Steam Events & Announcements
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Steam Events & Announcements

February 13, 2020

Hey everybody, thanks for tuning in. Today we’re gonna go through a talk about the new Steam Library and Events tools. This should be interesting for any developers that are thinking about how to get the most out of the release on Steam and how to communicate with players about updates and events and activities happening in your game. So let’s get right to it. Today, we’re gonna talk about getting the most out of your game updates and events and announcements. We’ll start by talking about some of the goals for why, why we built these features and how they work together. The Steam Library and the new Events system is designed to work together to help you as a developer, reengage your existing players and be able to create appealing reasons for new players to care about your game. So I’ll talk in a little bit more detail about what those mean as we go through this talk. And I’m also gonna go into deep dive on some particular case studies, but also talk about where these events and things show up throughout Steam, how they work, what the tools look like for authoring and creating and managing them. Throughout this talk, I’m gonna use the word “event” a lot. And what I mean when I use the word “event” is gonna be actually any number of different kinds of things. When I say the word “event”, I’m gonna mean a major update, or an announcement, or a tournament or live stream or some in-game loot drop, special timed weekend, any number of these things that you might have happening in your game that give players a reason or excuse to get excited about jumping in, playing that game, learning about the game, hearing what’s going on. I’m just gonna roll together and use the word “event” to mean those things. Otherwise, it would take me forever to go through each and every form of that as I go through this talk. So, not all of these different kinds of events or activities apply to every game. Your game might work, might have some of these activities and events and announcements happening in them, other games would have a totally different set. So, as I’m going through this, just keep in mind, whichever ones make sense and apply to your game, you can think about how it might apply to the game you’re working on now, or maybe a game that you’re gonna make in the future. The Steam Events system is really designed so that you, as a developer, can author one of these events in one single place, and then have that automatically pushed out to a variety of different places across Steam. So the big major places for that are the Steam Community Hub, your store page, or the Steam Store in general, and the Steam Library. How your event shows up in each of these places will depend on the kind of event and your players’ relationship with your game, as well. So, I’ll go into some more detail about that as I go through this too. So, where do events appear? So I’m gonna go through kind of page by page and talk about where these events appear and some other things that you, as a developer, have control over and can customize, as you’re working on your events and announcements. So, the first thing in the Steam Library, top row, at the very top, these are events and announcements. These show up to players based on the games that they’ve been playing, the games that are in their library, games that are updating, having interesting things happening. So you as a developer can cause your event to show up at the top of your players’ libraries, when you post one of these events. Also, on that front page of the library, you’ll notice there’s some new asset styles. The one on the far left for Cat Quest here. That’s an existing store capsule. If you have a game up on Steam anytime in the last 10 years, you already have one of these assets. The vertical shaped ones on the right-hand side, we’ve recently added those with the new library update. So if you haven’t gone back and uploaded these assets for past games that you’ve shipped, we encourage you to do that. Just makes this really nice presentation and in players’ libraries. Then when I click on a game in the library, this is the Library Detail page. And there’s there’s two big key assets here. There’s the hero image and transparent logo. So you as a developer have control over this, the hero image is really designed to be kind of an ambient scene setting image, shouldn’t have any text or things like that. It should be really kind of a subtle background. Maybe you’ll show your hero like it does here with Astroneer. And then your logo, transparent logo. You can determine how these are positioned and how they scale. We’ve got a built in little tool that gives you a preview of how these things work together, how they overlap. They are separate files, so you can position them in a number of different ways. And then, secondly, on this page, you have your library spotlight. This is a big banner, basically that you can put up and it goes along with your events. And it basically takes over kind of the top part of the players’ Library Detail page to help promote whatever event or activity or announcement you want to make and make sure that you get in front of your players that are on their way to go play your game. Then as we continue on, we look, this is another example of a Game Detail page. And in the middle here you can see, this is called the Activity Feed. And you can see mixed in with what my friends are up to, I also am seeing the game updates and patch notes and announcements and events that that developer is posting. So that’s, that’s where over time, the events that you post will kind of fall into a chronological order in that center column. Along with a lot of other things that are new to the Steam Library on this on this page, which is achievements and announcements and trading cards and friends, which friends are playing the game. All of that stuff is centralized, pulled together, it’s kind of for each player, it’s their lens, their relationship with this game. So, the events and that friends’ activity is all gonna be based on who they’re friends with and which events that they’ve seen already. Things like that. Another place that events show up, this is a store game page. I’m gonna zoom in on kind of the lower part of that. There’s a section called Recent Updates. This is where two of the most recent events for this game, are gonna show up. This shows to the cover images that represent those events. So you again, as