The changes came Wednesday, and now users have a far better chance at finding games of interest on the page. Previously, the tab showed all upcoming games, regardless of user interest, and was “literally just a chronological list of upcoming titles,” as the Steam Blog post puts it.
The result was a lot of shovelware, which is basically just re-used assets from developers looking to make a quick buck by packaging the same game over and over again, and a lot of other games of dubious quality. Customers couldn’t really use this tab to effectively find new games, so the new Upcoming tab looks to solve that by highlighting games likely to be of interest, and has been renamed “Popular Upcoming.”
“This list will take into account the pre-release interest in a game— that is to say, data we gather through wishlists, pre-purchase, and a developer’s or publisher’s past titles,” the blog post states.
“We believe Steam does a good job of taking early customer interest (even if that interest isn’t enormous) and helps a game amplify that interest through connection to quality customers. This smarter list on the front page aims to do just that.”
The blog also notes that if you click the “Upcoming Releases” link, it will take you to a curated listed of releases based on your personal preferences, gathered from your wishlist, followed games/developers, and previous purchases. There is also a tab to see “All Upcoming Releases,” in case you embrace the chaos.
In a Q&A in the post, a potential question was raised about whether or not this could effect indie developers’ visibility of titles, some of which may have benefited from the old Upcoming tab format because there was a chance their titles may have briefly appeared on the front page. However, Steam noted that this is unlikely to effect these developers, as they were unlikely to receive clicks from customers simply for their games appearing in the Upcoming tab.
“The previous iteration of Upcoming was just too unfiltered for most customers to use it effectively,” the post states. “A piece of data for you: the old Upcoming list was only clicked on by less than half of one percent of customers whereas Top Sellers is clicked on by almost four percent. It’s clear to us that a brief (and sometimes very brief) spot on Steam’s front page isn’t useful if your game is shown to a random set of customers— what’s best for everyone is if your game is shown to the right customers, ones who have shown that they might like your game. If you’re building a great, entertaining product with a store page to match, these improvements will facilitate connections to those customers in a higher quality way.”
While it is hopeful that the Steam Storefront will have a more curated presentation of upcoming games, it is of note that the digital games platform still does not do much in the way of quality control.
Valve announced last month that it would no longer remove content from Steam unless it has illegal content or is trolling, a controversial decision for the gaming community.