Steam - All News
Wednesday - May 04, 2016
Steam - Review System Changes
Steam have updated the review system to better reflect how games are as a current experience rather than have old reviews front and center.
One common theme we've been seeing in customer feedback about the Steam review system is that it isn't always easy to tell what the current experience is like in a game months after release. This new set of changes released today is designed to better describe the current customer experience in those games. We do this by better exposing the newly posted reviews and by calculating a summary of those recent reviews.
Visibility For Recently Posted Reviews
While there are plenty of new reviews posted every day, we saw that it was often difficult for newer reviews to be seen and voted on enough to become listed as most helpful. As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development. By listing recently posted reviews more prominently and by defaulting to recent helpful reviews, Steam can now show a more current idea of what it's like to play the game now.
Recent Review Score
Another problem we identified was that review score that appears at the top of a product page didn't always reflect the dynamic nature of the game. For that review score, we'd previously only been compiling an overall score using a simple calculation of the percentage of all reviews that were positive. This let us be really transparent in how the score was being calculated, but didn't accommodate cases when a game has changed a lot (for better or worse) over time.
To address that, we've now added a Recent review score that calculates the positive percentage of reviews within the past 30 days (as long as there are enough reviews posted within those 30 days and as long as the game has been available on Steam for at least 45 days). The overall score is still present as well in case you still find that information helpful.
Friday - April 29, 2016
Steam - Anime Sale on over 200 titles
Steam has a weekend sale on over 200 anime titles. The offer ends Monday 10am Pacific Time.
Thursday - March 03, 2016
Steam - Bundles Receive Dynamic Pricing
Steam has finally caught up to GoG and Humble Bundle by dynamically pricing bundles. Techraptor has the details on whats changed. (The changes are still ongoing.)
Steam is the largest online digital gaming platform in the world, and some of that is due to the amount of sales we see from Steam Bundles. Tons of games at a discount is hard to pass up, and for years this has worked in Steam's favor. Now, however, Valve has announced a change is coming to Steam Bundles, one that will finally include dynamic pricing.
Dynamic Pricing is simple, Steam Bundles will automatically reduce their pricing based on games you may already own. So if a bundle contains a few games you have already bought, the bundle will effectively reduce in price to reflect your previous purchases.
"Past Complete Packs were sometimes a bad deal for customers that already [owned] one or more of the products in the pack," according to a Valve representative in documents acquired PCgamesN. "Either it made bad economic sense for those customers to purchase the pack, or they just felt bad about doing so since it [looked] like they were paying for products they already [had]. The new Steam Bundles system addresses this."
Sunday - February 07, 2016
Steam - Lunar New Year Sale Live
Steam's Lunar New Year Sale is up, and thousands of titles are discounted. Fallout 4, Witcher 3, Fairy Fencer F, Rebel Galaxy, and most of Crusader Kings II can be gotten on the cheap.
Wednesday - January 13, 2016
Steam - Winter Sale Big for Smaller Games
Steam sales are renowned for cleaning out the wallets of many, but the last two have felt slightly lower key than previously because they featured neither daily deals, nor flash sales, nor complicated metagames. Perception can be misleading, though: a report by Valve – perhaps released accidentally – states that the recent Steam Winter Sale was the most successful ever.
The post was first made to the developer-only Steamworks group, then for some reason mirrored on the public SteamVR page. It was quickly taken down, but not before someone copied it and pasted it onto the SteamDB forum. As its introduction explains:
“As you already know, the format of discounts in this year’s Winter sale was a little different from past years. This year’s sale was centered around discounts that ran for the full length of the sale, rather than changing from day to day for featured titles. Our hypothesis was that this new format would be a better way to serve customers that may only be able to visit Steam once or twice during the 13-day event. We also saw this change as an opportunity to showcase a deeper variety of titles to customers each day, while having confidence that any game being highlighted would be at its lowest discount.”
