Valve has improved the Steam store over the years in terms of how user friendly it is, but in its latest update it’s as personal as it has ever been before. Let’s go over what’s new and what has been improved.
Easy Access Wishlisting
Now when you see a thumbnail on the store’s homepage there’s a drop down menu on the top right that allows you to quickly and easily add that product to your wishlist. You can also tag that you are not interested in it from this menu causing it to not appear on your store anymore.
A new tab has appeared on the left to give access to frequented areas on the steam store such as games that have been recommended by curators and people on your friends list, top sellers, discounted products, genres, etc. Valve has also taken note from web stores such as Amazon and added a recently viewed section to this column, which can be very useful.
Store Content Preferences
Tired of seeing all those terrible early access survival sandbox games? Fear no more, because now you can filter them out of your viewing entirely from your store display. This can be applied to pre-orders, software, movies and VR content as well. I know I’ll be unchecking a few of these boxes. So long indie short films and game creation software! As well as blocking out certain forms of content, users can now put a pseudo-parentlock on the store page in case they don’t want their child seeing animated boobs and blood, or perhaps you just don’t care for all the visual novels that Steam likes to suggest you (which hopefully isn’t the case anymore). Maybe violence and sexual content are too broad for you, in which case you can exclude games including certain tags from appearing to you. Also, if case you’re running Steam on a Mac or Linux, you’re also able to filter the store to only products that are available for Mac or Linux or any combination of OS you prefer.
Now the word escapes me so bear with me, but whatever you’d call that big scrolling area on the top of the store page that displays products based on recommendations or popularity has also been updated. It now displays the reason it’s put there, front and center for you. From what I gather it’s based off of friend recommendations, friend activity, curator recommendations, playing games that have similar tags or being a top seller. No matter which way it comes to you, it is interesting to have knowledge of why Steam thinks you would enjoy it.
The area that shows weekend deals, midweek deals and free weekends has now moved under that large thing I can’t seem to name. Instead of having to scroll through one thumbnail at a time, now multiple are shown at a time which is a nice little touch.
If you’re the kind that enjoys stalking other people’s Facebook pages and knowing every little detail of their life because they’re so smart to put it online, then you’ll love this section since it’s Steam’s simplified version of that concerning habit. In all seriousness though it’s good for striking up a conversation and asking a friend how they’re enjoying their game, or possibly finding a game you can play online with them as well.
Big Blue Buttons!
As well as being a good example of alliteration, these 4 buttons will direct you to the four most commonly visited areas or the store: New releases , specials, free games and an the index of Steam’s catalog sorted by user tags.
Updated Steam Curator Section
Not too much is new with the Steam curator section, but it does now display followed curator’s latest suggestions as well as showing screenshots behind the recommendation. It’s not much but it looks incredibly sleek, and that is always a welcome change.
The list of popular new releases, top sellers, games coming soon and specials now filters out titles you already have in your library, ensuring your list won’t be almost entirely greyed out anymore if you’re one of those Steam madmen that buys games all willy nilly. I wouldn’t know that that feels like, of course…
During big Steam sales, the store page changes format to an endless page of recommendations as well as a source of index finger cramping because you’re so desperate to spend your precious moolah on something you’ll probably only play twice. This is now a permanent feature of the steam store year round and is pretty interesting. Now even if there isn’t a sale, I’ll find myself scrolling for hours like I’m a kid eating the whole bag of potato chips while watching hours of cartoons without noticing it.
This has to be the best update the Steam store has received since everything was swapped from grey to blue. Some features that have been requested have been added, as well as many ease of access features. Valve’s biggest concern with the store has been accessibility and they really did a good job at combining that with customization and elegant design. It will be updated again eventually, but I’m interested in seeing what else they can add that hasn’t been added already.