Valve has been making it very apparent in recent years that it hopes to make its Steam platform the “definitive” one for gaming. It’s introduced ways for indie developers to get their game published through the service, has begun selling strategy guides, has introduced soundtracks for sale, and has of course expanded its service to support Mac OS X and Linux. What’s next? “Player-created manuals & references”, aka: Steam Guides aka: a feature I wish had appeared a lot sooner.
Steam Guide’s main goal is to become the go-to repository for game guides. If you’re having trouble with a particular level in a game, or mechanic, you could find any available guides through its respective Game Hub. Or, if you’re a player who understands the ins and outs of a particular game, then you’re able to create your own guide and share it with the world.
Here’s an example. In Civilization V, it’s difficult to keep on top of your income at pretty-well any difficulty. Luckily, there’s a guide to help you out. Or, say you want to get two of the hardest achievements in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, “Foxiest of the Hounds” and “Pacifist”. Yup, there’s a guide for that, too.
As you might be able to tell, Steam Guides has huge potential. Looking around, there seems to be a fair bit of “junk” entries, so hopefully the community will be able to keep on top of those, and make sure they vote for the best guides published. Next time I have an issue in a game, I’ll definitely be checking out its guides section.