In July 2019, Steam introduced its users to the new functionality of labs. The number of experiments that can be performed by all members of the Valve community is increasing month by month. What are Steam Labs and what do they do?
Why do we need Steam Labs?
The purpose of Labs is to show users new features of the platform, which are being developed at different levels of advancement. The experiments available in the labs benefit both Steam users and developers working on innovations and improvements to the platform. The former can follow Valve's new ideas and influence their final shape before they are officially published, the latter can receive valuable feedback from the community.
It's hard to resist the impression that the creation of labs has something to do with the presence of Steam's rival Epic Games Store. You may have different opinions about the functioning and policy of EGS, but objectively speaking, it is far behind Steam in terms of functionality offered to users. Does Valve want to prove and emphasize its technological advantage over its competitors?
How can you participate in experiments?
The experiments are open to all users and available from the Steam PC application and web browser. They can be tested immediately - unlike the beta versions of the Steam client that require downloadable updates. Just select the experiment you are interested in and click on the "try it" option below its description. You can stop testing the selected functionality at any time.
To share your impressions about experiments or read opinions of others, just join the Steam Labs group and use its discussion forum.
Experiments and ideas
Although the first experiments of Steam labs - micro trailers, automatic demonstration of the latest and most interesting games and an interactive counselor - presented to the community in July could seem to be pleasant to test, the next ones directly translate into the functionality of the website. The experiment connected with an improved game search engine, which has been enriched with useful filters, is particularly pleasing.
In the experiment we have seen, among other things, the long-awaited narrowing of the scope of game search according to a specified budget. Experimental search engine is also a potentially infinite, convenient scrolling of a list of games generated on an ongoing basis that meets our requirements, so that we no longer need to click on the next subpages of search results (which, as you know, liked to buggle).
In addition to participating in experiments, users of Steam labs have the opportunity to share their own ideas on how to improve the platform and its new functionalities. Will the best of them actually be implemented in the service? Time will tell.
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