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Steam Labs is Valve’s playground for experimental features

Most PC gamers probably see steam only has a digital games store but developers will tell you that the platform is a lot more than that. While it offers developers some features like controller support, statistics, and others, platform maker Valve is also thinking about other features to add to the platform itself. Now it is gathering those experiments under a single Steam Labs roof for the public to see and, for the daring, to try out.

It has become trendy for tech companies to have “labs” or hubs to show off that it has bright ideas and bright minds in the company. These also serve as a somewhat safe way for companies to solicit feedback from the public without actually committing to anything until they’re ready. Presuming the public doesn’t give it a thumbs down, that is.

Now Valve has got one, too, and, of course, it’s called Steam Labs. It has only three experiments available right now but it promises to add more. If Steam Labs itself proves to be successful, that is.

Of the three, the most interesting one is probably the Interactive Recommender because of its addition of some Machine Learning special sauce. Without feeding it any data except for launch date, the recommendation system will gather data on its own and learn what games are similar and then correlate that with similar games players have bought.

There’s also a bit of magic in the Automate Show that generates a 30-minute showcase of the latest games on Steam. Compared to that, the six-second Micro Trailers experiment sounds almost, well, tiny.

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