a developer, you can author and provide these images as you’re creating your event. Also, when you use an update visibility round, that’s a basically a visibility token that you can use, you get five of them for each game, basically, to reserve for the big, the biggest, most significant updates in your game. When you use one of those that causes your game to show up on the homepage, along with the brief description of what that big update is. So this shows up to people that own your game and people that have your game on your wish list. So it’s another way of surfacing your game to people that are clearly interested in it and/or already own it and playing it. And then lastly, events show up also in your Community Hub. So, when people go to the main Community Hub for your game, your most recent announcement or event shows up kind of pinned up in the upper right hand corner, upper left hand corner. And as you scroll down, the other events show up in the feed there. You can also switch to the News tab, which includes all of your most recent events. Wherever you get to these events, whether that’s in Library, Store or Community. When you click on them, it opens up this pop-up viewer of that event. And this contains the entire event. So including animated images and all the details. It’s got controls for rating, sharing, discussing. You can share to social media or share it on your Activity Feed as a player. And then you can keep scrolling back through the history of events that this game has posted. So as a player, if I haven’t played this game in a few months, I can easily scroll through and kind of catch up on what has happened in this game in those months since I last played it. I can watch the YouTube videos right in line, I can read about what those major updates are, check out the cool images, the new artwork that’s being added, all of that. So kind of a quick synopsis, a quick way to catch up and see what all is new in this game. There’s also another view of each event, which is this view detail page. This is, players get to here if you follow a direct link to an event. So if I use the share option for an event, or if I copy and paste the URL to an event, and send that link to you, and you follow that URL, it will take you to this page. Since you’re coming from outside and viewing this page, then there’s more context that’s added. So you’ll notice there’s a right-hand column here that includes the game capsule, the price, add to cart button, the wish list button. It’s a little bit of metadata about the start time, what kind of event it is. So this makes sure that it has context for players that are coming in and checking out this event. So they know what game it is that they’re reading about. Should give them all of the context and the call to actions for interacting with that game and that event. That’s compared to the previous viewer that I showed you that pops up on top. Mostly, you’re opening that in the context of already understanding what game you’re interacting with. So doesn’t need to have this right hand column, and that additional actions. At the bottom of this detail page, again then there’s the rating buttons, the discussing buttons, share options, and then also three little capsules showing your other recent events. So players can, in this way, be able to explore through the recent events that are that have been happening in this game. Just so kind of a different mode of going back through history and kind of catching up on what has been happening in this game. So now I’m gonna go through some of the case studies, some particular kinds of events you might wanna think about and how you might wanna use those events. I’m gonna start with patch notes. This is really kind of the most basic instance of an event. This is, you’ve got some updates to the game. It’s mostly about small fixes, bug fixes, small additions. Things that mostly you don’t need to broadcast to the whole world about your game, but your hardcore fans might wanna know what has changed, what you fixed, what you rebalanced or tuned. So patch notes specifically don’t show up in a couple of places. So they’re intended for you, as a developer to be able to have these exist in your field of events, but not take up space and promoting an update in a big way that would seem unexpected to players. I compare that with a general update, which is probably an update that you might do once a month, or once every couple of months, or every couple of weeks, whatever your regular update cadence is, where you’re actually adding new content, changing levels, adding levels, things like that. These show up in all of the places that I’ve mentioned earlier in the talk. So, this is a good format for, for kind of all of your basic and regular updates. And then there’s kind of this tier for major update. And these show up a little bit bigger, they are presented in a little bit bigger way in a couple of places. And also just a visual cue to players that this is a big deal, that there’s something bigger and more substantial happening here. So these would usually be used for things like once a quarter or every half a year or something like that. Your biggest, meatiest updates when you’re adding new, entire new game modes or new levels or a lot of new sizable content that is really one of the, maybe five biggest updates to your game. So I’ll go into some some details on that. These work together with some things that will be covering in other talks. There’s artwork override that you can use, there’s discount visibility, there’s wish list notifications, update visibility rounds. You can update the hero art and the library. There’s a bunch of things that you can do together to really make your major updates feel pervasive across Steam, especially for customers that own your game, so their experience of your game throughout Steam is really enhanced and reflects that major update. And for new players, they get to see your new branding, your new reflection of what that update is. So, I’ll go into like a couple of examples of how this shows up in steam and some things you can take advantage of along that way. This is the top right corner of a game store page. So, for Killing Floor 2, they have entirely replaced their branding and their artwork for their Grim Treatments major update. So, this artwork then whenever it shows up throughout the store has their branding, reflecting their their major content update. They’ve also combined that with a discount. So, then their game is on sale. And then we’ll be sending out wish