Steam In Psychic Powers Shocker

Steam knows your innermost thoughts. It knows the nasty little images that flit across your mind when you see a bit of ankle. It knows about that unnecessarily rude thing you said in Comments and then tried to edit out. It knows what John Carmack really did to that cat. It even knows what games you want to play. OR DOES IT?

The latest update, if you hadn’t noticed already, adds “Recommended For You” tech-o-cleverness. As the name suggests, it recommends stuff it thinks you might like, based on what you’ve bought and played – and on what your friends own and have jibber-jabbered about. While it’s more fuel to the fire of the ‘Steam eats babies’ crowd , hopefully it’s also a shot in the arm for indie games. A little bit more promotion outside of the news updates and best-seller charts could do a lot of games a lot of good.

So I’m interested in hearing what the service has recommended to you creatures and creaturettes thus far. Surprises, relevant games, totally useless stuff, what? For my part, I’ve had Killing Floor DLC suggested, and a bunch of big hits such as Arkham Asylum and Team Fortress 2, based on my friends lists’ experimentation with pressing the ‘Favourite’ button.

Is indie and/or lesser-known stuff coming up for anyone, or is it Steam mainstays? Genuinely curious as to what the dice are throwing up. I would imagine this will be an evolving service, perhaps ultimately taking Steam closer to an App Store model.


  1. Dean says:

    Isn’t it:

    “Or is it? Or Is It? OR IS IT?”

    Or is it?

  2. Unaco says:

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, with this excellent recommendation… “Literally the worst shooter in existence.”

    • dethtoll says:

      If you think MW2 is the worst shooter in existence then you’ve led a charmed fucking life.

    • Scautura says:

      Well, I have FNV recommended with “It’s good. So buy it. If you want. I dunno I was just testing this ” – it really works well when people put recommendations like that.

  3. SAeN says:

    I’m getting a lot of DLC recommended to me. Also Poker night, which I already bought…

  4. Lewie Procter says:

    I got suggested:
    Clones, Diamond Dan, Planet Busters, ProtoGalaxy and Power of Defense.

    I’ve not heard of any of them before, they are all tagged as “indie”, (and the first 3 as “casual”).

    Edit: Oh, there are 8 more I didn’t see. All indie, and not one I’d heard of before except for puzzle bots (which I already have on Steam).

    Edit2: Perhaps if I log in it will be able to tailor them to me better…

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Actual selection now I have logged in:
      Civ5 DLC, Borderlands DLC, Red Faction: Gorilla, Diamond Dan and Red Faction 2.

      Eh, I’m not bothered about Civ5 or Borderlands DLC, played and loved RFG on the console toy, dunno about Diamond Dan and disliked RF2.

  5. Ironhammers says:

    My wonderfully diverse range of titles on Steam has led to recommendations anywhere from TF2 (which I own, of course) to Diamond Dan and Planet Busters… both of which are of zero interest. Guess that’s what buying everything in the Steam sales does for you, eh?

  6. Flameberge says:

    let’s see…..

    I had the first Red Faction recommended to me… which I don’t want to play. Also, and apparently based on my purchase of Titan Quest: Gold, Red Faction II (?) – which is the big main recommendation as well.

    Why is it recommending rubbish games?

    Aside that, Nation Red – which makes sense, I love Killing Floor and recently bought L4D2.

  7. MrMud says:

    For me it managed to recommend Divinity 2: Ego Draconis after my purchase of Divinity 2: The dragon knight saga, you know the game that contains Ego Draconis and more but costs 10 euro less…
    Great work steam.

    • noobnob says:

      Dragon Knight Saga is under a different publisher, hence the price difference.

  8. Mana_Garmr says:

    The first 5 or 6 games recommended were all based on “your time in Team Fortress 2”. Counter Strike, Day of Defeat, L4D and the like. The last two were VVVVVV and Amnesia, both based on my owning Zeno Clash which I still haven’t got around to playing..

