Yesterday Valve Software rolled out a new beta version of its Steam client. The beta adds the ability for the gaming community to add tags to content on the store, in theory making it easier for others to find things they enjoy.
Steam Tags can be applied to both games and software on the store, and the idea is that stuff that is appropriately tagged will make it show up on searches for users who’re interested. For example, tagging Broforce with “bros”, “awesome”, “explosions”, and “action hero” – all relevant tags – will make it show up for users typing those searches. Until now, content could only be discovered by word of mouth, reviews, and publicity – or searching for the name in the Steam store. It even lets users tag things in their own languages, helping their countrymen find stuff without having to resort to English.
Valve’s page for Steam Tags encourages users to “Tag Anything, Your Way”, and in doing so the company’s also run into the age-old problem of giving the internet an unlimited amount of rope. Instead of hanging itself, it’s gone ahead and abused the system by tying rope around everything and laughing when it trips.
Polygon and RockPaperShotgun have both reported that the tags have already been used for trolling. Some tags include spoilers, and others are redundant. Polygon points out an example where Bioshock Infinite has the tags “smart game for smart gamers” and “smart game for smart people”. As with anything where the internet is given free reign, there are extremes. Content that is universally praised will be revered and given proper tags. Games that are hated will have tags that gamers think will serve as warnings to others, such as Sword and Sworcery, which has the tag “hipster garbage”.
Thankfully there are also funny people. RPS points out that somebody tagged Team Fortress 2 with “hat simulator”. And that almost makes up for the abuse. Almost.