New Steam Algorithm May (Ironically) be Hurting Indie Devs

/ 5 years ago
Valve Releases Steam 2018 Year in Review Data

It’s pretty well established that in terms of the games Steam recommends to you, the list can largely be repetitive and mostly concentrating on some of its most popular releases that you either don’t want or don’t care about. Last week, however, following the launch of a new algorithm, Valve was looking to make your list a little bit more varied and maybe even push harder on some of the more obscure titles.

Sounds good, right? Well, apparently not. In a report via Kotaku a number of indie developers have issued a complaint to Steam saying that since the update their ‘wishlist’ requests have nosedived.

Steam Recommended Change Gets Indie Developer Complaints

One of the first developers to complain was the creator of the ‘Unbound: Worlds Apart’ game. Posting the image above, they clearly demonstrated that since the algorithm change, the number of people adding their release to their ‘wishlist’ has taken a significant downturn. This has since been followed up by similar concerns made by around a dozen other developers.

So, what’s the problem? Well, it seems that these games all have one thing in common. Namely, that they haven’t been released yet.

What Games Get Prioritised?

One of the biggest complaints of the algorithm is that it still largely only recommends games that are either popular or are already very well-known. In other words, indie developers were not getting too much promotion before this and since the change, it seems to be getting even worse. Particularly so, however, if the game is not yet out. Pretty much the polar opposite of what Steam said they would do!

One user has described the situation as follows:

“It’s a pretty clear pattern. Upcoming games are given negative priority for visibility. ‘More Like This’ is roughly 50% relevant best-sellers, 50% non-relevant best-sellers, and a random [triple-A game] or two… It’s comedically opposite to their stated intention.”

So, well Valve might have wanted to solve a problem here, it seems that they may have made it a whole lot worse!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

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