Posts Tagged ‘Steam’

Study suggests Steam reviewers are bothered more by bad game design than bugs

steam-review-bombs

A study of over 10 million Steam user reviews has found that when reviews include negative feedback, they call out poor game design more often than they complain about bugs. Which is entirely unsurprising, really: I know that infuriating design decisions tend to stick in my head far more perniciously than occasional bugs. That’s not the only insight that the researchers from Queen’s University in Canada have to offer though, and I’m finding the fine-grained details of their study much more interesting than that headline conclusion.

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Steam Input adds native Switch Pro Controller support

Steam: Switch Pro controller

While one of the best things about having a gaming-spec PC is the sheer freedom you have in input devices, it really does help to have a reliable, widely supported gamepad. My current go-to is the XBox One controller, but there might be another competitor on the horizon. You’ll have to opt in to the latest Steam beta to use it, but you can now use a Nintendo Switch Pro controller on Steam, remarkably useful gyro-aiming and all.

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Unknown Pleasures: A five-course menu of great new games

Does anyone try to make a story out of these mini-screenshots? It could be like the Game Idea Machine, but worse

You’re lucky, readers. It’s an optimistic time of year, even for sour-faced mopes like myself, and I damn nearly opened with some lyrics. What can I say? The sun is singing, the birds are shining, and the latest selection of Unknown Pleasures is a zingy blend of drama, carefree fun, and creativity. I for one am feeling inspired.

Fooling us into thinking Summer won’t be repulsively hot, itchy and sticky this week: cowboy revenge, underground art, and bisexual pride.

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Unknown Pleasures: About four to six great new Steam games

Going to big social things alone would have been unthinkable a year ago and is still pretty scary. Thanks for being so lovely, everyone.

It’s been a strange week here at the Pleasuredome. Once again, a bud of the Hivemind prepares to detach and spread in-jokes and sinister, fungaloid thoughts about user interfaces to a new, unsuspecting host. And I’d only just confirmed he’s real, too. Bye bye, Adam. Subvert from within, yeah?

Still, on the plus side, I high fived Aby Wolf the other night. And now it’s time for Unknown Pleasures! Heavens.

Shamelessly namedropping far more talented people we’ve briefly orbited this week: chasing rabbits, redirecting lasers, and justifying patricide.

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Australian court rules Valve must pay £1.6m penalty over Steam refund policy

Valve must pay a fine of AU$3 million (about £1.6m/US$2.3m/€1.8m) for misleading Steam users in Australia by stating they were not entitled to refunds for faulty games on Steam, though Australian law guarantees rights on faulty products. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) went after Valve for this back in 2014, before Steam offered widespread refunds, and in 2016 the Federal Court agreed. Valve appealed that court’s decision but the High Court of Australia have now ruled that it stands, and that Valve must pay. They ACCC say that this “is the final decision on this issue”, the end of the line. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: The five best new games on Steam

I can't think of a good caption because I keep getting distracted by these bloody ants faffing about in my room.

Infants. Infants everywhere. Ooh, look at me, I’m like a human but smaller and I’m allowed to scream and climb on stuff if I want to, oooh. End of term holidays are when you’re supposed to be indoors playing games, not studying or going outside like some sort of peon. Bah. Wake me up when they’re all back in school juggling cats or bouncer baiting, or whatever this week’s Fear The Yoof thing is.

Why, I bet they don’t even know what Unknown Pleasures is named after.

Pointing out what used to be grass this week: naive snipers, murine nomads, and a little blobby blob that boings.

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Steam overhauls privacy settings, locking SteamSpy out

Valve have overhauled the privacy settings for Steam user profiles, letting us hide more data and setting more of it to be hidden from strangers by default – including the list of games you own. Good. More online platforms should default to hiding personal data. We can now hide our playtime on games if we want too, so our pals can e.g. see that we own The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth but not that we’ve played it for e.g. 871 hours, in case we feel e.g. shame about that (not me: I’ll tell you it’s just that good).

