Two of the most notable gaming reviewers, Jim Sterling & John Bain (better known by his online handle TotalBiscuit), recently paid a visit to Valve offices where they were consulted on the future of Steam, Steam curation, dealing with scam games and upcoming features for the platform.
On the topic of “scam game” studios, developers who pump low-quality content on Steam in large numbers, Jim Sterling has said that he was “pleased with what I (he) heard. Quite pleased indeed” with TotalBiscuit stating that “Scam games days are hopefully numbered”.
Both of the guests seemed satisfied with how the meeting progressed, saying that Valve “really did listen” to what two content creators had to say. What was discussed at Valve’s headquarters is not exactly NDA’d, so you can expect Sterling’s video on the topic today or tomorrow, while TotalBiscuit already released his take which you can check out thoroughly down bellow.
However, in case you don’t have a whole hour to spare for watching the video, here is the summary of the most important bits:
- The main theme of these changes is to make sure good games get attention and bad games become invisible.
- Make curators more useful/make life easier for curators. Valve wants more people to be curators. There may be some kind of leveling system.
- Refine recommendations further by making many more metrics of a game publicly available. Users will be able to see exactly why a game appears. A goal of Valve is for a user to never see a PC game they’re not interested in.
- Steam Explorers: Sign-up program to give exposure to games that deserve it. Users will have their own forum to discuss the games and arrange multiplayer. It will still be required to buy the game but Valve is thinking about giving perks like a once per week no-strings-attached refund for games they are exploring.
- Valve will be giving developers the ability to directly give users games through Steam. Should cut down on people imitating reviewers to get keys to resell.
- Valve wants to use Steam Direct to make sure “Fake Games” can’t make any money. Games like asset flips or trading card milling games, or games that just plain don’t work. Valve will have a set of rules for games on Steam Direct, and games can be removed if a game or the developer is in violation of the rules.
- Steam Support: Over the past few years, Valve has hired two external companies to provide the majority of “front-line support”. There is a division within Valve to deal with cases that the external companies can’t deal with. Valve is looking to further improve it, though they are hoping that by making the Steam store a better place support will be less necessary.
As it is common with Valve, there are no timetables on any of these upcoming changes and some of them might even be changed/scrapped altogether, but nonetheless, it is good to see them making some progress regarding the better quality control on their platform.