Valve have published the slides for Erik Peterson’s recent talk on Steam visibility. It’s a good overview of the discovery mechanisms happening behind the scenes. Here’s my key takeaways.
Update October 5th, 2023
Valve have uploaded the talk to YouTube — Steam Visibility: How Games Get Surfaced to Players.
No widget on Steam is pay-to-win. They’re all driven by player interest — that is, revenue.
When players spend time and money on your game, it’s a strong signal to Steam it could be interesting to other players, too.
Some widgets are algorithmic (Featured & Recommended, Discovery Queue, New & Trending, Top Sellers, Popular Upcoming, Specials), while others are curated (Home Page Takeover, Daily Deals, Midweek and Weekend Deals).
Content hubs are a big source of traffic. F2P is extremely popular.
Things that don’t affect algorithmic visibility:
- Store page traffic
- Review score (usually)
- Wishlists (usually)
- Early Access (usually)
Things that do affect algorithmic visibility:
Inclusion in curated widgets is based on revenue, and other customer signals. If you think you’re doing good, it’s worth reaching out to Valve.
Maximize your chances of appealing to a broad audience:
- Regional pricing
- Marketing assets
- Controller support
Generate interest in your game as you get closer to release. Launch with momentum.
- Discord, forums, social media
- Press and influencers
- Paid marketing
- Local tradeshows, meetups, and groups
There’s no shadowban. (Although that doesn’t mean that you can turn around a bad launch.)
Steam never makes a permanent decision about your game.