Steam’s library view has existed, unwavering, since the birth of time itself (more or less), and few would argue that it wasn’t in need of a long-overdue revamp. We’ve known one was coming for a while now, of course, with various work-in-progress teases, both official and otherwise, having emerged at intervals over the last year or so. Finally, however, Valve’s efforts are ready for their public debut, and are available now in beta.
Once you’ve opted in to the beta (which merely requires selecting the appropriate drop-down option from Steam’s settings menu), the first thing you’ll likely notice is your new library’s aesthetic overhaul. That immediately comes into play on the new library landing page, which offers a snapshot of recently played titles, as well as recent activity for select games in your collection – seemingly pulled from developer-created news posts. There’s also an overview of recent friend activity, and the ability to display games organised into user-created collections.
Steam’s library update (which, incidentally, isn’t reflected across its Big Picture mode at present) also brings with it new-look pages for individual games. Select a title in your library at random, and you’ll be presented with a broad selection of information pertaining to that game, now organised in a manner which doesn’t appear to have tumbled out of the 90s.
First comes an overview of playtime and achievements, following by links to a game’s store page, community hub, and so on. Immediately after, there’s space for developers to post large, eye-catching event banners – No Man’s Sky, for instance, currently has a spread dedicated to its latest Beyond update – with Valve suggesting that developers can use these to highlight the likes of livestreams, limited-time events, and important news.
Then below that comes a round-up of activities from friends that also own the same game, community-created content, and more.
At first glance, it all makes for an immediately improved experience, although it’ll obviously take a bit of concerted use before the more nuanced pros and cons of Valve’s latest update make themselves known – and developers will likely have their own thoughts once it becomes clear how these changes will effect user engagement with their games.
You can formulate your own opinion on the matter, however, by opting into the beta now. You’ll find instructions over on Valve’s blog.