The rest then goes on to back it up with graphs and numbers: a 197% increase in the rate of wishlist additions; 35% of traffic delivered to games outside of the top 500 best sellers; 45% growth in revenue generated by the same group when compared to the last winter sale, and more. In short: it was good for business.
Why do you care? I don’t know, but I care because I want to know that smaller games can still find an audience amid the quantity and noise of present day Steam. It’s in everybody’s interest that Steam not be solely hit-driven, that Valve are interested in spreading attention around, and that more unusual or niche experiences aren’t disappearing without trace.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Thursday - December 31, 2015
Steam - Update on Christmas Issues
What happened on the Christmas Steam Sale? - here's an update:
What happenedOn December 25th, a configuration error resulted in some users seeing Steam Store pages generated for other users. Between 11:50 PST and 13:20 PST store page requests for about 34k users, which contained sensitive personal information, may have been returned and seen by other users.
The content of these requests varied by page, but some pages included a Steam user’s billing address, the last four digits of their Steam Guard phone number, their purchase history, the last two digits of their credit card number, and/or their email address. These cached requests did not include full credit card numbers, user passwords, or enough data to allow logging in as or completing a transaction as another user.
If you did not browse a Steam Store page with your personal information (such as your account page or a checkout page) in this time frame, that information could not have been shown to another user.
Valve is currently working with our web caching partner to identify users whose information was served to other users, and will be contacting those affected once they have been identified. As no unauthorized actions were allowed on accounts beyond the viewing of cached page information, no additional action is required by users.
How it happenedEarly Christmas morning (Pacific Standard Time), the Steam Store was the target of a DoS attack which prevented the serving of store pages to users. Attacks against the Steam Store, and Steam in general, are a regular occurrence that Valve handles both directly and with the help of partner companies, and typically do not impact Steam users. During the Christmas attack, traffic to the Steam store increased 2000% over the average traffic during the Steam Sale.
In response to this specific attack, caching rules managed by a Steam web caching partner were deployed in order to both minimize the impact on Steam Store servers and continue to route legitimate user traffic. During the second wave of this attack, a second caching configuration was deployed that incorrectly cached web traffic for authenticated users. This configuration error resulted in some users seeing Steam Store responses which were generated for other users. Incorrect Store responses varied from users seeing the front page of the Store displayed in the wrong language, to seeing the account page of another user.
Once this error was identified, the Steam Store was shut down and a new caching configuration was deployed. The Steam Store remained down until we had reviewed all caching configurations, and we received confirmation that the latest configurations had been deployed to all partner servers and that all cached data on edge servers had been purged.
We will continue to work with our web caching partner to identify affected users and to improve the process used to set caching rules going forward. We apologize to everyone whose personal information was exposed by this error, and for interruption of Steam Store service.
Friday - December 25, 2015
Steam - Data Security Problems
Several sites are reporting that Steam has security problems right now:
Update: It now looks as if the Steam store may be down; numerous users, myself included, are unable to access it and are receiving an error when attempting to do so.
Also, while it's still unclear what's going on, Steam tracking website Steam Database has suggested this is all due to a caching issue. That said, the site recommends not attempting to remove your credit card, PayPal account, or anything of the sort. Whether that is indeed the best course of action remains to be seen, as Valve has still yet to officially comment on the situation.
Original Story: While there were concerns ahead of Christmas that hackers might take down services like PSN and Xbox Live, it appears that Steam may be the one having the most serious issues today.
Numerous users are reporting a pair of seemingly related problems. First, the Steam store's homepage is displaying in a language other than their own (in my case, it appears in Russian). More seriously, going to the Account Details page--accessed by clicking your username in the upper right corner--offers access to the page for other users' accounts.
Tuesday - December 22, 2015
Steam - Winter Sale Now Underway
Steam's (in)famous Winter Sale is now underway. Right now, the Witcher series, Elder Scrolls series, and the Might and Magic Heroes franchise are all on sale, 50-85% off.
