Here’s what’s new in Steam’s experimental features program, Steam Labs

Valve has announced a suite of new innovations is heading for Steam Labs.

Established earlier this year, Steam Labs is a place where experimental new features can be introduced early in development, tested, and developed in conjunction with the community. While “some of them may turn out great, “others [Valve] may toss out”, so the digital storefront actively invites users to trial – and feed back on – new features before they’re ready to be made a part of the platform.

First up, there has been a change to existing Experiment 001, the Micro Trailers feature that creates six-second looping videos designed “to quickly inform viewers about titles on Steam with a presentation that’s easy to skim”. A “fancier version” of the Twitter bot that inspired the feature, Micro Trailers has now been updated to “include support for all games on Steam”.

Experiment 004, however, is brand new and brings improvements to Steam’s search functionality. “Discover just what you’re looking for with more filters and infinite scroll in search,” Valve says on the website. “This experiment will set your browser into Labs Mode, allowing you to access its features whenever you search on Steam. Labs Mode is remembered per browser and easy to exit via the banner at the top. Happy searching!”

Steam also shared the name of Experiment 005 – Deep Dive – but has yet to detail what it entails, although it has reportedly been developed in partnership with Level Up Labs creator Lars Doucet and will “directly leverage the underlying APIs that fuel its recommendations and related game information”. Expect that to “debut soon”.

Valve also recently confirmed a new Steam Library open beta will kick off on September 17th, 2019, plus new tools to enable game developers to post events and announcements within Steam and – from September 17th – within the Steam Library itself. 

“The new Steam library was built with the belief that our libraries are valuable to us – for some customers, they contain more than fifteen years of games,” Valve said in a Steam Team update. “From your absolute favourite AAA title that all your friends are playing, to that solo indie art project that only you seem to love, your Steam library represents your gaming history.” 

The changes include a new landing page which will give users quick access to game updates, recently played games, friends activity and collections, plus the company asserts it will be “easier for you to stay on top of the changes happening to your games and who is playing what”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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