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September 21, 2019
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Steam Labs is Valve's new home for experimental Steam features

Steam Labs is Valve's new home for experimental Steam features

July 11, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon




Valve is rolling out a handful of new experimental features for Steam, but those additions won’t be headed right to the storefront’s homepage.

Instead, the company has launched a home for toying with new and potentially interesting features called Steam Labs, and opened up access to the first three additions to the general public.

The tools and tests found within range in size and scope, but each is a potential peek at solutions Valve has pitched and mulled over internally to address some of the shortcomings of its massively popular game platform.

The Interactive Recommender is among these, and has been gathering no small amount of buzz from developers curious about the neural net-powered game recommendation tool. More about that specific experiment can be found here, but, in short, the tool uses play data, machine learning, and other interactive criteria to create compelling and personalized game recommendations for Steam users. 

Aside from that, Valve has also launched two video-focused creations in Steam Labs that each highlight new games on the platform in their own ways.

Micro Trailers generates short, six-second long trailers for games on Steam, an experimental feature Valve says attempts to give Steam users a way to quickly get their eyes on titles they might be interested in. Valve has generated a handful of these already, broken down in slightly different presentation styles over ono its Steam Labs page.

The other video-focused creation, The Automated Show, aims to act as a sort of daily digest for new Steam releases. That experiment features a half hour long show (generated by a bot) that quickly runs through new additions for the day across categories like ‘new and popular’ and individual genres.

“Right now, the automated show bot is a black obelisk that sits in Boston, Massachusetts, and will only generate an episode when someone speaks a complex series of prime numbers into its electronic ears,” explains Valve. “It's mostly-automated, but requires a human to kick it off. Should we continue with this experiment, we'll want to make it something that runs daily or weekly without human intervention.”



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