Most people, especially those on PC where games are cheaper, have a massive backlog of titles that they own but haven’t played yet. To try to partially solve that problem Steam has implemented a new feature as part of its Steam Labs initiative – Play Next.
As far as simple, straightforward names go, this one is right up there. The new system is similarly easy to use, requiring only that someone be logged into their Steam account and follow this link.
Play Next will present three games at a time that it believes you’d like to try from your library, that you haven’t played yet.
From here you can hover over the game to see a short trailer, show it in your library if you’d like to see more, or hit “Next Picks” for another selection of three.
“Our machine learning system helps you to choose, by suggesting the games it thinks you’ll enjoy most, among games you already own,” Steam writes in a blog post, “The Play Next experiment uses the same underlying technology that powers the Interactive Recommender, and applies it to your existing Steam library.”
Something we noticed while trying this new feature out is that games currently installed on your system will be included, as long as you never actually hit play on them. Those who like to have games on their hard drives in advance of actually playing them will see already installed titles being recommended.
As with all new endeavours Steam admits that there may be some teething pains with recommendations that don’t seem to fit. It asks that users provide feedback for it here.
While more features are always nice, it must be mentioned that it’s rather commendable that Steam has implemented something like this. As a platform made to sell you games, Play Next is intrinsically designed to discourage further spending and instead enjoy something you already own. We can’t remember the last time a company did something like that.
To cap off it’s worth mentioning that, of course, Play Next can only work off of what you’ve done on Steam. For example, in our first batch of recommends (below) two of the three games we had already played on other platforms. Perhaps a button that says “I’ve played that before and liked / disliked it” would help things along.