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  1. Today we're introducing a new interactive recommender as one of the experimental features in Steam Labs. Check it out at: https://store.steampowered.com/recommender/ Find the games you'll love on SteamOne of Steam's strengths is its massive catalog of great games from developers large and small, spanning almost every genre. With so much stuff to choose from, we've heard from users that you'd like better tools to help you find games you'll enjoy. While existing store features like tag-based searching can work well, we think we can do better by bringing to bear the power of machine learning to give players personalized recommendations based on their own individual play patterns. Combine that with real-time controls to adjust your results, and the recommender becomes a fun and powerful tool for exploring Steam and connecting you with games you'll love. How it worksUnderlying this new recommender is a neural-network model that is trained to recommend games based on a user's playtime history, along with other salient data. We train the model based on data from many millions of Steam users and many billions of play sessions, giving us robust results that capture the nuances of different play patterns and covers our catalog. The model is parameterized so that we can restrict output to games released within a specified time-window, and can be adjusted to prefer games a higher or lower underlying popularity. These parameters are exposed to the user, allowing you to select whether to see only recent releases in the results, or go all the way back to include games released a decade ago. Similarly, you can choose whether to see mainstream hits, or deep cuts from the catalog. Regardless of the settings of the sliders, the results will always be personalized and relevant to the individual user. Machine learning across the Steam storeUnlike more traditional approaches, we don't explicitly feed our model information about the games. Instead, the model learns about the games for itself during the training process. In fact, the only information about a game that gets explicitly fed into the process is the release date, enabling us to do time-windowing for the release-date slider. It turns out that using release date as part of the model training process yields better quality results than simply applying it as filter on the output. Notably, we do not use information about tags or review scores when creating the model. This means reviews or tags alone simply cannot affect results. The model infers properties of games by learning what users do, not by looking at other extrinsic data. We do allow users to filter the final results by tag, so they can narrow down to the kind of game they're in the mood for at that time, but this isn't part of underlying model. A neural network informed by the Steam Community of playersOne direction is to gather every single piece of information about a game, and then make guesses about what games are similar, and then recommend those “similar” games. But that allows for all sorts of weird distortions— just because you play a lot of Beat Saber, doesn’t mean we should only ever recommend you VR rhythm games. This model takes a different approach. It disregards most of the usual data about a game, like genre or price point. Instead, it looks at what games you play and what games other people play, then makes informed suggestions based on the decisions of other people playing games on Steam. The idea is that if players with broadly similar play habits to you also tend to play another game you haven't tried yet, then that game is likely to be a good recommendation for you. PopularityWe chose “popularity” just because there might not be a more accurate term, but you could also think of it as "mainstream-ness". Just like books or music or movies, there’s a huge range of what people are looking for. One person wants to know the newest and most popular games around, and the next person wants the opposite: games that are interesting and relevant but not necessarily well-known. We think this tool will be helpful to those on both ends of that spectrum. We've found that, especially for people who play a lot of games, digging into the "niche" end of the range can be a very effective way to find hidden gems. Recommendations on SteamRather than introducing a big change to the way customized recommendations are determined on Steam, we’re introducing this new recommender as an experiment customers can seek out and try. This will help us get better usage data while avoiding any sudden shifts that we know can be frustrating for customers and developers who are accustomed to Steam. Should the interactive recommender or related experiments prove useful, we’ll share an update before rolling out any big changes to the way Steam recommends titles to people. The data driving Popular, New, and Trending is different from that of the Discovery Queue, this new recommender, and so on. We view this new interactive recommender as one discovery element among many, and look forward to introducing more ways to connect customers with interesting content and developers. Recommendations and new gamesNew games in a system such as this one have a chicken-and-egg effect known as the "cold start" problem. The model can't recommend games that don't have players yet, because it has no data about them. It can react quite quickly, and when re-trained it picks up on new releases with just a few days of data. That said, it can't fill the role played by the Discovery Queue in surfacing brand new content, and so we view this tool to be additive to existing mechanisms rather than a replacement for them. No need for developer optimization Sometimes, computer-driven discovery makes creators focus