Valve has announced a change to how Steam handles its "Upcoming" tab. Instead of a chronological list of upcoming games, the new "Popular Upcoming" tab will take into account both user interest and general pre-release interest in a game.
Prior to the update, the Upcoming tab only showed a list in order of games that were coming out. According to Valve's blog post on the subject, users weren't using the tab, since it more often than not showed games they weren't interested in. Now, the tab will be replaced with Popular Upcoming, which will show users games for which others have expressed pre-release interest via wishlisting or pre-purchasing, or games from popular developers or publishers.
In addition, a "see more Upcoming Releases" button will direct to an Upcoming Releases page that will show suggestions tailored to the user based on past purchases, interests, and followed developers and publishers. The page will also have a filter to show upcoming releases in chronological order, just like the old system.
Valve has anticipated concerns from developers that this will make their games even more difficult to find than before. Under the old system, every game was guaranteed at least a brief audience on the Upcoming tab, whereas now, games that aren't already popular or from a known developer may slip through the cracks. In response, Valve offered a customer-focused reply:
"The old Upcoming list was only clicked on by less than half of one percent of customers whereas Top Sellers is clicked on by almost four percent," the blog reads. "It's clear to us that a brief (and sometimes very brief) spot on Steam's front page isn't useful if your game is shown to a random set of customers -- what's best for everyone is if your game is shown to the right customers, ones who have shown that they might like your game. If you're building a great, entertaining product with a store page to match, these improvements will facilitate connections to those customers in a higher quality way."
Valve's post also addressed tab manipulation via mass-wishlisting games, saying the company's code would look for a "natural trend" of interest across a diverse set of customers.