Gamers have been asking for a better curation system on Steam for years now and, this fall; it looks like some important steps are being taken to provide exactly that.
Over on the Steam Blog, the team has announced that a new Steam Curator program has gone into beta. That beta only has a "couple dozen" participants right now and is expected to last for a couple of weeks. Assuming all goes well, it looks like everyone should be able to enjoy the new Steam Curator update by the end of November.
In short, the Steam Curator program is currently a machine-driven system that receives absolutely zero personal attention. When you log into your Steam profile and see recommendations for games like Counter-Strike, Terraria, Dota 2, The Witcher III, Rocket League and the like, you're seeing them because an algorithm decided to put them there. They're likely the most popular games at the moment, or games on sale, or maybe even games that feature similar descriptors to games you've previously played.
But as the Steam team has pointed out, that system isn't ideal for all players. The new Curator system will be an opt-in feature so, if you're happy with your shopping experience right now, you don't need to worry that a new system will be forced upon you. For everyone else, it looks like this system will benefit the players, Curators and developers with some new features.
Once the system goes live, players will be able to select which Curators they wish to follow. From there, the games they see recommended while shopping will be the result of those decisions. So if you happen to really trust a couple of games websites, a couple of streamers and a couple of gaming personalities, you can add them to your curator list and know that the games you'll have in front of your face most regularly are the games they feel everyone should be playing.
Curators themselves will have some control over their own pages, determining what games go where and even linking in coverage, videos and reviews. So as a content creator, if there's a game you really wish more people would give a chance, you emphasize that on your page and know that anyone following you will get the message.
As for developers, Steam says they're working on systems that will allow them and the curators to more easily connect. So if I'm the developer of Stardew Valley and I see there is a curator who has an audience for my game but they haven't covered it yet, I should be able to reach out to them and say, "Hey, I think this might be relevant to your interests, please check my game out."
Steam promises more details as the system nears full launch, so keep your eyes out for that. As far as we're concerned, it sounds like a big step in the right direction that, if pulled off successfully, should create a better ecosystem for the people who play the games, the people who talk about them, and the people who make them.
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