Valve improved search on the Steam gaming platform this year when it rolled out new search filters and functionality that it launched as one of Steam Labs experiments initially.
The company added much needed filtering options to search which customers could use to narrow down search results. Filters included options to narrow down by tag, price or preference, e.g. to only display VR games that costs $20 or less on the platform, or to only display matching games that were tagged with a certain tag.
Valve's latest experiment on Steam Labs aims to improve search further; this time, the company aims to improve searches that use the tag filter. Steam supports thousands of tags which are added to games by developers to better categorize them on the platform. One of the issues with that approach is that multiple tags may exist that mean more or less the same, but may not have been added to a game by a developer. Take the tags RTS, Real-Time, and Strategy for instance. Steam's current search won't find a game that is only tagged RTS if a user searches for Real-Time + Strategy.
Another example: if you search for 3D + Platformer, you get less results on Steam as if you would search for 3D Platformer.
The latest experiment takes tags of games and also matching tags into account when users search on the platform. With the search update, related tags are automatically included regardless of the tags that a user specified when running searches on the Steam platform.
The developers have decided to take a cautious approach to the search extension to avoid that unrelated games are returned when users run searches with tag filters. While Action-Adventure implies Action + Adventure, and Strategy RPG, Strategy + RPG, Fantasy does not imply Magic, and Strategy does not imply Turn-Based the company notes.
Steam users who want to try Search with Expanded Tags on Steam may point their browsers to this Search URL to test the new functionality. As is the case with all experiments, there is a chance that it is included natively on Steam in the future but also a chance that it is removed again without native implementation.
A conservative approach makes sense in regards to expanding search tag queries as Steam users would probably be up in arms if results would be filled with lots of unrelated games.
Now You: do you use Steam? What is your take on the platform's search function?Advertisement
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