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It is 2012. It is no longer OK to lack content subtraction filters.

Whether you believe a Steam Greenlight fee is fair or not, there is an underlying problem.

Andre La Barre, Blogger

September 6, 2012

2 Min Read

I get simulator sickness.  I enjoy action games, but I avoid most first-person cameras like the plague.  My primary gaming device is my PC and my primary source of software is Steam.  Unfortunately, Steam's search does not allow results to be filtered out.  Part of this might be related to what attributes Steam keeps track of.  However, a search for "action -rpg" returns a list of action rpgs.  Set intersections are recognized, but not subtractions.

Recently, Steam Greenlight spent a decent portion of its (now edited) about page inviting unfinished projects to the service.  After they were submitted, a sticky forum post revealed that the category intended to hold such offerings had not materialized.  Eventually, Valve decided to implement a submission fee to halt a tide of questionable projects in general.

Unfortunately, a fee is not a solution.  No, this isn't sour grapes.  Sadly, I don't have a project ready for submission and I blame nobody but myself.  If I didn't believe the fee was an inappropriate hack, I'd simply try to pay when I'm ready.  It's already on my wishlist.

Instead, I'm speaking as a user who has made a minor observation:  Steam has a data management problem.  The search options just aren't there.  Even if the fee forces the rate of submissions to slow, the quantity of content will continue to grow.  Even if old users hide games from their view, new users won't be able to venture outside their queues (seriously?) without getting spammed.  The data will still be there and the searches will still be required.  The narrowness of the filter should be far more important than the size of the catalog.

What seems damning is that there are technological solutions.  For instance, subtractive filters can be implemented and more attributes can be tagged.  The store could have benefited from this, but the issue has become even more apparent with crowd curation.

Apologists can argue about investment in projects all they want.  The point is moot.  When a popular service fails to anticipate a surplus of replies to their marketed invitation, I'm not so sure it's the seriousness of those replying which should be called into question.

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