It’s been a whole year since Steam Labs officially launched a number of experimental projects to improve the Steam experience.
Steam Labs was a great place for Steam to try new and improved features and make Steam better for everyone. Because Labs can involve Steam users much earlier in the development process, development was much faster.
In a recent blog, Steam announced some upcoming projects and took some time to celebrate a great first year at Steam Labs.
“We listened to your feedback, gathered evidence to understand how people use our experiments, and performed A / B tests to measure the relative success of potential designs.”
What Steam Labs produced last year
Steam Labs originally started last July with three experiments and great ambitions for the future of development. Since launch, Steam Labs Steam has introduced the following features.
Community recommendations are a feature that displays player ratings on the home page. This feature “brings community energy to the store and allows users to learn about the titles players are enjoying and why”.
Steam’s intuitive interactive referrer started out as a machine learning experiment. This feature trains itself to recognize game patterns among millions of Steam users. This allows Steam to generate personalized recommendations for gamers.
Customer feedback led Steam Labs to allow players to exclude a game from being affected by the referral results or to block games that they already own on another platform. You can also save your settings the next time you search for a new game on Steam.
While fine-tuning the machine learning experiments, Labs decided to develop Play Next. This feature uses the same technology as above, but suggests games that you already own – but haven’t played yet. We are probably all guilty of having a massive backlog of games from bundles that we haven’t played yet. This feature helps you remember some of these great titles.
Another Steam Labs project was an upgrade of the search tools. New tools have been added that have been requested by users, including ways to filter results by price, display only games for sale, and exclude games that you already own.
Experiments in progress
Steam Labs say they are currently working on a number of different functions. The following are expected to appear on Steam in the future.
News & Events Hub
Steam Labs is working on a way for players to search a personalized feed with game news, live streams and updates on the games they love to play or have on their wish lists. This feed can be customized to include or exclude different types of messages so that players stay up to date on in-game events and other updates.
Things like tags and metadata are worked on behind the scenes. This is to improve Steam search to get accurate and consistent results. Steam Labs will use a custom thesaurus for this.
Steam Labs is working on a way to capture video snapshots of games in the store. This is based on the idea that it takes most people a short time to scroll through a game page to find out more. These micro trailers offer bite-sized content so that players can learn as much as possible about a game in as little time.
You can already see how Micro Trailers appear in the Steam Store. You can find them by hovering over items on the home page, in sales events and over the interactive referrer. At the moment, Steam Labs is still working on this function and will expand its use in Steam.
It looks like Steam Labs is planning a solid future with updates and brand new features. It will be interesting to see what Steam Labs can come up with in the future. We’ll keep an eye out for all new Steam features and let you know when we see them!