Steam Visibility Explained by Valve

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.

Screenshot of the Steam home page, featuring Starfield
No, you can’t buy a home page takeover.

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:

    • Localization
    • Tags


  • 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:

    • Localization
    • Regional pricing
    • Marketing assets
    • Controller support
    • Community


  • 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.

Make sure to also read Chris Zukowski’s notes, and Simon Carless’s summary.