Valve details plans for Steam storefront update

Steam's storefront has been looking a little samey since it received the "Discovery" facelift in 2014. Valve apparently agrees, as the company sent out an announcement this weekend to Steamworks developers advising them of upcoming changes to the storefront. That announcement is only visible to registered Steamworks developers, but the full text of the announcement is already up thanks to NeoGAF forums member Nzyme32.

None of the changes appear to be huge, at least based on how Valve describes them. Valve will be cleaning up some visual clutter on the Steam homepage and using larger game images in some places. A few improved navigation options will fill up the left side of the page, including links to personalized content like curator-suggested games and the user's own discovery queue. A "Popular Among Friends" section will let gamers to see what titles their friends have been playing that they don't yet own.

The updates seem to be focused on helping smaller developers find an audience for their games. Right now, Valve simply guarantees developers a certain number of views in the randomly-selected New Relases and Newly Updated sections. After the updates, both sections will be showing targeted choices based on users' game preferences. Valve says that even though developers may ultimately get less views as a result, the views they receive should be more valuable.

Along those lines, users will get an option to configure "Global Customer Preferences." In essence, users will be able to filter content they aren't interested in via broad categories such as Early Access, Software, Videos, or VR. Valve doesn't say whether users will be able to apply the global filters to user-supplied tags, as the current Discovery queue allows, so we've reached out for clarification. The company says the update will be rolling out "in a few weeks."

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    Announcement link is dead;

    HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED.

    • Klimax
    • 4 years ago

    I got to see it. (Apparently bug, not being SW dev…) Eh, meh. Just another redo. Doubtful it will improve my experience.

      • LostCat
      • 4 years ago

      More interested in when they’ll have good games again. Seems like a lot of meh this year.

        • travbrad
        • 4 years ago

        You aren’t interested in Early Access Survival Game #89?

          • LostCat
          • 4 years ago

          Or Castrated Visual Novel #302 or Indie Retro Crapware #723

    • GatoRat
    • 4 years ago

    Who cares? The Steam Store is just another store. When the new one comes out, we’ll use it no matter how good or crappy it is.

    • DoomGuy64
    • 4 years ago

    I really can’t stand Steam’s personalized storefront. I don’t want to see my buddies favorite games on the front page (lot of weird ones), I want to see what the community as a whole thinks are the best games. Better sales too.

      • bfar
      • 4 years ago

      I actually find it harder to discover new content in the new UI. I was happy to look through stuff myself, i didn’t need or want Valve to do it for me. The discovery UI was aimed squarely at sellers.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 4 years ago

        For my tastes, it works on an entirely flawed base assumption – if I *just* spend a week playing through a fantastic Metroidvania like Ori… it doesn’t mean all I want to play from that day forth is an endless stream of other Metroidvanias. It’s rather more likely I’d be looking for something different at that point.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 4 years ago

      Maybe the problem is you’ve got weird buddies? <Just kidding>

        • DoomGuy64
        • 4 years ago

        Everybody’s got a few. Especially if they’re Japanese, Russian, or just plain weird regardless. The internet is a diverse place my friend.

        One example is the game Who’s your Daddy, or Devil Daggers. Yeah. Not my cup of tea.

    • jokinin
    • 4 years ago

    I wish they made steam sales interesting again. Lately there are no big discounts on big titles.

    EDIT : typo

      • EzioAs
      • 4 years ago

      The recent WB sales was very interesting to me. I bought Batman Arkham Knight Premium Edition, Mad Max and Shadow of Mordor GOTY for approximately $16.

        • rahulahl
        • 4 years ago

        I just got the shadow of mordor. But yeah, it was a good sale

      • Ninjitsu
      • 4 years ago

      OTOH, I don’t have to keep checking everyday for a new discount, so it saves a lot of time and effort.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 4 years ago

    Now if only they’d make it optional so I can play games bought from the store of my choice without having to install their store app.

    Hell, I’d even use it for installs if they’d just stop launching it every time I run a game.

      • Pwnstar
      • 4 years ago

      Steam is a form of DRM, so they have to launch it to launch your game. It’s how the whole thing works.

        • DoomGuy64
        • 4 years ago

        It’s also how the community features work. Even GOG has Galaxy now. Steam and Galaxy aren’t DRM per-se, they’re storefronts, updaters, launchers, and social networking.

        DRM is when you want to launch a game and it doesn’t work unless online, or you run out of activations. Basically things that unreasonably restrict the use of your software. Steam by itself is not something that restricts your software use. They sell plenty of DRM free games that do not require steam to run. It’s the publishers who are adding the software restrictions.

          • thor84no
          • 4 years ago

          DRM is far more than what you suggest – it’s basically any digital anti-piracy measure. Steam does provide that, but it’s optional and many games do indeed not use it. Publishers of course are free to use Steam DRM or any other 3rd party DRM.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 4 years ago

      If by “store of my choice” you mean buying games through steam that only plays over other DRM clients, then NO. DRM like that inspires me to purchase through G2A specifically because it hurts the publisher, and has no impact on me other than lower prices. Best DRM protest method ever.

      Playing offline is almost extinct thanks to these DRM obsessed publishers.

