How many of you out there actually use Steam’s News feed? Tucked away up there in the top bar, a static churn through anything and everything happening on Steam, stretching back into infinity. Surely there’s a better way to keep tabs on what’s hot – besides, of course, checking up on your favourite bespoke PC gaming website? It seems Steam agrees. The latest experiment out of Steam Labs is the Steam News Hub, a customisable feed that aims to keep you posted on the game updates and events you actually care about.
Steam Labs is Valve’s experimental store workshop, where the boffins at Steam tinker with new ways to get customers looking at games. To date, it’s brought us things like an improved store search and a system that’ll tell you where to start chipping away at your backlog.
But while past experiments have tried to get you to try new (or forgotten) gems, their latest wants to keep you in the know about what you’ve got. The Steam News Hub is pegged as an all-in-one spot for keeping an eye on everything happening to games you care about.
The feed is highly tailorable, letting you flag for sales, in-game events, releases or live-streams across games you own, games you’ve wishlisted, or games Steam reckons you’d be interested in. While it’s currently blank, Steam also plan on promoting upcoming events and posts in the Hub’s “Coming Soon” section, letting you set up email reminders. It’ll soon also feature a front-page overview, collating stories it reckons are most important for you.
You’ll probably need to give it a bit of a tinker, too. By default, the News Hub will show you absolutely everything – even filtering just for games in your library will provide an incomprehensible flood of posts for games you’d forgotten you owned. I wouldn’t say I have the largest Steam collection out there, but I found myself spending a lot of time turning off announcements for free-to-play games I installed for fifteen seconds in 2013.
As a Labs experiment, the Steam News Hub hasn’t quite replaced the old News tab, which is still freely available to browse. It’s a bit more static, but it does the job well enough – moreso, even. Right now, the News Hub doesn’t even promote RPS’ own lovingly hand-written posts in its trawl.
Quite rude, really.