Steam just made it HARDER to find new releases

In an apparent ongoing battle to hide every unknown new game released on Steam, overnight Valve have updated the Steam store to make it far, far harder to just see a list of new releases on the platform.

As we’ve discussed many times before, as recently as yesterday, unknown games have an incredibly hard time receiving any visibility in Steam’s crazed daily churn of 20 to 30 new releases. Big names, or those that see instant sales, get promoted to the big boxes on the front page, but smaller games are relegated to a hidden list that just became a whole lot more hidden.

Valve’s ardent belief is that customers don’t want to see what’s available, they want algorithms to curate a bespoke store for them, showing only what the maths thinks they’ll like. That’s a system that a) needs a working algorithm, and Steam’s is wonky as all hell, and b) ensures people only ever see more of the same. While I’ve certainly seen games I’m interested in on my Recommended list (amongst its batshit belief that I care about visual novels and sodding H1Z1), it definitely hasn’t listed any of the tiny little games I’ve cared about the most. Games that stand no chance on the store as it is now.

And hell, either way, why not just allow both?

Previously in Steam’s most recent incarnation, if you wanted to know what new games had been released that day, you had to scroll two screens down on the front page to the “Popular New Releases” list. Again, this excluded anything that wasn’t already selling, but there was a tiny text button beneath that said, “See All New Releases”. Click on that, and then check the tick box next to “Games” in the right column to remove the films, apps and mostly DLC that dominate the list (if you think I’m exaggerating, check the screens below), and you would finally get to see that day’s new games. (Until you click on one, click back, and one of Steam’s many bugs would see the list changed to one from days ago.) But now that comparable convenience has been taken into a back alley and kicked to death.

Now the process is this:

Scroll two screens down on the front page to the buried list of Popular New Releases (or guess which of the text links marked “New Releases” is actually real)

Click on “See more: New Releases”

Scroll a full screen down to see a list of “Popular New Releases”

Click the tab for “New Releases”

Scroll down and click on “See more: All New Releases”

Tick the “Games” tab on the right side to remove the DLC, apps, films, etc

And finally you can see what’s there

It’s impossible to know if this recent change is deliberate design to prevent people finding games, inept randomness, contempt, or what, but it utterly beggars belief that an already ghastly design has been made so stunningly worse. This sucks for developers, but it deeply sucks for consumers too – there are great games getting released that you would LOVE to know and pay for, but you just won’t ever hear about them.

Something as simple and obvious as, “Here’s a list of new games released today” should be a whacking great button right on the top of the front of the store, but it’s now buried deep beneath where it was previously already buried, a labyrinthine route to get something so plainly obviously necessary. That they should have gone out of their way to make this so much more difficult is demonstrative that something is deeply wrong with the thinking of how the store works, and increasingly a bad place for developers to release their games when rivals like Itch.io, Humble and GOG do a far fairer job.

Valve, please, for goodness sakes just give us a direct link to the All New Releases from the top of the front page. Give small developers a fighting chance, and keen customers the place to find the games they want.

From this site

161 Comments

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    Android store levels of crap it would seem.

    • syndrome says:

      …then you haven’t seen AppStore… Android is a demarchy compared to that sort of lazy monopolistic sodomy.

      • mouton says:

        And then you have Windows Store, bwahaha.

        • Ryanxcaveman says:

          You guys must not own a Nintendo product, or try to shop on the Nintendo shop, because that platform takes the cake for inconvenience and counter-intuit.

      • spectone says:

        I went looking in the Apple App Store today and could not find anything I wanted. I looked in the role playing section and it was full of simulation games and games with their description all in Chinese which I can’t read. There is no sub category below that. Card, dice and casino games on the other hand get their own section. The whole thing is pathetic.

  2. wu wei says:

    I’ve had to resort to external services like @TodayOnSteam to keep track.

    • Ghostwise says:

      I tend to use IsThereAnyDeal.com for a lot of tracking, though I don’t think it would fit the specific need John’s writing about.

      I’ve also tinkered with skins and some light voodoo to manage my non-Steam games list within Steam, plus heavy use of categories. But it sure feels like I spend a lot of time fighting against the interface to organise my stuff.

      Maybe if there were some sort of library manager that can efficiently, beautifully manage Steam stuff, Uplay stuff, Origin stuff, DOSBox games, little downloads from Itch and elsewhere, etc. …

  3. ButteringSundays says:

    “And finally you can see what’s there” – A bunch of trash that you’re not interested in.

    Due to the increasingly high volume of new releases – that section really provides nothing of any use – it’s too ephemeral, and there’s too much crap being syphoned through it, for it to be of any use to anyone other than game journalists looking for something novel to write about. It’s a videogame firehose.

    In fact it was only a few days ago that I saw people (in the RPS comment section?) discussion how useless the new releases table had become.

    Consider that one of the reasons that Steam would have removed it is that it was wasted real-estate, i.e. people weren’t buying games that were viewing that list. The reason that they believe curated lists are better for the end user (and their own pocket) is probably because *they are*.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, no, because I find all sorts of fantastic games in there. It’s not a good system by a million miles, but it can be done.

      • Deano2099 says:

        I’d genuinely question how much of this whole thing is caused by you having a Steam press account (or at least, an RPS budget to buy these games with), so actually wanting this mode of discovery?

        Very few of us are well off enough to want to regularly browse the Steam new releases and drop ten quid or so a time on trying things that look a little bit interesting (but may be entirely broken). We’re going to wait for people like you to tell us what’s worth playing first.

        And in that sense, you’re probably in a minority wanting a full list view and so it makes some sense to have it a few clicks away.

        I think you’re massively over-estimating how many users want this functionality. Although, y’know, Valve could just do the bit of work to let users configure their homepage to show the views they want…

        • Malarious says:

          There usually aren’t even 20 games released on a given day, sometimes rarely 30, and most of them you can tell are going to be terrible from the name or the mouseover. Then you open up the promising ones in a new tab and flick through the screenshots. I check the new releases every day, because sometimes there are some genuinely fantastic niche games that come out that I’d otherwise never hear about. Anyway, it takes me less than a minute to do at the start of every day while I’m drinking my coffee.

