I have to confess: I despised Steam for years. I just can not see it – it looks like it's from the '80s, as it is. For all their problems, I'd rather use Origin, GOG, or even that Epic Games Store, Go on and finish your system – that will not change my mind.
Now that PC Gaming Week is here and I have an excuse to rummage around and just enjoy PC gaming, I've activated the latest Steam Library Beta and will never return.
Tiles are underestimated
The Steam library was a barren list of PC games for the longest time, and before you chose anything, a good portion of the screen was completely barren. Once you've selected something, this "Play" button will display lots of information, as well as your achievements – something that the Epic Games Store still does not have – as well as news and your installed DLC. That's all right, unless you have a high-resolution display.
If you are playing on a 2.560 x 1.440 resolution screen or sharper, it is likely that there is still a lot of wasted gray space on your library page, even if you have selected a game. Before I downloaded the new library Beta, I would not stand for that, Instead of using Steam, I just hit the start button and typed in the name of the game I wanted to play. I probably could have left it at that.
Look, I know, I'm making a big deal out of an interface that I could totally ignore, especially when the world is full of other more important issues. But, The aesthetics are important to me.
However, if you load either GOG Galaxy or Origin, the colorful game art is the first to greet you. With Galaxy you get these adorable little virtual shelves where your games are stored. It is a nice touch and gives the feeling that you are actually collecting something.
Apart from Steam, the Epic Games Store is probably the weakest one here, but at least you can still see some of the game pieces there, but it's far too slow and impractical to browse without frustration. Hey, at least Epic has finally added a search feature.
Fortunately, Steam finally has the best of them again – in a market that it basically created.
The Steam beta update though
Now that I've explained how bad my brain is, it's important to realize that everything is better now. At least with the Steam library.
I recently discovered a post on PCGamesN that describes how to add custom graphics to your Steam library. That alone was enough for me to download the beta, and when it was updated, I was blown away. I spent about an hour reading a subreddit dedicated to Steam Grid art and got some nice animated thumbnails for some of my favorite games, including Witcher 3, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.
The waste of time could have ended there, but I wanted to further optimize my Steam library. As you can see, when you install this beta update for the first time, you'll be greeted by a single set of "current games" with your entire Steam library. That was not good enough for me.
You could always divide your games into different categories, but this new library update takes it to another level. Below the line "Recent Games" you will see a button to add a new shelf. Click on it and then on the "Choose a shelf" drop-down menu and you'll be able to see any of your Steam game categories, be it just "favorites" or a custom group like my "Final Fantasy, Duh" category.
I have spent more time thinking up new categories than I want to admit, so I can have a series for each of my unstable moods. Looking back, it was probably a good time: My Steam Library will be prepared for any new games I add to Black Friday.
Finally, I still have some problems with Steam, especially when it comes to monitoring the content, but this library update is more than enough to keep me quiet for a while. I know I'll probably spend more time finding custom graphics for all of my games than actually playing my games. And is not that really what PC games are all about?
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