Steam Tag, You're It: Valve Launches New Discovery System

On Wednesday, Valve launched a new feature on Steam that allows users to “tag” games, as a way of driving a new game recommendation engine. In their page announcing the new feature, Valve encourages the use of non-traditional tags, saying “the system is intended to support a broad variety of concepts, genres, and attributes.”

Though the feature is still in beta—Valve claims it’s because they “need to get some data into the system before it will be fully optimal”—the community quickly jumped into action tagging games, both with basic descriptions like “Third Person,” “Retro,” or “Timesink,” specific features like “Steam Workshop,” “Steam Trading Cards,” “Co-op,” or “Functioning Toilet,” and obligatory memes like “Hat Simulator.” Some games have even been tagged with the names of prominent critics that have written about them, like Jim Sterling or Brendan Keogh, though not enough to trigger their own page yet.

Valve has promised that “swear words will be filtered out and not appear among popular tags,” though that seems to be the only moderation they intend to do—their only (publicly-posted) information for developers unhappy with tags their game is receiving is that “tags can be a good indicator of when there is a mismatch between how you perceive your game, and how your game is perceived by customers. Often this is simply because there is some piece of information regarding the game that customers feel is missing from the store page.”

Of course, that’s little recourse for developers whose games are now prominently labeled “Bad,” “Crap,” “Hipster Garbage” or “Not a game.” The tumblr “ACTUAL STEAM TAGS” has been collecting screenshots of games whose tags seem to be harassing independent game developers, or otherwise using the new platform as a venue for memetic nonsense like “Dangling Grandpas” or hate speech like “The Holocaust Never Happened.”

Steam Tags: A Powerful New Way to Shop For Games
Steam Tags: A Powerful New Way to Shop For Games

Another issue is the potential for spoilers. One of the most memorable moments from the climax of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is spoiled by one of the game’s tags, as is one of the more noteworthy surprises in Hate Plus and the literary inspiration for Spec Ops: The Line. 

Alongside their much-criticized Greenlight program, Steam Tags appear to be part of an ongoing strategy for Valve to automate their responsibilities as a platform-holder, or at least offload those responsibilities to “the community.” As the de facto gatekeepers of PC Gaming as a platform, it’s a worrying trend—another word for control by the community is “mob rule.”

Share this article:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on tumblr
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Recent Posts


Conversation with Neil Jones about Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield | PAX Online

Neil Jones aka Aerial_Knight is a name you need to look out for. His new game Never Yield is going to be a banger

Gaming News

Breaking News: Microsoft Acquires Bethesda

Microsoft acquires Bethesda. This may be the biggest deal we’ve seen in gaming.

Game Deals

Don’t Forget September 2020’s Games with Gold

We’re more than half way through the year with the holidays rolling around the corner. With the hype on the launches of next generation console wars, we have a great …


Demon’s Souls is a Launch Game And We’re So Here For It

Initially unveiled at the Future of Gaming PS5 Reveal event back in June, the PS3 classic Demon’s Souls is ready to go for launch. The new gameplay trailer released today …

PlayStation Plus Game Deals

Don’t Miss September 2020’s PlayStation Plus Games

Here we are now in September and we’re getting ready to hit the overload of games during the holidays again. Parachute in while competing to be number 1 against other …

Gaming News

Nintendo Direct Mini Was Monster Hunter Madness

Nintendo has been hitting us with new announcements on a weekly basis as of late. The Super Mario Bros. Direct was great but this partners showcase was a pleasant surprise.  I …

New Merch In Stock! ✊🏾

Ultra soft, authentic ringspun cotton. 100% of earnings will be donated.