          Sometimes you get lucky and find a gem.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            I used to look at the new releases but swapped to the Discovery Queue a while back. It wouldn’t work for John as I imagine he wants to load the games directly and the queue lists unreleased games but keeping it close to empty I see everything released and can wishlist anything that looks interesting then come back every six months or so when there’s been some reviews.

        • aerozol says:

          I agree, and I think currently RPS wants it both ways, and it’s just not going to happen.
          In fact, I would imagine this change is coming off the back of the gaming community (including RPS) complaining about there being too much shovelware/crap, so they are dissuading people from browsing games by release date and trying to highlight other ways of browsing games.
          You might think “but they should stop allowing crap on there!”, but take a second and think about how you use sites like Bandcamp and Amazon, which have more crap on them than Steam could dream of, but which function perfectly fine. I honestly think gamers expectations will shift before Steam does. I would hate it if Bandcamp started judging music before letting it on there.
          THAT SAID, if the mp3 didn’t even work, I would be pretty mad, so Steam should be doing the bare minimum of quality control/taking down some titles. There’s a middle ground to be found.

        • Beefsurgeon says:

          As a regular consumer, I always browse through the new releases list. I don’t buy an extraordinarily large number of games, but I do find the new releases list to be a useful tool for discovering them.

      • Blastaz says:

        Discoverability is not Steam’s problem it’s the developers.

        If developers aren’t telling anyone they just made a game why do they expect anyone to know?

      • ButteringSundays says:

        Well they probably make decisions based on wider metrics than yourself dear boy.

      • mkreku says:

        Hey, feel free to list all those fantastic games that no-one else than you seem to find! I’m definitely interested!

    • Paj says:

      I agree. These sorts of layout decisions on multi-million selling platforms like Steam aren’t made on a whim. I find it highly unlikely that there isn’t some sort of usability data, derived from experimentation and measurement, to back up their decisions.

      I’m not saying the current implementation of finding the latest releases is the best it could possibly be. But I’d bet there was a clear underlying issue that led to it being removed – maybe a lot of people weren’t using it in the same manner as the author, it wasn’t performing as well as planned, or it was in conflict with some other element or business goal.

      • GrumpyCatFace says:

        Occam’s Razor points to the mega-devs calling up someone at Steam to ‘make sure’ that their many, many, many corp-games are kept ‘available longer to their customer base’.

        ie: SEGA wants Football manager to remain on the front page for eternity. Calls whoever-runs-the-storefront at Valve, takes them out for dinner…

        • draglikepull says:

          Citing Occam’s Razor to support this view is bizarre, since the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is the original explanation (Valve did it because their data says it makes sense).

          But beyond that, the changes they’ve made to the store’s front page have, in my experience, made me see big budget games significantly *less* often. I’m constantly seeing smaller games now that I’ve never heard of, whereas previously I would predominantly see big budget games.

          (In my case this has turned out to be pretty unhelpful, since I’ve never bought a small game I’ve never heard of just because Steam recommended it to me.)

          • April March says:

            Let us remember that Occam’s Razor has been dulled to uselessness on the Internet. Its original concept is not the completely idiotic ‘the simplest explanation is always right’ but ‘when one must choose between several explanations, all of which are equally likely and rely on equally solid evidence, the less hoops each of them needs to jump through to be true the more likely it is to be true’.

            In this particular instance, I’d say Steam’s finest defence comes from a different addage: ‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.’ Or, if I may come up with a more precise version: ‘Never attribute a decision Valve has made as a storefront to a valid internal study; it was probably made on whim by some dude who was wheeling past the servers and you are wasting your time.’

        • ButteringSundays says:

          Less Occam’s razor more conspiritorial slander.

  4. Damn You Socrates says:

    As your screenshot shows – Command Ops 2 came out on Steam today which is very important news!

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      7 pieces of DLC for around £18 a pop for a game released that same day? Nothing screams quality and peace of mind more than a studio that dumps all their shit on the storefront at once instead of trying to hide their nefarious tactics with staggered releases….

      Edit, WHAT!!!
      “Wargames don’t come any smarter or more slacker-friendly than Command Ops 2”
      Rock Paper Shotgun

      I am truly confused now

      • ironman Tetsuo says:

        It’s actual Store page says it was released on 15 Mar, 2015??

        I’m doubly confused. If this is a genuine game with real depth that appeals to a certain market then I apologies but it has so many red flags…

      • alexgem says:

        It’s an extablished wargame with modules/campaigns here sold as DLCs which has finally arrived on Steam. If you are not into wargaming you could never know that so your perplexity is understandable :)

        • Shiloh says:

          OK, I’ve figured out why it won’t run yet – it doesn’t officially release until 10h00 PST.

          Never mind, I can wait.

      • Landiss says:

        It’s their business model. The game engine is free, they sell campaigns/missions. And games in this niche are extremely pricey in general.

    • Shiloh says:

      Yay! Downloading now… I loved Highway to the Reich back in the day. And coincidentally, my wargaming interests are moving back to WW2 Western Front – particularly the Battle of the Bulge.

      So this looks right up my Skyline Drive.

      EDIT: Hmm – it’s missing its executable and won’t run. More work required I think.

    • Winstons says:

      Commands Ops 2 is AMAZING!

  5. Amatyr says:

    So, I don’t actually care how Steam presents itself because I’ll never go and browse on there. New game discovery is via articles on certain websites (such as this one!) and then searching for it on Steam directly. I don’t give a damn what their front page looks like, it’s irrelevant to how I use Steam.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      So you don’t care that Steam’s discovery and curation are terrible, because they’re so terrible that you’ve abandoned the store’s front page in favour of external sites.