Friday - December 18, 2015
Steam - Winter Sale Starts 12/22
Steam plans to cut it close with the start of its winter sale, which begins on December 22. Thanks, Shacknews.
We reported last month on Steam’s Autumn and Winter sales, saying at the time they would start on November 25th and December 22nd, respectively. We were spot on as to when the Autumn sale would kick off, and it appears we accurately revealed the Winter sale.
According to a promotional image from PayPal, the Steam Winter Sale will kick off on December 22nd. Considering the majority of sales start at 10am PT, we wouldn’t be surprised if you could start saving on thousands of titles start at that time.
Just like with the Autumn Sale, don’t expect there to be flash and daily sales as Valve changed how its big sales function starting with its last sale. Anyone who is participating in the Winter Sale will need to submit just one discount, instead of two, one of which would be used for flash and daily sales.
Wednesday - October 21, 2015
Steam - About Those Paid Mods
Kotaku has interviewed Valve's Erik Johnson and Robin Walker about their ideas to start with paid mods again, even after their unsuccesful attempt earlier this year.
“We screwed things up in the details,” Johnson noted. When I suggested that perhaps they could’ve tested the waters with some survey-type forum threads on Steam or Reddit—slowly warmed people up to the idea instead of springing it on them cold—Johnson added, “I agree that we could’ve done it a lot better.”
For Skyrim in particular—with its vast, established modding community, rife with room for drama over attribution, combo mods, etc—Johnson feels like Valve also miscommunicated why they chose to do what they did. “If you look back specifically at the Skyrim situation,” he said, “while it wasn’t our intent, it was really easy to read that as, ‘Remember that thing you love? You pay money for that now.’ That’s an awful plan. That’s a terrible plan.”
“I think the magnitude of the reaction was also like, ‘Did Valve just turn evil on us?’” Johnson continued. “We don’t think we did, but we can see how it got miscommunicated that way. I know Robin will say this too, but it was one of the most awful weekends I’ve had working at Valve. It felt really, really terrible reading through all of that.”
Then we moved on to the elephant in the room: thanks to an unsuccessful first attempt, people who would’ve otherwise been on the fence or slightly opposed to the concept of paid mods are now super opposed. Can Valve make this work in the future with all that baggage trailing behind them? Johnson thinks so.
“You need something that’s like, ‘Here’s the new thing. Somebody spent a couple years on it, and it’s amazing. It’s for sale,’” Johnson explained. “We didn’t really have anything like that [last time], so it came across poorly.”
“I think it’s about being really transparent and offering something that’s cool,” he said. “I think customers are pretty smart. I think they get it.”
Thursday - August 20, 2015
Steam - Your target audience doesn't exist
Your target audience doesn’t exist
Why you shouldn’t talk about “MOBA audience”, “core gamers”, “female gamers” and instead think smaller.
What about “usual” games?
And here is the interesting thing — there is a market and audience for smaller games, otherwise Steam wouldn’t exist. Many people are trying many new games. They don’t spend hundreds of hours in one title, they’re, you know, your average gamers, you used to hear about a lot.
But there is a catch:
There aren’t many of them.
Classic “core gamers” — the ones that play most major hits or jump from indie game to indie game — are relatively rare when compared to overall gaming audience.
In fact, 1% of Steam gamers own 33% of all copies of games on Steam. 20% of Steam gamers own 88% of games. That’s even more than Pareto principle suggests.
So, to be a member of the “1% group” of Steam gamers you have to own 107 games or more. That’s not much considering how Steam is selling games at discount prices and how easy it is to obtain games in bundles.
We’re talking about 1.3M PC gamers that could fall into definition of “core gamer that buys several games per year”. And that’s including discounted games as well.
Of course we could extend it to, I don’t know, “softcore gamers” — the 20% that own 88% games. To be included you’d have to own 4 (FOUR) games or more on Steam — not exactly a huge number, right?
Let me repeat it once more, because it’s really important.
