Steam is introducing algorithmic changes to improve discoverability of games

Steam’s new Store Discovery Update Should Make Finding VR Games Easier

Steam’s new Store Discovery Update Should Make Finding VR Games Easier

The idea is to make game recommendations about more than simply what's popular, tweaking the Recommendation Feed, "More Like This" tag, and the "Recommended for You" sections of the store to allow for a little more precision and a lot more diversity among its titles.

Going in search of bugs the team found them, saying in a blog post: "We found some bugs, such as the "Similar by Tags" section of the Recommendation Feed, which had a bug that top-rated games (a category that doesn't change very often) were driving too much of what players saw".

So they went bug-hunting.

Apparently, it worked. Valve said the "Recommended For You" listings became more relevant to individual users, with less bias toward popular games, and users in the test group proved to be almost 15 percent more likely to click on recommended games than users working under the old rules.

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After testing the updated algorithm on 5% of users - and finding that users were 15% more likely to click on the games recommended to them, with "increases in purchase and wishlisting across a broader set of games" - Valve has now rolled out the update to the entire user base.

Valve's vague about exactly how these changes work - likely in an effort to prevent exploits of the system - but one of the changes is an expansion of the time period used to calculate popularity, which previously created "unpredictable visibility for some games". The experiment yielded some promising results.

"To get a feel for the breadth of titles that were being visited, we measured how many games members of the experiment group visited via the "Recommended For You" section compared to a sample of customers who were not in the experiment for a few days". Especially when it comes to Steam's recommendation sections. Valve began experimenting with new ways to find content in July with the Interactive Recommender as part of Steam Labs.

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