      That’s pretty damning feedback for a storefront, don’t you think?

      • Troubletcat says:

        You can’t abandon something you never used to begin with…

        Not a fan of window shopping in real life or online – don’t go to the store unless I know what I’m looking for.

        • Jeroen D Stout says:

          Same here. A larger part of my confusion in this discussion has come from me using Steam (or itch.io, or any of the others) like I use websites to order books (I know what I want, who can sell it to me?), whereas now I realise a lot of people use these websites like shoe stores they physically go to and want to have a good time at.

          • April March says:

            Yeah, that is precisely how I feel. I wonder if it’s an age thing – if anyone who’s had Gamersgate as one of their most used game stores even considered storefront curation to be a thing that’s necessary, or, like, should exist.

      • Amatyr says:

        As Troubletcat said, I never used Steam as a discovery service so I’ve not abandoned it in any way. It’s just irrelevant to how I decide what games I want to keep an eye on and maybe buy. I very much like the wishlist system and being told when something I’ve put on there is discounted, but it’s not Steam’s storefront that gets the games onto that list in the first place.

        • Premium User Badge

          RaveTurned says:

          Fair point, “abandoned” was the wrong word to use here because Steam’s discovery has always been unreliable at best. But you do say that its discovery aspect is irrelevant to you. That’s bad feedback for a storefront generally, and specifically bad for Steam since a large chunk of the features Valve have added over the last few years (curators pages, reviews, the recommendation engine and so on) were introduced to solve exactly this issue.

          To be fair, you did say you’d never browse for new games on there. Maybe you’re an unreachable part of the market as far as those storefront changes are concerned. But the general feedback on the way Valve has implemented these features seems to be either negative or apathetic, indicating their strategy in this area isn’t working as well as it might. I guess only Valve will have the data to know exactly whether these changes are having a positive impact on sales despite people’s reported experience with them, or whether they’re just wasting time and effort.

          • Iamblichos says:

            I am another like the OP… this is irrelevant to me because I don’t use Steam’s recommendations or curation functions, I just search for games based on press/friends. Unlike OP, however, I did try briefly to use Steam for this function and found that it was worse than useless. “Useless” would be to give me standard 10% odds of recommending something I might like… “worse than useless” ended up only recommending things I actively DISliked. The service went the extra mile to make me actively leave, rather than just drift away.

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorLag says:

        Find me a storefront where this isn’t the case. Managing a storefront with basically public access and thousands upon thousands of titles vying for recognition is no mean feat.

    • phlebas says:

      If your new game discovery is via sites such as this one, surely it is in your interest for new games to be discoverable by the people who create those sites?

      • DuncUK says:

        Absolutely, this was my reaction when I read yesterdays and todays articles. It read like John telling us the problems developers and reviewers have, but not so much us gamers. There are far more games out there that I would probably enjoy and that do get widespread press attention than I possibly have the time to play. I don’t care that much that I might be missing out on some undiscovered gems. Like others here, I have never expected Steam to be anything more than a flat list of games I can buy.

        The sheer quantity of games getting released is not yet creating a problem that hurts gamers per se, unless you’re obsessed with playing the absolute best games that appeal to your own personal tastes. I am not. I can see why this would be infuriating for reviewers and developers, however.

  6. tranchera says:

    I just want a way to filter out anything with the tags “visual novel”, “anime” or “VR” from showing up in the popular new releases. I can’t put into words how little I care about any of those games.

    • Nevertheless says:

      Oh so true!

    • Rock1m1 says:

      Simply filter out the tags ‘Visual Novel’ and ‘VR’ from your store preference.

    • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

      There is actually a way to do this, but it’s laborious and esoteric: after the fifth or sixth time I clicked on the “not interested” button on random hentai games, Steam itself asked me: “Hey, you seem uninterested in games marked with these tags. Would you like us to hide them from your recommendations?”

      Now, one of those tags was “indie”, for some arcane reason (I could deselect individual tags), and anime games still pop up in my home page occasionally, and I had to actively mark games I didn’t care about, buuuuut maybe it kinda works?

      EDIT: OR, you could be a smart human being like Rock1m1 and do what he says.

  7. Nevertheless says:

    You could just click on the looking glass next to “Search the Store” on the Store-Page, then make your OS- and item-type selections and sort by release-date.

    • Nevertheless says:

      What I’d really like additionally is the sort option “availlable on selected platform since”, because games that were ported to your platform show in the list with their original release date. So if you for example browse for new games on Linux on February 9th, you won’t find Civ6 in the list, although it was released for Linux that day. Civ6 is on page 13., because the Windows version was released October 2016. It’s impossible to find all new games for Linux or Mac because of this.

  8. Ich Will says:

    Featured and Recommended:

    Construction Simulator Gold Edition.
    Recommended because you played games tagged with: Multi Player, Open World

    —–

    The last multiplayer game I played for multiplayer was Diablo 2. For about a year after launch.

    The only open world games I enjoy are Bethesda’s.

    The last game with “simulator” in the title I have played was the Sims. 1.

    Your algorithm really needs work steam.

    • April March says:

      I remember shortly after the tags were implemented, I took a look at the list of tags Steam considered I liked. It was correct, insomuch as I would be correct if I tried to guess what your perfect romantic partner was like and guessed “A carbon-based, oxygen-breathing sentient entity”. Absolutely every one of the tags were completely generic stuff, like “One Player”, “Shooter” and “Open World”.

      Except for the last one, that actually was a non-generic tag that might make me interested in a game.

      “Trains”

      • Ich Will says:

        Ha, at least you got one! Mine are all generic, and quite often tags that would put me off, like “open world” or “crafting” – I notice it’s referencing “games you have played”, not “games you have liked” – yes, I played your open world survival crafting game, but I gave it a poor review. Stop showing me more!

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    > a) needs a working algorithm, and Steam’s is wonky as all hell, and b) ensures people only ever see more of the same.

