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  1. Some time ago we made some changes to how we presented the User Reviews for games, and their resulting Review Score. We talked about those changes in this blog post. As we describe in that post, we want to ensure that players who've played a game can voice their opinions about why other people should or shouldn't buy the game, and that our summary of those opinions into a single Review Score should represent the likelihood that a future purchaser will be happy with their purchase. Since that post, we've continued to listen to feedback from both players and developers. It's clear to us that players value reviews highly, and want us to ensure they're accurate and trustworthy. Developers understand that they're valuable to players, but want to feel like they're being treated fairly. We've also spent a bunch of time building analysis tools to help us better understand what's happening in the reviews across all titles on Steam. With that feedback and data in hand, we think we're ready to make another change. That change can be described easily: we're going to identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score. But while easy to say, it raises a bunch of questions, so let's dig into the details. First, what do we mean by an off-topic review bomb? As we defined back in our original post, a review bomb is where players post a large number of reviews in a short period of time, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game. We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score. Obviously, there's a grey area here, because there's a wide range of things that players care about. So how will we identify these off-topic review bombs? The first step is a tool we've built that identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible. It doesn't know why a given game is receiving anomalous review activity, and it doesn't even try to figure that out. Instead, it notifies a team of people at Valve, who'll then go and investigate. We've already run our tool across the entire history of reviews on Steam, identifying many reasons why games have seen periods of anomalous review activity, and off-topic review bombs appear to only be a small number of them. Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods. Finally, we've also enabled you to opt out of this entirely, if that's your preference - there's now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can choose to have off-topic review bombs still included in all the Review Scores you see. While we're working on some other features around User Reviews, we thought this one was worth shipping by itself. As always, if you have thoughts or concerns, feel free to voice them in the comments below. Q&A Q: I care about some things that I worry other players don't, like DRM or EULA changes. Review bombs have been about them in the past. Do you consider them unrelated or off-topic? A: We had long debates about these two, and others like them. They're technically not a part of the game, but they are an issue for some players. In the end, we've decided to define them as off-topic review bombs. Our reasoning is that the "general" Steam player doesn't care as much about them, so the Review Score is more accurate if it doesn't contain them. In addition, we believe that players who do care about topics like DRM are often willing to dig a little deeper into games before purchasing - which is why we still keep all the reviews within the review bombs. It only takes a minute to dig into those reviews to see if the issue is something you care about. Q: So if I post a review inside in the period of an off-topic review bomb, my review won't be included in the Review Score? A: Unfortunately, this is correct. We've tested our process of identifying off-topic review bombs on the entire history of reviews on Steam, and in doing so, we've found that while we can look through reviews and community discussions to determine what's behind the review bomb, it isn't feasible for us to read every single review. But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period. View the full article
  2. Over the past week you may have heard about a game called 'Rape Day' coming soon to Steam. Today we've decided not to distribute this game on Steam. Given our previous communication around Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?, we think this decision warrants further explanation. Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary—we simply have to wait and see what comes to us via Steam Direct. We then have to make a judgement call about any risk it puts to Valve, our developer partners, or our customers. After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam. We respect developers’ desire to express themselves, and the purpose of Steam is to help developers find an audience, but this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them do that. View the full article
