The Steam library home page is a familiar sight for PC players. For years, we've been greeted with a long list of games on the left tab, a menagerie of small hyperlinks and weird patches of empty space.
Well no more - as Valve is giving the library a fresh lick of paint.
At its GDC keynote yesterday, Valve unveiled the new design for the library, which gives the games large thumbnails, plenty of categorisation tags, and a generally cleaned-up experience. Friends activity is now displayed more clearly as an integrated column, while the page also bumps your recently-played games to the top. Now there's no stopping that Skyrim binge.
The tags are probably one of the best additions in this redesign, as these carry across from the Steam store and can be used to group games into collections of "similar" titles.
When you click on an individual game, you'll also be able to view recent updates, livestreams for the game, and your friends' activity feed, all in a fairly streamlined design.
It's worth mentioning the re-design is limited to only the library: for now, the interface and store are not getting a re-work. Given Valve has recently come under fire (again) for allowing a rape game to be listed for sale, and developers have complained about a Steam list exploit burying their upcoming releases, it seems like this is an area Valve should direct its attention to next.
Anyway, you can expect the new and shiny library to arrive in open beta sometime in the next couple of months.
Somewhat amusingly, the Steam library redesign announcement came on the same day as an Epic GDC keynote in which the company unveiled its own redesign for the Epic Games Store. The talk began with the Epic Games Store's director of publishing strategy outlining Epic's "core values" - which apparently include a fair share for all creators, privacy consciousness and curation by people rather than algorithms (via Variety).
With Epic having its own problems concerning questions about how it handles privacy and whether Epic Games Store exclusivity is actually beneficial for consumers, this is certainly shaping up to be an intense and controversial rivalry for the PC gaming market.
If you haven't caught up with it yet, Martin asked Tim Sweeney some of these difficult questions about the Epic Games Store in his own GDC interview, which is definitely worth a read.