Steam has had some problems in recent years on many fronts. Its lackadaisical approach to the content of its storefront has raised many questions and problems due to the service almost turning into the Wild West of video games. Its structure and design has also been in question with the distributor using years old assets and functionalities for what is the world’s biggest PC storefront.
In a huge post by Valve, they looked back at 2018 and shared some stats with us. Steam has 90 million monthly users and 47 million daily users which is quite extraordinary. There’s also some more interesting facts in the article itself as well as some insights into how the service works internationally. However, they also outlined the potential changes that they might make to Steam in 2019. Here’s the list:
- Store Discoverability: We’re working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes. Algorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution, however, so we’re building more broadcasting and curating features and are constantly assessing the overall design of the store.
- Steam China: We’ve partnered with Perfect World to bring Steam onshore into China. We’ll reveal more details about this in the coming months.
- Steam Library Update: Some long awaited changes to the Steam Client will ship, including a reworked Steam Library, built on top of the technology we shipped in Steam Chat.
- New Events System: We’re upgrading the events system in the Steam Community, enabling you to highlight interesting activities in your games like tournaments, streams, or weekly challenges.
- Steam TV: We’re working on expanding Steam TV beyond just broadcasting specific tournaments and special events, in order to support all games.
- Steam Chat: We’re going to ship a new Steam Chat mobile app, so you can share your favorite GIFs with your friends while on the go.
- Steam Trust: The technology behind Trusted Matchmaking on CS:GO is getting an upgrade and will become a full Steam feature that will be available to all games. This means you’ll have more information that you can use to help determine how likely a player is a cheater or not.
- Steam PC Cafe Program: We are going to officially ship a new PC Cafe Program so that players can have a good experience using Steam in hundreds of thousands of PC Cafes Worldwide.
So, some big ticket items on this list. Steam’s expansion into China is huge considering what an untapped market China is. The redesigns are long overdue and I think the Steam Library has been largely the same all these years I’ve used it. Some more community features are always welcome and even though we don’t bother with it as much, PC Cafes are actually still very prevalent in the world.
If they come through with these promises, it might be a massive year for Steam. A good thing too since they’re getting some big competition. The Epic Games Store has been slowly creeping up to the distribution giant and if they stagnate, it’ll spell disaster. We’ll be back with next year’s recap and see how they did.