    It seems to somehow think I’m interested in moe faces and anime tits, no matter how many times I try to tell Steam I strongly dislike everything anime related.

    Plus as always, these algorithms that the tech companies seem to think are objective and impartial are instantly being gamed by spammers and actual online nazis.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Plus Steam’s algorithm is just badly designed from the start.

      I can’t tell you how much I love the line “This product is in your discovery queue because it is popular.” That’s the exact opposite of what discovery means!

    • Iamblichos says:

      Well, in all fairness, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find games that DON’T use moe faces and giant anime tits.

  10. Rock1m1 says:

    You can simply browse by release date. Click search with a blank term once. Then on the next page simply sort by release and checkmark ‘games’. Very easy and fast.

    • John Walker says:

      Hardly good enough!

      • MercurialJack says:

        I dunno, John. That was four mouse clicks. That was pretty quick. Certainly a lot quicker than the laborious method you listed in the original article.

      • RaoulDuke says:

        Here is a direct link to the new releases search page + games filter, now you never need to go through that again, is that good enough for you?

        link to store.steampowered.com

      • BlueTemplar says:

        I would like to bring to your attention that by the method that you’ve described in this article :
        link to store.steampowered.com
        you’re FILTERING OUT some of the newly released games (using the filter “popularnew”), which filters out some of the new releases according to rules that only Valve knows about.
        (A filter that I assume could be reverse-engineered, but I don’t want to bother with that, especially when Valve could change it the next day.)
        You can compare it with the games with the filter removed, that many people already linked in these comments, but I’m going to link again for the sake of completeness :
        link to store.steampowered.com
        (For instance it filters out the game The Albatross and The Artist.)
        Now, maybe these games aren’t popular enough to be worth featuring in the “popularnew” list but this is especially ironic considering that you complain in the article about not being able to find out new, unknown games!

        This is just another example of the power that “the algorithms” now have in our daily lives, and how the lack of awareness of their inner workings (or even and especially when exactly they affect us) might be problematic :
        link to boingboing.net

    • Joshua says:

      Or click on Games in the top menu bar on the main page, scroll to the bottom of the resulting very short) page of recommended and popular new releases and click on Browse All New Releases. Just two clicks, since the “games” checkbox is ticked by default, and hardly any scrolling. I get that he wants a giant button at the top of the main page to get to the list, but it’s not exactly a hardship to click a couple times instead of just once.
      Maybe a customizable front page is the solution. Let people select and rearrange different sections, like with profile pages except not locking the ability to add new ones behind Steam levels).

      • ooshp says:

        Customisable front page? Are you mad?

        Next someone will be asking for a client that actually works properly on a touch screen.

  11. Marclev says:

    They’ve been waging a war on just letting you see a list of new releases for ages, I remember years ago the homepage showed you a list of new releases by default, and then one update suddenly came that hid that away in favour of feature space.

    It’s clear that for whatever reason they just hate showing you just what’s been released in the last few days.

    The only thing I can guess is that you have to pay them to get a higher ranking in the “recommendations” and they want to push companies in this direction with the threat of obscurity as no-one will ever see their games without a serious investment into marketing that small indies just won’t be able to afford.

    • John Walker says:

      A developer/publisher can leap in to tell me I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s no system in place for paying for this. Obviously the background takeovers will be sold space, but spaces in the boxes seem to be earned by sales, and thus are self-perpetuating (and in turn, exclusionary).

      • padger says:

        It’s based on sales, particularly the first few weeks of sales. Steam’s system promotes anything that has done well to begin with, so that it continues to do well throughout its lifetime.

      • EsKa says:

        You’re right, you can’t buy those spots.

        The only additional “visibility” we can get is through major updates. Those appear in the “Recently Updated” front page list. There’s a limited amount of times this can be used (major devs can ask for more). Sadly it will only be shown to people who already own your game and people who have it in their wishlist, so it’s basically next to useless.

  12. vgp says:

    IT’s not working on the client but for those who browse games on internet, the use of “enhanced steam” makes it a lot easier.

  13. ColonelFlanders says:

    Steam: A DigiDis platform run by people who don’t have a fucking clue how to run one.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ericusson says:

      Rrriiiiggghhtttt.
      Probably why they became the leading platform on the market.

      Though i had the same idiotic thoughts as a teen probably.

      • April March says:

        Well, until very recently the single most profitable work of entertainment on the planet was Run Forward For A Long Time And Watch Landmarks Collapse And Shoot People If You Want To Obligatory Multiplayer Update Year 5, so I think it’s completely valid to call out something even if it’s an industry leader.

        There were no one doing what Steam was doing when it began, so of course it grew until it was pretty much the size of its market. Now that it’s the leader, inertia takes it a very long way. Especially because most people have their game libraries in there, and except for a few dozen games on GOG Connect you can’t migrate your games away from it.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          “There were no one doing what Steam was doing when it began”
          If by that you mean “selling third-party games”, then it’s actually not true. GamersGate, Direct2Drive, Impulse are (were) all examples of competition, some of these doing this before Steam.

          But of course what allowed Steam to dominate is that they’ve been doing the distribution and patching of Valve’s own (very popular!) games.

  14. thenevernow says:

    Guys, I think you should worry less about these issues. We all just won’t rely on Steam to find games; there are many other ways, including your own website.
    Amazon offers the most crippled browse AND search experience I have seen in e-commerce in the last 10 years and it’s still… kinda successful.

    • Thankmar says:

      Heh, I’m very bad at noticing bad usability, but with the Amazon page there was a slow but strong process of realization how utterly convoluted their store is, and everybody seems to be fine with it. I guess it has something to do with getting resistant because of years of exposure.

      • Optimaximal says:

        Amazon has been impossible to ‘browse’ for years.

        You need to go in there knowing what you want, searching for it specifically then hoping few enough results are returned that you can make an educated decision.