  3. Спасибо всем, кто голосовал за номинантов премии Steam 2018 и следил за нашей первой трансляцией награждения! Если вы пропустили трансляцию, не беспокойтесь: её можно посмотреть на странице премии, и там же вы найдёте список победителей. Нам приятно было объявить обладателей премии Steam и показать игрокам, как их голоса помогают победившим разработчикам. Надеемся, представление вам понравилось! Напоминаем, что распродажа в честь лунного Нового года в самом разгаре, и там вас ждут скидки на тысячи игр, в том числе на обладателей премии Steam. View the full article
  4. The 2019 Lunar New Year Sale has begun, bringing big savings on thousands of titles across Steam in celebration of the Year of the Pig! During this year's Lunar New Year Sale, players will receive a one-time automatic $5 (or equivalent currency) discount on qualifying purchases over $30 -- this is limited to one cart purchase per account. On top of that, buying games during the sale will earn you tokens that may be redeemed for Steam rewards at the Rewards Booth. You can exchange your tokens for a shiny profile page, emotes, badges, and more instant discount coupons! These tokens will expire once the Lunar New Year Sale ends. For more information about how the Rewards Booth works, check out the FAQ: Rewards Booth FAQ Throughout the 2018 Steam Winter Sale, millions of you cast your votes in the third-annual Steam Awards. The results are in, and on February 8th at 10am Pacific, the winners will be announced via broadcast at https://steam.tv/SteamAwards. This is the first time we've the results of the Steam Awards via broadcast, and the show will include special messages from the winners. Don't forget to tune in!View the full article
  5. We’ve just rolled out an update that makes it easier to find downloadable content for your favorite games. Any game that offers DLC will now have a sortable, featured page of all of its DLC in one place. Furthermore, (and especially for games that have a tons of DLC) we’re providing ways for developers to customize how these pages by creating lists, adding branding and specifying which titles to feature. Here are a few examples: Fantasy Grounds (1,166 DLC), Train Simulator 2019 (586 DLC), Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition (272 DLC), and Rocket League (28 DLC) To find these new pages, visit the store page for any game with DLC and click the new 'View all' button in the DLC area. Let us know if you run into any issues or have feedback on these new pages. -The Steam TeamView the full article
  6. Today is the final day of the 12th annual Steam Winter Sale! Today we're highlighting some of the best and most popular deals from this year's sale, just in case you missed 'em. Today is also the last day to cast your vote in The Steam Awards 2018! We hope you've enjoyed all the surprises we left for you at the Cozy Cottage – they're only small gifts of questionable quality, but we thought it was best to get you practical things you'd actually use -- and you'll be glad to have that Tüthbrush after you've eaten an entire chocolate orange. If, like us, you'll miss the Cozy Cottage when it's gone, we've got one last gift for you – here's where you can download a photo of the Cottage as a desktop wallpaper: Download Steam Winter Sale 2018 Wallpapers Happy New Year! The Steam TeamView the full article
  7. Yesterday we revealed the top-selling and top-played games of 2018 across all of Steam. In building those year-end lists, we also became curious as to which games were most popular with different kinds of controllers. We know from past analysis, that a lot of players on Steam have used a controller of some kind to play a game (36.7 Million players at last count). And we know that not every game works equally as well with each model of controller, so we wanted to put together some guides to help find the games that you might enjoy most with the particular kind of controller that you have. With that in mind, we've put together a set of pages to highlight the most popular games being played with each of the most common controller models: Top Games played with Xbox controllers (including a huge range of 3rd party controllers that are very similar), Top games played with PlayStation controllers, Top games played with Steam Controllers, and finally Top Games Played With Nintendo Switch Pro controllers. Each page is broken down into three sections: Most Popular:Each page starts off highlighting the 50 games most popular with that controller. To build this list, we looked at the number of minutes played in each game with each type of controller. We divided that by the number of days that game was available in 2018 so as to avoid under-counting the popularity of games released in the middle or later half of 2018. What we ended up with was a list of generally popular games that also have really good controller support for each kind of controller. If you are looking for a popular game to play with a controller, these are going to be a great place to start. We found it interesting that many of the most popular games show up as played a lot with all four controller types. This is great and means that those games have excellent support built in for most controllers. Most Unique:The next thing we wanted to know was what particular games had bigger audiences using one controller type versus another controller type. This would indicate that either the game didn't support all controllers equally, or that the game was