Steam's Search Bar Is Getting Some Much-Needed Upgrades

Steam's Search Bar Is Getting Some Much-Needed Upgrades

All the better to keep growing your backlog.

With thousands of games listed on Steam, the platform's serviceable search feature was okay for tracking down something you already knew the name of, but wasn't fantastic for just browsing through the digital shelves. Today, Valve released a new version of the search function in Steam that includes adjustable price ranges, sorting and exclusion of tags, and—most importantly for folks with large libraries—the abilities to hide items you've already purchased from your results.

The new search settings are maybe the most useful and least flashy innovations to come from the Steam Labs initiative, through which Valve has been testing new sorting, recommendation, and discoverability features to try and make Steam a better game library and a more palatable shopping portal.

New support for inclusion and exclusion of titles with certain tags should, in theory, make it easier to cull down a list of games to the ones that actually suit your preferences; or, if you have a specific title in mind but can't recall its name, maybe you can start your search by knocking out the things you know it does and doesn't feature.

You're also able to tailor your results now to what you do and don't have, and in addition to being able to exclude results that you've wishlisted or have in your library, if you don't have a PC headset you can choose to exclude VR-only games. (Sorry, Half-Life: Alyx.) Valve has also improved the search's language settings, moving your chosen Steam interface language to the top of your language search filters.

Steam search results also feature infinite scroll now, so if you do want to take a spin through an unfiltered, seemingly unending list of games you'll never play... well, you can do that now.

All in all, these are welcome changes for a platform that's long been plagued by organization and discoverability problems and that now faces stiff competition from Epic, GOG, and others. It's likely that the most useful tweaks to Steam's search that aren't already present on other storefronts will get copied around, and then we'll all spend less time searching for that one game from Dontnod. You know, the one about the memory hunter? Why can't I remember the name? I'm sure it'll come to me eventually.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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