Steam Outlines Eight Improvements Coming in 2019, from Improved Discoverability to Trusted Matchmaking
2018 was the year when Valve's digital store came under attack from multiple fronts. It had competitors before, sure, from Microsoft's Windows Store to Ubisoft's UPlay, EA's Origin and so forth.
However, last year an increasing number of big titles have moved away from Steam, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (exclusive to Battle.net) and Fallout 76 (exclusive to Bethesda.net). Furthermore, Discord launched its own store and Epic Games did, too, in the latter part of 2018. Both promised better revenue split deals to developers and publishers to entice them to land on their stores.
This early in 2019, Ubisoft already revealed that Tom Clancy's The Division 2 will only be available through UPlay and Epic Games Store. However, Valve isn't sitting idle and in their 2018 year-in-review blog post, which revealed that Steam is now sitting at 90 million MAU (monthly active users), they also outlined eight core improvements users can expect to be available this year.
- 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 it onshore into China. We'll reveal more details about this in the coming months.
- Steam Library Update: Some long awaited changes to the 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 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 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.
Whether this will be enough to rebuke the fierce assault from competitors in the PC digital space is anyone's guess at this point, but we'll be watching and reporting on this battle of digital stores. Stay tuned.