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Thursday - October 26, 2017

Steam - Curator Update

by Hiddenx, 21:37

The Steam Curator features will be updated this Fall:

Steam Curator Update - Coming This Fall

For the past few months we've been busy working on significant improvements and additions to the Steam Curator system. There's still some work to be done before we can roll these out, but we wanted to share a bit about why we see Steam Curators as a crucial component to exploring Steam, and what changes we're making.

Why Steam Curators?
We've heard from many of you that you want to have a more curated experience when shopping Steam; where the titles that are surfaced and recommended and highlighted are picked by humans that you know and trust. But, we also know that players have different tastes in games, so it's unlikely that any single person or group could cater to the specific interests of every player in the world. This is why we believe that Valve can't be the only form of curation in Steam - we would be under serving the tastes and viewpoints of many players.

So, we're focusing on how to support the streamers, journalists, critics, content creators, writers, enthusiasts, and friends that you already know and trust to be able to help you find your next favorite game. By following a few Curators on Steam, you'll not only start to see their recommendations appear prominently when browsing the Steam Store, but you can also explore each of their customized spaces within Steam and see all the titles they have reviewed.

Using the Steam Curator features on Steam is an opt-in thing. 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.

What changes are coming?
Over the three years since introduction of Steam Curators, we've gathered a lot of feedback from all kinds of perspectives. 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
This system really only works if players find value from following some Curators. So we're adding to the kinds of content that Curators are able to create, and increasing the places within Steam where that content can be seen.
Recommendations provided by Steam Curators can already appear in the main featured spot on your Steam Home page as well as in a dedicated space on your home page. We're building on this so that recommendations by Curators you follow will also show up at the top of tag and genre pages. This means as you explore, say the Free To Play page, you'll see recommendations from your Curators for Free to Play games. If you are browsing RPG games, you'll see RPG games featured from Curators you follow. And so forth.
Many Curators create videos to accompany their reviews, so we'll now start embedding those videos in a few places alongside the curation. This means that when you click through a recommendation, or when you browse a Curator's page on Steam, you'll be able to watch their videos in-line.
We also know that some Curators will review games within certain themes, genres, or franchises. So, we're adding a new feature for Curators to create lists of games they've reviewed that go together. These can be used to create lists such as "best couch co-op games", "games with amazing Workshop support", "games by my favorite designer", "10 games to play while waiting for Witcher 4", or any other set of interesting ways to organize groups of games.
And if you are looking to find new new Curators that share your tastes, or offer unique information about particular kinds of games, you can explore the 'Recommended Curators' or 'Top Curators' lists. We're fine-tuning the 'Recommended Curators' section to more accurately suggest Curators who recommend games like those you've been playing.

Curators
One of the pieces of feedback we received from Curators was that they felt it needed to be more rewarding and meaningful for a Curator to spend the time it takes to build and maintain their curation. So there are a few new things we're building to tackle this.
As we mentioned above, Curators that produce videos as part of their reviews will be see those videos embedded right next to their review in Steam. If you're a Curator who's already doing work to create content elsewhere, we want you to be able to use that work in your Steam curation. This means a few of the most popular video formats such as YouTube, nicovideo.jp, youku.com, and bilibili.com will appear right in Steam where players can easily watch them.
Curators will be able to customize and brand their home on Steam by selecting games, lists, and tags to feature and by uploading a personalized background.
We all know that graphs solve everything, so yes, we're adding more of them. In particular, Curators will be able to see how their reviews impacted their follower's behavior in the Steam store.
We are helping connect developers with Curators that are most likely to have relevant audience of followers for the developers' game. More on this below.
[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Sunday - July 09, 2017

Steam - UI Overhaul Incoming

by Silver, 22:31

@RockPaperShotgun Valve confirmed at Indigo 2017 that they are working on a UI overhaul for Steam which will see changes to the library and game launch pages.

The slides from Valve's product designer Alden Kroll, posted on the ValveTime forum, say that there's an "overall UI refresh and update coming", but give no date for the changes. Specifically, Valve plans to add the option to quickly launch recently played games from the library home page. That'd be welcome - if you've got a large collection and you're juggling 3 or 4 games, it's a (very minor) pain to have to keep scrolling between them.

The tweaks will also highlight games in your library that currently have some activity, whether than be events, updates, or simply titles your friends are playing.

Valve also promised a new "rich display of content" on game launch pages. The company says the reworked pages will better highlight your friends' activity in that game and flag community screenshots, artwork, and guides.

