Valve "Steam Labs" To Open Experimental Features To Public Testing

Joanna Estrada
July 12, 2019

"This experiment is a fancier version of the Twitter bot of the same name". Apparently Valve likes those accounts too, because as part of a set of experimental new Steam features called Steam Labs, it took the idea and ran with it: "Micro Trailers are six-second looping videos created to quickly inform viewers about titles on Steam with a presentation that's easy to skim".

You don't need to register for the program, and there's no wait-list or closed beta. According to Valve, the goal of this experiment is to "quickly inform" viewers what a game might feel like to play with minimal effort.

There are three experiments to have a play with, Micro Trailers, Interactive Recommender and Automatic Show. This could help indie developers that struggle to stand out based on their titles or images alone.

The second experiment has been dubbed the "Interactive Recommender".

The Interactive Recommender - This experiment looks at your top-played games and uses machine learning to recommend other titles you might enjoy.

There's a slider to weigh recommendations by popularity, and another slider that works on age, going from released in the last six months up to ten years. In theory, the tool should make it far easier to find hidden gems. The company does seem to be warming to the idea of being a little more open about what it is working on, such a the development of the Knuckles (now called Valve Index) controllers. Micro Trailers is pretty self-explanatory and will show you short six-second clips of games on the Steam Store, while the Automatic Show compiles a bunch of trailers from Steam's most popular games and shows them to you in one oversized, 25-minute sizzle trailer. (We had nothing to do with the PC Gamer curator page being featured on the Steam Labs page, but hey, cool). As such, feel free to test them out, but don't get too attached to any single feature.

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