Today, Steam has launched a beta feature that creators hope will “shape the way that millions of customers shop for games on Steam.”
If you make regular use of the Internet, you’re likely familiar with the concept of tags. They’re short descriptors – typically a single word or a short phrase – that clarify the content they’re attached to and enhance searching capability. Valve has now brought this functionality to the Steam beta, and is placing the control in the hands of users like you and me.
Right now, beta users can visit the store page of a game on Steam and feel free to tag it with whatever they feel is appropriate to the title. Maybe you want to tag Loadout with “shooter,” or apply a “strategy” tag to Civilization V. The idea is that the tags will not only give additional insight to the content at hand, but clicking on them can also provide quick access to other titles sharing the same tag. Users can also browse by tag for narrowing down search results quickly.
It’s not all “Action” or “RPG,” either. Users can tag a game with virtually anything. A visit to the Octodad: Dadliest Catch store page shows the second-most popular tag to be “Normal Dad Simulator.” The store page for Gunpoint shows the top tags as “Indie,” “Action,” “Stealth,” “Strategy,” and “Puzzle.” It’s already become an effective way to get the gist of a title you may not be familiar with.
It’s also quickly become a platform for opinion, and users are clearly having some fun with it. As of the time of this writing, Aliens: Colonial Marines is tagged with “Famously Terrible,” while Gone Home is tagged with “Bad,” “Not a game,” and “Walking Simulator.”
There are very few restrictions. No swear words are allowed, but that’s just about it. Still, it’s useless to post tags that have no relevance to the game, as any tags added won’t appear with the game until enough other users have added the same tag.
With the Steam library already humongous and growing at an alarming rate, tagging could prove to be an extremely useful feature when discovering new games. For more details, visit the announcement page on Steam.
Last Updated: February 13, 2014