Steam’s New Face: Pruning Through The Daily Que

discovery

Since Steam’s discoverability update went live I’ve logged in at least once a day if for no other reason than to go through the daily queue of games it presents each logged-in user. I don’t know how much everybody else does this but after a few weeks I think it’s a neat system with a few quirks.

It’s basically a semi-random roll of games For Your Consideration each day. This whole update happened because of games that got under-appreciated, and the queue does the most important thing for them — it get’s people to at least look at their Steam pages. Just today I saw at least one game through this queue and said “that looks interesting.”

The thing is, Greenlight did the same thing from the get-go and I basically never look at its queue. Downvoating something on Greenlight means potentially stopping it from being released on Steam because it doesn’t suit your personal tastes. The main curation queue however has what I wanted Greenlight to have: a “Not Interested” button that simply takes the game (and hopefully others like it) out of your rotation.

I imagine that button’s function is to shave things I don’t like from my list of Steam recommendations. The queue itself presents items based on recent releases, positive reviews, and popularity however, so I end up constantly telling Steam I’m not very interested in MMOs or tower defense games. I’m not actually sure how well that’s shaping my recommendations, which I think are just based on what I like.

That’s what mystifies me the most about the daily queue — there isn’t a clearly identifiable “affirmative” or “put more games like this in my recommendations” button. That’s why I’ve clicked “follow” on a lot of games but I don’t think Steam recommends things based on what you follow. It’s just been using that to send me more notifications. For now Steam just takes the act of viewing a game’s page without clicking “not interested” as an affirmative, which is kind of vague to me. Wishlisting games is an obvious base for your recommendations but I don’t really like bloating my wishlist. Is that what people do on Amazon?

Maybe that’s my whole problem. Steam has started to organize itself like an Amazon or Netflix (as opposed to Xbox Live like I noted in an older post), when I’ve been approaching the queue kind of like Pandora. I like Pandora’s clear “find me more of this,” and “find me less of this” buttons. It makes me feel like I really am pruning how the machine sees my tastes.

Whichever approach is better for getting digital video games noticed, Steam is pretty much the only storefront for games that’s gone this far. It’s pushing uncharted territory for the market.

BULLETS:

  • People screaming about Bloodborne’s framerate need to chill. If From Software can actually lock a game at 30fps on a console for once I’ll be impressed.
  • On the subject, I could use some advice on my Dark Souls II gear. http://t.co/yq5PSt8bNZ
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