somehow of greater interest to the demographic of players that own a particular type of controller. So we looked for the set of games that were most uniquely popular among players with one controller type, and came up with a list of the top 15 titles for each. Local Multiplayer:Finally, we thought it would be interesting to highlight the games that we see being played with more than one controller at a time, demonstrating that the game is popular as a local multiplayer game. If you have a couple of controllers and are looking for some split-screen or shared-screen games to play with a friend, these are some rock-solid choices. Check out the full lists here: Xbox Controller Friendly - https://store.steampowered.com/sale/xbox_controller_friendly/ PS Controller Friendly - https://store.steampowered.com/sale/ps_controller_friendly/ Steam Controller Friendly - https://store.steampowered.com/sale/steam_controller_friendly/ Switch Pro Controller Friendly - https://store.steampowered.com/sale/switch_controller_friendly/ Cheers, -The Steam Team PS: If you happen to be one of the roughly 700 people that have figured out how to plug dance pads into your PC and are looking for something to play, our analysis shows that you should probably just play Crypt of the NecroDancer or The Metronomicon.View the full article
  8. Today we're unveiling lists of the top selling and top played games on Steam in 2018! Like last year, we've built five lists - Top Sellers, Top New Releases, Top Selling VR Titles, Top Early Access Grads, and Most Played Games. Top SellersWe started with the basics by looking at overall Top Sellers. This is a list of the games that earned the most revenue in 2018, which includes all different kinds of Steam revenue; game sales, in-game transactions, and DLC. The resulting list includes a mix of free-to-play and premium games. Here's the list of Top Selling Games of 2018! Top New ReleasesThis page highlights the 150 top-selling games released in 2018, split out by their month of release. To build this list, we looked at a combination of first-week revenue and overall revenue in 2018 to create a list of games that had achieved a sizable level of commercial success, regardless of when during the year each title released. We find it pretty interesting how much variation there is from month to month. For example, December is a busy month and a lot of activity to compete with, so it's understandable that it might be a less desirable month to release in. But April only had 5 releases that made our list and July only had 6, whereas February was the busiest month with 22 popular releases. Here's the list of Top Selling New Releases of 2018! Top Selling VR TitlesThis year again saw over 1,000 new releases with Virtual Reality support, with almost all of those (over 900) being VR-only experiences. Top VR sellers included new releases such as Beat Saber, Blade & Sorcery, Budget Cuts, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, plus some of last-year's top hits including Fallout 4 VR and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. There were even some classics appearing in top for the third year in a row, such as RAW DATA and Arizona Sunshine. Our list this year highlights the leading VR titles by sharing the 100 top selling VR titles of 2018, plus a new section on the page for the top 20 VR releases of 2018. Here's the list of Top Selling VR Titles of 2018! Top Early Access GradsThis year's batch of notable titles launching through Steam Early Access includes the hugely popular games Raft and SCUM, and the VR-only experience Beat Saber. Meanwhile many popular titles such as DayZ, The Forest, and RimWorld made their transition from Early Access to full release in 2018. We wanted to recognize the games that have worked hard to build happy communities and make the transition from Early Access to full release this year. So, we've put together a list of the top 50 games that transitioned out of Early Access to full release during 2018, as measured by revenue earned during 2018 (during Early Access and after full release). Here's the list of Top Early Access Grads of 2018! Most Played GamesThe Most Played Games list contains games that had more than 15,000 simultaneous players at some point during the year. To fully recognize the games that have built a significant community and player base, we've excluded a number of games that only had short-term spikes in player count due to running giveaways. Here's the list of Most Played Games of 2018! Notes:We don't disclose specific revenue for the lists, but top sellers are broken into four categories in order to give you an idea of how they placed: Platinum: 1st - 12th Top Seller Gold: 13th - 24th Top Seller Silver: 25th - 40th Top Seller Bronze: 41st - 100th Top Seller Thanks for reading, and for another great year on Steam! We're constantly surprised by the amazing new games that seem to come out of nowhere, delight their audiences and end up on these lists (and in our Steam libraries) by year-end. Also, don't forget to check out the Steam Winter Sale, on now through January 3rd. Many of the titles in the lists above are on great discounts, and these lists are a great way to see which games were resonating the most with players this year. -The Steam TeamView the full article
