Valve launches Steam Labs: preview beta features that might never make it into Steam
Valve Software, the company behind the Steam gaming platform, launched Steam Labs yesterday on the official Steam website.
Steam Labs makes available experiments and tests to Steam users who want to participate. Similar to Gmail Labs or the experimental flags of web browsers, Steam Labs introduces features to Steam that users interested in getting their hands dirty may give a try right away.
All experiments are considered beta features and just like experiments in the browser on on Gmail, may or may not find their way into the final product at one point in time.
The first version of Steam Labs hosts three different experiments that Steam users may join. It needs to be noted that these experiments are only available on the Steam website and not in the Steam client at the time of writing.
Micro Trailers, the very first experiment that is available on Steam Labs, allows gamers to "absorb every game in the Steam catalog in just seconds" according to the description.
Once enabled by the user, micro trailers become available in various locations on Steam's website. Steam users may hover the mouse over a game in a category to play a six second micro trailer, play multiple trailers in a row by hovering over a row, get auto-playing trailers while they scroll, or use the new "quad trailers" feature that plays four micro trailers side by side on a single screen.
The Interactive Recommended is designed to improve game recommendations on Steam. It uses machine learning for that and analyzes for how long each game was played by a particular user.
The algorithm uses the information to suggest new games to the user based on the extracted information.
You may also be shocked by the hours that you played some of the games in your Steam library.
Sliders are provided to change some parameters. You may change the time period that games are taken into account, weight popular and niche games, and use filters to focus on some game genres or exclude games based on tags.
The third and final experiment generates a daily show automatically that highlights newly listed and popular games automatically.
The show uses the same "quad trailers" format that the Micro Trailers experiment uses on some pages. Game trailers play just for a couple of seconds each with sound; links are provided to the games or digital content so that users interested in these may check them out right away on Steam.
Steam Labs may provide a glimpse of things to come but Valve's main motivation for making these available is feedback. The Labs page reveals no privacy information and it is unclear if Valve collects additional data from users who run experiments on the platform.
All but one experiment are available to guests and Steam users alike. Valve states that it wants feedback from users and that customers may contact the company to provide feedback.
Now You: What is your take on these three initial experiments and Steam Labs in general?Advertisement