This does have the knock-on effect of locking out Steam Spy, the popular non-Valve site which scans vast numbers of public profiles to estimate how many people own a game and how much they play it. In a secretive industry, it’s one of the few ways to have a sense of how well a game is doing. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: A doughty dozen new Steam games

If you don't immediately try to kill all the friendly NPCs, you're doing it wrong.

We’re back!

Unknown Pleasures has been on unplanned hiatus as I have been grotesquely ill. The lack of communication or cover was entirely my fault, and I apologise for that unreservedly (and extend further thanks to the Hivemind for their extraordinary patience). I’m sorry.

Wait, hang on, Adam’s leaving. I can blame him! It was Adam, everyone! Shake your indignant fists.

There’s a bumper of 12 games this week, and then we’ll be back to normal. So, assaulting our ailing bodies this week: third party candidates, pugilistic ducks, and a JRPG that wait where are you going no come on, be fair.

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Steam Machines “aren’t exactly flying off the shelves” but Valve are sticking with Linux

Steam Machines went nowhere, Valve have basically said (I’m paraphrasing a touch), but nah, don’t sweat it, they are still committed to improving gaming on Linux. After shuffling Steam Machines deeper into the labyrinth of Steam’s website menus, and the ensuing cybersquawking over Valve having done a thing, they’ve reflected a little on their PC branding partnership and the Linux-based SteamOS beneath it.

“Given that this change has sparked a lot of interest, we thought it’d make sense to address some of the points we’ve seen people take away from it,” Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais said. Internet, eh? Read the rest of this entry »

Why users write Steam reviews

bukowski 1

One of the most interesting and controversial features of Steam’s user reviews is the system’s open-ended nature. Reviews can can range from a couple of lines to thousands of words, can adopt virtually any style, and only need to possess passing relevance to the game in question. What results is a system where thoughtfully written reviews reside alongside jokey one-liners, incoherent rants, and political rallying cries.

This issue has led for some developers to call for more stringent moderation of reviews, either to separate them into different categories or remove certain kinds of reviews entirely. Yet while the opinions of user reviewers are visible for everyone to see, why users are compelled to leave the kinds of reviews they do in the first place is less obvious. Hence, I reached out to several very different reviewers, each of whom has posted a large number of reviews, to find out their motivations behind what they write and why they write it. Read the rest of this entry »

What developers think of Steam reviews

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Since 2013, Steam has allowed its users to leave reviews on the Steam page of games they have purchased. Using the system, players can leave a written description of the game in question, and then award it a binary “Recommended” or “Not Recommended” rating. These reviews are then aggregated into “recent” and “overall” ratings for the game which are displayed on the game’s Steam page. These ratings range from “Overwhelmingly Positive” to “Mostly Negative.”

Because of Steam’s ubiquity on the PC, Steam reviews have become one of the main ways that developers receive feedback on their games. But how do developers feel about the system itself? Do Steam reviews provide a beneficial service that can help improve games? Or is it a perpetual nuisance warped by review bombing and ‘joke’ reviews that cause stress and confusion to the people who make the games we play? Read the rest of this entry »

Jealousy drives Gabe Newell to start shipping games again

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 12.49.03 PM

Valve’s new game Artifact has a vague release window of 2018, but thanks to a bit of jealousy on Gabe Newell’s part it won’t be the only Valve game we can look forward to in the next few years. Who do we have to thank for this? Nintendo.
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Ring in the Lunar New Year with Steam’s latest sale

Steam Lunar New Year sale

If you go on Twitter, where every second image is of a dog being cuddled, rated, or dressed up as a Star Wars character, it’s a reasonable assumption that every year is the year of the dog – however Valve, not to mention the ancient Chinese zodiac, are here to tell you that’s not the case. As of today, it legitimately is the year of the dog, which is why Valve’s latest sale is adorned with images of famous game pups including Okami’s Amaterasu, Half-Life 2’s DOG, and I, er, don’t recognise any of the other doggos.