  9. Happy Day 5 of the Steam Winter Sale! We've got daily surprises for you at Steam's Extremely Cozy Cottage of Surprises, which... sure is taller than it looked at first glance? Weird. Click on a new door each day to reveal unique Steam Community emoticons, wallpapers and DLC from community-favorite Steam games, as well as some nostalgic collectible items of questionable quality from us. Head over to the Cozy Cottage FAQ to learn more about how it all works. The Winter Sale is also a great time to complete your collection - there's a good chance that bundle you've been eyeing is an even better deal! Browse the most popular bundles of 2018 Happy Holidays! The Steam Team View the full article
  10. The 12th annual Steam Winter Sale has arrived! Enjoy great deals on thousands of games throughout Steam from now 'til January 3rd!* This year's sale also includes two special events for players to participate in: A special set of daily free items and voting in the third-annual Steam Awards This year you can vote on all eight categories throughout the sale. We need your help to choose the winners, so check out the nominees and don't forget to vote! Steam Awards winners will be revealed in early February 2019. We've also got daily surprises for you at Steam's Extremely Cozy Cottage of Surprises. Click on a new door each day to reveal unique Steam Community emoticons, wallpapers and DLC from community-favorite Steam games, as well as some nostalgic collectible items of questionable quality from us. Learn more about how it all works here. Wait, how'd we fit so many surprises into such a small and cozy space? Maybe there's more to this cottage... *Discounts end January 3, 2019 at 10am Pacific, unless otherwise indicated. Happy Holidays! The Steam TeamView the full article
  11. The Steam Community has spoken, and we are proud to announce the finalists for The Steam Awards 2018 -- but we still need your help choosing the winners! Voting will open on December 20th, at the start of the 12th annual Steam Winter Sale. Vote in each of our 8 categories to share your top Steam games and developers from 2018 and obtain this year’s set of trading cards. Voting closes January 3rd and winners will be announced early February 2019. Good luck to all of our nominees! Nominees for Game of the Year PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD Kingdom Come: Deliverance HITMAN™ 2 Assassin's Creed Odyssey Nominees for VR Game of the Year The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR VRChat Beat Saber Fallout 4 VR SUPERHOT VR Nominees for Labor of Love Dota 2 GTA V No Man's Sky Path of Exile Stardew Valley Nominees for Best Environment The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt Subnautica Shadow of the Tomb Raider Far Cry 5 DARK SOULS™ III Nominees for Better with Friends Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege PAYDAY 2 Dead by Daylight Overcooked! 2 Nominees for Best Alternate History Wolfeinstein II: The New Colossus Assassin's Creed® Odyssey Hearts of Iron IV Sid Meier's Civilization® VI Fallout 4 Nominees for Most Fun with a Machine Euro Truck Simulator 2 Rocket League NieR:Automata Factorio Space Engineers Nominees for Best Developer CD PROJEKT RED Ubisoft Bethesda Rockstar Games Digital Extremes Ltd. Square Enix Capcom Paradox Interactive BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Klei Notes on Best Developer category:"Best Developer” proved to be a highly-contested category with a lot of close calls among the top nominees. As a result, we expanded the set of nominees to 10. In addition, we’ve excluded ourselves from this category. We appreciate the love you’ve shown us, but we want to honor the other awesome developers on Steam, so we have excluded Valve from the final tally.View the full article
  12. https://youtu.be/9KPdmv4ygqM Welcome to a new era of entertainment. Time to sit down, strap in, and battle other would-be opponents in the greatest orgy of sports and automotive gladiatorial combat in human history. The most deranged vehicles! The most brutal weapons! The biggest crowds! Run your own workshop, craft your own juggernauts of destruction, and track your own carnage-filled career. Live from the Maze Bank Arena, this is Arena War. View the full article
  13. We wanted to give you a heads up about some exciting language options coming to Steam. Starting today, we are adding two new languages (Vietnamese and Latin American Spanish) to the list of 26 languages officially supported by Steam. This means the Steam desktop client, the Steam store, and the Steam Community, are all translated to make it easier for Vietnamese or Latin American Spanish speakers to interact with Steam, find games, and chat with friends. It also means that game developers can now provide translations of their game in those languages through Steam. Why Vietnamese?Vietnamese is the sole national language of the country Vietnam, but is also widely used in other countries, including the United States, Australia, and France. There are over 75 million Vietnamese speakers worldwide. In November of 2017, we added Steam support for the national currency