  9. olemars says:

    The “top recommendation” is Red Faction 2. Half of the rest is DLC for Empire: TW. The remainder is Dogfighter, Metro 2033, Bioshock, Nation Red and some other DLC

  10. Meat Circus says:

    Similar to games you play:

    Divinity II
    Bloody Good Time
    Dead Rising 2
    Blade Kitten
    Fallout: New Vegas


    • Eclipse says:

      Bloody Good Time is awesome and Divinity II is good too

    • Nick says:

      New Vegas is good ¬_¬

      And I had fun with Dead Risin 2, but I had never played the original of which it is apparently very very similar.

  11. Drew says:

    So far, the thing seems pretty bad at gauging my overall tastes. It just spits out games that are similar to what I’ve bought most recently, and DLC for game I own. As an engine for telling me what I might like if I previously enjoyed Mass Effect 2, Osmos, Machinarium, AND Left 4 Dead 2, it could use some work.

  12. Saiko Kila says:

    I don’t understand why it lists DLC for Defence Grid – four times. There has to be 12 proposals and they could pull out of their… I mean find only 9, so repeated the last one or what? Also, I’ve got half of the proposed titles already.

    • Wahngrok says:

      There are four mappacks as DLC for Defense Grid. Maybe it was suggesting all of them?

  13. Mark says:

    First game it recommended for me was The Polynomial, which looked so interesting that I bought it. Didn’t expect what I got, but it actually seems like it’ll be a fun time.

  14. Skull says:

    I don’t think this recommendation thingy is really needed. I don’t need Steam to throw out random games at me just because I play games belonging to the same genre. At the moment, it is telling me I would enjoy Black Ops when I have no intreast at all in that game. I think it chose that game because alot of people in my friends list are playing it alot, but that dosn’t mean I will like it. Mark my words, this recommendation system is gonna be as useless as Amazons.

    I also dont have any indie games recomended to me, only the big hitters like Vegas and Bioshock. This is surprising seeing as I play alot of indie games and althogh multiplayer and larger games get more time out of me, that dosnt mean I don’t enjoy indie games any less.

    To imprive this I think Steam needs to integrate some sort of user rating system into their program so it actually knows how much you enjoy a game rather than basing it on how much you have been playing it. I have recived some truely abysmal games from my girlfriend on Steam, but I play them to keep her happy even though despising every minute of it (*ahem* Rainbow Six: Lockdown)

    • Archonsod says:

      There’s the recommendation from friends system. Dunno why they don’t just swipe GG’s user reviews though.

  15. mlaskus says:

    So far none of my friends took the effort to recommend something.
    The automatic recommendations are terrible, I sat for half an hour clicking “Don’t recommend me this game” to sift through all the crap that was showing up, until finally giving up.

    I recommended AI War and VVVVVV so far. I wrote a bit about them myself and linked to Wot I Thinks here. ;)

  16. Osbo says:

    I’m getting indie games on mine quite a bit – In Plain Sight and Lost Horizon in particular.

  17. Linfosoma says:

    I recomended the Riddick game. Assault in Dark Arthena might be rubish, but Escape from Butcher’s Bay is one of the best FPS made. You can jam a screwdiver into someone’s neck, you can’t go wrong with that.

  18. Rond says:

    It gives me DOW:Soulstorm, Disciples 3 and Supreme Commander 2 (probably because I play DOW2), Plain Sight and Nation Red, because I have Dogfighter. Well, this machine kinda works.

    • bob_d says:

      It seems to like to recommend Nation Red and DogFighter, regardless of context. It’s telling me that DogFighter is just like “Garry’s Mod,” due to my recently poking around in that. I fail to see the connection.

  19. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I mostly had recommendations for Empire and Napoleon DLC until I told it to sod off. Now it has taken a shine to suggesting indie and/or zombie-themed games because I played Plants vs Zombies for half an hour two weeks ago, so not terribly useful in the grand scheme of things.

