On his Twitter account, the developer and founder of No More Robots, Mike Rose, explained that the list of popular future releases on Steam on the main page of the store is manipulated both intentionally and not.
The system itself works simply: it takes into account the release date of each game in the database, selects the ones that are most added to the wish list, and sets them in the order in which they should exit.
However, as Mike Rose noted, developers can set absolutely any release date in the Steam database, and this will not affect what users see on the game’s page in the store, although it can allow it to remain on the list of popular future releases for a long time.
Rose cited Steel Division 2 as an example of the manipulation , which, according to the page in the store, will be released only on April 4, however, in the Steam database, the developers indicated the release date as the first week of March.
Rose also said that this could happen by accident, if the company sets the exact date, and then, after the release is postponed to another day, it simply forgets to change it to the current one.
According to Rose, the list of popular future releases has a significant impact on sales and the general attraction of the audience, and therefore the problem described by him seriously damages those who “play” honestly.
The founder of No More Robots also called his complaint somewhat selfish, as he was pushed to cover the issue by the upcoming release of his company – Hypnospace Outlaw. The game is scheduled for release on March 12, but it appears only on the second page of the list.
After that, Mike Rose gave another example of system manipulation, pointing to the Cooking Simulator from Play Way. According to him, over the past month, the game appeared on the list of popular future releases four times, although it does not even have an exact release date on the page in the store.
At the same time, Capcom, apparently, used the system to, in addition to Devil May Cry 5, which really should be on the list, make all the additions to it – even a simple set of cut scenes. As a result, the game publishers took 13 positions on the first page.
Valve herself, as it turned out, is aware of the problem – this was announced to Mike Rose by company representative Tom Giardino.
You have great timing. This was a big topic of discussion yesterday, and it frustrates us for the same reasons it frustrates you. But it's also super important that devs get to control their own release timing so we don't want to mess with that.— Tom Giardino (@tomgvalve) 5 March 2019
You were on time, that was an important topic of yesterday’s discussion, and it upsets us for the same reasons as you. However, it is also important that developers have control over the dates of their releases, and we do not want to violate this.
It's hard to talk about w-i-p, I'm very wary of making promises or setting incorrect expectations, but: We also care about this and are trying to fix it in a way that makes Upcoming Releases more valuable without hurting games that wish to shift their release date.— Tom Giardino (@tomgvalve) 5 March 2019
It’s hard to talk about what else is being worked on. I am well aware of promises or incorrectly adjusted expectations, but this is also important for us, and we are trying to solve the problem in such a way that the list of future releases is more valuable and does not harm games whose authors want to change their release date.
How exactly the system will be changed is not yet clear.