      • thor84no
      • 4 years ago

      Many Steam games can be run without running Steam, it’s just a matter of whether or not they’re using the Steamworks DRM functionality.

      • synthtel2
      • 4 years ago

      If the game in question is DRM-free (quite a few are), you can make a shortcut directly to the game executable in Steam’s folder structure and Steam won’t boot when that game is launched (unless that particular game has done something weird, I guess).

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] A "Popular Among Friends" section will let gamers to see what titles their friends have been playing that they don't yet own. [/quote<] This is already there, albeit weirdly hidden in Store -> top menu -> "For You" -> "popular among friends"

    • sweatshopking
    • 4 years ago

    and not a word on steam machines, and nothing expected at the steam dev days event. If I was chuckula i’d go back to find my old posts where I said it was going to fail and so many people said I was high and that microsofts days were numbered in the pc world.

      • sirsoffrito
      • 4 years ago

      Yeah, I never expected steam machines to wash away Microsoft’s hold on PC gaming, but I did expect steam machines to have made a bigger dent in the market. I think it comes down to pricing. No one whose gaming platform of choice is a console will pay $799 for a gaming machine. Anyone who is already a PC gamer has a desktop or laptop and doesn’t need or want another machine. They simply priced themselves out of the market. Steam machines never really seemed polished to me at any rate, particularly not for the prices being charged.

      Combine that with the fact that the vast majority of PC gamers will give up their mouse and keyboard only from their cold, dead fingers, and that the steam controller is kind of a flop. All this adds up to living room gaming outside of the console market being an uphill battle. Something major would have to change, either in the way we interact with devices or the cost of said devices for the market to exist.

        • Platedslicer
        • 4 years ago

        Windows is too comfortable for the vast majority of PC players today (myself included). Considering the huge hassle of installing, setting up, and learning to use another OS, SteamOS will forever stay on the “errr, sure, I’ll think about it” region of the cost-benefit equation until 1) Microsoft makes a cataclysmic screw-up, or 2) something appealing comes out for SteamOS that isn’t available on Windows (say, something with 3 in its name).

        I’d say that the odds of #1 happening are substantially higher than #2, but still very, very low.

          • thor84no
          • 4 years ago

          I do get this mentality, but it’s still sad that the “it’s a huge hassle” myth still exists. People are willing to wait in line for coffee for longer than it takes to install a new OS and already perform myriads of more complicated tasks on a daily basis. There are OS installs that involve selecting install from a boot menu, then pressing the ENTER key a few (5-10 at a guess) times and waiting 10 minutes – the horror.

          It’s more that people don’t want to deal with things looking a little different, having to find out where things are in a slightly different environment, etc. even though that matters even less in this day and age where you barely need to do anything to a newly set up computer unless you’re a picky power-user like myself.

            • sweatshopking
            • 4 years ago

            Or the fact that 90% of applications don’t work, it’s basically cli required when something isn’t right, there is no support or knowledge base locally to solve it, etc.

            • thor84no
            • 4 years ago

            The vast majority of users these days don’t use ANY of those applications. They use browsers, almost exclusively.

            • sweatshopking
            • 4 years ago

            Yeah. Windows Phone took off soooo well because apps don’t matter.

            • Kretschmer
            • 4 years ago

            Your hobby is my “I just want it to work.” Unless I’m given an excellent reason to transition my OS, applications, muscle memory, and knowledge, I’m not going to do so. My current Windows license has been $25/year so far (less as time goes on), which is a few beers every twelve months.

            • thor84no
            • 4 years ago

            It’s not my hobby, it’s in fact what I do all my work on, because it’s a million times better than Windows for it, because it fucking works where Windows is a bastard pain in the arse a million times a day. For my hobby (games), I use Windows, because they have a near monopoly there.

            • Ifalna
            • 4 years ago

            If all it does is “look a little different” then I really fail to see the point to it.

            Why exactly should I waste my time learning to know my way around in another OS, if there are no actual benefits to be had?
            So far, a windows computer does everything the way I want it to.

        • jihadjoe
        • 4 years ago

        SteamOS really had no chance when 99% of games still requires Windows to play.

        “Oh gee I’d like to buy this new box / install this new OS so I can not play 9 out of 10 games in my Steam library”, said no one ever.

          • jihadjoe
          • 4 years ago

          And the same is true on the developer side. Aside from a handful of companies who really believed in ‘nix and had the resources to do so, very few studios will want to spend the time and money to port, test and release their games for a completely different platform to gain less than 1% market share. They could get 10x more than that for less money just doing a good marketing campaign.

          With DX and MS as entrenched as they are, gaming on Linux is really a chicken and egg problem even if Vulcan does end up in a good spot. If Valve really wanted SteamOS to happen they’d have supported developers from the ground up, covering porting costs by offering help and subsidies, the same way Microsoft did in the first place in order to get people to use DX.

          Remember when OpenGL was THE de-facto standard and no one even knew what DX5 or earlier was? The OGL group failed super hard in order to lose that lead.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            Unity and Unreal can bypass a lot of that, and they’re doing a good job at it.