of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Dong, along with a number of payment methods that make it easier for players in Vietnam to make purchases on Steam. While supporting payments methods and currencies is important for making Steam accessible to global audiences, we realized our mistake in not also supporting the national language too so that players can more easily find their way around Steam and be able to get games in their native language, when available. Why Latin American Spanish?In the past, Steam has only supported a single definition of Spanish-language. But our customers and game developers have been reminding us of the stylistic differences among Spanish spoken in different locales, and requested that Steam support that difference. As a result, we now have a definition of both Castilian (European) Spanish and Latin American (LatAm) Spanish, translating the Steam desktop client, store, and community into both variants of Spanish. As a practical example, this is how we already treat Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, where customers can choose one, the other, or both for their language preferences, and game developers can indicate whichever variants their game supports. Changing Your Language Preferences in SteamWhether your native language is Vietnamese, Castilian Spanish, or any of the 26 other languages supported by Steam, you can specify your language preferences in the Steam desktop client by clicking "Steam>settings>interface". Additionally, you can specify more than one language within the Steam store to help you find more games available in languages you may speak. For example, you may want to run Steam in Vietnamese, but you also speak English and want to make sure you can find games that are available with English language audio. You can visit your store preferences to select multiple languages for games that you wish to discover in the Steam store. FAQ for Game DevelopersLanguage support can be pretty important for the enjoyment of games. If you are making a game on Steam, here are some questions we thought you might have and some answers. Of course if you have additional question, please let us know through the Steamworks contact form. Q: What do I need to do if my game already supports Spanish? A: If you want to add another language support option, you can provide Spanish support in both Castilian and Latin American varieties. If you don’t plan to add additional support, that’s OK: Steam will assume that your existing Spanish language content is Castilian and automatically provide that content to customers that have indicated either Castilian or Latin American Spanish. If your existing translation is actually Latin American Spanish, you can update your definition within Steamworks by visiting your app landing page and clicking "Edit Steamworks Settings" and selecting "Depots" from the "SteamPipe" drop-down. For more information on translating your game into different languages, and a list of supported languages, please see https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/localization Q: What if my game doesn’t support Spanish at all? A: That’s okay, and you don’t need to make any changes. But just so you know: nearly 2 million of our 45 million daily active users view the store in Spanish, and platform revenue in Latin America increased 35% over the previous year… so now might be a good time to consider adding support! Q: What’s the difference, anyway? Why does this matter? A: There are some substantial differences in vocabulary and colloquial choices between these two varieties of Spanish. By supporting the difference on the Steam store and UI, we can make it more welcoming and easy to use. By supporting the difference in your game, you can provide the best possible experience to any customers who want to play your game in Spanish. Historically, customer improvements to localization and regional support have helped grow the overall pie of platform opportunity for developers, and we think this will be one more improvement for people who play and make PC games. Q: Do I get any benefit if my game supports additional languages on Steam? A: Definitely! In addition to making your game more accessible to more customers, language preference is one of the things the store takes into account when making recommendations. That means a customer is more likely to see your game in the store if it supports the language preferences the customer selected. For example, Vietnamese is the fifth most spoken language in the United States, at around 1.5 million speakers. Q: Where can I learn more about adding language support? A: We’re so glad you asked! The documentation here provides a rundown on localization, and some best practices and advice. https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/localizationView the full article