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Unknown Pleasures: Almost six of the week’s best Steam games

If you were my router, you'd be reading this while simultaneously insisting it's impossible to read this. Then you'd restart for a laugh. I'd hate you quite a bit.

It has been a trying week, pleasure seekers (Okay, we’re not using that one again – Ed). A lovely weekend in Wales did not prepare me for a week of kafkaesque negotiating with my PC and router and whatever transdimensional demons were squatting in between them. And of course, this week everyone agreed to stop releasing tiny platformers made in Paint in favour of 5Gb monstrosities. Confound those indie rascals.

Fortunately, they also released a fine crop of clever and intuitive games, easily grasped but with that tantalising complexity that makes Unknown Pleasures such a joy.

Restoring my patience this week: roaming dwarves, irradiated artifact hunters, and extremely aggressive feng shui. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: This week’s pick of new Steam releases

What's the difference between a good butler and a bad rhinologist? One leaves a turban next to me, the other leaves a turbinectomy.

Winter has finally arrived in force in London, bringing with it some questions. Whose idea was it to live on the surface? Why would anyone wear a fleece without arms? What kind of monster thinks it’s okay to make a coat with fake pockets, and why didn’t everyone immediately kill him with spears?

Alas, these are not questions that Unknown Pleasures can answer. But if your local mountaintop hermit has no idea what the best new Steam releases are, you’re in luck.

Lining our inexplicably porous gloves this week: liminal AIs, invisible mines, and gender critical spies.

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Unknown Pleasures: Five more of the best new games on Steam

  Advanced New Steam Game Recommender

Overwhelming though Steam’s catalogue may be, it can be a hell of a tool for testing your assumptions. I pitch this to nobody in particular: a free week of everything on Steam. Not just one or two games, but the whole lot, free to everyone. Play something you’d normally hate, I say. See also: food, music, relationships.

Anyway. In the meantime, there’s always Unknown Pleasures.

Anchoring an unlikely flight of fantasy this week: globular gladiators, treacherous tycoons, and regicidal revenants.

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Unknown Pleasures: The best five unsung games on Steam this week

Which new games on Steam have the most bestness?

Studies say that this week is the best week of the year to move house for gillionth time, attempt the thirteenth Herculean task of speaking to the one human in a Royal Mail call centre, then injure your back. Anti-frustration, then, would be a perfect theme for this week’s Unknown Pleasures.

Washing down an inadequate course of ibuprofen this week: artificial mortality, shotgun-based exploration, and zero gravity monster-dodging.

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Unknown Pleasures: Five more of the best new games on Steam

Several dozen games enter, only five may leave.

It’s that time of the year when joyless, faintly plastic robots insist that you forego the few pleasures January has to offer, calling you a big lazy drunk and demanding you join their dull, weight-obsessed ranks. But not here, friends! This is where we find new joy. It’s Unknown Pleasures.

This week we finish off the knock-off Baileys with button-mashing Empire management, queer aristocratic romance, and murderous teenaged narcissists.

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2017 Steam Award winners include PUBG, Cuphead & Witcher

We’ve already seen which games sold best on Steam last year, but a perhaps more meaningful insight into movin’ and a-shakin’ in PC-land is the games that people feel warmest and snuggliest about. To that end, Valve have announced the winners of the 2017 Steam Awards, a fully community-voted affair which names the most-loved games across categories including best post-launch support, most player agency, exceeding pre-release expectations and most head-messing-with. Vintage cartoon-themed reflex-tester Cuphead leads the charge with two gongs, but ol’ Plunkbat and The Witcher series also do rather well – as do a host of other games from 2017’s great and good.

Full winners and runners-up below, with links to our previous coverage of each game if you’re so-minded. Plus: I reveal which game I’d have gone for in each category.
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These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.

Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.

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