Valve has announced its plans for Steam in 2019 and beyond. The PC game store isn’t ready to reveal the exact details behind each upcoming change, but it has announced enough to give us a basic idea of what to expect in the future.
The biggest planned change seems to be for game discoverability on the Steam Store. “We’re working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes,” Steam revealed in a blog post. The post went on to add that discovery algorithms would only be a part of the new process for recommending games to players. New “broadcasting and curating features” are under development as well.
Steam also announced plans for upgrading its events system, so that players would be able to more easily discover “interesting activities” associated to the games they play, such as tournaments or streams. Expansions and changes to both Steam Library and Steam TV are in the works as well.
In terms of brand-new content, Steam is planning on shipping Steam Chat, a mobile app that will allow you to “share your favorite GIFs with your friends while on the go.” Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s Trusted Matchmaking is also being expanded to all other games with the new Steam Trust. Steam has revealed plans for opening “hundreds of thousands” of PC cafes around the world too, and the PC store is partnering with Perfect World to help bring Steam to China.
The latter half of 2018 saw Steam face new competition with the emergence of the Epic Games Store. Epic promised a more lucrative cut for developers that launched their games on its store, especially for titles made with Unreal Engine. To entice players, Epic secured several exclusive games, including titles that were originally scheduled to launch on Steam like The Division 2. Going into 2019, Epic Games didn’t let up the pressure on its competitor, offering a free game every two weeks for anyone using its store and also changing its refund policy to match Steam’s.