Valve have been experimenting with new ways to explore Steam games over the past year, with some interesting results. But among all the GIFs, automatic videos, and algorithmic recommendations, they finally a few months ago started testing a more obvious improvement: better categories.
They've now launched onto the live version of Steam, letting you browse games by sub-genre, theme, and how many players they support.
Valve explained the changes in a blog post. "A basic list of genres, while easy to browse, falls a bit short given how diverse the Steam catalog has become. Our new Categories menu helps users quickly discover and dive into the breadth and depth of interesting games on Steam. This menu serves up dozens of new categories of games, which can then be explored further."
This means you can now look at a listing of "Building & Automation" games (a subgenre), of "Sci-fi & Cyberpunk" games (a theme), and of "Local & Party" (a type of "player support"). Each of those has its own landing page on which you can refine your search further using popular tags, or via five tabs: New & Trending, Top Sellers, What's Being Played, Top Rated and Upcoming.
It's basic, obvious stuff, but enormously welcome given how vast Steam's library has become and how genres have diversified since Steam last refreshed them. As much as I like Valve's experiments with game discovery, I still more often than not find the next thing I'm going to play by clicking through its menus and categories manually.
You can start poking around over on the Steam store now.