on optimizing for "The Algorithm" rather than customers. You might ask, how is this any different? We designed the recommender to be driven by what players do, not by extrinsic elements like tags or reviews. The best way for a developer to optimize for this model is to make a game that people enjoy playing. While it's important to supply users with useful information about your game on its store page, you shouldn't agonize about whether tags or other metadata will affect how a recommendations model sees your game. Let us know what you thinkWe want to hear feedback from both customers and developers, so, check out the The Interactive Recommender and join the discussions to let us know what you think. As we gather data about the recommender's usefulness, we'll share how things are going. Note for developersWe designed the new recommender as a tool for customers to use, and ideally it will also help developers. Developers can see how many page visits the recommender is generating directly in the existing “Traffic Breakdown” page for each game, though note that this experiment might not generate much traffic relative to the rest of Steam. If developers have questions or feedback, you may use the “Support” button at the top of any Steamworks web page to quickly get a hold of us. -The Steam TeamView the full article
  2. Behind the scenes at Steam, we create many experimental features with codenames like The Peabody Recommender and Organize Your Steam Library Using Morse Code. For the first time, we're giving these works-in-progress a home called Steam Labs, where you can interact with them, tell us whether you think they're worth pursuing further, and if so, share your thoughts on how they should evolve. We've selected three initial experiments to share as we launch the Labs. Each of these is designed to help people find the games they'll love. Micro Trailers are lovingly-generated six-second game trailers, arranged on a page so you can digest them all at a glance. Check out our new micro trailer collections for adventure games, RPGs, builders, and more. The Interactive Recommender looks at your top-played games and uses machine learning to recommend other titles it thinks you'll love. Find old classics by directing it toward popular titles released in the past ten years, or discover that diamond-in-the-rough by zeroing in on niche games launched in the past six months. The Automated Show is a half-hour video featuring the latest Steam launches. Leave it on a second monitor while you work, or glue your eyeballs to it and let hundreds of games wash over you. So pop on your lab coat, try the experiments, and then share your feedback to help shape the future of Steam. To follow future news and additions to Steam Labs, join the Steam Labs Community Group, where we'll share announcements and updates. Cheers! -The Steam TeamView the full article
  3. Congratulations to our Day 4 winning teams, Tortoise, Hare and Pig! Today at the Indie Motor Speedway, we have some brief special announcements to make. The Grand Prix Badge is no longer infinitely upgradable. If you've already upgraded your badge beyond level 2000, you are in luck! All upgrades will be honored. Additionally, in an effort to balance team sizes for the event, we are rolling out a new random drop: Switch Teams. Once received, players will find it below the Attack buttons on their dash. Clicking this button will randomly re-assign you to a different team while also granting you 1000 more max points so you can complete quests and claim achievements for your new team. No need to use it, though if you are interested in making a switch you will need to act soon, as this one-time offer will expire within 48 hours of receiving it. Best of luck to each of the drivers and teams, from all of us on the Steam Team, here on Day 5 and throughout the remainder of the Grand Prix! View the full article
  4. Congrats to the winners at Magic Mountain on Day 3, and a special welcome to the podium to Pig... in a Blanket! Corgi would appear to be unstoppable, but the Grand Prix can still be taken by any of the teams. The first few days of the Grand Prix have been dynamic and dramatic, to the point that some of you have started to wonder what's going on under the hood. We want to assure you that we are not manually intervening in the outcome of a given day's race. Each team's progress is fueled by its active number of players and the points and boosts they contribute. Racers, we’ve heard your feedback – you want to race! We have added more ways to participate in the Grand Prix for free. Introducing: Qualifier Tasks. Now in addition to grabbing deals in the Summer Sale, players may join the races for free by first completing one or more of these objectives. Each completed task increases a driver's max points by 500, enabling you to complete Grand Prix Quests and claim Achievements. Also, you know those Achievement points we made you throw away rather than claim? Those are now back in the hopper, ready for claiming. Additionally, whenever you claim Achievement points, any available beyond your current max points will now be saved. You can increase your max points and then return to claim them at any time throughout the Grand Prix races. We've also tried to clarify the team positions with some changes to the track – let us know what you think! Lastly, we've heard you on the Grand Prix Badge. Man that thing is hefty! It is awarding *signficantly* more XP than intended. We'll be fixing this bug soon, lightening the value of the badge. While this may be dissappointing in the short term, we want to respect the value of past and future badges earned and feel this correction is the fairest measure we can take to make things right. If you no longer love your Grand Prix Badge, you will be able to exchange it at the Pit Stop for the number of of tokens you've spent on it. Best of luck to all the teams in the Rainbow Ring during Day 4! View the full article
