Valve has outlined some of the big changes that’ll be coming to Steam throughout 2019 and beyond. Competition is heating up in the weird and wonderful world of PC game clients and Valve is no doubt feeling the pressure to adapt, if not survive.
A grand total of eight changes are planned, some of which will affect you, some won’t. Chief among these is enhanced Store Discoverability. With more than 30,000 games now on Steam, Valve is working on a personal AI-based solution using machine learning to recommend games to players based on their exact individual tastes. This will be joined by more broadcasting and curation features to help better direct Steam users to the content they could be interested in.
A second big change will be the introduction of Steam China. From the sounds of things, Valve is looking to spin the Chinese market into its own separate client and this involves a partnership with Perfect World who’ll bring Steam onshore into China. As you can see in the chart below there has been a huge surge in the number of Asian players on Steam lately, causing a few, er, community scuffles along the way. Valve’s solution is for a more integrated client for Chinese users.
The change that I’m perhaps looking to most though is the proposed Steam Library Update. Valve has promised some long-awaited changes to the Steam Client will be coming our way, somehow reworking the tech in Steam Chat to deliver a revamped library. It’ll be interesting to see what form these changes take, or potentially if Valve is even looking at stronger library integration with other clients.
And the remaining planned changes for Steam in 2019 are as follows:
New Events System
While there’s already an events and notifications system in place, Valve is working to upgrade events so players can highlight particular events, streams, tournaments or challenges and schedule them appropriately.
Twitch and YouTube have come along and eaten Steam’s lunch in this respect but Valve is at long last working on expanding Steam TV support to all Steam games, as well as broadcasting more tournaments.
Overall the improvements to Steam Chat last year were decent, and much needed, and this year Valve is planning to expand the increased functionality to mobile users through the launch of a new dedicated Steam Chat mobile app.
Back in 2017, Valve rolled out the Trust Factor system for CSGO. This is a means to identify the trustworthiness of a player through a series of mostly undisclosed factors. It tracks things like cheating reports and time spent playing other games to build up a profile of how likely you are to cheat. It then matches you up to players with a similar Trust Factor. In theory, this means the cheaters end up playing with other cheats. In 2019, Valve is going to be applying this system client-wide on Steam. Users will have a Steam Trust score that will be available in all games.
Steam PC Cafe Program
This one’s a bit niche for most of us I should imagine but Valve is beginning a PC Cafe Program so that Steam is properly catered to in “hundreds of thousands of PC Cafes worldwide”.
And that’s your lot. Which of these changes are you most eager to see Valve implement first? Are there any major oversights you think they should be addressing first?