list notifications to all the players that have their game on their wish list. And so that combined with the custom artwork and the wish list notifications means that players will be getting an email that says, hey, Killing Floor 2 is on sale. And you can see in the capsule that there’s new artwork, there’s a new thing happening in it. So that all kind of builds and combines to help players understand that now is a really great time to jump in and get and play this game, because there’s really cool stuff happening in it. And that’s likely that a lot of other players are also jumping in and taking advantage of the new content as well. I mentioned update visibility rounds. So again, you can also use that in conjunction with these major updates. And that allows your game to again, show on the homepage to people that own your game and have it on their wish list. Yet another place they will be exposed to your game and reminded that now’s a good time to jump back into the game and check it out or, or buy it if they haven’t yet. And then you can also update your big hero art at the top of your library page also to reflect that new branding, the new feeling or environment or whatever in the game. So again, Killing Floor 2 has done that so that when you come to their game page in your library, and you’re about to hit the play button, you’re reminded, ooh, there’s new content in this game, the experience might be a little bit different this time. Awesome. And of course, if you scroll down the page, you can see more about what this most recent update is ’cause it would be the most recent thing in that activity feed. Jumping now to another example, a lot of games release DLC, or have kind of a new season of content that they add to the game after release. So we have an event type that is designed for communicating that to players, shows up everywhere as well. This is useful to show to both, you know, existing customers of your game, as well as potential customers that might be interested in some new piece of content added for the game that might give them the reason to buy the game now, instead of waiting. Also supports in-game items or DLC sales. So if you have content, additional content for players that they might be interested in. Again, these show up in the library details. So, when players are on their way to go play your game, they can see that you’re having a cool sale on this content in the game. And then these have start and end dates. So we make sure that when the sale is done and over, we don’t need to keep showing that event. When people can no longer take advantage of that discount. We have an event type for news, or announcements, whatever you wanna call it, it’s really about a kind of a one way communication from you as a developer to your audience, about whatever. This can be dev log, can be pre-announcing something could be telling your fans that you got a new studio dog, whatever you wanna talk about, that you think would be interesting to your players and your audience. Again, this shows up everywhere in all the spots that I talked about earlier. This is really, you know, your communication channel with your audience. And then finally, the other, the last example that I’m gonna go into is cross-promotion. So there are times when you wanna be able to talk about the next game that your studio is releasing, or you wanna talk about a different platform that you’re like rolling out the Xbox version of your game. Cross-promotion is the right category to use for that. It does show up in fewer places, but it shows up in the places where players are more likely to expect that content, rather than being surprised by this kind of communication in their library when really what they expect in their library is communication about things that they already own, and that is in their library. So what’s it like to create an event? Let’s take a look through the tools and kind of what options you have there and how to get the most out of those. The first thing that you’ll notice is a new dashboard that shows the listing of all your events that you have posted, as well as drafts that you’re working on, and events that are staged to go live in the future. I’ll talk about that in just a little bit. On this dashboard at the top, we have impressions and stats roll up. So this shows you for all of your events, how many times are players seeing them in the various locations. So on your Store page, Library homepage, Library Detail page, how many times have they seen those events and then how many times are they clicking on them to open them up and read them. We also break this down per event. So when you click and view an event detail page, you as an admin, we’ll get to see a section of stats in the right-hand column showing for that particular event where it showed up and how many people click through it. So this way you can kind of keep track of which kinds of events are resonating well with your audience, which ones are people actually clicking on and reading. And so over time, you can kind of get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working, where should you spend your time in the future. So, when you go to create a new event, I walked through earlier some of the examples of the types of events. So, the first step in creating a new event is selecting the type. And the type, both indicates to customers what kind of event it is, helps set the context. It also can help Steam show it, make sure it shows in the right places. So it’s showing up where customers expect to see it. It also can depend on some of the format. So some events have different formats than others. And some have additional fields like events that are limited time events have both a start and end date, or is things like announcements and news just have start date, just a posted date. Once you’ve selected a category, and you’re in the process of creating your event, it’s got basically the things that you would expect from an editor, your title, your subtitle, then the description of the event. You can include things like animated GIFs, YouTube videos. You can, if you also are posting your events on your own website, you can easily use our import, our HTML importer to just import that and automatically converted to the formatting that the Steam Events support. And there’s a bunch of other rich formatting options that you can take advantage of here as well. There’s robust localization for each one. So you can easily switch between languages, preview those languages. There’s also localization CSV