Major Steam Redesign Wants to Help You Filter Through the Flood of Game Releases

Curators, personalized recommendations, and improved search will help you discover the games you want to play.

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Today, Valve launched the Steam Discovery Update, which aims to help users filter through the glut of new games released on the digital storefront on a daily basis.

As Valve's UI Designer Alden Kroll told GameSpot, the total number for games released via Steam since January 1 is now just over 1,300. For the same period last year, that number was 304.

The most noticeable aspect of the update is the new, presumably smarter Home page. It now includes personalized recommendations based on your gameplay and new search and discovery tools. You're also able to customize and filter out products that you already own or aren't interested in.

As Vlambeer's Rami Ismail predicted back in January, Steam now also supports Curators, individuals or groups that publish reviews and recommendations in a public forum on Steam. You can follow these Curators to keep up with their recommendations and rate their reviews.

Valve said that the update comes as a direct result of its conversations with developers, publishers, and customers.

"For a long time, we knew we had a throughput issue where we were not publishing enough of the submissions to Steam," Kroll said. "Roughly one year ago we started introducing new tools and systems to correct that and, almost immediately, discoverability was identified as the next big issue we would need to tackle. Most developers will rightly want to see proof that the new system works. But, at the same time, they are fully aware that this issue needs to be addressed."

It's a much needed strategy for a problem that as Apple will be able to tell you based on its experience with the iTunes App Store, is only going to become increasingly difficult as more games are released on Steam.

But how is Valve going to determine if this strategy actually helps users filter through the flood of game releases?

"We have a number of checks and balances we will be looking at," Kroll said. "First and foremost, we always listen to customers. Gamers are smart and they will tell us if they find it to be more useful. For developers, we have introduced the traffic data analytics to allow them to monitor their game’s impressions in real time. And, of course, we have our own data tracking devices to measure overall traffic, sales, conversions, and click thru’s. Like any new release, we expect there will be things we missed and things that may need a tweak. So, this is just the start of something new."

What do you think about the Steam Discovery Update? Let us know in the comments below.

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