Valve recently hosted a Steam developers event in Barcelona, revealing to the assembled guests some sweeping changes coming to Steam during the coming months.
Tony Dominguez, a 3D artist and programming student at the event, said: “According to them, they're working on a calendar for games (to introduce scheduled updates, livestreams or special XP weekends, for a specific title), a new interface for Big Picture Mode and a better implementation for Steam Reviews.”
The headline addition is the all-new interface for Big Picture Mode, a feature that’s been requested for years. It’s often been accused of being fiddly to navigate and lacking much of the feature set of the normal Steam interface. A revamp is on the cards, although it’s unclear just what Valve’s plans are yet.
A calendar for games also sounds fairly intriguing. It’s not something I’d ever really thought of before, but in an age of games-as-a-service and ongoing support, this could be a handy tool for developers to keep their fans up to date with patch news, and potential server downtimes, or special live events.
Lastly, there’s the revised implementation of Steam reviews. Valve has done a lot of chopping and changing how Steam user reviews work during the past few years, yet it seems it’s still not settled on something it’s happy with. We’ll have to wait and see on this one, but it’s the move which could probably have the biggest ramifications for the developers themselves.
Away from Steam for a bit, Valve also had it in themselves to have a little joke at their expense, saying “Yes, we are also still making games.” At this point, we’ve kind of given up wondering what they are, particularly since Valve’s notoriously flexible work structure means any of these games could be canceled at the drop of a hat. Maybe, just maybe, though, we might hear something, anything, this year.