Gamasutra: Lars Doucet’s Blog-“Browsing Steam”: The Biggest Change to Steam Discovery in Recent History

Steam Lab Experiment 010: Browsing Steam is none other than the biggest potential change in Steam Discovery we’ve seen since the release of Steam Direct.

Full disclosure: I worked on this feature more than just a little. I was a contractor working on Valve on SteamLabs experiments until about 6 months ago. This particular experiment was led by Valve designer Christen Coomer and was the achievement of all the other projects I worked on at SteamLabs. When I left, I didn’t know when it would ship, or even if it would ship, and now that it’s published, I’m very excited to talk about it.

Now, what is Experiment 010?

This is the large’ol browse menu on the Steam front page. It’s in beta as an experiment on the Steam Lab and you’ll need to opt in using this link.

It will be as follows.

Valve wrote a huge blog post about it, so I highly recommend reading it now. wait.

This new update completely overhauls Steam’s main browsing navigation. To better understand it, let’s take a step back and look at the status quo.

If you go to the standard reference interface on the front page, you will see several tabs.[ストア]When[参照]Has its own submenu, the other three are just links.

The Your Store has a list of various recommendation engines and tags for recently played games.

Browsing falls into a wide range of categories at some very high level.

The existing interfaces are not particularly well organized and most only offer large, general top-level categories. It also doesn’t seem to be particularly consistent with the way market research shows customers want to browse the Steam store (to buy productivity software at the world’s largest computer game store and devote the entire column to it. Do you have enough people?)

The new design cleans this up significantly and replaces “references” with two new top-level tabs. New and noteworthy And category.

New and noteworthy It has a diverse list of related new stuff, but the blog post says, “You also have direct access to the biggest events currently running Steam, such as game festivals, publisher sales, and other seasonal celebrations.” Stated. So, whether it’s a global Steam promotion or sponsored by a developer or publisher group itself, a limited-time event will probably appear here.

category What a big menu:

… itself decomposes into Special section, Genre, theme, And Social & player.

According to the blog post, these menus and sections are more in line with the type of “entry point” the player is actually looking for.

Clicking on any of these links will take you to the home page dedicated to that category. This is basically your own “miniature Steam front page”.

These hubs are more than just a list of games. It gives you all the typical steam page structure:

  • Highlight / feature carousel
  • Top list:
    • New & Trend
    • best seller
    • What is playing
    • Top rate
    • from now on
  • Specials / games currently on sale

It’s pretty basic for now, but it’s easy to see how this can be extended. There is also a small cluster with a “Tag Filter” selection that you can drill down further.

Now some people will notice the title of a particular hub, “Building & Automation Sims”.The concept doesn’t have a specific steam tag, what you’re looking at get together Of the concepts that form a larger category.

The blog post details how and why these categories were chosen (read seriously now) – a mixture of numerical analysis, intuition, and methods drawn from library science / knowledge organization studies. was( Alan Christophersen Of the Royal Library of Denmark who guided us on this subject

This new menu does a few things.

  1. It publishes fact Steam has different niches
  2. Providing the right home for games in all important categories on Steam
  3. Increase the surface area of ​​the Steam catalog visible from the front page
  4. Invite players to discover brand new categories of games, become fans and bookmark them.

As you can see, so far the approach to discovery has been primarily focused on showing the right individual. title When it’s time to think about highlighting Steam properly, Category itself..

The average Steam player know “City Builders” or “Automated Factory sims” are Steam “things”.This new feature makes it open to the eyes And Invite them to come and see everything that each category offers.

Ask yourself – how likely are you to be number one on the top seller list? #Five? #Ten? Even a day?

It ’s not good, right?

Now, let’s say you are making an action roguelike. How likely is it to be # 1, # 5, or # 10? Within that category?

Probably achievable, right?You can at least imagine It’s happening

And if you can achieve some success within your category, you can use that to move on to the front page itself. And at least you have concrete results and can justify bragging the next time you’re looking for funding.

Look at this scary graph-

You’re looking at a graph of new reviews posted in a particular month for all Steam games.

(Normal soars correspond to Steam winter and summer sales dates, and very large soars starting in 2016 probably correspond to the Steam Awards recommendation period based on user reviews.)