import and export. So, if you’re working with an outside agency to help do localization, or you have in house team that is localizing it, you can easily author your event in English, export that to a CSV, send that off for localization. When it’s done, slip it all back in, so you don’t have to do a lot of copying and pasting. Then kind of walking our way across the different options here. Visibility options. So again, this will depend on the type of event that you’ve created. Some have end dates, and some don’t have end dates. One of the most powerful new features that we’ve added here is the ability to stage events to go live at a particular time in the future. So especially if you’re most of your audience is in a different time zone than you are, you can have, you can stage your events and they will automatically go live at whatever time you’ve you’ve set them to go live. The other thing you can do is you can have them become visible now with a start date for the event in the future. So this will be useful as we start to expose more upcoming events in more places, which we plan to do in the future. That will help players see what’s coming up. Let them sign up for notifications to get reminded when the event actually starts. So that can be really good for helping organize and manage and collect your audience to jump in and pile in your game at a particular time. Or watch a livestream that’s only gonna be happening for two hours, things like that. So I’ll talk a little bit more about those notifications towards the end of this talk. The third tab is about artwork. Most events require a cover image. And this is kind of the square image near the top here. And I’m gonna go into some detail shortly. So, I’ll just do a quick overview here. There’s three main pieces of art, and only the cover image is required, except for patch notes. Since patch notes don’t show up in places where it’s expecting artwork, you can just author your patch notes in much lighter way. Other events we expect cover image so that we can present these meaningfully to customers and they can understand what they’re seeing. So let’s look at kind of what are these three different types of images. There’s the cover image. This is kind of a more of a square image. It’s used in kind of square presentations. There’s a header image. This is the thing that appears at the top of your event, sets kind of the tone, the visual style for your event. These are optional. And then there’s a spotlight image. This I talked about earlier showing up in the Steam Library Detail page. This is basically a banner that you can use to promote kind of your biggest events or the things you really wanna make sure that your audience is reading and paying attention to. So some good examples of cover images, really runs the whole gamut. But you can, you can see kind of generally the ones that are working really well have some kind of branding. You don’t need to include your game branding, all of the places that these show up or either in the context of your game already, like on your Library Detail page or on your store page. Or if they show up in places like the Library homepage where it’s alongside other games, we make sure to include the game name alongside it as well, so players can tell what this event is referring to, what game it is for. But you can see from this selection here that a number of developers do decide to include their game branding in these images as well. And depending on the kind of event that you have and how big it is, you may have branding for your event itself. Or you may not, you may just have a cool screenshot. Or you may start with a screenshot and put some text over it. It’s really up to you but you do wanna think about what is this going to communicate about your event, it’s nice for kind of setting the tone and helping players really understand what is exciting. Do I want to click on this and learn more about this event. Your header images, as you can see from this selection, a lot of them are pretty kind of ambient. They sit at the top of your event. They’re mostly our way of adding kind of an artistic flavor and some color and they are also used to color the background of your event detail pages. So they add a little bit of flavor and color and personality to your events. So they’re not just walls of gray. Again, here you can see, some developers choose to include some text or branding for their events. And again, that’s kinda depending on how big your event is, and whether your event itself is branded or not. For major updates, a lot of times developers will choose to brand those. And so they will include that in their header images as well. Alright, Library Spotlights. You can see here on the left-hand side in context, again, this is on your Library Detail page. A big banner that you as a developer can provide to kind of show off and highlight a major update or content you want to make sure that players are aware of. You can see from the four examples on the right. The one at the top here automatically has the text in the short description overlaid on top of it. The other ones, they have various amounts of branding on their own. The one at the bottom is really the game branding, and just a cool image that goes along with it. They also have the title printed right above them, in the game detail page. So players can still, kind of see what the update is about and decide whether they wanna click on it. Personally, I find the ones that are most interesting that actually have the branding and some kind of call to action in the banner itself. But you’ll want to kind of iterate, experiment with these as you try out different versions. And then finally, the last step is publishing. On this final published step, we also give you a recap of where your event is gonna show up. So there’s a list here on the right hand side that shows where all the locations that this type of event is gonna show up, and then you can publish it. It will also remind you, whether you’re setting it live right away or whether you’re staging it to go live in the future, just to make sure that you understand when it’s gonna start showing up to players. And thanks for watching. We hope you can jump in and check out the new Event tools right away. We’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. How about you announce when we can buy the Index in Australia seeing as you're about to release Half Life and your official position on Australia's existence is essentially "go fuck yourself" based on my interactions with support

