Valve invited several YouTubers to their offices last week to have a chat about the future of Steam. Two of these, TotalBiscuit and Jim Sterling, have now published videos laying out what they chatted about with Valve and it seems like the biggest discussions were with Valve trying to work out how to deal with Steam’s discoverability problem.
You can watch the two videos from TotalBiscuit and Jim Sterling for more information. If you prefer your news in written format, the biggest takeaways seem to be that Valve is thinking about best to revise Steam’s discoverability algorithms with the aim to bury "fake games" — which is the internal phrase Valve reportedly use to talk about games built around asset flips or other disreputable methods to try and grab cash quickly — without too much of an impact on legitimate developers.
It’s key to point out that, as is now typical with Valve, they’ve not said anything and have instead let this news leak out second-hand via the YouTubers that visited Valve’s Seattle offices.
Earlier this year, Valve stated it was seeking to replace Steam Greenlight with a fee-based game submission system, Steam Direct. The YouTubers were involved, reportedly, because Valve is also planning to reiterate the Steam Curator system, rejigging several aspects, and introducing a second system: Steam Explorers.
The Steam Explorers platform is to be open to everyone, asking participants to play games that aren’t performing well. These Steam spelunkers will descend into this pile of games that aren’t working out, and be able to vouch for a game as "good", which will add weight to the game in Steam’s algorithm.
There’s no suggestion yet of how Steam might police a system like this that seems rife for abuse, and puts more power into the hands of people who believe that "they" know what makes a good game, but we’ll find out more, hopefully, before it’s rolled out.