  14. Controller compatibility in PC games used to be managed only by the individual game developers, meaning a game supported a predetermined set of hardware and players selected from these prescribed input options. In 2015 we began an experiment to find out what happens when the community is less constrained. We shipped tools that allow Steam users to map controls from various devices (e.g. Steam Controller, PlayStation controllers, Xbox controllers) to any combination of inputs that the title understands (e.g. keyboard keys, mouse movement, controller presses). Additionally, we created a system to share and modify these controller configurations so the best input schemes boil up to the top, allowing the cumulative efforts of the community to benefit us all. These two features, remapping and sharing, served as the foundation of what we now call Steam Input. Three years later, the Steam Input experiment is starting to bear interesting results. By supporting so many controller types we've learned about which controllers are being used on the platform and by accommodating customization we've learned how players prefer to interact with different genres. Today we'll share figures on which controllers have been connected to Steam, how controllers are being used, and what happens when a new controller is released on the platform. We'll also discuss the Steam Controller and how hardware choices set it apart from other controller types. Controllers on SteamThe first thing that jumps out in the data is that a lot of Steam players have a controller. Since 2015, over 30 million players have registered at least one controller and over 15 million of those players have registered more than one. Between accounts with multiple controllers and controllers that have been registered to multiple accounts, we find that a total of 60 million device-account pairs have been connected to Steam. The charts below provide a breakdown by controller type. Console controllers make up the bulk of devices, but the remaining 8% are significant, totaling nearly 5 million controllers. This is a group that consists of Steam Controllers, PC gamepads, Nintendo controllers, and fightsticks (and don't forget the 783 dancepads). This is a large, eclectic set of input devices that, in some cases, take quite a bit of user initiative to even connect to a PC. There is a lot to unpack in these numbers, but by combining this with playtime data we arrive at a few interesting conclusions. Xbox controllers are the most common PC controllerXbox controllers are essentially the default controller for PC games, and this fact is apparent in the controllers stats. Nearly 40 million Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers have been connected to Steam, representing 64% of all controllers. How, exactly, did they become the default? A decade ago, Microsoft made a concerted effort to drive adoption of XInput, the underlying protocol, and that work resulted in widespread support by game developers. Because built-in support is overwhelmingly XInput support, an Xbox controller is a good bet to seamlessly play many different titles. PS4 controllers are surprisingly abundant PlayStation 4 is an extremely popular console with a great controller. The reason we're surprised by 12 million is, historically, the PS4 controller has not been treated like a PC gaming controller. Built-in support is uncommon, so players turn to software that translates their PS4 controller input into Xbox controller input. This has a few drawbacks. For example, a game may prompt you to 'press Y to jump', when, in reality, you should be pressing the triangle button. These mental translations can be a deal-breaker for certain PS4 controller users, and we see evidence that this is occurring in the monthly playtime data. Notice that Xbox One engagement is nearly twice that of the PS4. It's not clear how much of that difference can be explained by the user experience, but it stands to reason that the gap would be smaller if more titles had seamless support. One potential solution is full Steam Input integration on the game side, which includes a feature that enables in-game hints based on controller type. We'll discuss more of these advanced Steam Input features in a later post, for today we'll leave it at: there is a large, untapped, community of PS4 controller users on Steam. The Switch Pro controller is pretty popular for a new deviceThe Switch Pro controller arrived in 2017 and players immediately began attaching them to their PCs. At the time, support was mostly limited to basic Steam Input remapping; meaning the UI did not match the physical device and features like motion control and rumble were not available. In May 2018, a Steam update enabled the full feature set of the device, added matching artwork in the UI, and improved the overall experience. The result was an acceleration in Switch Pro controller registrations, noticeable in the graph below, and a rise to the 7th most popular controller type on Steam. Steam Controllers are played with a diverse set of gamesWith the Steam Controller we set out to make a device compatible with your whole library, including mouse-driven games. The unique combination of trackpad and gyro inputs make for better precision pointing and aiming controls than a typical thumb stick and help bridge the gap between controller and non-controller titles. To date, we have sold 1.3 million Steam Controllers, but it's how they're being used that is most interesting to us. The Steam Controller community plays a more diverse selection of games than other controller types, interacting