As part of a lengthy 2018-in-review post published this week, Valve outlined improvements it made to Steam in 2018, then broke out its internal corporate crystal ball for a glimpse into the future.
If all goes according to plan, it’s gonna be a big year for Steam. But this is Valve, a company whose main contribution to the field of physics is the concept of “Valve Time,” so that’s a pretty big “if.”
There are a lot of numbers. In 2018, Valve says, Steam had 47 million daily active users, 90 million monthly active users, and a peak concurrent user count of 18.5 million. Valve also talked about the outcomes of more specific endeavours, like its recent (and long-overdue) addition of a moderation team, which has since gone through 113,290 reported posts—“most of which were resolved in less than a day.” That’s not to say the toxicity problem is anywhere near solved, but it sounds like progress.
Despite its reputation for being hands-off with what ends up on its store, Valve said that last year its game review team “processed 46,200 review requests, played 11,111 games (or DLC), and examined 17,448 store pages.” Granted, plenty of iffy games still slipped through the cracks, but the world is now presumably safe from obvious troll jobs like Big Dick and MILF under Valve’s marginally more watchful eye. The company also churned through “over 44 million” help tickets — a big improvement over Steam support’s dark ages.
As for what’s ahead, Valve outlined eight changes that it plans to ship this year. Those include improved store discoverability including a new algorithmic recommendation engine and new broadcasting and curating features, a reworked Steam library based on tech that underlies the new version of Steam chat, the launch of Steam China, a new events system, Steam TV support for all games, a new Steam chat mobile app, an expanded Steam Trust system for determining whether or not players are cheaters, and an official Steam PC cafe program.
Many of those things sound interesting, if nothing else, and I look forward to when they see the light of day in *glances at paper* day, month, and probably also year TBD.