  5. We're continuing our new monthly series with a look at the top games released on Steam during the month of May. As with last month's post, this list looks at all games released during the month and grabs the top 20 by revenue earned in the first two weeks following release. In this list, there really is something for every kind of player. From narrative single-player games to open world first-person shooters. Deep real-time strategy games to realistic simulation games. Pixely RPGs to Super-high-definition action games. Family-friendly racing games to dark horror experiences. Here is this month's list of top new releases ordered by release date (we've put this list on a handy store page too): Rise of Industry - a single-player, strategic, tycoon game with a living, breathing, and procedurally generated world set in the 1930s. released May 2, 2019. Swag and Sorcery - a very pixely pingle-player RPG, released May 9, 2019 Yakuza Kiwami 2 - a high-def update to the classic story-driven beat 'em up with full controller support, released May 9, 2019 A Plague Tale: Innocence, a single-player story rich adventure with full controller support, released May 14, 2019 RAGE 2- a post-apocalyptic open world shooter, released May 14, 2019 Beat Saber - a VR-only music rhythm game, released on May 21, 2019 after 12 months in Early Access. Team Sonic Racing™ - a cute, fast-paced arcade racing featuring Sonic and friends, released May 21, 2019 BATTALION 1944: a realistic WWII multiplayer shooter, released May 23, 2019. Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - a turn-based empire-building and strategy game with stunning real-time battles, released May 23, 2019. Minion Masters - a free to play fast-paced strategic card game, with 1v1 or 2v2 battles. Transitioned out of Early Access on May 24, 2019. XERA: Survival - a multiplayer open world looter shooter, featuring a global gear stash accessible from any server. Launched in Early access on May 24, 2019 FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S VR: HELP WANTED - a VR-only first-person survival horror game, released May 28, 2019. Layers of Fear 2 - a psychological horror game filled with unique puzzles, released May 28, 2019. SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest - a standalone expansion to the RTS/RPG hit SpellForce 3, released May 28, 2019. Void Bastards - a stylized action strategy game with loot scavenging and full controller support, released May 28, 2019. Assetto Corsa Competizione - the official Blancpain GT Series racing game, rendered with realistic simulation and including official drivers, teams, cars and circuits. Transitioned out of Early Access on May 29, 2019 Conan Unconquered - a real-time survival strategy game set in the world of Conan the Barbarian, released May 29, 2019. Conqueror's Blade - a free to play, medieval multiplayer action strategy game. Transitioned out of Early Access May 30. Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST - a dark, dystopian, multiplayer survival game in which a ruthless hunter tracks and guns down scavengers. Launched in Early Access on May 30, 2019. Warhammer: Chaosbane - a hack-and-slash set in the Warhammer Fantasy world. Features solo, co-op, or multiplayer and full controller support. Released May 31, 2019. The above list is generated by looking at revenue as one measure of popularity. But we know that this measure doesn’t fully capture the popularity of free games that many players may be enjoying but that don’t generate revenue the same way as the kinds of traditional paid games listed above. So this month, we’re also adding a list of the top five free games released in May, measured (and ranked here) by peak player count within the first two weeks following release. Conqueror's Blade - a medieval multiplayer action strategy game. Splitgate: Arena Warfare – a multiplayer first-person-shooter that uses player-controlled portals to create a new dimension of arena combat. Minion Masters - a free to play fast-paced strategic card game, with 1v1 or 2v2 battles. Eden Rising – a solo or multiplayer open-world tower defense game. Never Split the Party – a multiplayer social rogue-like that depends on cooperative adventuring. As we were building the above lists, we got curious about what popular games came out in previous years. So we looked back to a year ago in May 2018, and found the top 5 releases (in order of release date) were Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Conan Exiles, Raft, and DARK SOULS™: REMASTERED. Cheers! -The Steam TeamView the full article
  6. We’ve heard your feedback about the complexity of the Steam Grand Prix event. We designed something pretty complicated with a whole bunch of numbers and rules and recoginze we should’ve been more clear. We want to apologize for the confusion that this has caused, and also apologize for the broken mechanics that have led to an unbalanced event. Based on your feedback, we’ve made some updates to the game, which should make it more fun to play: We've made improvements to the Driver's Dash and Manual, to help clarify how to play. We’ve made some back-end changes to help mitigate some of the snowball effects we’ve seen that have led to Team Corgi running away with the first two days of the races despite their tiny legs. We’ve changed some code to help deal with the imbalanced team sizes across the board. We've added a new random drop drivers can receive upon boosting called STEAL BOOSTS. If another team is way ahead, use this attack against them to help close the gap by stealing their boosts for your own team. To clarify one point: if your team