Over the years, games marketplace Steam has evolved into a lot more than your average neighbourhood digital distribution platform: It has become a barometer of popularity. But after the advent of Greenlight, a service that introduced community favorites to the Steam marketplace, Steam's collection of purchasable games turned into a tsunami. Titles have become lost in the flood.
Earlier today, Steam introduced a new community-driven tag system. It’s hard to say if Valve, the mega-corporation that runs the marketplace, did this as a direct response to the ridiculous number of titles available. But if used properly, tags certainly could help alleviate the problem.
The new system allows community members to arbitrarily attach tags to anything in Steam's repository. In theory, this will assist in filtering games by virtually any category at all. But what happens if the community doesn't tag things the way they're supposed to? Steam already disallowed the usage of expletives in tags, for instance, but that's only encouraged users to get creative.
The Actual Steam Tags tumblr—before it was taken down today due to unexplained reasons—featured a growing number of Steam games and their respective tags. Some of it was rather humorous: Octodad: Dadliest Catch was tagged "Normal Dad Simulator" and "Flailing Wildly", for example. But a vast majority of the tags involved uglier, less pleasant descriptors. Redshirt was called "Hipster Garbage" while Fez was labeled as "Choke on It" and "Diva Dev."
Given that Steam Tags are still a new thing, it will be a long while before we can properly determine whether this was a great addition to the Steam platform or a disastrous avenue for abuse.
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