Posts Tagged ‘Steam’

Hands On With Valve’s Hardware Bonanza

By John Walker on March 5th, 2015.

Sitting down with Valve’s Eric Johnson this morning, one thing seemed to become increasingly clear. Valve, a studio that has arguably been pretty quiet of late (not least with the failure to ship Steam Machines in 2014), is coming to life again. With a slew of announcements at this year’s GDC, the HTC-tech-incorporating VR Vive, a proper announcement of Source 2, in-home streaming tech in Link, available builds of Steam OS, and a final build for their much anticipated controller, you could almost forget that none of them is a game. While Graham was being pulled into a virtual world, I had a play with the controller on games running on a couple of Steam Machines, on some rather enormous televisions.

So the first thing you want to know: is the controller any good?

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Valve’s Vive VR Prototype Is Better Than The Oculus Rift’s

By Graham Smith on March 5th, 2015.

I’ve used the Oculus Rift DK1, HD and DK2 for hours and hours and enjoyed my time with each of them immensely, but on each occasion, I’d feel some sense of relief upon taking the headset off. Relief that my head could cool down, relief my eyes could relax, relief that I hadn’t thrown up.

When my twenty minutes with Valve and HTC’s Vive came to an end, I felt no relief. Instead, I only felt disappointed that I couldn’t continue exploring the 3D painting demo or playing with the specially-designed Portal 2 vignette.

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Source 2 Is Actually Free, Like, For Free

By John Walker on March 4th, 2015.

Admittedly this is not a picture of Source 2.

Valve’s sudden entry into the engine race, with an official announcement of Source 2, seems to have put them right up front alongside frenzied rivals Unity and Unreal. (Poor old Crytek, eh?) Meeting with studio bigwig Erik Johnson today, I learned that when they say Source 2 is “free”, they mean it. Unlike Unity’s (much lowered) subscription rates (for larger teams), and Epic’s revenue cut of successful projects, Valve won’t be asking for any money at all. Well, sort of… They just require that the game be launched on Steam, along with anywhere else you might want to sell it.

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Valve Announce Source 2, Because Why Not

By John Walker on March 4th, 2015.

Because they can’t do anything normally, after a day of daft conspiratorial rumours about an announcement at 3pm on the 3rd of the 3rd, Valve have finally and properly announced the existence of Source 2 via email at 15.54. The Source 2 they definitely weren’t making for all those years, and then sort of appeared in DOTA 2 code. And they’re aiming to make it amateur friendly. And free! Oh, and Steam Link too. Read the rest of this entry »

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What If Steam Never Existed?

By Graham Smith on February 27th, 2015.

Ten years ago, you’d struggle to find fifteen retail PC games released in any given month – and fourteen of them would launch with bugs, never be patched, and sink without trace. Compare and contrast with today, where Brewsters’ Millions could be spent in the time it took to load the Steam store. The existence of Steam isn’t entirely the cause for our videogame abundance, but it’s certainly a large factor – along with an influence, for good and ill, on almost every other part of PC games culture.

But what if it had never existed? You be Jimmy Stewart-playing-Gabe Newell and I’ll be Clarence, your guardian angel and guide to this alternate reality.

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Valve Showing Unannounced SteamVR Hardware At GDC

By Graham Smith on February 23rd, 2015.

Good news for people who like strapping things to their faces: Valve are bringing a new piece of virtual reality hardware to GDC next week.

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Dota 2 Tops 1 Million Players At The Same Time

By Philippa Warr on February 16th, 2015.

Fetch! Sit! Stay! Auto-disconnect!

This past weekend was the first time a game on Steam has had over 1 million concurrent players, according to SteamDB. It was Dota 2 [official site] in case you hadn’t worked that out.

SteamDB isn’t an official Valve site but it tracks player numbers and other information based on data which Steam makes publicly available. According to their tracking Dota 2 was the first Steam game to tip over the 1 million mark and that happened on Valentine’s Day.

