As part of on-going efforts to improve the Steam digital storefront, Valve has pushed out a new update to Steam Labs that improves the site's News Hub. Dubbed Steam Labs Experiment 009, the update is now live for all to try out in the Steam client and the browser version of the storefront.
The idea is to simplify navigation and allow users to load up a variety of preset views. The main change introduced with the update is a layout refresh. As Valve explains in Steam Labs Experiment updates:
"The menu on the left (which was previously a long list of check boxes) now focuses on switching between major preset views and gives us space to add more preset views in the future. The filters for excluding certain types of events or certain sources has moved into a secondary menu. The left bar still includes a game search field for quickly finding news about a specific game."
We can expect Valve to flesh it out in the months ahead with more relevant presets.
Upcoming events now have their very own dedicated section to make it easier for users to find and follow those relevant to them based on their game library. We're talking maintenance news, in-game events, updates, DLC, and sales.
Alongside, there's now a new Featured section, which will showcase a selection of posts pooled from the top 100 selling games on the platform. Steam says the section will also include popular events from a broader range of games alongside curated events that Valve deems appropriate to highlight. A quick browse highlights news from popular games like Rust, World of Warships, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Football Manager 2020.
The update also shows dedicated Game News Hubs some love. Valve explains:
"The layout of individual game news hubs has also been updated to make it easier to identify the game area, and provide quick access links to the game's store page, community, and more. This also cleans up the individual news items in this view so you don't have to see the game name listed again on every single post."
Finally, the latest update Steam Labs update rejigs the News Hub for mobile users that includes a new navigation mode to switch between sections, quick access to the game search, and all-round better formatting that makes it easier to sift through content and text on mobile.
You can try out the new changes by visiting the News section from the Store dropdown. Once there, click on the big 'Click here to try out the Steam News Hub' banner at the top of the page to jump into the Steam Labs view. It's worth noting that the News Hub is still very much a work in progress, and Valve is encouraging users to offer feedback and suggestions.
We've had a quick play around, and although it's nothing too revolutionary, it's undoubtedly an improvement on the endless-scrolling content overload of the existing News page. It's a lot more digestible and pleasant to use, although it will certainly benefit from some more tinkering before it's fit for a full launch.