    The friend recommendation thing is quite nice though.

  20. mpk says:

    “Based on your purchase of Grand Theft Auto Classics we recommend Red Faction 1 & 2 and Dogfighter”


    • bob_d says:

      It’s recommending DogFighter at the top, due to it being “Similar to games you play; based on your recent playtime in Garry’s Mod.” It’s also not impressing me with the recommendation system.

  21. Sup says:

    It recomends :

    – “Strong Bad’s cool game for attractive people” “Based on your purchase of Monkey Island 2 SE…”
    – “Amnesia – The Dark Descent”
    – “Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse” (which I already own)
    – some MW2 Mappack
    – And a bunch of other Adventures

  22. Meneth says:

    It apparently thinks I’m a huge fan of zombie games (guess it counts STALKER as a zombie game, or something):
    Nation Red (apparently because I “bought” Alien vs. Predator (I got it with my GPU, and still haven’t played it))
    Dead Rising 2
    Metro 2033
    Burn Zombie Burn
    AI War: Children of Neinzul (didn’t really play AI War much, 8 hours according to Steam)
    Dead Space
    Call of Duty: Black Ops (why is it recommending a game I despise?)
    Delve Deeper
    Resident Evil
    Blaclight: Tango Down (never heard of)
    Ghostbusters: The Video Game
    Bloody Good Time
    Square Logic (never heard of)

    So, at least 5 games featuring zombies…
    Edit: now that I told it to not recommend CoD, it’s recommending Amnesia instead.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I would recommend trying out Aliens vs Predator. It’s not brilliant, but the Predator and Alien campaign are different enough to be worth a play through I think.

    • Jhoosier says:

      I got zombies too: Left4Dead2, Killing Floor & Nation Red (though that was based on my purchase of World of Goo, of all things). STALKER: CoP was at the top, based on me buying Clear Sky. Could do with some tweaking so it recommends games I maybe haven’t heard of, but would be interested in buying. But please, no more zombies.

    • Meneth says:

      @DrGonzo: I’ll probably try it eventually.
      @Jhoosier: Call of Pripyat is great, much better than Clear Sky, so I strongly recommend buying it. Not all that many zombies in CoP, either.

    • Meneth says:

      Hmm… looking closer, all but 3 of the 13 recommendations are because I “bought” Alien vs. Predator.
      All I did was type in the CD-key that was included with my GPU. I haven’t even installed it, though I plan to do so some time.

  23. DarkNoghri says:

    Nation Red, Bloody Good Time, Red Faction Guerrilla (already owned, just not on Steam), Red Faction, Bioshock (already owned), Red Faction 2, SW: Battlefront 2. And a bunch of DLC. And a friend recommending The Polynomial.

    *shrug* I’d rather not see so much of the same series on there (Red Faction, Red Faction!), but it’s not bad. It’s almost all stuff I’m well aware of, which I think defeats the point.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I have three Redfactions too. Maybe that’s a bundle recommendation.

    • Jad says:

      My list is also heavily Red Faction-focused. After that comes the two MW2 mappacks, some Borderlands DLC, Bloody Good Time, Nation Red (more red stuff!), Batman (which I own a physical copy of already), and Defense Grid DLC. Also my topmost game is Supreme Commander DLC, I suppose because I bought the game for a couple of bucks in a recent sale. Still haven’t even played it yet. So not a particularly great list.

      Red Faction!

  24. Atic Atac says:

    They recommended me Spore Galactic Adventures…I removed it from the “recommend me” list. 1 Game later they recommend me ….Spore Galactic Adventures

    Why are you recommending me a game that got 70 on Metacritic steam?

    • Dave says:

      Yes, because clearly 70 is really scraping the barrel. 72, now that’s a one-way ticket to Good Times City™.

    • Oak says:

      A 70 on Metacritic? The horror.

      EDIT: Well done, Dave.