          • thor84no
          • 4 years ago

          I’m actually genuinely impressed with how many of my games do support Linux now (232/774). It’s far from perfect, but I’d never have guessed we’d be here just a few years ago.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            Probably 2/3rds of the stuff I want to play is on Linux and Steam (though I avoid EA and Ubisoft on principle and don’t buy things on release day).

      • Firestarter
      • 4 years ago

      I’m afraid Valve has adopted Google’s product strategy: Throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks. If they’re disappointed at the lack of adoption right now and quit supporting it with the kind of enthusiasm it needs, then the doom of the platform is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        • bfar
        • 4 years ago

        It doesn’t need a big uptake for Steam to prosper though, it just needs to exist. As long as Valve can wave Steam OS under Microsoft’s nose, MS won’t get away with messing things up for them without risking a customer revolt.

          • sweatshopking
          • 4 years ago

          all of Linux is at .83% of steam usage. Steam OS would be a very small fraction of that. it’s entirely irrelevant to everyone, including MS.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            It could get bigger quickly if MS gets too obnoxious about anything. I think that might even be Valve’s main point.

            • Zizy
            • 4 years ago

            Well, they simply hope Vulkan becomes relevant and then adopt any current Linux distro and that’s it. The same safeguard as what SteamOS provides, at way lower cost.

            • sweatshopking
            • 4 years ago

            That’s the same line of thinking which suggested steamos could matter to begin with. It isn’t going to get bigger regardless of what MS does.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            MS hasn’t done anything particularly relevant. It’s not in case of MS doing their usual shenanigans, it’s in case Tim Sweeney turns out to be right.

            MS is very good at annoying people, but they seem to have a pretty good idea of what they can get away with and what they can’t. They’ve avoided crossing any real lines lately (as far as the average joe is concerned), and they certainly weren’t crossing any lines when SteamOS was first released. I didn’t expect Steam machines to take off then and I doubt they will anytime soon, but they don’t have to take off to be helpful to Valve (especially since I doubt Valve dedicates all that much in the way of resources to the whole deal).

            • sweatshopking
            • 4 years ago

            Tim Sweeney is the trump of software development. He makes stuff up, when facts are shown he ignores them and keeps saying the same stuff. Like trump, he doesn’t deserve the attention he receives.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            I agree that Sweeney is a bit out there, but I doubt you and me will ever be able to agree on the likelihood of MS jumping the shark.

            • jihadjoe
            • 4 years ago

            If it was Carmack saying that I’d pay attention. His last keynote at Quakecon was from back in 2013, and if you look at things now (especially VR) it’s uncanny how things turned out almost exactly as he said they would three years ago.

            • jihadjoe
            • 4 years ago

            “72 fps ought to be enough for everybody”

      • GrimDanfango
      • 4 years ago

      Did many people actually claim Valve would succeed with this? All I remember is a lot of people, myself included, desperately *hoping* they would succeed, so our hobby could finally be wrest from Microsoft’s stranglehold.
      I for one didn’t think it was actually *likely*, but even now I still feel like I shouldn’t give up hope. So long as Linux still exists, there’s still a chance things can eventually shift that way. Windows 10 and the future it heralds is just too horrible to simply back down, accept and dutifully allow to be inserted.

        • sweatshopking
        • 4 years ago

        Windows 10 is a perfectly good operating system. You can even disable telemetry should you desire, though it might be more work than you’d like. Otherwise, it’s a damn fine OS. It’s more secure, more robust, more efficient, and more connected than previously. For the majority of people those are pluses. I’m not crazy about privacy concerns either, and i’d like to see more done on that front, but it’s an issue across all operating systems, internet, banks, governments, etc.

        The only success Linux will ever have is through android, and it’s far worse from a security/privacy standpoint than windows.

          • synthtel2
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]it's an issue across all operating systems[/quote<] It isn't on mine, bro. That was a thing Ubuntu screwed up. Ubuntu screws a lot of things up. I resent Ubuntu for screwing that up and giving the rest of Linux a bad name. There are plenty of ways into any OS for someone sufficiently determined, but normal Linux doesn't just hand stuff out. If normal Linux isn't fixing your OS-level privacy problems, you have very much bigger things to worry about.

          • Ninjitsu
          • 4 years ago

          Windows 10 lol. I have to run Age of Empires II HD in admin mode because it prevents an application from writing to their own C:\Program Files folder. (which I have to, because my laptop has a small SSD and E:\ drive is almost out of space).

          A friend of mine got the same problem with TeamSpeak.

          While it’s not bad enough to make me want to switch to SteamOS (I need windows programs anyway, for now), Win 10 is a pretty big annoyance overall. I don’t regret the decision to keep my desktop on Win 7 at all.

            • sweatshopking
            • 4 years ago

            You will next year when you cant play new games. Though you’re still playing aoe 2, so maybe not.

            • Master Kenobi
            • 4 years ago

            Strange. I run Age of Empires II HD through Steam and I don’t need to muck around with the permissions at all. It simply works. I’m also using Windows 10 x64. It kind of sounds like you mucked around with the install, possibly for mods, and caused the issue you describe.

      • chuckula
      • 4 years ago

      Well at least you’re starting to learn.

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