        It’s made a little easier if you’re a Prime customer because you can kill a lot of the crap by having it Fulfilled by Amazon or sold by Amazon directly (at least you know the product will be what it is and will arrive quickly with a good returns process).

        Even going to a category like ‘PC & Video Games’ is a minefield of shit.

        Steam is very close to being this very thing, but *just* for PC games.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      Ain’t that the truth. I need new computing hardware, I search for what I want on NewEgg, then check Amazon for the same product to compare price. I usually end up buying from NewEgg anyway.

      Here’s a thought: Maybe there’s a market for all these “A toddler could write a better recommendation system!” types here to go ahead and put their money where their mouth is? That is, create a third party service that does the recommendations and monetize it some how.

      • April March says:

        My Netflix recommendations are much better than Steam’s, even though my usage of the former is probably a single-digit percentage of the latter.

        It’s not that good discovery algorithms don’t exist, it’s just that Steam doesn’t have them. (Though Netflix’ are proprietary, so perhaps there is a way for a coder to become rich by creating one they can lease to companies.)

        I didn’t know Amazon’s were so bad. My recommendations are awful but that’s because 60% of the time I’m on Amazon I came from the Worst Things For Sale blog.

  15. Stevostin says:

    I am having a hard time to understand what significantly changed in your description of the before/after user’s story, but more importantly, I have no clue at all why it matters ?

    My implicit belief is that any game worth its salt will be discussed here. Then I’ll search it on steam if I want to buy it. Am I wrong? Should I stop reading RPS and scroll down for “new titles”, the one without user’s review, and try them all?

    Is John being terribly out of touch about what the vast majority of steam’s users need (ie certainly not finding out about “new releases”)and very unaware about why he and his colleague (as journalists) indeed have a role in the ecosystem, or am I missing something?

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      They might have a role in the function of the ecosystem yes, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t afraid to admit it; however, no one should be expecting RPS to be the cornerstone of videogames discovery – they are at most ten people, and Steam sees dozens of releases a day.

      Besides here’s the important bit. Valve take THIRTY FUCKING PERCENT of people’s money when they sell games on there, they should bloody well do something to make that a fair price, other than simply the wonderous prestige that comes with selling your games on the platform. Right now their system is bullshit, since those AAA companies with marketing nouse can easily afford the 30% cut, since their games will sell like hot cakes, and they’ll make a shit hot profit regardless. However that prestige factor is not good enough for indies who get to watch their titles disappear into the mire.

      • -Spooky- says:

        Check UPlay Steam via UPlay Store via [insert your fav. digital store here]

      • Apocalypse says:

        The New Release tab is basically worthless, because a dozen new games without context are apparently even to much to cover for 10 guys who’s job it is to actually cover good or heavily market games.

        What good it does me to see 119 bad new releases and one great new one each month when I have little indicators on first glance which game is the good one out of the sea of stinkers.

        Furthermore steam can in this regard only do so much, because they are the market dominate platform, they basically have to accept everyone onto the platform and they want to accept everyone on the platform and make it open, which means as well they should not curate their catalog based on personal preferences. Algorithm for sorting are fine, even when the steam one is deeply flawed on fundamental level and the discovery function lacks the option to mark games as already owned, which makes the platform and the algorithm basing its suggestions from a projection on the wall without perspective onto the real word, focused only into the microcosmos of steam instead all of gaming.

        Anyway: link to store.steampowered.com

      • Creeping Death says:

        “Besides here’s the important bit. Valve take THIRTY FUCKING PERCENT ”

        Considerably lower than other publishers. Some of which can take as much as 50-60% of a sale.

        • ColonelFlanders says:

          Not an appropriate comparison, since Valve aren’t a publisher, they are a storefront. So Valve take 30%, the publisher takes 60% of the remaining 70%, leaving the actual people making the game to scratch up the remaining 28(ish)%.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      So, unless there’s a shill or developer posting about these new games how would somebody find out about a game to start that conversation?

  16. -Spooky- says:

    Another good reason, why i´ve my steam wishlist. Noticed on sales and new releases.

  17. MOKKA says:

    Itch.io by the way also has a very hidden “New Releases” list, but I don’t see any complaints about that. Probably because no one uses it, since the number of daily releases there is even higher than on Steam and therefore even more useless.

    Developers also don’t care about it, because they try to refer people directly to their pages, instead of hoping that someone accidentally stumbles over it.

    I don’t know, it seems to me that having a prominent new releases list isn’t very helpful, when you have to deal with dozens of new releases every single day.

    • leafo says:

      To be fair, we don’t actually try to hide it. Click games, then click “Recently added,” located with the same visibility next to “Top Sellers” and “Top rated.” We could probably do a better job about making these sorting options more in your face.

      I do agree though that the usefulness of our recently added page is pretty low given that we get 100+ games published day. As a temporary solution I’ve been trying to get developers to post link to itch.io to give developers who want to put in a little more effort with their release extra eyes

  18. CMaster says:

    I can’t ever imagine myself wanting to see such a thing.
    There are thousands of games on Steam, many of which I would probably enjoy.

    How recently they were released seems unlikely to be a factor in which ones I’d like or not.

    (I appreciate as a games journalist it might be useful, but that’s a fairly niche requirement, surely?)

    I still think Valve should go full on with a solution that Gabe hinted at ages ago – demote Steam to the platform, and make an API for building stores. Let the likes of RockPaperShotgun host the stores (and get a cut), while Valve delivers the payment processing, delivery, and social aspects. The stores could create as much or as little as they see fit, and appeal to their audience in that way.

    • tranchera says:

      How recently it was released not having an impact on whether or not you enjoy it is fine, but that’s not why people look for newly released games. I’m more likely to find a good game that I’ve not heard of if I look in there, as opposed to searching by metacritic rating and seeing a bunch of games I’ve already played.

      I want to see what’s new because I know I haven’t played what’s new, and the likelihood I’ve heard of something new and good is lower than hearing about something old and good.

