In case you missed it, the Steam Blog has started a series of posts to discuss upcoming changes for the Steam Store and how it impacts gamers and developers. The first in a series of posts aims to provide a better understanding of what Valve is trying to do with the Steam Store, including the goals and some of the inner-workings behind the store.
Here's a blurb about the challenges they face:
So what would a successful Steam Store look like? To answer that, we need to look at all the different kinds of people who use it.
- Players who are highly connected to the online game community & conversations, and players who are totally unconnected
- Players who browse the store looking for a game, and players who arrive already knowing the title they're looking for
- Players who come to the store once a month, and players who visit multiple times a day
- Players who just want to buy the latest AAA title, and players who want to search for hidden gems
- Players who want to play titles earlier in their development, and get involved in their evolution
- Players who want games with specific attributes, such as a type of gameplay, support for a specific technology, translation to their local language, etc
- Developers with AAA titles that have large, existing fan bases, and developers who are barely known, yet have a game that would be a hit if players found it
- Developers who want to build deliberately niche games, and have them find that niche audience
- Developers who want to get community feedback earlier in the development process
We believe that a successful store would be one that treated all these people, both players and developers, in a manner that they would consider fair. Unfortunately, these groups often have competing interests, so it's important to understand that if we're not doing exactly what one group wants, it's probably because we're trying to weigh it against another group's interests. It might seem obvious that developers have some competing interests, but it's also true on the player side - some players specifically enjoy exploring Early Access titles, while others never want to see them.
And ultimately, that is why the Steam Store is a design challenge. We could make the problem a lot simpler by choosing to ignore some set of players or developers, but we think there are already stores that have chosen to do that, and it's much more interesting to try and figure out how to build a single store that works for everyone.
You can read more at the Steam Blog by clicking here.