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Steam calls on YouTubers to help fix its discoverability issues

PC retailer is considering a Steam Explorers initiative

Valve invited a number of well known YouTubers to its offices in an effort to improve some of the challenges plaguing its Steam store.

These include stamping out 'fake games', which is how Valve describes poorly developed titles created to make some quick money (often using stolen assets or built upon other game's templates).

The firm also hopes engaging YouTubers will help it improve the discoverability issues that exist within Steam, made worse by the sheer number of titles being released on the platform every day.

YouTubers John Bain (Total Biscuit) and Jim Sterling were invited to Seattle to talk with the firm and both of them uploaded lengthy videos to discuss what they spoke about. You can watch them through the links above.

Sterling and Bain report that Valve are trying to bury 'fake games' under new algorithms, which is something the newly-announced Steam Direct will be able to help with and improve.

Naturally, with any automated system, the problem is that some good, honest games might get caught up in the net. This means the firm is planning to introduce Steam Explorers - which will also help with the discoverability challenge that Steam suffers from.

Explorers will be gamers (anyone can be one and they'll receive their own forum to arrange private multiplayer matches) who will play through titles that have been underperforming. If they like a title, they can flag it up, which will improve the game's chances of being put to the fore.

Of course, with influencers in the conversation, Valve also wanted to discuss its Steam Curators system. Curators are individual people or companies that make recommendations, and fans can follow these creators on Steam. Valve is considering adding new functionality, including embedding videos, lists and other storing methods, developers will now be able to give game keys directly to curators within Steam. They're even planning to give information on how curators impact game sales and may even pay curators for their efforts.

Speaking of making data more freely available, Valve also plans to show page impressions and where those impressions come from to try and highlight the quality of games on the service. They also believe that Steam Direct will ensure there will be fewer and better games released on the platform.

A lot of these are just proposed ideas for now, and many of the concepts are still in the early stages of development. As with any new feature, they are open to abuse and Valve will be eager to avoid that going forward.

Yet it is reassuring to see just how active the firm is in trying to improve the digital service it provides.

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Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
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