Steam's latest Labs experiment focuses again on discoverability

Steam's latest Labs experiment focuses again on discoverability

Valve has rolled out a new round of experimental features to Steam Labs and is once again trying to solve discoverability issues on the platform.

In a post on Steam, the company introduced some new offerings, including a "New & Noteworthy" menu, which highlights what's, well, "new and popular" on the platform. This also will showcase any events or sales that are taking place on Steam.

Then there's "Categories", which is a new menu that allows users to quickly lookup games on the storefront via specific criteria. There are 63 different categories, including 48 genres, eight themes such as "Female Protagonist" and "LGBTQ+", seven "Social and Players" categories, like whether a game is single-player, features co-op or multiplayer. Finally, there's 12 "special sections," which lets users look at games in categories like Early Access, demos and VR.

"With this experiment, we aim to increase the surface area of the store by introducing a broader set of ways to browse Steam’s catalog of games from the outset—no login or complex searching required," Valve wrote. "Our new views provide greater exposure to the breadth of games available on Steam through new useful points of entry such as sub-genres, themes, and player modes."

Valve launched Steam Labs in July 2019. Its first round of experimental features were focused on discoverability and were introduced to the main platform in September of that year.

Since then, the firm's experiments have included a News Hub, Steam Interactive Recommender and Play Next on the Steam Library. In August, Steam tried out a new platform-wide chat filter in Labs, before rolling this out to all users in October

At Devcom 2019, we caught up with Steam designer Alden Kroll to discuss the changes that Valve is making to its platform.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.