In the past decade, Steam has gone from being annoying digital rights management (DRM) software for Valve games to one of the most celebrated gaming distribution platforms of modern gaming. Physical copies of PC games have all but disappeared from retail game stores, due in part to the popularity of Steam and the other digital distribution platforms it inspired.
Today, Valve announced that it will soon be updating the Steam Community to focus more on user-created content and community discussion. The announcement page on steamcommunity.com makes it clear that all of the features of the new Steam will be revealed over the next three days. From the announcement:
Dear Steam Community,
Since we launched Steam Screenshots in February 2011, players have taken over 80 million screenshots chronicling their adventures, conquests, battles, victories, and defeats. Since May 2011, almost 1 million videos were shared by linking your YouTube and Steam accounts. And since the introduction of the Steam Workshop in September, you've created over 200,000 Workshop items...So we're working on a Community update focused on finding and sharing the best of that content.
Today's announcement is about how each game's page will look in Steam. The redesign will center each video game in its own "Hub" where all of the content surrounding that game is aggregated. As seen in the screenshot above, each "Hub" will have specific tabs for discussion, screenshots, videos, the Steam Workshop, and news. The "All" tab will sort all of this content into a Pinterest-like interface that can be seen in the larger screenshot below. Players will be able to leave comments on posts and give a thumbs-up to content that they enjoy or approve of, meaning the community will curate content to some extent.
A new set of features will be showcased tomorrow, but Valve has not given any hint as to what those features are. The company did state, though, that a closed beta for the redesigned Steam is coming, and will be announced soon.