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Steam The Discovery Update 2.0

Valve published a new version of Steam Store today called The Discovery Update 2.0 that is designed to give users “more control” over their browsing experience.

When you open the main Steam store site on the Web or in the Steam client software you will notice several changes right away.

The left side features a new quick access listing if the width of the Store interface is sufficient for that. It leads to popular and common destinations such as recommendations, top sellers, or recently updated.

The featured and recommended section has been updated as well. You do get a list of games in rotation still but Valve added four additional screenshots to each game and more information on top of that. The screenshots are displayed in the main pane when you hover the mouse over them.

Information include tags, and why the game is recommended. If you are signed in, you get a small arrow icon in the upper right corner of the screen to add a game to the wishlist, to tell Valve that you are not interested in that particular game, and an option to open your preferences.

When you scroll down you get additional new items of interest. The sidebar menu lists recently viewed items for instance, and below the featured sections are offers, games that friends play, and the discovery queue.

This is followed by a list of curators and their game suggestions, list of games that you own that were updated recently, and the lists that highlight new, popular and upcoming releases.

This list has been updated as well. You get screenshots for the selected item for instance, the same small arrow icon on the game’s thumbnail, and tags listed there for each game.

It is debatable whether the new Store Store interface is an improvement over the old user interfac. While it has been certainly designed with an “how do we push sales even more” attitude, some of the new options or changes improve the user experience regardless of that, while others may hamper it.

For instance, pushing game updates near the top is a good option for gamers to discover games that they own that got updated.

One issue that gamers may have with the store on the other hand is that it is now a lot harder to display the top games listings as you have to scroll down quite a bit to get there.

There is also no option to hide certain modules. If you are not interested in the discovery queue, friend recommendations, or offers, you will still have to scroll through them to go to other parts of the Store that you are interested in.

One new feature that Valve implemented but has not mentioned explicitly is the new store content’s preferences page. There you may add up to three tags that you want to see less of in the Store, and make certain choices in regards to the products that you want to see.

You can use it to disable Virtual Reality (VR), Early Access, Pre-Purchase, Software, or Videos & Movies suggestions for instance, or block products with violent or sexual content.

Three tags is not an awful lot, but the option to hide certain recommendations, e.g. VR, is certainly a welcome addition.

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