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Valve’s making changes to Steam Curators

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Curators program is changing for players, developers and curators themselves

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Valve plans to overhaul Steam Curators, the curation system it introduced in 2014 as part of Steam’s “Discovery Update,” in an attempt to better serve its customers, game developers and the curators themselves, the company said today.

In a post on the Steam Community website, Valve said it’s been “working on significant improvements and additions” to Steam Curators over the past few months and offered a glimpse of what’s to come.

“Over the three years since introduction of Steam Curators, we've gathered a lot of feedback from all kinds of perspectives,” Valve said. “We've heard from players, from curators, from streamers, from game developers, and from all kinds of other tastemakers and content creators. The feedback is clear that the system needs to do a bunch of things better in order to work well for the three primary sets of people it's trying to serve: players, curators, and game developers.”

Players will see those changes manifest on more pages on Steam. Recommendations from Steam Curators won’t just appear on the Steam home page and curator pages, but on tag and genre pages as well. Videos from curators will also appear embedded in Steam itself. Curators will also have the option to create lists (e.g. “best couch co-op games,” “games with amazing Workshop support”) to make it easier for players to find more of what they’re looking for.

In addition to video embed support and lists, curators will also have the option to personalize their Steam Curator homepage with hand-picked games, tags and lists. They’ll also expose more data to curators. “Curators will be able to see how their reviews impacted their follower's behavior in the Steam store,” Valve said.

Valve also plans to make it easier for game developers and curators to communicate.

“With Curator Connect, developers can search for appropriate Curators, and then send a copy of their game directly through Steam,” Valve said. “We've added a number of tools for finding relevant Curators and for identifying the forms of social impact that Curator may have. To start with, developers will be able to search the listings of Steam Curators, narrowing results by name, OS, language, or tags that the Curator indicates they focus on. In the results, developers will be able to see a snapshot of each Curator, including follower counts and any linked social media accounts such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch, which can help verify that the Curator is truly who they claim to be. The developer can then build a list of the Curators they wish to send their game to, include a message describing their game, and hit 'send'.

“Curators can then browse a list of games that have been sent to them and can choose to accept or decline as they wish. Accepted games are added to that Curators Steam library to play and review. No need to mess with keys or e-mail.”

Some of those changes are rolling out in a closed beta today. But for Steam users who aren’t interested in using the Steam Curator feature, it sounds like Valve has something in the works for them too.

“Using the Steam Curator features on Steam is an opt-in thing,” Valve said. “If you’re not interested in the opinions of human beings helping you find games that are worth your attention, then we also have some powerful features coming just for you. We’re hard at work on significant improvements to the core recommendation engine which algorithmically suggests games for all Steam users. We’re anxious to talk in depth about that technology too, and will do so in a future blog post.”