is an overhaul to the DLC list. Take a look at the DLC list for Stellaris for example, which brings it much more in line with the publisher and franchises store pages Valve rolled out last year. Instead of a rudimentary list, it's now a bit flashier.

Even Steam Play got a mention in the post, it really does cover a lot. In particular for us, it's nice to Steam Play get mentioned in such a way alongside their help with Vulkan and the Shader Pre-caching feature of Steam.

As for what's to come across 2019, some of it does sound pretty great:

Store Discoverability: We’re working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes. Algorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution, however, so we're building more broadcasting and curating features and are constantly assessing the overall design of the store.

Steam China: We've partnered with Perfect World to bring Steam onshore into China. We'll reveal more details about this in the coming months.

Steam Library Update: Some long awaited changes to the Steam Client will ship, including a reworked Steam Library, built on top of the technology we shipped in Steam Chat.

New Events System: We're upgrading the events system in the Steam Community, enabling you to highlight interesting activities in your games like tournaments, streams, or weekly challenges.

Steam TV: We're working on expanding Steam TV beyond just broadcasting specific tournaments and special events, in order to support all games.

Steam Chat: We're going to ship a new Steam Chat mobile app, so you can share your favorite GIFs with your friends while on the go.

Steam Trust: The technology behind Trusted Matchmaking on CS:GO is getting an upgrade and will become a full Steam feature that will be available to all games. This means you'll have more information that you can use to help determine how likely a player is a cheater or not.

Steam PC Cafe Program: We are going to officially ship a new PC Cafe Program so that players can have a good experience using Steam in hundreds of thousands of PC Cafes Worldwide.

The Steam Trust upgrade along with the ability for other games to use it could be interesting, especially since that should work with Steam Play titles, something I had a gripe with only recently when EAC stopped me playing Darwin Project.

Discoverability has certainly become an issue as Steam has grow that's for sure. I follow a lot of developers, the vast majority of which have recently talked about how a recent change made their store traffic decrease dramatically. This will only get worse as more games arrive on Steam (and any other store), so hopefully Valve's changes here will do good.

I'm sure a lot of people are eagerly awaiting the refreshed Steam Client, I know I am. The Library feature in Steam is so basic when you've built up a big library of games it tends to be a little unhelpful in how basic it actually is.

See their full post here.

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47 comments
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Shmerl 15 January 2019 at 7:02 pm UTC
Doc AngeloDo you mean that most games where the original dev makes a Linux version, the Windows version is both on Steam and GOG, but the Linux version is only on Steam?

Yes. In most cases when Linux version is missing on GOG, it's an issue with developers, not with GOG.
Hori 17 January 2019 at 3:41 pm UTC
wvstolzing
QuoteWe’re working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes.

This doesn't sound very encouraging, to be honest; they seem to be chasing the same magically self-regulating minimal-effort dream of a curation model.

QuoteAlgorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution, however, so we're building more broadcasting and curating features and are constantly assessing the overall design of the store.

Yeah, but they shouldn't just 'build features'; they should employ real people to put real thought into what gets sold or highlighted on the store.

Steam should NOT be a censored / regulated store.
Many people wanted this, including myself in the past, but it is actually a really bad idea.
Steam is a store and a platform for everyone. Good and bad games should be welcomed both.

IMO the discovery algorithms combined with a non-regulated store is the best approach.
If you don't care about cheap / joke games, then just mark them as not interested and let the algorithm hide them for you in the future (not hide, but more like not recommend / advertise)

Sure, the algorithms aren't perfect, but the answer is to improve them, not bring regulation. If you want regulation, go to Epic Store, where they don't even have user reviews.

E.g. You might absolutely hate a game just because it is for kids, a complete joke, pay to win, etc. But other people might love it. Take Fallout 76. There's are some (few) people who actually tolerate / enjoy the game. Bringing regulation and people also brings two big problems to the equation:
1. Cost - Those money could be used elsewhere on the platform, or even to lower Steam's cut for each sale,
2. Bias and opinionation - No matter how open minded you are, there's always bias in every one of us. And there's also a company bias.
The last thing you want is for companies to buy their way into Steam. Actually no, the last thing you want is for politically correct / SJW-pleasing games to be accepted and praised above all else just because of a political agenda.

You have to be realistic here. (and a certain dose of cynism also doesn't hurt)
Even if it would be fair and would work wonders in the beginning, it will certainly get corrupted eventually. Especially since, Valve is at the end of the day just another company. And the sole goal of a company is to make profit (otherwise it dies) - and being fair/equalitarian is pretty much always unprofitable. (you can make a case that in the long-term it's beneficial to be so, but companies almost exclusively care about short-term. They are businesses, not governments)


Last edited by Hori at 17 January 2019 at 3:54 pm UTC. Edited 6 times.
eldaking 17 January 2019 at 7:52 pm UTC
HoriSteam should NOT be a censored / regulated store.
Many people wanted this, including myself in the past, but it is actually a really bad idea.
Steam is a store and a platform for everyone. Good and bad games should be welcomed both.

