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Steam’s new Discovery update has been released. Valve has promised a number of significant changes with this update, so here’s what you need to know about the most noticeable Steam upgrade in years.
“A smarter storefront, personalized just for you”
You’ll notice one change as soon as you sign into Steam. Immediately at the top of the page is a banner that says “The Steam Discovery Update”, followed by “A Smarter Storefront, Personalized Just For You”.
So that’s the tagline Valve is working with. But what does it actually mean?
This upgrade, to put it simply, is about “discovery”. Steam’s Greenlight program brought legions of indie games to the forefront. Unfortunately, some of these indie games were worth playing, while others were stuck in a perpetual Alpha release state and were simply trying to attract funding.
This, in some people’s opinion, made the Steam store a mess. And with “over 3,700” PC games on Steam, there’s never been more games to discover.
New changes and features
Here’s what you can expect with the new Discovery upgrade:
-You receive personalized game recommendations on your homepage based on your gameplay, “reviews from your favorite community Curators”, and powerful new search and discovery tools
-One “powerful new search” tool is the ability to search for games by tags. You can search for games with Oculus Rift support, or search for games with co-op. This search is based partially on user-assigned tags – something Steam has used for over a year. It’s not a perfect system, but it should vastly improve the way you find new games.
-Many areas of the Steam Store are now totally customizable and Steam will automatically filter out products that you’ve already purchased. You can also permanently remove any titles which you’re not interested in – which will prevent the same annoying game ads from popping up on your main page.
-You can customize your view even further based on the types of products you want to see, including top sellers, early access games, software, DLC for games you already own, and more. Just check the boxes beside the categories you want to see.
-View your “Discovery Queue” to find games that Steam thinks you would like. You can add games to your wish list from your Discovery Queue, “follow” future news about those games, or say you’re “not interested”
-New “Steam Curators” system which lets you follow certain industry journalists and commentators for their recommendations and reviews on recent games. These curators can also setup a list of their recommended games. You don’t have to be a celebrity like TotalBiscuit to be a curator. In fact, Steam wants to encourage everyone to be curators.
After spending 20 minutes with the new store, I like it. Instead of glazing over the same old game thumbnails every day before going to the games tab and opening Civilization V, I find myself actually looking at the front page of the Steam Store to see what’s new and popular.
Ultimately, this is the biggest Steam upgrade since Valve unveiled “Big Picture” mode back in 2012. Since then, Steam and the Steam Store have looked relatively the same.