Steam Tags system leaves beta, getting Steam lots of clicks

12 Aug 2014  by   Tim McDonald
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steam tags dota 2

Yes, Dota 2 is tagged with “Dota 2.” THANKS, STEAM TAGS.

Valve have announced that its Steam Tags system has left beta, and is doing phenomenally well. At making Valve more money, presumably, although they don’t actually come out and say that.

The Steam Tags system was the initially horrific little mechanism that let users tag games with whatever they liked. Which, obviously, meant “jokes” about marijuana and homosexuality. But then all of that stuff was removed, and the system was revamped, and it actually started working quite well!

A news post on Steam gives a lengthy explanation about what the tag system has done for the service, and while it’s all written in a way that makes it sound very useful, I’m finding it hard to be anything but hugely cynical. Of course, that might not mean much because I find it hard to be anything but cynical anyway. I mean, I’m cynical about breakfast.

The basic upshot is that the Steam tagging system is linked into the “Recommended For You” and “More Like This” bars. Rather than just recommending you stuff that’s on your wishlist or DLC for games you own, those bars now work off the tags to find games similar to what you’ve been playing. A very useful feature! Unless you’re cynical and just assume it’s so that Steam can convince you to buy more stuff.

Other changes made recently include tags not being language-specific (many will be displayed in your native language, but the database considers them to be the same tag) and certain tags being linked together. For instance, “mod-friendly”, “modding”, and “mod supported” will all appear under the umbrella of “moddable” so that there aren’t 70 different tags for the exact same thing.

Naturally, though, this is a Valve “leaving beta” announcement and therefore it doesn’t necessarily mean much. Even the news post itself admits as much: “With this set of changes, we are removing the ‘beta’ tag on the Steam Tags feature. This is mostly a cosmetic change, since we will continue to make improvements to the feature as we learn new things about how customers are using tags and how we can better utilize the relationships being defined between products.”

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