makes it to the podium and you are randomly chosen to win something off your Steam Wishlist, then we’ll grant you the top item. Just move your favorite item to the top of your wishlist and you should be good to go. There's no need to remove other items from your wishlist -- keep them there so you'll be notified when those items release or go on sale. We’re hoping some of these changes will help make the event more clear and enjoyable. We’ll keep an eye on things and continue to adjust the game as needed. Our goal is to host a fun event where you get to explore and use Steam in new and interesting ways, but it’s clear that this time around we could’ve done better. To help make up for all this, for everyone who was active on day 1 we’re going to increase the max points you can earn by 1000, and further increase this by another 1000 for everyone who was active on day 2 (so if you were active on both days, you’ll be able to earn another 2000 points). This will increase the maximum number of points you can earn through completing quests or achievements in your games, which you’ll then be able to spend at the Pit Stop. This will all roll out during today’s race on day 3, at Magic Mountain. Thanks for your patience and best of luck! Sincerely, The Steam Team View the full article
  7. Start your engines, everybody… the Steam Summer Sale has begun! For the next 14 days, enjoy great savings on a huge selection of games and join in the Steam Grand Prix 2019 event until July 7th 10AM PDT. Choose your team from a selection of five fabulous racers: tortoise, hare, cockatiel, pig, and corgi, each with their own unique style of vehicle. Compete with your rival teams to earn points by participating in quests or earning achievements from games in your library. Every day is a new race, and a chance for a new team to win! As a daily reward for burning rubber on the track, contributing racers from teams that come in first, second or third place have a random chance to win a game from your wishlist. For Teams that place in the final, all contributing racers have a chance to win! In addition to helping your team race to the top of the podium, you can swing by the Grand Prix Pit Stop to exchange tokens you earn for rewards such as emoticons, backgrounds and more at the Grand Prix Pit Stop.View the full article
  8. Have you taken the time to blow some dust off your Steam library this weekend? You have two more days to dive in and play some games you haven’t looked at in a while… or at all! While you’re sweeping out the cobwebs, complete those Spring Cleaning tasks and level up your own shiny Spring Cleaning Badge. Want to put a spring in your step by trying something new? Check out the list of games that are available for free for the duration of the event (May 24 10AM - May 28 10AM PDT). Assetto Corsa Black Desert Online Dead By Daylight Don't Starve Together Endless Space 2 Grim Dawn Left 4 Dead 2View the full article
  9. Ahh Spring! Once again, it’s time for new growth, blooming flowers, baby birds and the annual assessment of all of your earthly possessions. This year, why limit yourself to rediscovering beloved items in your physical closets when your Steam library is full of great games that, for whatever reason, you just never got around to playing? Dust off an old favorite, launch a game you haven’t tried before and explore your backlog to unlock and level up this year’s Spring Cleaning Badge. For a breath of fresh air, why not try out something from the list of games available for free for the duration of the event (May 24 10AM - May 28 10AM PDT)? Assetto Corsa Black Desert Online Dead By Daylight Don't Starve Together Endless Space 2 Grim Dawn Left 4 Dead 2 Do some Spring Cleaning this weekend and spark joy in your library and backlog of titles! View the full article
  10. We are continually fascinated by the number of amazing games coming out on Steam each month and how much variety there is in what becomes popular. In any given month, the most popular new releases represent a wide variety of styles, genres, and themes. They may be worldwide hits or they may have a stronger audience only in particular regions. So, we're trying something new with this post by taking a look at the 20 top-selling games released in the month of April. To generate this list, we started by enumerating all the games released between April 1 and April 30. We then looked at revenue earned by each of those games in the first two weeks following that game's release. From that list, we took the top 20 games by revenue to make our final list. Finally, we sorted the 20 games by release date. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, a wacky physics-based tactics game released in Early Access on April 1st, 2019. Appropriate release date for a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, right? SUPER DRAGON BALL HEROES WORLD MISSION, a Tactical-Card game set in the Dragon Ball Heroes universe. Released April 4th, 2019. ISLANDERS, a super chill minimalist strategy game released April 4th, 2019 and already adding new content to the game. MarZ: Tactical Base Defense, a top-down strategy and tactical defense game released April 4th, 2019. Supraland, a first-person adventure puzzle game released April 5th, 2019. