Valve’s ‘Steam Lab’ is company's test bed for experimental features

By Sameer Mitha | Updated 12 Jul 2019
Valve’s ‘Steam Lab’ is company's test bed for experimental features
  • You don't need to sign up to check out Steam Labs
  • Currently, there are three experiments to check out - Micro Trailers, Interactive Recommendations and Automatic show

Steam labs is Valve’s experimental hub where the company plans to test new features. These features may launch, or may change considerably before launch or may not launch at all. Players don't need to sign up or participate in beta to get access to these features. They simply need to log in with their steam account. So, let's break down the three features that are a part of Steam labs. 

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Interactive Recommender: This is a new way of recommending games to players. It uses Machine learning to predict the games you'd like, based on your library. According to Steam, “This experiment looks at how much you've played each game in your Steam library and uses the magic of machine learning to recommend games you might like. Filter your results by picking games that are popular or niche, and drill down by release date and tags”. What this means is that if you play Doom, you will not only get other FPS games, but also games that you can filter based on genre, popularity, and other tags to help you find hidden gems you may like. This is a nice way to identify smaller titles, which one might have overlooked in the crowd of games. 

Micro Trailers: As the name suggests, Micro trailers are short trailers to showcase the game. It is essentially a six-second trailer for every Steam game. According to Steam’s website, “Absorb every game in the Steam catalogue in just seconds. Micro Trailers are six-second looping videos designed to quickly inform viewers about titles on Steam with a presentation that's easy to skim. This experiment is a fancier version of the Twitter bot of the same name”. This should help developers quickly convey what they want to about a game without investing in a fancy trailer.  

Automatic Show: Simply put, this feature is an automated, daily, half-hour show about Steam games. According to the official website, “What if Steam could magically generate a show about the latest and greatest games each day? The automated show is like one of those cable shopping channels without the super-absorbent chamois cloths”. This means that each day the player can get access to a host of games and check out information about them. This will once again aid with discoverability of new games as this show could help one discover games you may like but haven't heard off. 

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It is nice to see Steam experiment with features that are open to all interested and not hide behind a registration window. It isn't clear when or if these features will make it to the main site.

Sameer Mitha
Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.
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