A suggestion for Valve

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UPDATE: Valve has since responded, thanking me for the suggestion. Who knows what might happen now!


I have a suggestion. While I know there are special forums and groups for that, although given the nature of the suggestion I am about to make, it would seem hypocritical to make use of them.

Steam should not be a social media site. There has been a considerable amount of mission creep on Steam since I haven joined (with my “civilian” account) in 2007. To some extent, this part of a general trend whereby nearly everything on the internet appears to become social media.

Steam should just be focussed on giving gamers an opportunity to play games, and publishers an opportunity to sell games, as it was in 2004.

Certain social media mechanics (like “friends”) may make sense for matchmaking in multiplayer titles, although the compulsory forums system, feeds, Steam marketplace, user groups on user accounts and community events are arguably creating a bit of a headache.

As for Early Access, you might be able to take a few ideas from Apple TestFlight. I think some users need to be more aware that they are playing an incomplete title and that early access is not a title in its own right and rather a privileged insight into the development of one.

Now, this suggestion is perhaps close to our heart: I for one believe that social media may have implicitly promoted the idea that multiplayer games have obsoleted single-player video games. This because there is a lot of conceptual crossover between matchmaking systems of old Steam (2004-2009) and social media mechanics seen in new Steam, Facebook etc. 

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz even claimed that “Today’s best games are continually updated online services whose players form an integral part of the game through multiplayer and user-generated content. These “games-as-a-service” have become rich, interactive social networks whose in-game player friendships rival those made in person.” I reckon that to a lot of gamers (including myself) this notion is offensive. Nonetheless, it is emblematic of the influence social media has on gaming.

I hope this helps.

Mordechai Gabai

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