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Valve launches Steam Labs with experiments for how to make games easier to find

You can try out the Steam Labs tools now, but they may not stick around

Steam logo on blue background Valve via Polygon

With thousands of games on steam all vying for consumer attention, the process of finding the hidden gems is always difficult. But, in its endless quest to better curate its platform, Valve is stepping in with a few new experimental tools to help players find the games that might appeal to them. The tools are all being collected into an area that Valve is calling Steam Labs.

The first Steam Labs experiment that Valve showed off was called Micro Trailers. The idea was to create a bot that would automatically generate a quick and easy-to-watch trailer for any game based on existing trailers. Valve has a test version of the tool up now, and you can see miniature trailers of some of Steam’s most popular games to help get a feel for them in just a glance.

Valve also revealed its new Interactive Recommender which scans your profile in order to generate specific recommendations for you. It looks at more than which games are in your library, digging into things like play time in each game, and uses machine learning to determine which games you might like in the future.

The final, so far, new feature on Steam Labs right now is something Valve is calling the Automatic Show. This will be a daily show that highlights specific games in detailed ways. Sort of like a home-shopping show but for Steam games. Best of all, this show is automatically generated every day.

According to the Labs page, these project are all part of a yearly exercise that Valve does in hopes of making some breakthroughs in making its platform easier to navigate and the games easier to discover for the players that might like them. It is not a direct response to developer complaints, especially from some indie developers who say that issues with discovery on the platform are costing them money. This year, for the first time, Valve is making all of those things public through Steam Labs. There players have the opportunity to test out some of the new features and tools that Valve is working on.

For now everything in Steam Labs is in the experimental phase. In other words, these things could eventually make their way to Steam as proper features, or they could be scrapped as lessons in what not to do.

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