Looking at the peak concurrent user graph for the last 12 months, Dota’s been nudging towards the million mark each weekend since the end of last year (965,572 on November 22, 2014, for example) but what I suspect might have pushed it over this particular weekend is the Year Beast event.

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Over $57 Million Paid Out To Steam Workshop Creators

By Alice O'Connor on January 30th, 2015.

It's the Steam logo.

$57 million US is a lot of money. So’s $58 million, but I mention $57m specifically because that’s how much Valve have paid out since 2011 to folks who made and sold in-game items for their games. It’s over $57 million dollars from hats, knives, guns, staves, and swords across TF2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. And those last two games only sell cosmetic items. And that’s after Valve have taken their cut. Crumbs!

Now non-Valve games can join in. The first games opening up a ‘curated’ Steam Workshop bringing items to sale are Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Dungeon Defenders Eternity.

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Livestream ‘Em Up: Steam Broadcasting Out Of Beta

By Alice O'Connor on January 20th, 2015.

Stream-o!

The sky, rivers, my eyes, this pustule on my hip go on take a good look get right up close is it meant to be this colour and smell like that it seems wrong – everything is streaming lately. Steam’s at it too, as Steam Broadcasting left public testing last night and came to the main client.

It builds in support for livestreaming of games and whatever else you fancy, really, but doesn’t feel like a direct competitor to Twitch. It seems more personal, more intimate, and over the beta I’ve mostly used it with friends wanting to show me something. “Isn’t this puzzle garbage?” they ask. “See how poorly I sneak!” they blush. It seems a nice and easy setup for that, at the very least.

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TF2’s Mannpower Mode Beta Adds Grappling Hooks!

By John Walker on December 23rd, 2014.

In a new beta release as part of Team Fortress 2’s Smissmas update, the game is getting grappling hooks! And as is well established, grappling hooks make any game’s score go up by 10%. On a site that doesn’t give scores, that makes TF2 now infinity/100.

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Hidden Bundle Bargains In The Steam Holiday Sale

By John Walker on December 22nd, 2014.

Steam sales are bloody confusing. That’s just a fact, as you’ll find listed in any Oxford Bumper Book Of Facts. Back in the olden days, when Steam had seventeen games on it, you could find your way around them, and come away with armfuls of games for 11p. And the best parts of it were the publisher bundles. Big name pubs would put together their entire Steam catalogue, and sell it to you at an extraordinary price. £50 for every THQ game, for instance, and you’d be set for months. But with Steam a wholly different, far busier place, this Christmas sees a terrifying 3859 games at sale prices. No, I typed that correctly. And the publisher bundles are few and far between.

So I thought it might be useful to find the publisher bundles that still remain, hidden in there, and not mentioned on the sales pages, as well as some of the highlights of game series collections.

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Report: Steam Cracks Down On Price-Dodging Gifting

By Alice O'Connor on December 18th, 2014.

This image represents Steam.

Here’s a thing which may mean absolutely nothing to you: Steam is reportedly now region-locking gift copies of every game. If you don’t know what that means, don’t sweat it – you’re probably not affected. If you do know some of those words and do care, I’ll explain. Basically, it’s to stop folks buying games from the Steam stores of countries where things are cheaper. While a change like this has clearly been a long time coming, it’s supposedly happening now in response to the Russian ruble’s current problems.

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The Spend Times: Steam’s Holiday Sale Is Live

By Adam Smith on December 18th, 2014.

It’s Chriiiiiiistmas, as Noddy Holder screams every morning to the terrified residents of Toyland, no matter what the season. Beneath a mechanical tophat festooned with mirrors and baubles, he gambols and grimaces, throwing colourfully decorated parcels containing tiny tartan trousers and other glam trinkets.

Steam is a lot like young Noddy, spreading goodwill whatever the season with its regular sales. But now is your chance to grab gifts for one and all (yourself included), because the Holiday Sale has just begun. Highlights below.

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