[...]

Wednesday - June 07, 2017

Steam - Greenlight Closed

by Hiddenx, 01:30

PC Gamer reports that Steam Greenlight is closed and Steam Direct launches next week:

Steam Greenlight is closed, Steam Direct goes live next week

It wasn't easy being green.

Valve said earlier this year that the curtain was coming down on Steam Greenlight, and that a new service called Steam Direct, which will enable developers to put their games on the platform directly for $100, will take its place. Today, that transition began in earnest, as Valve has announced that Greenlight is now closed, and that Direct is set to go live on June 13. 

"Right from the early days and throughout the life of Greenlight, we have been continually surprised by the hits coming through. In just the first year we saw titles such as War For The Overworld, Evoland, Rogue Legacy, and Verdun move through Greenlight and go on to become hugely successful," Valve wrote. "Those early years also saw huge growth in some categories of games that we had previously considered extremely niche, like visual novels. Whether you love or hate visual novels (In which case you can customize your preferences here!), they have gone on to form a huge following on Steam." 

Since Greenlight launched in 2012, nearly ten million players have cast more than 90 million votes for Greenlight submissions, and more than 63 million players have played a Greenlight game, logging 3.5 billion hours in them. "With these kinds of successes, the thousands of niche titles, and everything in between, we realized that a direct and predictable submission process will best serve the diverse interests of players moving forward," Valve wrote.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Tuesday - April 04, 2017

Steam - Revamping Game Recommendations

by Silver, 00:07

@PCGamer Valve has met with Total Biscuit and Jim Stirling about its intended changes to game recommendations and how to combat 'fake' games.

...

Probably the biggest front-facing change will be the addition of "Steam Explorers," an opt-in system in which users buy a game from a pre-selected list, then play and evaluate it based on various criteria. The games will have to be purchased, but Valve is considering "perks" for members of the program including unique badges, access to exclusive forums, and no-strings-attached refunds (one per week) which will make "explored" games not too terribly different from conventional review copies. The idea is apparently to come up with something more akin to what Valve originally had in mind for Steam Greenlight, but with more incentive for those taking part to approach it actively and seriously, thereby making it a more effective system for separating the wheat from the crapola.

Valve is also looking at changes to the Steam curators system to increase its functionality and "make curation a rewarding and useful experience." It wants to give curators the ability to put together "collections"-TotalBiscuit noted that he currently cannot create a list of his top ten games for 2016 and display it at the top of his curator's page, which by all rights should be a very simple and obvious thing for a curator to do-and is also looking at a level system for curators, with various unlockable perks.

Significant for developers is a plan for an integrated "key mailer system" that will enable studios to give games to Steam users without the need for Steam keys. That will presumably simplify the process of getting games into the right hands, but it will also help cut down on Steam key fraud.

[...]

Saturday - March 11, 2017

Steam - Updates Customer Review System

by Hiddenx, 09:50

Steam has updated the customer review system again - freely received games are not counting for the total review score anymore:

[...]

Changes To The Review Score

As a result of this, we are making some changes to how review scores are calculated. As of today, the recent and overall review scores we show at the top of a product page will no longer include reviews written by customers that activated the game through a Steam product key.

Customers that received the game from a source outside of Steam (e.g. via a giveaway site, purchased from another digital or retail store, or received for testing purposes from the developer) will still be able to write a review of the game on Steam to share their experience. These reviews will still be visible on the store page, but they will no longer contribute to the score.

This does mean that the review score category shown for about 14% of games will change; some up and some down. Most changes in the review score category are a result of games being on the edge of review score cut-offs such as 69% positive or 70% positive. A change of 1% in these cases can mean the difference between a review score category of "Mixed" and "Positive". About 200 titles that only had one or two reviews will no longer have a score at all until a review is written by a customer that purchased that item via Steam. In all of these cases, the written reviews still exist and can easily be found in the review section on that store page.

[...]

Friday - February 10, 2017

Steam - Steam Direct replacing Greenlight

by Silver, 20:10

Steam is going to be rolling out a replacement for Greenlight called Steam Direct by Spring 2017.

Evolving Steam
11 February - Alden
When we consider any new features or changes for Steam, our primary goal is to make customers happy. We measure that happiness by how well we are able to connect customers with great content. We've come to realize that in order to serve this goal we needed to move away from a small group of people here at Valve trying to predict which games would appeal to vastly different groups of customers.

