Valve's new Steam Labs is a place for weird experimental Steam things


Valve launches 'Steam Labs,' a new hub for testing out experimental features

For the most part, Valve tends to be very, very secretive when it comes to developing projects.

As the proprietor of the Steam Store, it's Valve's job to help you find the games you're looking for - a job that's easier starting today with the introduction of three new experimental features that are part of Valve's new Steam Labs collection.

The three launch experiments are Micro Trailers, the Interactive Recommender, and the Automated Show.

The final experiment Valve is testing out is called "Automatic Show", which the company jokingly compares to "one of those cable shopping channels without the super-absorbent chamois cloths". Each one is created to provide a different service and all need to be looked at as works-in-progress. These Micro Trailers can play as you hover over games, automatically as you scroll, or as grids of footage from a given game. Sounding very much like a long GIF, the Micro Trailers are sorted into collections such as Popular New Games, Roguelikes, Adventure Games, RPG's and so on.

The presentation of these trailers is quite nice: they're big thumbnails until you mouse over them, at which point they start smoothly playing a video clip. Steam has a gargantuan library of titles and hundreds are added each month, so you're bound to miss a few.

The new Steam Labs hub is available today.

The Interactive Recommender - This experiment looks at your top-played games and uses machine learning to recommend other titles you might enjoy.

You can choose how heavily you want the tool to weight things like game popularity (you can adjust it between "Popular" and "Niche"), release date, and more. With this experiment running, an Automatic Show is generated every day to showcase the "latest and greatest" games for your convenience, eliminating the need for you to dig through Steam's at-times confusing interface to find good content.

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