It’s been almost a month since Valve kicked off their Steam Labs project. It must be an odd kind of lab to work in, the rare one that gets consistent funding and the boffins are free to tinker on whatever they want. What they want, it turns out, is to fill their store with even more robots. Getting them into video editing, turn them into curators.
No experiment is one and done. With one project finding success and the other standing a little shaky, Valve are shaking things up in this week’s lab update.
Yesterday’s update drills into two of Steam Labs’ big hitters (Sorry, Micro Trailers, you’ll get your turn). Valve are stubborn enough to leave most things to automation, but even they have to get in and tinker around sometimes.
First up’s the Interactive Recommender, a fancy machine-learning powered curator that spies on your playtime and suggests some games wot you’d like. Valve say their data suggests it’s working well, though they’re not calling the feature finished yet.
“We’ve heard from many of you that the Interactive Recommender is helping you find interesting games, and we also see this reflected in our early data,” Valve’s Christen Coomer explains.
Building on this, you can now tag games for the system to ignore. Y’know, in case you’ve recently been binging, I dunno, horse games, and you can’t bear to look at another equine adventure.
The other experiment on the workdesk, the Automatic Show, isn’t faring so well.
“Episode 1 of the Automatic Show, a half-hour algorithmically-generated video about Steam games, was received by the Community with a more mixed response. While much of the feedback we received has indicated that the show’s utility and format have promise, we did hear from many users that 30 minutes is… a lot of minutes.”
That half-hour slog isn’t going anywhere, but Valve are testing the waters with shorter episodes. Right now they’re putting out a monthly top seller rundown, alongside the new 3-Minute VR Show and Rapid Fire Horror blast.
It’s worth noting that everything here is still largely experimental. Valve end their post with a tease at a fourth experiment heading to Steam Labs in the not-too-distant future.