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy / 逆転裁判123 成歩堂セレクション, a collection of the first three games in the popular courtroom adventure series, released April 9th, 2019. Vacation Simulator, a quirky VR simulation game from the makers of Job Simulator, released April 9th, 2019. Zanki Zero: Last Beginning, a post-apocalyptic simulation game with a deep narrative and elements of RPG and dungeon crawling, released April 10th, 2019. Pathway, a strategy RPG set in the 1930s great desert. Released April 11th, 2019. Weedcraft Inc, a game about the business of producing, breeding and selling weed in America. Released April 11th, 2019. Staxel, a sandbox farming game for singleplayer or with friends. Exited Early Access on April 11th, 2019. One Finger Death Punch 2, a lighting-fast stickman brawler with cinematic kung-fu moves. Released April 15th, 2019. Forager, a 2D open world crafting and resource management game. Released April 18th, 2019. Pagan Online, a fast-paced hack-and-slash action RPG released in Early Access on April 18th, 2019. Katana ZERO, a stylish neo-noir, action-platformer featuring breakneck action and instant-death combat released April 18th, 2019. Driftland: The Magic Revival, a real-time strategy city builder. Released April 18th, 2019. Paper Dolls Original , a first-person horror adventure game steeped in Eastern culture, released April 19th, 2019. Mortal Kombat 11, you've probably heard of this series before. It's popular and back for it's 11 edition with more detailed fighting action. Released April 23rd, 2019. Imperator: Rome, deep grand strategy game set in Roman times. Released April 25th, 2019. MORDHAU, a multiplayer medieval slasher with horses. This game hovers around the #11 position for most simultaneous players on Steam at any given time. Released April 29th, 2019. And that's the list of the top 20 Steam games released in April. As always, let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions. -The Steam Team View the full article
  11. The new Steam Chat mobile app is a modernized Steam chat experience available for free on iOS and Android platforms. The app includes many key features of the Steam Client desktop chat, including: Friends List - See who’s in game or online at a glance. Never miss an opportunity to play. Rich Chat - Your chats get even better with higher fidelity links, videos, tweets, GIFs, Giphy, Steam emoticons, and more. Invite Links - Add new friends on Steam with a link. Generate an invite link you can text or email. Customizable Notifications - Mobile notifications mean you'll never miss a message or game invite. You can customize your notifications per friend, group chat, and chat channel. Group Chats - Get everyone on the same page. Groups make it easier to do things like stay in touch with your communities and organize game night with your best friends. Try it out nowiOS: get the app on the Apple App Store[itunes.apple.com] Android: get the app on Google Play[play.google.com] We're always interested to hear what you think of our products. If you have suggestions or opinions on the app we want to hear from you. What's next?We’re already working on improvements to the Steam Chat app, including voice chat. With Steam Chat moving to its own dedicated app, the original Steam Mobile app will see significant upgrades focused on account security. Our plans include better Steam Guard options to help securely log into your Steam account, such as QR codes and one-touch login, and improved app navigation. View the full article
  12. In our recent post on User Reviews Revisited we covered our process for identifying off-topic review bombs on games, and how you can decide for yourself whether or not you'd like to see them included in Review Scores throughout the store. Back in 2017, we defined a review bomb as an event where players post a large number of reviews in a very compressed time frame, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game. At the time, we wondered if there'd be "positive review bombs", but there were no examples of one. We decided to wait and see. A few weeks ago, in response to the Notre Dame tragedy, Ubisoft did something great for their fans by making Assassin's Creed: Unity available for free on Uplay, and committing funds towards rebuilding the monument. This led to a significant spike in players of AC: Unity on Steam, and a large number of positive reviews for the game. This led us, and members of the community, to wonder if this was finally a positive review bomb, and whether it should be considered off-topic. Data-wise, it doesn't quite fit the pattern of negative review bombs: in the case of AC:Unity there was a significant increase in actual players alongside the increase in reviews. That isn't necessarily the case with a typical off-topic review bomb (but, to be clear, we have seen some negative review bombs with that characteristic). Without reading the actual reviews, the data here all looks very much like a game that's gone on sale, or received an update. It's seen a spike in players, and as many people have come to realize, there's a fairly good correlation between player count and user reviews - if you get more players, you're going to get more reviews. But we also went and read a large chunk of the reviews. Some reference Notre Dame or the giveaway. But most just look like standard reviews of a new player, or a player that's returning to a product they bought a while ago. Ubisoft has released significant updates to AC:Unity since launch, and it appears that some players who bounced off it at launch have returned, and found themselves enjoying the game more. So it's not clear it's a review bomb. It certainly doesn't fit our original definition in the "aimed at lowering the Review Score" section, but back in 2017 the community's terminology around "review bombs" was also focused only on concerted negative efforts. It'd be nice to change that terminology to something that doesn't imply positive or negative, but that's really up to the community. But moving on. We thought we should still spend some time discussing whether it's off-topic. As a refresher - if we mark it off-topic, the only result will be that the Review Score won't include the reviews over this time period. In this case, the game clearly didn't change (although it does appear to