  2. I feel like this video should released when the library update was released. There is a huge outcry with terrible performance and people screenshot being deleted. Also it be cool if Steam could add Looking for group/games like addition.

  3. Fren, when you talk you should look at the camera otherwise you get this weird, uncanny and unnerving effect as can be seen here.

  4. I feel like the "in library" or "on wishlist" labels shouldn't be on the pictures on the store but rather be to the left of the price

  5. It still all feels pretty unwieldy, with lots of time needed to make event posts due to the sheer number of art assets and a lot of scrolling / wasted space when viewing them. They work horribly in the Activity feed that Steam has, which still uses the old announcement format and semi-breaks formatting. I'd say overhaul the activity feed, but I'm honestly a little worried it might just get deleted with the intrusive What's New that's being pushed lately.

  6. Thanks for the video, Alden! We're using and enjoying new Steam Events & Announcements quite a lot – but watching your recap was quite useful to make sure that we're doing everything correctly (we do, btw :P)!

    Keep up the good work, cheers!

  7. "This video walks through the Steam Events & Announcements tools available for game developers to communicate with players". I'm sorry, but that is rather like a fish giving rock-climbing advice! Steam telling others how to communicate with players?
    May not be relevant to the video, but since trying to get in touch with valve, steam or the 'support' just gets you ignored or threatened with deactivation, where am I supposed to post this kind of feedback?

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