If you are any sort of gamer, chances are you have amassed more games than you can ever play within a given amount of time. In addition to actually remembering which games you own, you also have the seemingly insurmountable task of deciding which one to play next. When you’re organic brain can’t decide for you, maybe an artificial one can help, which is where Steam’s latest experiment called “Play Next” can come in handy to suggest which games you should, well, play next.
Valve launched its Steam Labs experiment July last year as a hub for new features that may or may not land in the main Steam ecosystem. It gives users a chance to try them out at their leisure and for Valve to gather feedback from them. So far, those experiments have revolved around discovery and recommendation systems powered by everyone’s favorite machine learning methods.
Experiment no. 008, Play Next, is, in fact, powered by Experiment no. 002, the Interactive Recommender. It presents three sets of games it thinks you might want to play based on what you’ve finished playing and other factors. As with the Interactive Recommender, what you do in-game and the genres you usually play also factor into what gets suggested.
Play Next doesn’t just show three games but as many as four sets of three games that you can cycle through for inspiration. You can hover over any of them to play a Micro Clip video (Experiment no. 001) and, since Valve is still developing the algorithm, might see a different set from time to time.
Play Next is just the latest experiment in Valve’s laboratory but it is actually the seventh to be made public. There is no hidden message or easter egg here as Experiment no. 007 is still under heavy development. Or at least that’s what Valve wants us to believe.