have changed since some of the reviewers last played it). But the context around it has. It's not uncommon for us to see context changes around a game that then result in changes to the game's popularity. But are those games actually better, or worse, after those context changes? Should that be reflected in the Review Score? When thinking about whether it's off-topic, we often ask ourselves if the "general" Steam customer browsing the store would be better served if the Review Scores included the reviews. We don't want players buying games they don't have fun with, because that's not good for any of us in the industry, so we want that Review Score to be as useful as possible. But with that question in mind, it still doesn't seem like there's a single answer to whether context changes should be reflected in the Score. Some context changes are largely divorced from the game itself, such as news about the political convictions of the developer. Important to some customers, for sure, but unlikely to be something we would feel confident should be included by default for all users. But other context changes can be significant predictors of whether or not you'll be happy with your purchase. For instance, news that the live team of a multiplayer online game has been laid off is a context change that seems useful to have reflected in the Review Score for prospective buyers. In this case, the Notre Dame tragedy has made it so that AC:Unity happens to now include the world's best virtual recreation of the undamaged monument. That's a context change that could be increasing the value players are getting from the game, so perhaps the game really is better than it was before? Or maybe that's unrelated, and it's actually players feeling good about Ubisoft's significant donation to rebuilding the monument? Irrespective of the reason, perhaps this is a short-term temporal effect? Should temporal effects even be included in Review Scores? If a game was heavily focused on a time of the year, like Christmas, we suspect we'd see it have Review Score fluctuations around Christmas-time, as more people bought it and thought it was better on average than people who bought it at other times of the year. If visiting the virtual Notre Dame is a reason players have reviewing the game more positively, we'd expect the Review Score to continue to reflect it in the future, albeit at a lower volume. But that's still the case even if it's not the reason - the future Review Score would revert to where it was prior to this event. So, we're not really sure what to do here. It doesn't actually seem to be a review bomb in the way we've previously defined them, but maybe that's just our definition being wrong. But even if we define it as one, we're not sure whether it should be off-topic or not. The overall Review Score would decrease by 1.3% if we marked it, which wouldn't have any significant effect on its visibility in the store (see the FAQ below for more on that). So either way, the game itself wouldn't be affected by our decision. As a result, we've decided we're just going to leave it alone. But hopefully, this post has helped you understand that thinking behind why we've ended up there. If you have any thoughts on how we should approach this case, or similar cases in the future, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below. FAQ Q: Why wouldn't AC:Unity's visibility in the Steam Store be affected by the Review Score change if you marked it off-topic? A: There are a number of places in the Store where we factor in Review Scores when sorting games into lists. Games receive a "boost" based upon which user review bucket they're in (Mixed, Mostly Positive, etc). The actual boost amount is quite small relative to other factors in the Store, and it's essentially the same for all the Mixed or above review buckets. But there's a big boost drop-off as soon as a game drops below Mixed into the negative buckets, which occurs at the point where less than 40% of the user reviews are positive. A Mixed game receives over 500% more boost than a game in Mostly Negative. That might seem scary, but we're still talking about a boost that's small relative to many other store factors, and it's the minority case - 71.7% of titles on the Store are Mixed or above. In the case of AC:Unity, the positive review spike looks significant in the Recent Reviews view, but in the overall Review Score it only shifted from 59.7% up to 61%, both of which are squarely in the Mixed reviews bucket. Q: Why were people buying AC:Unity if it was free on Uplay? A: Any time there's an increase in visibility of a game, we generally see an increase in players and sales. Many of Steam's systems are designed to multiply player interest and activity around a game. Obviously, some players who saw the news might decide to go and buy AC:Unity to explore virtual Paris. But even players who already own AC:Unity may drive further sales, because they may decide to fire up AC:Unity to look at the Notre Dame. Steam will broadcast that activity in the form of toasts, achievements earned, trading cards, and so on, and that increases the visibility of AC:Unity to other players. For example, in the time period since the events in Paris, there's been more than a 500% increase in the number of toasts shown to players telling them that a friend has launched AC:Unity. You might expect that increase in visibility to have resulted in more players going over and picking it up for free on Uplay. It's possible that these are players who simply didn't know they could get it for free, in spite of the most prominent user review on the store page doing its best to let them know that.View the full article
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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