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Valve wants to overhaul discoverability on Steam with machine learning this year

Valve’s year in review offers an insightful snapshot of changes that hit Steam in 2018, and how the company aims to shift the platform in the current year.

Valve’s year in review post roundups nearly every major change the company pushed to Steam in the last calendar year alongside some nifty numbers about the platform’s performance throughout 2018. 

And while game devs will likely find the fact that Steam saw 47 million daily active users in 2018 or averaged 1.6 million new purchasers per month interesting, the goals for 2019 shared at the end of the Steamworks post should be of particular note to those devs thinking about bringing games to Steam in the future.

Valve has outlined eight different features and changes it plans to roll out in 2019, with a major discoverability change leading the pack. The company says it’s working an entirely new recommendation engine to pair Steam users with games that are likely to be of interest to them. The post notes specifically that the new engine will be powered by machine learning, but that the company is also building more broadcasting and curating features to aid with discoverability as well since “algorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution.”

Discoverability has been a hot ticket issue for game developers on Steam in the last few years as the volume of games released on the platform continues to release, and 2018 saw a number of changes (both good and bad) to Steam’s features in that category. Most recently, developers spoke out about an apparent bug (and accompanying intentional change) that shifted the way “More Like This” recommendations worked on Steam.

The 2019 roundup also covers plans to roll Steam Trust out to every developer on the storefront. That would give devs access to the “Trusted Matchmaking” technology Valve uses to power Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a tool that gives developers more information on those playing their multiplayer games to “determine how likely a player is a cheater or not.”

Along with the new recommendation engine, Valve says its official Chinese launch of Steam is coming in 2019, alongside a rework of the entire Steam Client and library based on last year’s Steam Chat changes, a new events system for Steam Communities, expanded Steam TV broadcasting, a new Steam Chat mobile app, and a version of steam built specifically for PC Cafes across the globe. Information on all of those changes (and the rest of Steam’s 2018 in review data) can be found over on Steamworks.

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