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Steam store introduces Labs mode to suggest better games

/ 08:14 PM July 15, 2019

Digital storefront Steam is hoping to help players better discover their new favorite game through the launch of a new, in-progress experimental section called Steam Labs, which currently contains three different discovery tools.

Steam, Steam Labs

Logo of Steam Labs. Image: Courtesy of Valve Corporation via AFP Relaxnews

Micro Trailers

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Micro Trailers integrates content from the Twitter account of the same name, with a few twists.

The original incarnation compresses every new Steam store game’s trailer down into a quickly digestible 6-second looping montage.

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At launch, Steam Labs’ version of Micro Trailers does the same on a per-game basis, but can also group them by theme or category, can play either one trailer at a time or a row of three at once or compile a video loop split into four quarters, quadrupling a full trailer’s excerpts within the same 6-second cycle.

Interactive Recommender

For logged-in users, Steam Labs offers the Interactive Recommender, which whittles down the catalog’s titles through a personalized machine learning analysis of existing playtime data compared with millions of other Steam users.

Users can further narrow the choice by two sliders — one for a game’s popularity, one for its age — and by including or excluding various descriptive tags via a dropdown menu.

That helps them better home in on a particular genre or combination they are interested in, or ignore a type of game they were once really jazzed about but can not stand anymore.

Automatic Show

A half-hour automated show stands as a prototype experiment of what could be developed further.

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It is little more than an extended version of the Micro Trailers experiment, with an artificial intelligence (AI) program generating a full episode’s worth of content from various Steam charts, surfacing what is new and popular, bestselling in particular genres, curator picks and so on.

Viewers can use an adjacent graphic to go directly to the currently displayed game’s store page.

Valve Corp, which owns and operates the Steam store (and develops some of the world’s biggest ongoing games such as “Dota 2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”) explains that the Automatic Show was originally supposed to feature an automated text-to-speech voiceover but the results were too robotic and unnatural, so that aspect has gone back to the drawing board for now. RGA/JB

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TOPICS: Artificial Intelligence, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, Steam, Valve Corporation
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