Valve’s latest Steam Labs experiment is an attempt to streamline the cumbersome process of navigating its personalised Discovery Queue system. The new experience makes the Queue accessible without leaving the page you’re on and cuts out extraneous info, presenting players with an easily-digestible summary of their recommendations.
Where the current Discovery Queue experience consists of loading up a succession of full-on Steam pages, this experimental feature tries to cut out the fat and present users with a few key facts. The new system appears as an overlay on your current page and displays a single video, short description, and overall user reviews. The most useful part of the current setup—data on why you’re being recommended a game—is also given a more prominent position.
Valve promises further updates to the feature, including a “new queue display on the Steam homepage,” the ability to launch the queue from any page on Steam, Steam Deck gamepad UI support, and optimisations for mobile and tablet.
This feature is experimental for now, which means Valve might end up ditching the whole thing like they did with the dearly-departed Automatic Games Show, but I hope they keep it. The Steam Discovery Queue was one of Valve’s earlier attempts to promote discoverability on its platform, but was imperfect at the time and has only grown creakier as history marches on.
If you’re anything like me, the Discovery Queue is a feature you use exactly four times a year. Every seasonal sale, I click perfunctorily through a queue of 11 games once a day to get a trading card I can sell for a few pennies. At all other times, the Discovery Queue is like a part of town I try to avoid; it’s hard to get around and the inhabitants keep trying to make me play The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story. I’d love it if the Queue got the attention it needed to become a genuinely useful way of finding new games.
Curious users can head on over to the Steam Labs page and experience the magic for themselves.