Valve recently posted an analysis of the latest major update to Steam, which introduced the Discovery Queue and Steam Curators. Valve gave permission for the information within to be shared with the public, and the entirety of the post was copied to Reddit shortly after.
The Steam Discovery Update released in September of last year and Valve has been hard at work analyzing what parts of the update work, which parts need improvement, and what needs to be fixed to help customers find new and interesting games more easily.
Possibly the largest (and certainly the easiest to notice) change is the Discovery Queue. This is a list that is generated each day for every Steam user that shows them new releases, popular and highly-reviewed titles, in addition to personal recommendations.
The numbers suggest that the Discovery Queue is a huge success - all product pages across the Steam platform saw a 30% increase in page views, and 75% of that increase can be attributed directly to the Discovery Queue. This queue is now responsible for 16% of all page views across Steam.
Steam Tags, a categorization system that was used before the Discovery Update, has also seen a large increase. Valve states that this increase is “threefold,” and almost 7% of product page traffic is now through Steam Tags.
One area that needs work (and one that is likely to see changes in the near future) is the Steam Curators section. 1.3 million Steam users follow at least one curator, but the traffic generated from curator suggestions is not meeting expectations.
Unfortunately, the day to day interactions are not as high as we'd like, and we know we need to make some changes to better expose curators.The true value of the curator system is difficult to analyze, however. While page views may not be highly influenced by this system, it is possible that purchases are affected by having curator quotes directly on the store pages - Valve believes that the curator system has potential for improving the ability of customers to discover new and interesting games.
The Steam Discovery Update has had an impact on even the smallest developers. Valve looked into the sales increase of smaller titles by analyzing sales outside of the top 500 sellers. The results show that these smaller titles have seen an 18% increase in total revenue, with daily earnings per program increasing by 5%.
What are your thoughts on Steam’s update? What changes would you like to see to the Steam Curator system? What else could Valve do to make finding new, great games even easier?