Why does Steam’s front page show you the games it shows? Some of it’s algorithms, obvs, but why those games for you? And what about the rest? If you’ve ever wondered, do watch this twenty-minute video where two fellas from Valve’s Steam team explain it all. It is interesting to see which parts are curated and which are pure datamunching.
Released last month on Valve’s Steamworks Development YouTube channel, the video sees Steam’s Al Farnsworth and Alden Kroll and scroll down through the front page, explaining banners, boxes, and lists as they go. It is aimed at people selling their games on Steam, but it’s friendly enough for the rest of us to understand.
For all Valve have talked about algorithms tracking everything we play, our pals play, and so on, I was surprised by how much they actively curate some parts. The big banners up top, sure, that’s obviously something they pick. But I suppose I’d thought algorithms had taken over more than they have, and I did not realise that Valve still actively approach developers to arrange some of the discounts featured on the front page, such as in ‘Today’s deal!’ boxes.
“Either we are reaching out proactively to game developers and saying ‘Hey it looks like your game would be a good fit for this’,” Kroll said, “and also sometimes reacting to game developers reaching out to us and saying ‘Hey are there different opportunities that my game qualifies for?'”
Do watch the vid for the full rundown of the front page. I learned more than I expected about a page I see multiple times every day.