  25. egg says:

    Recommeded Killing Floor for me. Which I don’t really know if it’s that good. Is it?

    It also recommended Metro 2033. B-b-b-b-b-but I just reinstalled Stalker Oblivion Lost with that lovely Complete Mod. Metro 2033 surely can’t be anything anywhere as good as Stalker.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Metro 2033 is not very much like STALKER, but very lovely in its own right and definitely one of my favorites.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The atmosphere is quite Stalker-ish I think, but not the actual game itself. I really enjoyed it. Killing Floor is a co op zombie game. You fight off waves of zombies and level up while you do it. If thats your kinda thing its a brilliant game.

  26. Ed says:

    Recommender algorithms rarely get it right to begin with.

    I guess that their recommendation data is a bit sparsely populated. It will be chock-ful of TF2 data and Codblops variants but after the usual suspects have had associations built for them, any usable contextual data will tail off very quickly.

    Market basket analysis in such a comparatively narrow market very rarely yields the same meaningful data as Amazon or your trip round the supermarket.

  27. westyfield says:

    “Based on your purchase of Empire: Total War, we recommend you cry.”

  28. Slow Dog says:

    “2KSports NBA 2K11” is similar to “F1 2010”.

    Yep. Both strings of letters and numbers.

  29. HexagonalBolts says:

    haha, Moonbase alpha was recommended to me, with the words ‘If you like to very slowly bounce around a depressing grey landscape endlessly searching for a toolshed, so you can then fix something very boring that broke in a very boring way, this is the game for you.’

  30. RobF says:

    I tend to break all these recommendation systems, from LastFM to Genius and now Steam. At least this one isn’t recommending I buy some Paul McCartney though ;)

    So I get:

    Diamond Dan – if it were Dynamite Dan, we’d talk. It’s not, so no thanks.
    The Polynomial – sorry, I like games with my games.
    Clones – oh, what a hideous looking piece of work. I’ll pass on your 2001 shareware graphics, thanks.
    Borderlands DLC – DLC for a game I detest at the most fundamental level. Umm, no.
    Civ V Babylonian pack – Actually, I’ll probably end up picking this up anyway so fair do’s.

    The rest is a load of casual tat that I’d sooner remove limbs than purchase.

    I guess these things just aren’t for me but I took 2 minutes out to recommend everyone buy Windosill whilst I was there ;)

  31. frags says:

    Based on your play time for TF2 and your shameless item trading, Steam recommends Day of Defeat Source.

  32. DrugCrazed says:

    I know Craig got recommended TF2.

    Even though he has a TF2 avatar.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Yeah, I thought it was weird Team Fortress 2 would be suggested when Alec should already own it.

  33. Nero says:

    It’s currently recommending Bloody Good Time and under that Killing Floor DLC, Undergarden, Bit Trip Beat and Nation Red. Steam knows I like indie games :D

  34. LimEJET says:

    I got recommended Nation Red and Foreign Legion: Buckets of Blood… Based on my time in Garry’s Mod. Way to go, Steamworks.

  35. Frosty says:

    Credit where credit is due it’s recommended Amnesia to me, probably due to owning all three Penumbra games though.

  36. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    atm it is mainly recommending bit trip beat and some mini-zombie and puzzle games based on my recent playtime of PvZ and VVVVV(V?), completely ignoring the 12+ hours i poured into Arkham Asylum last week.

    The rest is just what my friends played and what i recently looked at. I know that.

    I find most recommendation services to be underwhelming, even the supposedly most sophisticated (and diverse) service. I use only for my beautiful Lastgraph: link to

    • Thants says:

      I find lastfm does quite a good job.

      Edit: That lastgraph site is very cool, thanks for the link.

  37. Heliosicle says:

    9/10 of my reccomendations I own outside steam, so its reasonably good I guess.