      • CMaster says:

        If the release rate was around 1 pr day or less, I could get that. But as it’s more like 30-40 per day, I’m not sure I agree. All I’m going to get looking at newest releases is the scattershot that came out right now, and will be different by the time I refresh. Categories, tags, anything else is likely to be more useful.

    • John Walker says:

      The issue is, you have to sell immediately after release to stand any chance of making it into Steam’s featured boxes before it’s too late.

      • RobF says:

        This is (thankfully) now no longer the case since Discovery 2.0. At least on Steam’s side of things.

        There’s *a lot* of slots now and a lot of different ways to get featured. Just being new is the least of them and the most short lived.

  19. Thankmar says:

    It seems Steam just adapts the movie blockbuster marketing procedure: create enough hype around something (feature it) so many people beside the ones who watch it anyway just want to check it out to see what the fuss is all about. The time you find out its not worth it, you already paid and contributed with money and attention to the hype. If the movie is actually good or not just does not matter.

    Of course this is not new; maybe one has to see Steam is now not acting as a mere store any more, but like a publisher for games that are not their own, because they are generating (more) revenue for them.

  20. Ninja Dodo says:

    “amongst its batshit belief that I care about visual novels and sodding H1Z1”

    You insist on being infuriated by the Steam store while refusing to use the options that do the things you want, such as negative filtering… If you bothered to use it you would be able to exclude visual novels in your preferences.

    Also, why browse ALL NEW RELEASES, then complain it contains everything?

    You could just browse by tag since that also includes new releases and is filtered (per your customizable preferences) to exclude exactly the noise (software, dlc, whatever tags you dislike) that you’re complaining about.

    • Ghostwise says:

      I find excluding by tag to be unreliable, and I would imagine a game journalist would avoid it even harder.

      Tags aren’t reliable, tags aren’t defined, tags presumably aren’t monitored. Having something of interest filtered out because somebody slapped the wrong tag on it is bad.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m complaining that it’s hidden, not that it contains everything. That it then floods the list with DLC makes it more annoying to use, so I mentioned the step to filter that out.

  21. hughie522 says:

    Argh, that bites. Damn you, Valve!

  22. Nackertash says:

    When you actually go there and see Cat Survival you start to understand why they want to bury this screen.

  23. aircool says:

    I never really understood the whole ‘if you like this, you’ll also like this extremely similar item’ way of pushing products because, in all likelihood, you’re aware of similar items and have already decided which one you’re going to purchase.

    I first noticed this a looooong time ago when targeted internet advertising was first becoming popular. I’d searched for a pair of Levi Corderoy jeans (they’re both smart and casual) and bought a pair. For months thereafter, every webpage had adverts for jeans and corderoy trousers. What was the point?

    Same with Amazon etc… suggesting items that you’ve already looked at. Don’t recommend items I’ve already looked at because if they were what I wanted, I would have already bought them.

    I appear to have got a little sidetracked, but I believe I’ve made a valid point; automatic recommendations should highlight items you may be interested in but are unlikely to have viewed. They should make you aware of products that you may be interested in, rather than what alternatives are available.

    • aerozol says:

      A lot of mathematicians and programmers are working hard on this problem as we speak, and it’s still unsolved.
      There are a lot of interesting articles about stuff like how Spotify has 3 songs to try to get a new user – they specify the first song, the second song can be something ‘obvious’/related, but people generally want something surprising for song number three! Which is where it gets tricky, you don’t really have any data points, and they want something that they’ll love, but that they wouldn’t have picked themselves (because why would they need a program to do that for them?). At that stage you basically pray the first song has had enough people listen to it so that you have some data as to if most of those people also liked that third song you gave them, or skipped it. If not? Start digging into automatically generated bpm/mood/genre data points and… do your best. It’s not going to be pretty.
      With games you can’t analyze them automatically for something like bpm, so it makes perfect sense for me that it’s using stuff like other games in your library (which may not be representative, because of bundles), genres you’ve recently played (which is extremely broad) and what’s popular.
      I’m not saying they couldn’t do better, but the solution isn’t exactly easy or straighforward! I’ll be curious to see what they do in the next few years.

  24. Shadrach says:

    You *don’t* like visual novels with cute anime girls John? But but but, visual novels are the epitome of Indie Games!

  25. Kimau says:

    You could just bookmark the link: New Releases

  26. liamdawe says:

    Actually it’s really darn simple, as I pointed out here. It requires two clicks. Greetings from GOL :)

  27. cardigait says:

    A cheap fast way i use to avoid this and go straight to new releases:
    1) click on the box on top right to search something, type something that won’t show many titles (x es. dung)
    2) on the result select sort by new release, select only games, remove the search term from the box;
    3) Voila

  28. Iskandar says:

    This argument is crap. Yes, Stem’s algorithms are useless. But then again, it really isn’t Steam’s job to promote games. Steam is a store, and you shouldn’t be relying on a store to do your advertising. You want to get your game noticed? You go to a site like this one and/or you find people on Twitch or YT to play your game and you can gain exposure that pales well beyond anything Steam could ever do.

    I don’t care how amazing Steam’s presentation of new releases get, I’m simply never going to use it. I *can’t*. I buy 2 games a month, barring the occasional bundle. I simply do not have the time to do the research to become an informed consumer of the 500 or so games released a month. Steam simply can’t pare that down without knowing my exact tastes, and even if it did occasionally something out of my usual will grab my attention. However, I have a selection YTers and Twitch streamers I like and trust and sites like this that expose me to, oh, 3 or 4 games a day, and do so in an engaging enough manner that it is easy to pick out games I might like. There is no way for Steam to match that.

    • Sagiri says:

      Steam clearly sees it as it’s job to promote games, seeing as essentially all of the changes have been built with that in mind, while the actual “store” part (put something in your cart, and checkout) is virtually unchanged.