with nearly twice the total number of titles compared to the next closest device. Additionally, many of these are titles without built-in controller support. We're happy to see our customers engaging with all kinds of games and will continue to improve the Steam Controller experience for our existing and future users. What's Next?Steam has a large and diverse collection of controllers on the platform, a fact that is at odds with the approach of built-in, static controller support. Sure, supporting Xbox controllers will capture 64% of Steam users, but what about the other 22 million devices? What’s more, future controller types may include input modalities that didn’t exist, or weren’t popular, at the time of the game’s release. For example, motion controls are relatively new, but Steam Input has allowed the community to experiment with it in older titles. In several cases they’ve found motion control configurations that they believe are superior to the ones we’ve all been using for years. By supporting over 200 controller models, full Steam Input integration has the additional benefit of creating a uniform experience across devices. And, because it is a part of Steam, future Steam Client updates will extend support to new controllers without any effort from the developer. In a follow-up post we will discuss these features of Steam Input, and others, to demonstrate how they serve the wide-ranging population of controller users on Steam. View the full article
  15. Valve

    Progress Update

    It's been a few months since we talked about how we want to approach shipping games with controversial content. In that blog post we talked about some of the tools we felt we needed to build and we thought it would be good to give you an update on where we are. We've done a number of things since that post, some which may seem unrelated, but if we are going to maintain an open view of what gets onto the Store, then you'll need good tools to find the games you want, as well as avoid the things you don't. The first set of our changes focused on improving how you can find new games. We've added Developer & Publisher homepages so you can easily get from a game you love to others made by the same creators, or follow them if you want to be notified whenever they say or make something. We significantly reworked how our Upcoming Games Lists functioned, so they're much better at showing you upcoming games that you might be interested in, or upcoming extra content for a game you've been playing a bunch. A second set of changes was focused on improving how you can ignore things you're not interested in. In the past you've been able to ignore individual games or product types (like VR, or Early Access) you didn't want to see again. But now we've added ways for you to also easily ignore individual developers, publishers, and curators. We've also improved the game tag filters on your account preferences. Previously, it was a list of 3 game tags that you wanted to see less of. We've now increased the number of tags you can list to 10, and made them into a harder filter - in short, the Store now assumes you want to ignore all the games that feature any of those tags in their most popular tags, instead of just using them as suggestions to our recommendation engine. We did our best to ensure you can safely ignore swaths of games in the store, but still find them if you look directly via the search tool. If the game that we think you're searching for is hidden due to your mature content settings, we identify that and let you know in a safe way. For example, if you have your preferences set to hide mature games with violence, but you search for The Witcher 3, you'll see this: If there are games that your search should contain that you're ignoring for other reasons (due to its developer, or game tags, for instance), we'll still include it in the list, but we'll blur it out and when you hover over it you can see why it is darkened. For example, if you've chosen to ignore games by Valve, and then search for Left 4 Dead, you'll see this: A third set of changes focused on allowing you to have better control over the kinds of mature content you see. So far, the Store has allowed you to filter out games that feature Frequent Violence/Gore or Nudity/Sexual Content. After looking at the mature content in submissions we're receiving, and at some games that are already in the Store, we've added two more options. The first is a general Mature Content filter. We often see developers who tell us their game contains mature content, but not sex or violence, and you can now filter those games out if you wish. The second is an Adults Only filter, which allows you to filter out games that feature explicit sexual content. We're also now requiring developers of games with violent or sexual content to describe the content of their game, and we're using that information to help you decide whether a game is something you're comfortable with. We think the context of how content is presented is important and giving a developer a place to describe and explain what's in their game gives you even more information when browsing and considering a purchase. When you're looking at the store page of a game