Valve have started a new initiative with PC gaming's flagship application named Steam Labs. As the name might suggest, it is centred around adding experimental new features to Steam for people to test. Steam Labs has started life as three experiments for us to jump into. The first, Micro Trailers, are game trailers limited to just six seconds in length displayed on a single page. The second - and perhaps most eye-catching - experiment is the Interactive Recommender. This is designed to take a look at your Steam preferences determined by your library, wishlist, playtime and other parameters to recommend your next purchases. You can choose to exclude or include releases by popularity or age, as shown below. The final experiment is 'The Automated Show' which, rather than being something straight out of an episode of Black Mirror, is a 30 minute video which showcases all of Steam's latest popular releases, with a link to the store page for each game that interests you. Some have been quick to point out the similarity between Steam Labs and Google's own ill-fated labs experiment. Time will tell as to just how much attention Valve will pay to this new addition. My personal favourite is the Interactive Recommender, although it's not without its initial problems. Its tag-based exclusion system means that games which deliberately mis-tag themselves may still show up in your list despite not being a game that interests you. There also doesn't seem to be a way to exclude any NSFW results. These would be simple fixes though, and with a few iterations the recommender could be the go-to tool for scouting your next purchase. What experiments or features would you like to see added to Steam Labs in its next round of updates?
GOG have officially announced via their Twitter that a select few people have been chosen to test the new GOG Galaxy 2.0 client as part of a technical alpha. While access to the alpha has been limited, there are some users reporting through Reddit that they have been selected and, while they're unable to share screenshots or videos of the client due to non-disclosure agreements, it appears the client is presenting all that it promised. That means that people have been able to integrate their libraries and friends lists from Steam, Origin, Battle.net, UPlay and, as we reported recently, Microsoft/Xbox into the client. Despite talks being "ongoing" as recently as Saturday, it would also appear that the Epic Games Store can already be linked to GOG Galaxy 2.0. At this point it is unclear what criteria has been used to select these alpha users, but GOG confirmed as part of their announcement that this is not the closed beta. As such, those who sign up for the closed beta (which you can do through this link) will still be considered on a first-come-first-served basis for testing when the time comes. We remain unsure of when that will be exactly, but the arrival of the technical alpha does at least confirm that we're on the right track.