      Also, where do you think reviews or streams or YouTube videos come from? They don’t appear out of the ether. *Someone* has to find the games initially, and a big reason that Steam is so popular is because of how easy it is (well, how easy it’s supposed to be) for an indie developer to get their game into the hands of players, whether or not said dev has an advertising budget.

      The harder it is to find new, good games, the fewer new, good games will be fount. It’s tautological.

    • iucounu says:

      I’m not really sure that’s how stores work, either bricks-and-mortar or online. Stores are clearly merchandised in complex ways to promote certain products. If you go to a physical bookstore, it isn’t just a massive pile of books: you get charts, and special offer tables, and displays of all kinds, just as you would find on Amazon.

  29. EternalPioneer says:

    Only problem Steam has that you should be writing about is lacking of ability to hide VR games!!

    otherwise not sure what the problem is! i successfully check out ALL new releases every day, easy and fast.

    i just go to steam homepage, click on the “magnifying glass” next to “search the store”.

    then i click “sort by” and select “release date”.

    then in “show selected types” i select “Games”

    there you go, every single game released in chronological order!!

    it is so easy and logical, takes no more than 5 seconds to do!!

    i do not understand this article, is everyone just dumb or what?? 😂

    • neofit says:

      Speaking of dumb, don’t you realize that one single large button at the top with “All New Releases”, what this whole article is about, would be more “easy and logical”?

      • EternalPioneer says:

        it would ofc, just like “hide VR games” button would be!! it would be more convenient!!

        but the problem presented here is not big problem at all!!

        And the “Now the process is this:” method is just laughable!!

    • EternalPioneer says:

      actually after read this article one more time, i laugh xD

      seriously, ur method is so complicated for no reason Mr. Walker

      my method is easy, fast and logical, available for everyone to do.. next time do a bit more research before making these dramatic articles about non-issues!!

      i not want to be mean but u must feel a bit dumb right now xD

      As i sayed earlier, write how VR games cannot be filtered out, that is real issue!!

  30. neofit says:

    They should add a permanent exclude filter with “Hide games under $”, and “unless there is a sale on” and voilà,90% of the clutter gone.

  31. gbrading says:

    These days I find the best way to track new games I might like on Steam is seeing what my friends have added to their wishlists. I often find they’ve added a game I might like.

  32. MonkeyJug says:

    Alternatively, you could simply just click on ‘New Releases’, which is cunningly located at the fifth word down, on the left-hand side of the screen!

    • Creeping Death says:

      I’m guessing you havent actually used that link? Or perhaps you simply enjoy going through 11 individual store pages in a queue.

      • MonkeyJug says:

        Use it every single day and every time I click it, it takes me straight to the store page of the latest steam release. Then every subsequent click ‘Next’ on my queue takes me to the next newest release.

        People just need to learn how the queue works. If there haven’t been any games released since the last time I clicked it, then it just shows my backlog of games I haven’t yet viewed (in the order they were submitted into Steam).

        You should try it, as should the OP.

  33. nottorp says:

    I haven’t bought a game based on finding it through the steam store front since they introduced the ‘recommended for you’ crap. Besides it being generally useless, it’s doubly useless when I also buy games that my daughter likes (and I don’t). The only way to get noticed as a new game developer is to create buzz on gaming sites.

    Incidentally, RPS, can you make it so that when I log in to comment i don’t go to my profile page, but to the page I was on and planning to comment on?

  34. DanMan says:

    You’re blowing this way out of proportion. TBH, I don’t even care about the list you’re after, because 80% of it is usually crap anyway. So I’ve stopped looking at them, and much prefer “popular new releases”. Saves me time.

  35. Leafcutter says:

    Perhaps Alec could use his time better spent giving us a run down of all the ‘worth checking out’ games in a list each week rather than the complete waste of time, although occasionally amusing ‘top ten on steam’. That article serves no purpose at all. Someone at RPS at least could re-utilise this effort by providing a more useful article such as the one I’ve suggested.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I agree. Something similar to PCgamer’s “games you probably missed this week” articles.

    • Penguinho says:

      Oh come on. It’s pretty important that we continue to be dismissive about games that sell well.

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      I would love a feature like this, and I’m sure many other people would as well. Sometimes I miss a WIT because I can’t check the site that much, and much later realize something I’m interested in had already been covered.

    • April March says:

      Like most things that I don’t like in RPS (or, like, in life) I tend to ignore the top ten. But one day I tried to see what RPS had written on Dead by Daylight, and because its tag brings up every top ten article in which said game was featured I couldn’t see if RPS had ever written anything about it. So I’ll echo that sentiment: do away with the top ten, since it’s mostly Alec complaining anyway and while that’s amusing that’s what Twitter is for.

  36. Merry says:

    The direct, one-click way is to set a browser bookmark to

    http://store.steampowered.com/search/?sort_by=Released_DESC&category1=998&os=win

    That is also likely to remain functional despite any changes that Steam make to their storefront layout

  37. Premium User Badge

    goodpoints says:

    Commands Ops 2 deserves to take up a lot more than a page of New Releases

  38. Pixieking says:

    No?

    Scroll Down about 2 screens, until you hit the header “Browse Steam” (Just under “Your Discovery Queue”). You’ll see a Tab called “New Releases”. Click that.

    Scroll halfway down that page, click “New Releases”. Scroll to the bottom, hit “All New Releases”

    People are so used to doing it the old way, they ignore the new row of tabs, one of which goes to a New Releases page.

  39. AbyssUK says:

    All the complaining about how games get lost from smaller devs… how did they sell before steam?… if steam wasn’t there wouldn’t they be in even bigger trouble lost in the sea of new created web pages on Google ?

  40. Brian Rubin says:

    Well this site just became a lot more useful.

    What’s On Steam

    Thanks for this article!

    • MonkeyJug says:

      I prefer this one:

      link to steamdb.info

    • Baines says:

      What’s On Steam makes me feel a bit sad, as simply scrolling down has caused me to click through to the store pages for several games.