with mature content, we'll display that developer-written description to you. We're also displaying it on the interstitial page we show you if you ever follow a direct link from outside steam to a game that should be filtered for you: Finally, we've continued our efforts in removing bad actors from the Store. Last year we made changes to Trading Cards to address the ways a small set of developers were producing 'games' that generated revenue without anyone actually buying and playing them. Recently we made more changes to address other ways these bad actors were continuing to do it. We've also permanently banned several developers of games that we felt fit the "straight up trolling" description of games we're not going to allow onto the Store. There's actually a surprisingly small number of individuals behind almost all of these games, and their bans have been a straightforward series of decisions, thus far. You can read more about the shorthand of "straight up trolling," and the process of making those decisions in the Q&A below. With these sets of changes, we hope you have a better sense of how we're approaching building a store that works for all developers and players. There's still plenty of work to do. In our previous post we identified a range of things, from parental controls to tools for developers to manage their communities. In addition, some of the changes described in this post will require more options when we see new kinds of content in game submissions. Going forward, we aim to continue this strategy of shipping features as they're finished, and posting periodic updates as to the nuts and bolts and the thinking behind their development. Q&A Q: What about games that are already in the store that include mature content? A: Every developer will be encouraged to update their game with the customer-facing descriptions outlined above but in most cases Valve moderators will going back through the catalog and making sure games are complying with the new requirements. Q: What do you mean, in practice, when you say you won't ship games that are "outright trolling?" That seems vague. A: It is vague and we'll tell you why. You're a denizen of the internet so you know that trolls come in all forms. On Steam, some are simply trying to rile people up with something we call "a game shaped object" (ie: a crudely made piece of software that technically and just barely passes our bar as a functioning video game but isn't what 99.9% of folks would say is "good"). Some trolls are trying to scam folks out of their Steam inventory items, others are looking for a way to generate a small amount of money off Steam through a series of schemes that revolve around how we let developers use Steam keys. Others are just trying to incite and sow discord. Trolls are figuring out new ways to be loathsome as we write this. But the thing these folks have in common is that they aren't actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone. When a developer's motives aren't that, they're probably a troll. Our review of something that may be "a troll game" is a deep assessment that actually begins with the developer. We investigate who this developer is, what they've done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more. All of this is done to answer the question "who are we partnering with and why do they want to sell this game?" We get as much context around the creation and creator of the game and then make an assessment. A trend we're seeing is that we often ban these people from Steam altogether instead of cherry-picking through their individual game submissions. In the words of someone here in the office: "it really does seem like bad games are made by bad people." This doesn't mean there aren't some crude or lower quality games on Steam, but it does mean we believe the developers behind them aren't out to do anything more than sell a game they hope some folks will want to play. Q: Sometimes I see blurred out games on my Store front page. Why is that? A: There are a number of sections on the front page that we fill with games, and to ensure the servers behind it don't melt down as everyone tries to use it, we do a lot of data caching. This works great for data sets that we can easily pre-compute - so if there's a game you shouldn't see due to your mature content filters, you'll never see it on the front page. But if you've chosen to do some more personal filtering of particular developers, or specific games, we can't do that pre-computation as easily. As a result, it's possible you'll see a blurred out game on the front page because your personal filters should cause it to be hidden. In practice, though, this will only happen if you've filtered out so many games that it can't find enough to fill a section of the front page, and again, like the search results, we'll blur that game out and tell you why. Q: Why do you KEEP asking my damn age throughout the store? A: We're with you on this. Unfortunately, many rating agencies have rules that stipulate that we cannot save your age for longer than a single browsing session. It's frustrating, but know we're filling out those age gates too.View the full article

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