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Valve wants to make games easier to find with new Steam tagging system
Valve wants to make games easier to find with new Steam tagging system
February 12, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Valve added a tag system to Steam today that allows users to tag any game listed on the service with a short, descriptive snippet of text.

Users can then use those tags to find similarly-themed games, which should improve the discoverability of all games on the service and decrease the odds that smaller titles will get lost in the rapid-fire shuffle of Steam's new release list.

Here's how it works: You can now append descriptive tags to any product listed on Steam, and up to twenty of the most popular tags for any given product will be displayed on its Steam page.

Swear words will be filtered out by Valve, but otherwise it seems like pretty much anything goes. The most popular tags on the Steam page for a game like Starbound, for example, are terms like "indie", "sandbox" and "pixel graphics."

Other users can then click on a tag to see a list of other games that are similarly tagged. Valve also added a new Popular Tags page to Steam that lists the most popular tags across the service, as well as the games that sport them most frequently.

Steam will also automatically suggest other games you might enjoy based on how the games you play currently are tagged, in a "Recommended Tags" list that can be found within Steam's new "For You" recommendations section.

If you don't agree with the tags that are being appended to your own game, well -- tough luck. Valve has not currently publicized any plans to add a system for contesting tags, though the tagging system is still technically in beta testing. That said, the new features are available to every Steam user right now.

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Jort Tubs
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Glad to see this. I'm always annoyed when game sites only allow filtering by little lists of genres like action, adventure, racing, indie, instead of more robust categorization that sites like Netflix and have. Should be neat once people start filling in the data.

Shea Rutsatz
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Thats how I feel on the Play store. It's insane that the only categories are Action, Puzzle, Casual, Casino, Sports, and Racing. So incredibly broad.

Kevin Zhang
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Does this apply to Greenlight as well?

Alan Barton
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I think tags could work for finished games, but you make a good point about things like Greenlight?

Greenlight and Early Access both present the same problem with tags. People will be tagging unfinished games and these tags will live on through the lifespan of the game on Steam. Which means tags about bugs and being unfinished and broken in some way, will forever be associated with the games. That will reduce the likelihood of people trying these games even when they are finished.

That problem implies a need for the old tags to end somehow.

Also Developers are going to want to challenge some tags on their games.

Also some tags will be meaningless after a while.

Plus Developers are going to want to choose their own tags.

Jamie Tucker
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What happens when "Don't Buy This" becomes a popular tag?

Jason Withrow
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Kongregate let people vote only on pre-existing tags from the moment its tag system came out and I think it won't take Valve long to switch...

Katy Smith
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I see "not a game" is already autocompleting.

Michael Ball
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You accept others' right to express an opinion, instead of implying that certain opinions should not be expressed?

Somara Atkinson
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The goal of this feature (as far as I understand) is to improve discoverability by making it easier to find a certain type of game. For example, I enjoy hack n' slashes, so that would be something I search for. "Don't Buy This", "shitty game", "fuck this developer", and other such tags do not contribute to discoverability because nobody would search for those tags. If you really didn't like the game, write a review explaining why. They are just examples of why we can't have nice things.

I am all for people having opinions, but not abusing the tag system because being an adult is just too difficult.

James Yee
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Looking forward to 4x and 4x Space Game and Turn Based showing up in my searches. :)

Kujel s
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I'm not surprised to see people are already abusing this system. It's greenlight all over again, only worse.

Nathan Mates
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Allowing only tags from people who own the game would help fix some drive-by tags.

I think Amazon and Gog have a slightly better approach, where they allow users to create lists of similar items with a theme, and the most popular lists (as measured by end users, not the creator) are shown automatically. Less-popular lists can be dug into.