Imagine walking into a library dense with book-lined shelves and realizing that not a single book is marked with a Dewey Decimal sticker. We give Steam a lot of love for its sales, but Valve has taken the same “Valve time” approach to updating Steam that it has to releasing third parts of its games. Now, finally, Valve is giving Steam an overhaul that will update the look and offer some new functionality.
A Fresh Look
The most immediately obvious part of the update is the new look. Depending on where you stand it might be too new or not new enough. The Steam menu elements at the top of the application are identical to the current Steam look. The left-hand menu looks largely the same, albeit a bit more compact and streamlined.
The primary browsing window, however, takes inspiration from Steam’s big picture mode and some more modern storefronts like those of GOG Galaxy and the Epic Games Store. The “shelf” style layout elevates things like friend activity and newly-updated games, along with whatever you might currently be playing.
Wait, Come Back
In addition to surfacing friend activity, Steam wants you to know what’s happening in your games. The client will showcase new game updates, such as the update or in-game events, though Valve says that it doesn’t want to do that at the expense of showing you your own games—the ones you already know you like. For these, Valve is working on developer tools that will help the people who make games get the word out to people who play them.
Steam has been due for a fresh coat of paint for a while, so we’re glad to see Valve finally giving it some attention with this update. We’re hoping they’ll go further, pushing for some new features and better curation. This storefront is where all our games are, so it would be nice to see Valve giving it some real attention.
If you want a peek at the new Steam, you don’t have to wait long. Valve is putting the new Steam up on public beta on September 17th.