Thus, over Steam's 13-year history, we have gradually moved from a tightly curated store to a more direct distribution model. In the coming months, we are planning to take the next step in this process by removing the largest remaining obstacle to having a direct path, Greenlight. Our goal is to provide developers and publishers with a more direct publishing path and ultimately connect gamers with even more great content.

What we learned from Greenlight
After the launch of Steam Greenlight, we realized that it was a useful stepping stone for moving to a more direct distribution system, but it still left us short of that goal. Along the way, it helped us lower the barrier to publishing for many developers while delivering many great new games to Steam. There are now over 100 Greenlight titles that have made at least $1 Million each, and many of those would likely not have been published in the old, heavily curated Steam store.

These unforeseen successes made it abundantly clear that there are many different audiences on Steam, each looking for a different experience. For example, we see some people that sink thousands of hours into one or two games, while others purchase dozens of titles each year and play portions of each. Some customers are really excited about 4X strategy games, while others just buy visual novels.

Greenlight also exposed two key problems we still needed to address: improving the entire pipeline for bringing new content to Steam and finding more ways to connect customers with the types of content they wanted.

To solve these problems a lot of work was done behind the scenes, where we overhauled the developer publishing tools in Steamworks to help developers get closer to their customers. Other work has been much more visible, such as the Discovery Updates and the introduction of features like user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators.

These improvements have allowed more developers to publish their games and connect with relevant gamers on Steam. One of the clearest metrics is that the average time customers spend playing games on Steam has steadily increased since the first Discovery Update. Over the same time period, the average number of titles purchased on Steam by individual customers has doubled. Both of these data points suggest that we're achieving our goal of helping users find more games that they enjoy playing. (You can read a more detailed analysis of our recent updates here[www.gamasutra.com].)

A better path for digital distribution
The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we're calling "Steam Direct," is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.

While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we're still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we'd like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.
[...]

Saturday - December 17, 2016

Steam - Star Wars Collection on Sale

by Silver, 10:33

On Steam the Star Wars Collection is on sale for 77% off until December 20th.

 

Wednesday - November 02, 2016

Steam - Actual Screenshots Required

by Silver, 21:52

On a thread at facepunch user Sanjuaro shared some information he has received from Valve. Apparently there are some new guidelines for developers on screenshots.

We haven't been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we'd like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space. When the ‘screenshot' section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at. Additionally, we're going to start showing game screenshots in more places as described above, and these images need to be able to represent the game.

We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot' section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game. This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions. Please show customers what your game is actually like to play.

For elements such as marketing copy, awards you'd like to show off, or descriptions of your Deluxe Edition, we ask that you use the specific spaces already available on your store page to put that content rather than including it in your screenshots.

Dota 2 is an example of where we were doing it wrong ourselves. We're now in the process of updating Dota 2 to use screenshots of the game rather than artwork.

Friday - October 28, 2016

Steam - Versus Evil Weekend Sale

by Silver, 09:50

On Steam the Versus Evil catalogue is on sale this weekend. Titles include the Banner Saga games, Guild of Dungeoneering, Kyn and Skyshine's BEDLAM amongst others. The offer ends Monday at 10am Pacific Time.

 

Friday - October 21, 2016

Steam - Witcher, Fallout On Sale

by Aubrielle, 15:19

If you've been waiting for a big sale to pick up The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, or any other title in their respective series, now's the time.

First, The Witcher: in celebration of the fantasy action-RPG series' ninth birthday, last year's esteemed third main series entry, The Witcher 3, is subject to a 33 percent discount, selling for £16.74/$26.79. Its Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine DLCs—the latter of which is essentially a full game in itself—are also going cheap at £6.79/$8.49 and $13.59/$16.99 respectively. Going back a little further, the Enhanced Editions of both the first and second series entries—The Witcher Adventure Game and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings—are going for just £1.04/$1.49 and £2.24/$2.99 with 85 percent discounts.

The Fallout sale, on the other hand, sees Fallout 4's price tag cut in half, now selling for £19.99/$29.99. The Season Pass edition of the same—which includes the base game and all of its add-ons—costs £26.79/$33.49, while Fallout 3 costs £4.99/$4.99. The original Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics are going for £3.99/$4.99 each, however the Fallout Collection rounds up all three for £6.99/$9.99. 

Fallout: New Vegas is easily one of my favourite games of all time and is half price at £4.99/$4.99. If you're yet to play it, I recommend picking it up and, if you can splash out on the Ultimate Edition—now selling for £8.99/$11.99—you'll also net yourself its four add-ons which are totally worth the extra four quid/seven dollars.

