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Steam's Discovery 2.0 has seen 46% more games showcased on the homepage

Company says per player purchases have nearly doubled

Steam is making headway in its discoverability battle, Valve has said.

As revealed on its developer forum and re-published by Gamasutra, the business says that its Discovery 2.0 update has had a profound impact on the number of games seen and bought.

Discovery 2.0 was launched last year and saw changes to how titles were recommended to consumers, with new algorithms and options that better reflect player taste - including the ability to filter out games that they're not interested in.

The firm says that the changes has resulted in 46% more games being shown to consumers via the front page.

"Refining our discovery algorithms has allowed us to increase visibility for more titles, most notably exposing smaller titles to the right audiences," wrote Valve's UI designer Alden Kroll.

Kroll says that not only are more games being showcased, but it's the right titles that are being surfaced, too. Since the launch of Discovery 2.0, purchases from the homepage's 'main capsule' have increased by 27%. The 'Recommendation by Friends' capsule now has a conversion rate of 15%, the highest of any capsule on the front page.

What's more, the number of purchases have increased. Since the Discovery updates began, the number of games people have purchased has almost doubled. An average customer now buys 8.3 packages each (a package contains one ore more games) each year. There was also a gradual increase in the time each player is spending on Steam games last year, too.

"Steam needs to be a place that supports surprise hits from new developers, as well as blockbuster titles with huge marketing budgets," Kroll added. "From triple-I games with teams of 300 to indie titles made by a single developer, and everything in between, we think it's important that creators have a direct path for reaching customers.

"With that in mind, we wanted to make sure that our changes to Steam weren't just serving the same small group of highly marketed titles. A healthy ecosystem should be able to support a range of games of various scales and potential audiences."

Using $200,000 as a benchmark for success, Kroll says that more games hit this point than ever before during 2016.

Of course, there's still a lot to do. The changes have clearly made a big impact, but with a huge number of games hitting Steam every week, discoverability will remain the platform's biggest challenging moving forward.

Kroll concluded: "The changes that we have made have had positive effects on customer engagement and product visibility on the platform, yet we know there is still work to do. This latest update was just one more step towards the ongoing goal of best connecting content consumers with content creators. We are committed to listening to feedback and iterating in pursuit of this goal."

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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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