Valve today announced that it will start beta testing an update to the Steam Library on September 17. The company released new developer tools meant to accompany this update, too, which means it might change the way game makers and players alike interact with the venerable game launcher.
The user-facing changes to the Steam Library are pretty straightforward. Valve explained in a blog post that it will highlight "game updates, recently played games, friends activity and your collections" on a "gorgeous new landing page." This dynamic approach to showing people their game libraries should make deciding what to play on Steam a bit easier than the static list (or grid!) of titles currently shown when people open Steam.
Valve said the new Steam Library will also highlight in-game events that people might not have known about before. It can be hard to keep track of everything happening in each title in a game library--especially when someone embraces their inner PC gamer and buys a bunch of games just because they're on sale--and the new Events feature is supposed to make that a bit easier by displaying information about these goings-on right in the library.
These changes might help Steam compete with the many other game launchers and platforms that have debuted in the last year. Epic Games released the Epic Games Store, Discord introduced the Discord Store and other companies maintained their commitment to offering their own launchers. (See: Electronic Arts with Origin, CD Projekt Red with GOG and so forth.) That increased competition likely gave Valve some incentive to make a few changes.
The developer tools introduced today work alongside the upcoming Steam Library changes. Someone's gotta post the in-game events shown on the new landing page, after all, so Valve gave developers the tools they need to create their own Events. The company also introduced new editor tools and started requiring developers to include an 800 x 450 cover image used in the new library, store page, lists and other places highlighting the event.