Source: PC Gamer

Wednesday - October 12, 2016

Steam - Early Access Denied

by Silver, 00:12

@PCGamesN they talk to the developer behind Starpoint Gemini 2 and ask how the early access experience has changed for developers and players.

Starpoint Gemini 2 was one of the first games to enter Early Access after being scouted by Valve as a good candidate for the program. "I think we were the fifth or sixth game ever to get into Early Access," explains Little Green Men Games CEO Mario Mihokovic. "We weren't some great visionaries that knew how this was going to play out. Basically, we were developing the game - we'd never heard about Early Access because it didn't exist - and one day some people from Steam came to see it and said they were preparing a new program. They will be releasing unfinished games, and since we were talking to our community quite a lot, we would be a very good addition."

At that stage Steam were only accepting games in the very early stages of development, rather than the beta stage games that routinely enter the marketplace now. "The scheme insisted on the game being as unfinished as possible. It was their number one priority, they said, ‘if the game is in beta, or even close to beta, forget it'. The game needs to be as unfinished as possible so that people actually have enough time to be included in what they're investing in." For Starpoint Gemini 2 that meant basic controls for moving a ship around in space and nothing else - the collision box didn't work, most keys didn't work, firing didn't work and combat didn't work.

Tuesday - October 04, 2016

Opinion - Steam Should Better Control Early Access

by Aubrielle, 10:49

For some titles, early access has been a blessing. Others have made early access look like a disaster...or even a scam. PC Gamer pens their thoughts in an editorial.

It's not surprising that Steam's Early Access program has produced some disappointment.  Finished games fall short of our expectations all the time—why would we expect unfinished ones to be less flawed or controversial? But Early Access disappointments have broader consequences: when Early Access games fail, struggle, or their creator does something irresponsible, it harms the integrity of that label for everyone. As a Project Zomboid developer wrote in 2014, "[Early Access] failures tarnish the reputation of the entire model, so a failure (particularly a high-profile failure) is potentially damaging to the very developers who need this model the most."

Two years later, those words of caution remain relevant. An unscientific poll of PC Gamer Twitter followers suggests, at best, a lack of consensus about the value of Early Access. Early Access' reputation continues to be shaped by its worst participants, and in fact, we're grappling with new and inventive abuses.

Source: PC Gamer

Sunday - September 25, 2016

Steam - Changes Coming to the Storefront

by Silver, 07:30

@Techraptor Valve has told developers about upcoming changes to the Steam store. Expect these changes to arrive in the next few weeks.

"When we launched the Steam Discovery Update, we introduced a new and smarter Steam store built around personalization and recommendations. In the time since the Discovery Update, we've iterated on the features and made improvements to support the goal of helping each customer find the titles they are most likely to enjoy playing. We think our progress in this direction has been really valuable in supporting a broader variety of gaming experiences big and small, while better serving individual customer tastes. "

In the coming update, we can expect:

  • Home Page Visual Refresh: Mixing up how the front page appears, removing some visual clutter.
  • Additional Left Column Navigation: The left navigational column will be getting new direct links to main features of the Steam Store, such as New Releases, Top Sellars, Upcoming Titles, etc.
  • Friends Activity: A new section to the right of the front page will be dedicated to showing what your friends have been playing lately.
  • Top Selling New Releases: A brand new section will be added for when a new release becomes a top selling game.
  • Global Customer Preferences: A new feature that will allow customers to customize their Steam Store experience. Allowing them to opt to exclude certain products from being displayed, such as Videos, Early Access titles, Software, VR, etc.
  • Targeted Visibility For New Releases: New changes will be made to how new releases will be targeted to the appropriate customers. The goal is to show the specific customer new releases that will most likely appeal to them.
  • Targeted Visibility For Game Updates: Changes to how Update rounds will be made to be more direct to the customers who would want to see them. Customers who own the game or have it on their wishlist will be prioritized in showing the update.
  • New Steam Curator Options: Noticing that people are using Steam Curator to give information on a title, without necessarily recommending it, there will be new tools that will allow a curator to make a distinction about whether or not they are recommending, not recommending or just giving information about a title. This will also allow Valve to better understand what curated posts should be highlighted on the front page.
  • Curators In Main Capsule: The Main Capsule banner will be updated to include curators that the customer personally follows.
  • Improved Steam Curator Presence: There will be a new section on the Steam Home Page that is dedicated to recommendations from curators. This space will be for recommending more anything from popular releases to more "niche" titles. Additionally, there will be a new landing page to display many recommended titles from a curator.