  38. Philip L says:

    It recommended me a lot of games that I instantly removed from it – casual games and some FPS games that I wasn’t at all interested in. Upon seeing VVVVVV I decided to give it a go… and well, I ended up buying it! In finding this little gem I think it has definitely been worth it – without it I would never have given this game a go.

  39. Whiskey Jak says:

    Well to be honest, it changes every time you press the button. I got it all blockbuster RPG’s, sports games, shooters, etc. and also a bunch of indie games like audio surf and and zen bound 2.

  40. Tei says:

    I have recomended GTA4 has “dull and boring”…

    Maybe was not created to spur venon on the games you hate, but I am going to use it that way anyway.

    I think the “recomend pack of games” of GOG is better than this system.

  41. man-eater chimp says:

    I have Football Manager 2011 on my steam.

    So I have recommended to me Fifa Manager 11 (pfff), World Basketball Manager 2010, Championship Manager 2010, Out of the Park Baseball 9 and Left 4 Dead 2.

    Cheers steam.

  42. noobnob says:

    Based on my purchase of the STALKER bundle a couple weeks ago, it recommends me Bioshock. Oh, if only Rapture was a sprawling underwater city that you could actually explore…I already had my eyes on this, but as a linear FPS game.

    As for the other recommendations, they’re all games that I had my eyes on before, but not exactly priorities. Plants vs Zombies, Risen, KOTOR, M&B Warband (have the first M&B game already).

  43. MrTambourineMan says:

    For me it is: Killing Floor DLC, Monkey Island 2 SE, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Big Brain Wolf and Batman AA

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      All 5 of which are recommended due to my purchase of Monkey Island episodes (ALL – including Batman?!?!).

  44. skalpadda says:

    Stalker: Call of Pripyat
    Borderlands DLC
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent
    Plain Sight
    Stalker: Clear Sky
    Bloody Good Time
    Star Wars: Battlefront
    Mount & Blade: Warband
    Fallout 3 DLC

    All in all I think that list is pretty well on the mark for me, a few titles I’ve considered buying but am waiting for sales, and DLC for games I already own. I wonder why Amnesia is there though, no friends have recommended it and I don’t have any other games like it in my Steam list, but it’s on my mental “to buy soon” list, so I guess yes, Steam can read my mind.

    Edit: Oh never mind, it seems Amnesia was recommended due to playing a bunch of Stalker: SoC. Don’t see that they have very much in common except I suppose they’re both.. scary?

  45. Christopher M. says:

    I’ve got pretty much all indies.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the recommendations are weighted by cost somewhat, though.

    • bob_d says:

      It’s recommending all indies to me, except for DLCs for games I already own. This is odd, since most of the games I’ve bought through Steam aren’t indies. There may be a price issue, as not one recommendation is over $10. I don’t know if it recognizes that I only buy deeply discounted games on Steam, or the assumption is that people are more likely to make impulse purchases below a certain amount.

  46. Endo says:

    Yes, it recommends some indie games to me. Jolly Rover and Amnesia (which I was most likely buying anyways)

  47. goatmonkey says:

    It recommends me game I have from retail maybe an option to say owned would be good

    • westyfield says:

      If you hover your mouse over a title a few buttons appear, one is a cross that removes it from your recommendations list.

  48. Òscar says:

    I’ll let you know once it stops recommending me all the obnoxiously pointless Magic DotP deck unlocks.

  49. squareking says:

    Now if only Valve would update Steam with Half Life 3.

  50. Ateius says:

    Well, it recommended a bunch of GTA things (I own a few of the games, that’s fair), the Borderlands DLC (own that game too, another good association) and then … Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dead Rising 2, and Resident Evil 5. “Similar to games I play.”

    Pretty sure I’ve never played anything like any of those three.

    It also tossed in Amnesia and Plain Sight, I’m guessing because I’ve bought other indie titles through Steam.

    Basically … nothing I really want (well, maybe Batman, but I’m sure I can find it cheaper elsewhere). Time to prune the list and see if it learns.