IMO the discovery algorithms combined with a non-regulated store is the best approach.
If you don't care about cheap / joke games, then just mark them as not interested and let the algorithm hide them for you in the future (not hide, but more like not recommend / advertise)

Sure, the algorithms aren't perfect, but the answer is to improve them, not bring regulation. If you want regulation, go to Epic Store, where they don't even have user reviews.

It's not just about "cheap or joke" games. It is about potentially fraudulent games. It is about games that are seriously objectionable, that can cause a lot of harm - like a nazi propaganda game. And on the other side, about blocking things that should be allowed. And yes, people will disagree about what is acceptable or not, which is why the company has to take a stance instead of trying to please everyone.

And the fact that it is so hard is precisely the reason why it can't be done algorithmically. Yes, they need real people to make the hard decisions - is this too gruesome, is this really satire, is this too charged, whatever.

They are not forced to sell or refuse any games; they could always choose. This means they are responsible for what is sold on the store. They can't choose not to pay attention as an excuse for selling (and profiting from) something objectionable.

QuoteYou have to be realistic here. (and a certain dose of cynism also doesn't hurt)
Even if it would be fair and would work wonders in the beginning, it will certainly get corrupted eventually. Especially since, Valve is at the end of the day just another company. And the sole goal of a company is to make profit (otherwise it dies) - and being fair/equalitarian is pretty much always unprofitable. (you can make a case that in the long-term it's beneficial to be so, but companies almost exclusively care about short-term. They are businesses, not governments)

I very much disagree. The fact they want to make money is not our problem as consumers and we don't have to be understanding of it. Quite the opposite, we have to be harsher on them because by this logic they don't have incentive to be ethical otherwise.
const 18 January 2019 at 9:37 am UTC
eldakingIt's not just about "cheap or joke" games. It is about potentially fraudulent games. It is about games that are seriously objectionable, that can cause a lot of harm - like a nazi propaganda game.

Well, I'd prefer laws to regulate such things, rather then private companies.
Do you have an example for a nazi propaganda game on Steam? I'd be shocked, if it would be available here in germany.
devnull 18 January 2019 at 9:40 am UTC
The Steam Trust thing is a pretty creeppy step backward. Wonder if it has anything to do with their entering China? For those that have been liiving under a rock, China has a RETARDED thing called "social credit". It's literally like a credit score but no only do you have no control over it, your evaluations are essentially arbitrary and punishments are quite severe.

At the end of the day comunity blacklists do -NOT- work for the simple reason they can and are manipulated. Think of what happens with brigading twitch streamers.. Hell I'm not a streamer yet the only ban I have ever received was from a server that thought I was behind a proxy. Those lists are shared so now I have nfi where else I'm banned without any context.

SchattenspiegelDownload library Banners permanently instead of every time you scroll through the library, plx!
It's been a bug for a long time too. The cache headers are fucked.

SchattenspiegelMake the highlight/middle-click paste work in Steam client, plx!
Was reported at least a year ago too.
SchattenspiegelTHEN start thinking about new stuff or redesigning old s(h)...tuff!
Thx!
eldaking 18 January 2019 at 2:35 pm UTC
const
eldakingIt's not just about "cheap or joke" games. It is about potentially fraudulent games. It is about games that are seriously objectionable, that can cause a lot of harm - like a nazi propaganda game.

Well, I'd prefer laws to regulate such things, rather then private companies.
Do you have an example for a nazi propaganda game on Steam? I'd be shocked, if it would be available here in germany.

Well, yes, ideally the laws created by democratic governments would deal with everything unethical. But in practice, it isn't enough: laws can be unethical, wrong, outdated, incomplete, hard to interpret... or, when you operate in a lot of countries, inconsistent. There are countries where homosexuality is illegal, there are countries where the age of consent is different, there are countries with no fair use laws, etc. Navigating all those laws is a big task, and neither extreme (applying the most restrictive laws to everywhere or doing just the minimum required by local laws) is a good solution.

Even if they went with a "we allow anything that is legal", I think they should at least check for compliance instead of relying on notifications and terms signed by developers taking all responsibility. They are selling the game, they should be responsible for checking.

I really hope there is no actual nazi propaganda game on Steam. It is an exaggerated example of something that clearly shouldn't be there. Though I'm not sure if the laws of most countries would make such a game straight up "illegal", for example.
F.Ultra 19 January 2019 at 2:49 am UTC
const
Mohandevir
eldakingValve has its many flaws (their hands-off approach to curation or their subpar treatment of indies for example). But they are still so far ahead of the competition it's just hard not to support Steam.

Yep! And when you read the complete post... It's quite shocking (unfair? Surprising?) when people say that Valve takes a 30% cut without doing anything... I don't see Epic offering an equivalent infrastructure now and not before a long, long time...

Edit: I hoped we would get news about new hardware, but Valve being Valve, we still may have surprises.

The sad part is that they take the "we want to add all those features" part as an excuse to not support linux.

And the really sad part is that remove that excuse and they would find some other reason for not supporting Linux.
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