Tuesday - September 13, 2016

Steam - Updates to the User Review System

by Hiddenx, 09:56

Steam updates the user review system:

[...]

Changes To The Review Score

As a result of this, we are making some changes to how review scores are calculated. As of today, the recent and overall review scores we show at the top of a product page will no longer include reviews written by customers that activated the game through a Steam product key.

Customers that received the game from a source outside of Steam (e.g. via a giveaway site, purchased from another digital or retail store, or received for testing purposes from the developer) will still be able to write a review of the game on Steam to share their experience. These reviews will still be visible on the store page, but they will no longer contribute to the score.

This does mean that the review score category shown for about 14% of games will change; some up and some down. Most changes in the review score category are a result of games being on the edge of review score cut-offs such as 69% positive or 70% positive. A change of 1% in these cases can mean the difference between a review score category of "Mixed" and "Positive". About 200 titles that only had one or two reviews will no longer have a score at all until a review is written by a customer that purchased that item via Steam. In all of these cases, the written reviews still exist and can easily be found in the review section on that store page.
[...]

Friday - June 24, 2016

Steam - Summer Sale is On

by Aubrielle, 13:16

In case you haven't heard, Steam's "Summer Picnic Sale" is on until July 4.  Please don't get angry at me for the video.

loading...

Friday - June 17, 2016

Steam - Summer Sale Next Week

by Aubrielle, 05:08

Hang on to your wallets. PayPal has confirmed that Steam's summer sale will begin next week.

Steam’s Summer Sale will begin next week, according to ... PayPal?

That’s right, last month a Reddit user leaked the June 23 start date for Steam’s annual summer sale and today, PayPal, which has leaked previous Steam sales, seemingly announced the sale via a Tweet.

The sale will run from 9:45 a.m. PT on June 23 until July 4 at 10 a.m. PT., according to the previous leak.

No word on what sort of exceptional discounts we’ll be seeing, but if you game on PC you should be excited.

Given all of the news coming out of E3, news of Alienware’s second version of a Steam Machine and Valve’s doubling down on its own Steam controllers, I think we can expect a lot of good gets coming out of this sale.

I can see us getting a Steam controller discount, some nice VR discounts and certainly some price drops for games now getting sequels.

Wednesday - May 04, 2016

Steam - Review System Changes

by Silver, 03:56

Steam have updated the review system to better reflect how games are as a current experience rather than have old reviews front and center.

-Valve
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

by Silver, 04:23

Steam has a weekend sale on over 200 anime titlesThe offer ends Monday 10am Pacific Time.

Thursday - March 03, 2016

Steam - Bundles Receive Dynamic Pricing

by Silver, 01:09

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

by Aubrielle, 00:42

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.

Source.

Source: Steam

Wednesday - January 13, 2016

Steam - Winter Sale Big for Smaller Games

by Aubrielle, 08:47

Despite all of its issues, Steam's winter sale was a really big deal for smaller indie titles.  RPS has some numbers.

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.

More information.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Thursday - December 31, 2015

Steam - Update on Christmas Issues

by Hiddenx, 13:58

What happened on the Christmas Steam Sale? - here's an update:

What happened

On 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 happened

Early 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

by Hiddenx, 22:48

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

by Aubrielle, 21:48

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.

More information.

Source: Steam

Friday - December 18, 2015

Steam - Winter Sale Starts 12/22

by Aubrielle, 04:38

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.

More information.

Wednesday - October 21, 2015

Steam - About Those Paid Mods

by Myrthos, 12:51

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.”

Thanks Eye.

Thursday - August 20, 2015

Steam - Your target audience doesn't exist

by Hiddenx, 19:19

Sergey Galyonkin has written another interesting article for his 'SteamSpy' series:

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

by Myrthos, 12:11

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.”

Read all about it.

Saturday - April 19, 2014

ArsTechnica - Steam Sales Figures

by Couchpotato, 05:04

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. 

Link - http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/

Second article contains an expanded top list - expanded to 100 games (page 2 of article)

Link - http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-addressing-your-questions-and-concerns/

Monday - January 06, 2014

Steam - Interview @ Washington Post

by Couchpotato, 04:38

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

by Couchpotato, 23:36

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.Wink

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