Why is Steam showing us certain games on the main page? Popularity, our preferences, or is it all hand-picked by Valve?
If you’ve ever wondered, this is your lucky day: Valve has decided to answer all our questions thanks to a 20-minute video, in which it illustrates the factors and variables that determine the appearance of certain titles in your Steam front page.
Released last month on Valve Steamworks Development’s youtube channel, the video sees Al Farnsworth and Alden Kroll review the Steam front page and explain what determines the appearance of certain games in banners, boxes, and lists. All the video is mainly aimed at developers who sell their titles on Steam, in order to offer them various visibility options, but everything is quite user-friendly, so much so that even we can understand the explanations without too much difficulty.
Of course, unsurprisingly, much of the work is driven by algorithms examining our game trends and bringing us the potentially most interesting titles, but it’s not all as automatic as it might seem.
For example, the large banner at the top of the main page is something Valve selects personally – typically, a popular AAA title just released, or the Early Access exit of a much-talked-about game. Another section that is curated by Valve and not by one of its algorithms is the one concerning discounts.
The section dedicated to “today’s deals” is in fact created after discussing with the developers to plan any discounts:
” Or we are we to actively seek developers to say ‘Hey, it looks like your title could fall in this’, or are developers who come to us to tell us ‘Hey, there are new opportunities for my game?’. “
In short, not everything that happens on Steam is the result of an algorithm or bots: in many cases, Valve is still responsible for what is shown to players.
Not always seeing a title shot on the front page on Steam pushes people to buy it, but it is a help that can always affect, albeit marginally, don’t you think?