Various studies suggest that there are 700–800 million of PC gamers. It’s probably true, but it doesn’t mean much for your game. Because if you’re developing a downloadable game for Steam you’re not even fighting for 135M of its active users,
you’re fighting for the attention of 1.3 million gamers
that are actually buying lots of games.
The 1% group.
Thursday - June 05, 2014
Steam - Updates FAQ on Early Access Games
Steam has updated their FAQ to make clear that Early Access games might not be released at all and that you should only get involved if you are excited about playing it in its current state. GamesBeat contacted Valve on this and they had this to say:
“The changes to the FAQ are intended to help set customer expectations of what may or may not happen over the course of development of an Early Access game. We frequently iterate on Steam features as we gather feedback and find areas for improvement.
“In this case, it became apparent that further clarification would help customers evaluate their potential purchase of Early Access titles. We think of Steam, Early Access, and game development as services that grow and evolve best with the involvement of customers and the community.”
Saturday - April 19, 2014
ArsTechnica - Steam Sales Figures
Jhwisner sent news about two new articles were ArsTechnica has data on Steam sales. I will post what he sent to save me time. Allow me to say thanks Jhwisner.
ArsTechnica managed to produce some apparently decent estimates of total ownership/sales totals on Steam. A few Devs have confirmed the accuracy with the author - some publicaly so. Imporant takeaways from this are pretty positive for PC gamers in general and PC RPG gamers in general.
Here's some interesting tidbits:
Skyrim - 5,942,000
Fallout: New Vegas - 2,630,232
The Witcher 2 - 1,725,513*
FTL - 1,651,734*
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - 1,368,606
*Only represents steam sales totals as DRM free versions without Steam integration are on offer on sites such as GoG.
Second article contains an expanded top list - expanded to 100 games (page 2 of article)
Monday - January 06, 2014
Steam - Interview @ Washington Post
The Washington Post has an interesting interview with Gabe Newell about Steam, and what makes Valve tick.
Valve is one of the most successful video game companies in the world. The firm's online game distribution and multi-player platform Steam has 65 million users. At next week's CES conference, the company will announce hardware partners for one of its most ambitious undertakings so far: a line of gaming console alternatives running on the company's linux-based Steam OS.
What makes Valve so successful? In November, I sat down with Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell in the gaming company's Bellevue office for a feature story. Newell argues that attracting and retaining talented programmers and designers is key to the firm's success, and explained the company's strategy for doing that. This interview, the first of a two-part series, has been lightly edited for length.
Saturday - January 04, 2014
Steam - DDoS Attacks by Troll Group
Steam was attacked by a trolling group who keeps DDoSing the service. It seems they are attacking other sites also, and Arstechnica has the news on what's happening.
The servers for Steam, Origin, Battle.net, and League of Legends were brought down temporarily overnight by apparent DDoS attacks that seem to be related to a swatting attack on an individual known for streaming games. All of those services appear to be working normally as of this writing.
A hacker group going by the handle DERP Trolling claimed responsibility for the Origin attack on Twitter, saying it used a "Ion Cannon" DDoS tool it's calling the "Gaben Laser Beam," after Valve founder Gabe Newell. DERP claimed responsibility for similar attacks on Battle.net, League of Legends, World of Tanks, EA.com, and more earlier this week. Meanwhile, a pair of Twitter users are claiming responsibility for last night's attack on Steam.
All of these efforts to take down various games and platforms seem to be related to a swatting attack directed at YouTube user PhantomL0rd. A thread on reddit lays out how those attacks advanced from targeting the games PhantomL0rd was playing (and monetizing through ads) to more personal harassment after his address and details were released online. In a recent stream, PhantomL0rd reported on being handcuffed after having police called to his address.
DERP, for its part, denies being part of these more personal attacks on PhantomL0rd. The group's Twitter includes a phone number where users can apparently call or text in requests for sites to be targeted by these DDoS attacks, suggesting that it may be simply pointing its software at locations suggested by others.
Thank you jhwisner for sending in the link.