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Steam Labs rolls out new discoverability experiments

Steam Labs rolls out new discoverability experiments

September 19, 2019 | By Chris Kerr

The boffins over at Steam Labs have provided more details on two new experimental discoverability features heading to Steam.

For starters, we now know a little bit more about the Deep Dive experiment, which is based on the Diving Bell prototype created by indie developer Lars Doucet and designed to help users discover new titles similar to ones they already enjoy.

As detailed in the latest Steam Labs blog post, Deep Dive will work by leveraging tags provided by game creators and the Steam community to identify games that share similarities with the ones users already know and love. 

Its main purpose is to help Steam users unearth and explore a vast breadth of games that are 'very similar,' 'somewhat similar,' and 'little-known but well-loved.' Users can begin searching for recommendations using Steam's popular new releases section or their own recently played titles as a jumping off point.

"Deep Dive’s variation from the original prototype is based on some things we learned by playtesting during development," reads the Steam Labs blog post. 

"For example, tags the base game shares in common with each recommendation are more prominently displayed to help inform both what the game is about and why it was recommended. We’ve tried to strike the right balance between providing relevant details without overwhelming users in the process of browsing and we hope you’ll let us know what you think."

Another experiment called Community Recommendations has also been unveiled. As the rather on-the-nose name suggests, the feature will surface games that people are actively recommending to each other on Steam by tapping into Steam reviews.

Advanced controls will let users broaden or narrow community recommendations based on reviews submitted each week, month, or after a particular duration of playtime. They can also be filtered by excluding or including specific tags, giving users the ability to search for the Perma Death games people have been enjoying this week, or the co-op titles that've been taking Steam by storm over the past month. 

Steam Labs will decide whether to permanently add each feature to Steam based on user feedback, so if you've got an opinion, now's the time to share it. 

Along with those new features, the Interactive Recommender experiment that launched alongside the Steam Labs program last month is getting a promotion. It'll still be an experimental offering, but one that is now displayed directly on the Steam Store as a "recommended for you by Steam Labs" section. By clicking through to the Interactive Recommender's Steam Labs page, users will also be able to explore old and new releases based on the machine's "bespoke take" on their tastes. 

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