Like most companies, much of what Valve (the company behind the huge Steam game store) tinkers with behind the scenes never sees the light of day. The concepts are born, are torn, rebuilt and sometimes thrown in the trash without anyone outside the company noticing it.
It seems that Valve is trying to change this, giving users the opportunity to comment on potential new features before they are fully developed. The company has just launched a new project called "Steam Labs", which will give early adopters a quick overview of concepts that could eventually be incorporated into the Valve's Steam game store.
You can find the new Labs page here.
The first three "experiments" all aim to help users find new games:
- Micro trailers: A six-second looped video trailer that starts playing when you hover over a chart in the store.
- Interactive Editor: Since the Steam client is used to launch most of the games you buy through the Steam Store, Valve has a good idea of what you are playing and how long it is. This experiment uses this data and uses it to search for other games that interest you based on the games you have played most. Want something that no one has ever heard of? You can filter popular items, limiting the results to lesser known ones.
- Automatic show: A sort of "purchase chain" issue automatically generated, highlighting the sequences of the last outings. Over time, they hope to have an automatically generated narration that will tell you a little more about what you see. for the moment, however, these are mainly game scenes replaced by music.
Valve quickly notes that all these experiences are just that – it is not promising that anything that strikes the Labs will reach the official customer. They also say that even "Steam Labs is an experience in itself," which will likely change and evolve over time. If you like or do not like a feature, Valve's also sets up a forum for user comments and suggestions.
Now, if anyone at Valve could go ahead and rank Half Life 3 in the Steam Experiences category and give us a glimpse of what was going on there, that would be great.