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Valve's latest Steam Labs experiment is an expansive discoverability overhaul

Valve's latest Steam Labs experiment is an expansive discoverability overhaul

December 10, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

Valve is introducing new ways to browse Steam though a new experimental update that pledges to "increase the surface area" of the digital marketplace. 

The opt-in update is another one of the company's Steam Labs experiments, and will let users sift through the storefront using new entry points like sub-genres, themes, and player modes. 

Explaining the discoverability switch-up, Valve said the new entry points (featured on the revamped 'Categories' menu below) were modeled after the three chief ways players tend to browse Steam, which were identified using a mix of "formal research and intuition."

"It’s not enough to simply offer good games on Steam—we also need to make sure they’re easy to discover. And to do that, we need to organize them in ways that make sense without being overwhelming," explained Valve. "The first step in building such a system is to present meaningful entry points which reflect the various ways people typically want to browse a store full of games.

"This experiment exposes entry points modeled after the three chief ways players tend to browse Steam—by genre, by theme, and by player modes. These player motivations can be organized and expressed using our existing tags and metadata. 

"Categories grouped under the Genres and Themes entry points are defined by tags, whereas categories grouped under Player Modes are defined by metadata provided directly by the developer."

The company is also rolling out other experimental tweaks, such as making its charts accessible from a single 'New & Noteworthy' menu - which will also provide direct access to the biggest events currently running on Steam - and introducing new browse views that direct players to dedicated content hubs for specific genres. 

You can find out more about Steam's experimental new look, and learn more about the Valve's design process, by checking out the full breakdown on Steam Labs.

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