Valve is surely feeling a bit frazzled over Epic and Discord’s power plays in the last few months, but you wouldn’t know it from its annual Steam recap this week. While rattling off Steam’s key stats – 90 million monthly active users probably being the most impressive – it also takes a winding tour through the messy history of the platform’s development, from its earliest days through curation, wishlists, chat, moderation, the bug bounty program, and even support. “In 2018 our game review team processed 46,200 review requests, played 11,111 games (or DLC), and examined 17,448 store pages,” Valve says.
But the “2019 and beyond” section might be the most important bit in the whole recap. The company says it’s working on a Steam PC cafe program, mobile chat, better cheat-related matchmaking, expansion for Steam TV, a better events system, and the China launch. Critically, Valve is promising a major library update (holy crap about time right?) and better store discoverability, which has to be the biggest complaint right now.
“We’re working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes. Algorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution, however, so we’re building more broadcasting and curating features and are constantly assessing the overall design of the store.”
Will it be enough to fend off the well-funded upstarts like the Epic Games Store, which just talked Ubisoft into Division 2 exclusivity? Guess we’ll see.