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Steam Discovery Changes Will "Fight Fake Games"

TotalBiscuit and The Jimquisition recently visited Valve to share thoughts with on Steam issues. Valve is continuing with their efforts to improve discovery and to stomp out what they call "fake games." They are looking to rely even more on community efforts to shape up the marketplace, planning a new layer of influencers called Steam Explorers. Kotaku has a summary of points made in case you don't want to sit through the videos, though this means you will miss out on TB's auction calling and Jim's der Führer impression. Here are some of the things they highlight:

  • Valve is about to overhaul Steam in order to ensure that good games are visible and lazily developed games created for the purpose of making a quick buck—which Valve apparently calls “fake games”—sink beneath a sea of algorithms. They’ve already laid the groundwork, which is why they recently announced Steam Direct.
  • The problem with this system, of course, is that it risks burying a handful of good games, as well. To combat this issue, Valve is going to introduce a program called Steam Explorers. Explorers will play through queues of games that haven’t been selling super well. If they dig a game, they can flag it. The more games get flagged, the more the algorithmic gods will smile upon them.
  • Anybody will be able to be an Explorer, much like Steam Curators. They’ll also get their own forum, so they can do things like arrange multiplayer matches in games that nobody else is playing.
  • Speaking of Curators, that system is getting overhauled too. Valve will be adding functionality like embedded videos, top ten lists, and different types of sorting. Developers will also be able to give game keys directly to curators within Steam, as opposed to doing so via email or other means outside Steam (which has led to confusion, attempted fraud, and other issues).
  • Curators will also be given more info about how their curations affect games’ sales, and Valve is considering ways to incentivize Curators to keep at it. Payment might even be an option.
  • Valve admitted that so-called “fake games” make the bulk of their money off Steam trading cards, something that’s been long theorized but never confirmed. As a result, Valve will be changing the trading card system so that doing so is no longer an option.

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