Improvements to the “Upcoming” tab on Steam
In the past, the Steam homepage included an Upcoming tab that showed customers a complete list of everything that was coming to Steam. This was a pretty simple feature — it was literally just a chronological list of upcoming titles. It didn’t do anything to build a list of games suited to anyone’s interests and just wasn’t doing its job. Hundreds of new games are coming to Steam every month, but customers weren’t using this list to find new things to play. It was a feature that needed work.
Therefore, as of today the Upcoming tab will be a smarter, more tailored list called Popular Upcoming. This list will take into account the pre-release interest in a game — that is to say, data we gather through wishlists, pre-purchase, and a developer’s or publisher’s past titles. We believe Steam does a good job of taking early customer interest (even if that interest isn’t enormous) and helps a game amplify that interest through connection to quality customers. This smarter list on the front page aims to do just that.
Furthermore, when you click on “see more Upcoming Releases” at the bottom of that tab you’ll be taken to a dedicated Upcoming Releases page. This page will make suggestions based on your unique interests and show you what’s coming to Steam in a much more digestible format.
If you follow a developer or publisher with a new game coming out, the Upcoming Releases page will feature those games. If you’ve wishlisted a game, it will appear here as well. If you’ve shown Steam some of your interests, we’ll be taking that into account as you browse through games that are coming to Steam. Conversely, we won’t be populating this page with things you’ve willfully said you’re not interested in or with DLC for games you don’t own.
We also recognize that some of you do want to see the complete list of releases in one place — you don’t want us or our silly computers doing any work for you; you prefer a raw, unrefined deluge of new games. Well, on the Upcoming Releases page you can view a totally unfiltered list of everything that is coming to Steam, and while looking through that list you’ll know that as you add games to your wishlist or share them with friends, you’ll be helping Steam make it discoverable for everyone else.
We think these changes are going to help connect you towards games you’re excited about and make browsing all the new games coming to Steam a more enjoyable and productive experience. Making Steam more useful is never an exact science so we’ll be maintaining and adjusting these new features as more and more of you use them to find games you want to play.
Q: Can’t you replace this tab with something else? I have an idea about that, actually.
A: We spend a lot of time listening to customer feedback on improvements to the store, so please, let ’em fly. This change is in direct response to feedback and data from both customers and partners on the usefulness of Steam’s front page.
Q: I’m a developer and in the past I knew that my game would be in that unfiltered list on the front page, at least for a little while. Doesn’t this make my new game even harder to find?
A: We’ve spent a lot of time looking at data about how folks find and buy games and are certain that isn’t the case. The previous iteration of Upcoming was just too unfiltered for most customers to use it effectively. A piece of data for you: the old Upcoming list was only clicked on by less than half of one percent of customers whereas Top Sellers is clicked on by almost four percent. It’s clear to us that a brief (and sometimes very brief) spot on Steam’s front page isn’t useful if your game is shown to a random set of customers — what’s best for everyone is if your game is shown to the right customers, ones who have shown that they might like your game. If you’re building a great, entertaining product with a store page to match, these improvements will facilitate connections to those customers in a higher quality way.
Q: So let me get this straight, if me and all of my pals wishlist a game, we can help it get to the front page of Steam via the Popular Upcoming tab?
A: Yes but probably no. We spend a lot of time writing code and monitoring these systems so they aren’t manipulated. Now, if you love an upcoming game and wishlist it or even pre-purchase it and we identify that this is a natural trend across Steam’s diverse customer set, we will start suggesting it to other folks who may feel the same way.
Q: I have another question, you can’t predict me with your flimsy Q&A.
A: Please share it below and we’ll try to address it if it’s thoughtful and well-meaning.