Valve Unveils New Steams Labs Section Which Lets Users View Experimental Projects
Valve has been doing lots of experimentation behind the scenes, tinkering with ideas many of which are terminated before they see the light of day. New concepts come to life, are taken apart and rebuilt and many of these are thrown into the dustbin without parties outside the company ever getting an inkling of them.
Valve’s Steam game store has now come up with an experiments hub where users can go to discover and experiment with the latest of Steam’s funky projects and concepts. The just launched feature is known as Steam Labs and it is the official portal that you can head to experiment as much as you wish with Valve’s new ideas. Anyone can try these out.
This is not the first time that Steam is installing an experimental feature for its users. However, Steam Labs creates a new central portal where you can find all the experimental projects under one roof. Many of the experiments are really cool and useful stuff. You will also find 60-second micro-trailers as well as half-hour releases for new games known as The Automated Show.
Valve is also planning to roll out a new machine-learning and neural-network-based game recommendation engine known as The Interactive Recommender which will provide users with suggestions of games from the back of the catalog over a ten-year period. You will also discover lesser-known games from the past six months which will be recommended for you depending on your play history.
Users will now get the opportunity to share feedback on any potential new features before these are fully developed. Steam Labs will be ideal for the super-early adopters who can use the feature to get an early peek at the concepts under development, some of which are unlikely to make it to the Steam game store.
Check out the new Steam Labs page here.
The first three “experiments” in Steam Labs are based on assisting users to discover new games:-
- Micro Trailers: These consist of 6-second looping video trailers that will begin playing when the user hovers over the in-store graphics of the game.
- Interactive Recommender: Most of the games are launched using the Steam client upon purchase via the Steam Store. This gives Valve some good insights into what every user is playing and for how long they are playing it. The experiment will collect this user data and leverage it in finding other games that the user might be interested in based on the past games that they have played the most. If you are looking to experience something that no one has tried before, you can use the Interactive Recommender to filter out the popular games and then limit your search results only to the lesser known games.
- Automatic Show: The functionality is somewhat similar to that of a shopping channel-style show. It highlights the footage of some of the most recent releases. With time, Steam is hoping that it will patch up an auto-generated narration that will give the user some useful information on what they are seeing. Currently, this experiment just offers users game footage over some music.
Most of these experiments will be just that. Experiments. Not all concepts that hit the Labs will go on to become actual commercial products. Even the Steam Labs feature will evolve with time as Valve adds to or subtracts from it. Valve has created a forum where users can submit comments and suggestions regarding this Labs feature.