Valve has announced that they are changing the way developers can enter release dates on Steam for their games. The aim is to make the display of dates much more consistent and less confusing.
Basically, starting from January 1st, every release date you see on Steam will fall into one of the five categories decided by Valve. You might see the exact date (such as August 24, 2023), the month and year (August 2023), the quarter (Q3 2023), the year (2023), or just “Coming Soon”.
Developers will need to enter a specific date in the Steam backend, but will be free to change it at any time until the game is released. They will then be able to choose one of five options from a drop-down menu. For each of these options, users will have access to a translated text in the format of their country of origin.
This system changes two elements: developers will no longer be able to write what they want in the date section (so no more jokes) and the date format will be uniform for all games. A quick look at the page of the upcoming Steam releases will make you understand the reason for this choice. The upcoming games show dates such as “October 28, 2022”, “10/28/22 approximately 6:30 pm”, “2022 年 10 月 28 日” and “MoLto PResTo”. The changes will ensure that there is much more consistency.
Valve writes: “The actual way release dates appear leaves a lot to be desired. Some information may be missing or incomplete. Worse still, the custom text field we provide does not support translation, which creates confusion and lack of uniformity for users around the world. Jokes or impromptu references don’t always make sense in all languages and the date format varies from place to place. For example, 8/5/2023 … is May 8 or August 5th? It depends on the country you live in! Based on these factors, we have implemented some new options to standardize the format of future release dates, as well as a new tool for game developers to better define the expectations of their audience global destination. ”
It’s not the first change Valve has decided to make on Steam to make the user experience clearer and to make the digital store more consistent. Not too long ago Valve revealed that it will no longer be allowed to insert covers with writings other than the title or subtitle of the game, so as to make the game lists more pleasing to the eye.
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