Reviews are a (very rough) proxy for sales performance, so what you’re basically looking at is how Steam has grown over time and who has benefited most from that growth.

Each colored segment shows what part of the monthly review was sent to the different performance percentiles of the game on Steam.

black Top 0.1%
Red Top 1%
gold Top 5%
blue Top 10%
pink Below 90%

Calculating the numbers, we get:

~ 30% Of all reviews Top 0.1% Of the game
~ 70% Of all reviews Top 1% Of the game
~ 90% Of all reviews Top 5% Of the game
~ 95% Of all reviews Top 10% Of the game

… in other words Below 90% About 5% of games on Steam make up about 5% of reviews.

Reviews ≠ sales, but we know they are loosely correlated and there is good reason to expect revenue to follow a similar distribution of power laws.

I don’t think Steam is particularly different from other platforms in this regard. Yes, that’s an open admission policy, which means there are far more poorly performing games that can make the graph a bit steeper, but the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch sales graphs should have the same rule. I’m sure I will follow.

But, as Winston Churchill never said, “except for everything else, steam is the worst platform.” Have you used a major console store recently? If the game isn’t actively featured, it’s virtually invisible. Steam has the opportunity to properly tackle the ever-growing catalog size by getting out of the pack and sticking to Experiment 010.

Imagine what the difference would be if you flattened this curve by even a few percent. The bottom 90% of Steam games make up a very small percentage of your total revenue, so even the slightest change can double. triple Their annual income.The same may be said for the lower half Top 10%.

To get an overview of this, here’s a recent Twitter poll I asked many gamedev followers:

In other words:

  • 32 developers go bankrupt but $ 1,000
  • 32 developers go bankrupt, but for $ 10,000
  • 21 developers go bankrupt but $ 100,000

This is just a Twitter poll, but the results are consistent with what I’ve seen in a real-world case from a friend of the developer. And I’ve lived it! Not so long ago, it wasn’t long before I left the industry for $ 2,000 or $ 5,000.

No, these struggling developers are more than just “garbage shovelware developers,” as some claim. Even if we can agree on objective criteria for that (we can’t), people forget that a number of very talented developers live in the margins, or with the United States, where living costs are much lower. We are based outside of Western Europe. A slight movement of the needle makes a big difference.

And if you don’t care about the fate of a small developer, keep in mind that a small developer who doesn’t die will eventually grow into a big developer.

Fall Guys was Mediatonic’s 130th game.

Inner Sloth, the developer of Among Us, includes veterans of the Flash scene. The Flash ecosystem, which I and countless other developers owe to our careers, was once a glorious “minor league” of game development, and Medicore games are slowly making Medicore profitable and developing skills. I was able to make steady money. Now it’s completely dead.

These two recent hit games became hits because the developers were able to live long enough to finally beat the odds. If I moved the needle a little wrong, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

Experiment 010 is still an experiment and players need to opt in to see it. The real proof of pudding is to see if it can actually increase sales and flatten the power curve, but unless you graduate from Steam Labs and make it public to everyone on Steam, it’s it. I don’t have a chance to see it happen.

To do this, Valve needs to get feedback that this feature is important to developers. Yes, Valve should do a better job in outreach and may not release significant experimental features on the same day as Cyberpunk 2077’s incredible launch date.

Aside from that, we still have the fact that this feature can make a big difference in the lives of small developers, so it’s our problem to make Valve hear our voice clearly. It has become.

So please send us your feedback on Valve. And it contains important feedback! By working on this myself, I am familiar with how it is not perfect and can think of many ways to improve it. I’m sure you can do that too. Therefore, do one of the following:

  1. If you have a Steam representative, please email me
  2. If you don’t have a Steam representative, tweet @Steamworks On twitter
  3. Either way, leave a comment on your blog post

Yes, there are many comments about the quality of Steam user tags. It’s enough to say that I can and will write an entire article on that subject. I’ve spent almost a year improving Steam tags, taking the classification very seriously, and now I’m independent, so I’m experimenting myself.

My site, GameDataCrunch, uses trained, paid, human-powered classifications to slowly clean up Steam tags and metadata.My budget is small and the time I can give to my staff is limited, but my first effort was promising-see this Tweet thread A fun case study of a “cooking” game Surprise happy ending..

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