NGPriest.com Team: Daily Deal – Axiom Verge, 50% Off

Ξ May 11th, 2017 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Author: NGPriest.com Team |

Daily Deal – Axiom Verge, 50% Off


Whenever we announce a change to the Steam Store, we’re always really interested to read the discussions that follow. Obviously we see a wide range of opinions on how good a job the Store is doing, but increasingly we’re seeing that people have very different ideas of what its job even is – and what it should be.

That’s understandable. One of the reasons it’s so hard to make a good store – one of the reasons we’ve been working on it for years, and one of the reasons we think we still have years of work left to do – is that it has so many jobs. It has to serve so many players whose tastes and interests are not only different, but sometimes complete opposites.

So we thought it would be useful to define what we believe success would be for the Steam Store. That way, everyone would understand what we’re trying to do, and discussions could focus on what we’re trying to do separately from whether or not we’re doing it well enough. This distinction also helped us realize we should be collaborating more directly with the community around improving the Steam Store.

This blog post aims to start that process by being the first in a set of three that explains our thinking around the Steam Store, and our plans for how we’ll improve it with Steam Direct. We’re going to talk about Store’s goals, and how it executes them. In the second post, we’ll cover some ways the Store is being exploited, and some changes we’re making to address that. Finally, in the third we’ll talk about the Steam Direct publishing fee, and some features that we’ll be releasing in the coming weeks.

So what would a successful Steam Store look like? To answer that, we need to look at all the different kinds of people who use it.

  • Players who are highly connected to the online game community & conversations, and players who are totally unconnected
  • Players who browse the store looking for a game, and players who arrive already knowing the title they’re looking for
  • Players who come to the store once a month, and players who visit multiple times a day
  • Players who just want to buy the latest AAA title, and players who want to search for hidden gems
  • Players who want to play titles earlier in their development, and get involved in their evolution
  • Players who want games with specific attributes, such as a type of gameplay, support for a specific technology, translation to their local language, etc

  • Developers with AAA titles that have large, existing fan bases, and developers who are barely known, yet have a game that would be a hit if players found it
  • Developers who want to build deliberately niche games, and have them find that niche audience
  • Developers who want to get community feedback earlier in the development process

We believe that a successful store would be one that treated all these people, both players and developers, in a manner that they would consider fair. Unfortunately, these groups often have competing interests, so it’s important to understand that if we’re not doing exactly what one group wants, it’s probably because we’re trying to weigh it against another group’s interests. It might seem obvious that developers have some competing interests, but it’s also true on the player side – some players specifically enjoy exploring Early Access titles, while others never want to see them.

And ultimately, that is why the Steam Store is a design challenge. We could make the problem a lot simpler by choosing to ignore some set of players or developers, but we think there are already stores that have chosen to do that, and it’s much more interesting to try and figure out how to build a single store that works for everyone.

For a while now, the features we’ve been building have all been aimed at making the Store more successful for those groups of players and developers. Allowing the community to tag games into useful categories, and allowing players to filter the store to their tastes, let players control what they see in the Store. The Discovery updates helped players who came to browse the Store, and developers who had games that needed a certain kind of player to find them. Curators, Reviews, and Refunds all tried to help players and developers of niche or undiscovered games to find their audience.

Greenlight was a step towards opening Steam up to a wider range of games and developers, rather than us acting as gatekeepers trying to guess what people will like. We’ve seen huge successes from games we had no idea would be popular, and whole new communities have sprung up around genres that previously couldn’t get on Steam at all. To us, that confirmed our suspicion that no single, small group of people should be sitting in judgement over what is and isn’t a good game. We should do some basic checks to make sure the game works, and we now do that on every title – but not insert our own tastes as a filter between what developers want to make and what players want to play. We could serve one particular group of players that way, but Steam can and should serve a more diverse range of people and experiences than that.

AAA players and developers have probably had the least amount of new features applied to them, largely because our data showed that the store was already working well for them – but we have to be careful to not stop that being the case in our efforts to help all the other titles. As much as the online conversation is dominated by indie titles, there’s a huge audience of players who just want to buy AAA titles.

These all feel like positive steps towards what we see as the goal for the Steam Store. But we know it isn’t serving every type of player and developer as well as it could, so here’s what we’re focusing on next.

The algorithm behind the Store that’s tasked with achieving the goals we’ve described above ultimately ends up producing this: the games you see when you load up the Store.

The Store is constantly trying to balance all the different interested groups of players and developers. It knows that it has a limited number of spaces it can use to show games to a player. It has some knowledge of the player, if the player is logged in and has a purchase / play history. It has some knowledge of the game, based on what the developer has told it and what previous purchasers of the game have said & done. It chews on all that data, and finally, decides which games it should show the player in all the various sections of the Store.

The problem with black box algorithms like this is that it’s hard to know when they aren’t working as intended. Did we not show a game to a player because the algorithm correctly guessed that the player wouldn’t be interested in it? Or because there were other games it thought the player would be more interested in? Or just because of a bug?

We had similar problems in the Dota 2 matchmaking system, which was also a black box algorithm. We found that when we better exposed the data around the black box (in that case, the matchmaking ranks of the players), our players understood the black box better, and as a result, were able to better identify cases where it wasn’t working correctly.

So we’re going to do the same with the Steam Store. We want to show you more of what it’s doing and why – and we have some features planned to help with this, starting with one we’re launching today: an algorithm section on game pages that states why the Store thinks this game will (or will not) be interesting to you.

This section will let you see inside the black box, and understand what the Store is thinking. We hope it will be useful whenever you’re exploring the Store, but in particular, whenever you’ve navigated from an external web page directly to a specific game’s Store page. In those cases, this section will help you understand whether or not this game is something the Store would recommend to you. In other cases, you might be more or less interested in something the store recommends if you know exactly why it’s recommending it. For instance, knowing that a particular friend or curator likes or dislikes a game might make it clearer whether you’d like it. Finally, if the store recommends something you know you’re not interested in, you’ll be able to see where its decision making is going wrong, and tell us about it.

Hopefully this post gives you a better understanding of what we’re trying to do with the Steam Store. In our next post, we’ll be covering the ways that bad actors have been gaming the Store algorithms to create revenue for themselves, which confuses our algorithms enough that it starts serving customers less effectively. We’ll cover some changes that we believe should tackle the problem.

Following that, we’ll talk about Steam Direct’s publishing fee, and how we’re approaching that decision.

Source Article from http://store.steampowered.com/news/29329/

 

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