We haven’t talked about Steam Labs in a while, but it was essentially a beta testing mechanism for new Steam features that users could opt into or out of depending on their interest in whatever was being given. The majority of the new features are aimed at making Steam’s vast library of titles more approachable, either through improved recommendations or more flexible browsing options.
The new Store Hubs experiment, which launched yesterday, combines the two by giving category hubs a visual makeover that makes them easier to navigate. It also has a “rich recommendations carousel,” which curates “new, top-selling, and discounted” games using Steam’s algorithmic recommendation engine.
Instead of just a list of games, the rich recommendations carousel “includes more metadata about each game, such as tags, release date, and review score, as well as a large presentation of the game’s micro-trailer,” according to one of Steam Labs’ first experiments.
The redesigned store hubs will also provide news, updates, and upcoming events from the developers of games in your library, wishlist, or recommendations. The news hub also includes “tag-driven recommendations,” as well as filtering tools that let you sort by new releases, trending, top-selling, top-rated, discount amount, game features, tags, or whatever else you want.
Following that, there’s a list of games similar to what’s available on Steam’s current store hubs, with a variety of filters to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a physics-based comedy 2D precision-platformer with multiple endings, a level editor, PvP, and co-op multiplayer, consider the following: Let me introduce you to Hoplegs, a November 2021 indie release that I discovered by randomly selecting filters until only one game remained.
This appears to be a significant addition to the shop, and I believe that folks who enjoy browsing will find it quite useful. The good news is that if you try it and don’t like it, you can easily go back to the previous format by clicking the “Steam Labs Experiment 13” button directly below the Steam store search field.