      Why does that make me feel sad? Because I know that Steam itself would have done nothing to generate that interest, and I wonder how much other stuff I’ve missed. (Even with a functional “New Arrivals” list, Steam’s banner/title/price format doesn’t “sell” an unknown game to me the way What’s On Steam does.)

      • Ich Will says:

        Just had the exact same thing, clicked on the link and immediately found two games I’m interested in, despite having just been browsing the steam store page for half an hour or so and finding nothing!

  41. Viral Frog says:

    This changes nothing for me. How do I find new releases, you ask? Search the tag I’m interested in (Roguelike, Platformer, Puzzle etc.) then sort by Release Date, filter to only display games. Boom.

    As I said on the article that was posted yesterday, this is an absolute non-issue. Valve will not fix their awful algorithms, so complaining is doing you nothing but wasting time. DIY game finding is so simple, there’s really no legitimate reason to complain.

  42. gnalvl says:

    Despite Steam’s library of games more than doubling in 2015 and 2016, I don’t actually feel like my user experience has changed in the last two years.

    I don’t expect the Steam frontpage to psychically feed me games I’ll love. Occasionally something on the frontpage will catch my eye, but otherwise I search via the tag system for genres I actually like. When I drill things down I really don’t find that millions of new games are burying everything else… particularly since I avoid genres like zombie shooters, survival sandbox, and minecraft clones.

    I feel like if you’re buying a lot of terrible games, it’s your own fault for throwing money at Steam indiscriminately. In my experience, when games are slapped together in a totally unprofessional manner, you can tell from a mile away because it LOOKS terrible.

    My only complaint is that almost every video in the Steam carousels consists of only 10 seconds of gameplay footage sprinkled through 3-5 minutes of splash screens, cut scenes, and promo text. Consequently, you have to copy and paste the title of every game into a youtube search to get any honest idea of how the game plays.

    Ideally, Valve would mandate that you HAVE to include at least one unadultered gameplay video as the first item in every store listing, but I would settle for Steam having an auto-generated “search gameplay footage on youtube” button on every store page that saves you the trouble of manually opening a new tab and copy/pasting.

    On the whole, this isn’t any worse than buying games before Steam. Merely walking into Gamestop unprepared did not result in awesome games jumping off the shelf at me. Any time I bought a game without researching it online first, I usually came away dissapointed, because most AAA games were/are polished turds.

  43. PancreaticDefect says:

    This kind of thing is why I seek out a key for the games I want, usually through Amazon or from a retail copy, and just plug it into my Steam account. That way I get to avoid digging through that landfill to find what I want.

  44. tslog says:

    Valve is attempting to match my revulsion for Gamespots war against new games.

    Valve is turning out to be a disaster for small to mid sized developers. Remember previously when smaller devs only a few years ago were saying loudly for its game sales that its ‘ Steam or Death’.

    Well, now it’s ‘Steam is Death.’

  45. Brained says:

    Hey, just giving my two cents as an indie dev who’s released a few games on steam.

    Let’s say a game of mine makes £2000 on its first day, in what would be represented as a massive spike on a graph. Those sales are purely from being discovered in the new games list. After that 1 or 2 days in the first page or two of the new games list, sales go waaaay down to about £50 a day.

    Without an easily accessible new games list, the self publishing element of Steam becomes non existent unless you already have a big following, and it’s back to the old ways of needing a publisher or having nothing.

    I really don’t know how I would have survived without the new games list.

    • trjp says:

      I get the impression that sales from the ‘New Releases’ page have been a thing of the past for a while now – other developers I’ve spoken-to have long-since given-up on a Steam launch being hugely fruitful.

      and that’s maybe by-design – real stores don’t do free promotion for things and I guess Steam is no different?

      • Brained says:

        I guess there was only so long the new games list would be relevant as the amount of games released increases by the day. There was a significant decline in first day sales and clickthroughs on a game I released last year, compared to one I released two years ago. It’s inevitable, I think a new structure will arise, maybe something like curators but curators with a vested interest in the games they promote.

    • rochrist says:

      Fortunately, there IS an easily accessed list of new releases.

  46. try2bcool69 says:

    I don’t find it to be any more difficult to get to, and in fact there are several other ways to get to them, scattered around the page.
    I’m beginning to realize that you are just lazy AF.

  47. MadTinkerer says:

    I believe the main reason they are doing this is to try to dam the flow of crap from Greenlight. The problem is that games like Bloody Boobs manage to make it onto the Popular New Releases list out of sheer audacity, so making the All New Releases list harder to find isn’t even 100% working.

    This is the sort of thing that can’t really be fixed with algorithms, because algorithms have been in charge of Greenlight almost the whole time.

    I’m not worried about it right now, though. I gave up on the All New Releases list not because of shovelware but because there were too many good (or at least adequate) small Indie games coming out every week. I just don’t have the time to go gem-hunting right now.

  48. Caiman says:

    I use Enhanced Steam, which is useful in that you can filter out tags you’re not interested in. This alone means I get rid of a lot of crap (although I’d love to be able to also filter out VR games, which usually don’t get that user tag). It’s not perfect, but setting up all your tags and bookmarking the page is far more functional that using the Steam store.

    To be honest, most of my new game discoveries come from friends, looking at their activity feeds, reading forums for recommendations etc. I rarely browse the store anymore, fed up of seeing the same crap being recommended to me (“Yes, I know you’re not interested in all these visual novels, but I think you might like this one!”).

  49. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    This is why I’ve started to shop around a bit. GoG and Humble are both actively promoting new indie games and some of them look excellent. Steam is still my primary store choice, but it’s losing it’s edge.

  50. rochrist says:

    Anyone who has used Steam for more than five minutes who wasn’t aware of the All New Releases link probably shouldn’t be allowed out without a minder. Seriously, find something worth complaining about or STFU.

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