It’s yer regular round-up of what shifted the most copies on Steam over the previous week. Last week, Total Warhammer was dark master of all it surveyed, but a bug-eyed old friend has displaced it after just one week…
Cara’s gone for a wee nap (we’re full of Christmas cheer), so I’m free to talk about something secret without ruining the magic: where toys really come from. We saw Elf on Wednesday (and Krampus last night – it’s good!) but, turns out, toys are not made by Will Ferrell at the North Pole. Valve have made a video showing where Steam Controllers come from, which is pleasing in a How It’s Made way, while also explaining how they’ve improved the pad since launch – when it was a bit a bit Marmitey. We should make Graham report back with revised impressions. Graham. Graham. Graham! He can’t hear me, all the way down in London. GRAHAM. He’s not listening. GRAHAM!
RPS Feature Early impressions.
The first Steam Controllers and Steam Links are being delivered to those who pre-ordered. I received mine on Friday and spent a few moments this weekend playing with them. We’re not yet ready to offer reviews of either, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a nice chat about it. Do you have a Link or a Controller? If so, what do you think?
I’ve heard good things about Valve’s Steam Controller gamepad from folks who’ve had a play on one, including our John, but I’ve still been sceptical. Can even fancy touchpads with haptic feedback come close to being okay as a mouse substitute? Watching a new demonstration video from Valve, I must say it looks better than I’d expected.
Oh, also: Valve have announced that it’ll cost £39.99/54,99€/$49.99, as will the in-home game streaming Steam Link box doodad. They’ll launch on November 10th, alongside a round of ‘Steam Machine’ pre-built PCs .
RPS Feature Full Steam Ahead (I'm Fired)
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?
Is… Is this E3 news? On day three, I can’t tell anymore. Did Sid Meier swing on a trapeze across the E3 concourse to announce that Civilization 5 was now available on SteamOS and Linux? Did Aspyr gather the world’s press in an art deco theatre to reveal that this was their first Linux port, after years of porting popular games to Mac? Or is it the case that there was a simple post on Civ V’s Steam forum to declare that users of Ubuntu could now begin conquering 4X strategy worlds?
Probably that last one.
Calm your consoles. Give your Blu-ray/DVD/VHS (???) a soothing pat. Tell your ottoman it can stop whimpering in the closest. Your living room is safe – for now. Valve’s takeover plans have been pushed back to next year, as steady Steam Machine testing progress has revealed just how far the little Linux box/controller that could still has left to go. The controller won’t be out until 2015 at the earliest, meaning that it’s now entered the hallowed chronological halls of Valve Time.
The eyes still have it. Or it still has the eyes, at any rate. The latest iteration of Valve’s Steam Controller has wings its way to GDC, so hopefully one of the RPS attendees will be able to lay hands on it over the next few days. In the meantime, I can bring you a picture, released by Valve, that is in no way exclusive to this site and doesn’t even contain hilariously photoshopped owl ears. Instead, it shows a controller that has lost a couple of its odder features as expected, including the fondlescreen and awkwardly positioned buttons. There are now eight buttons, positioned in patterns and placements that will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a joypad.
Steam, monopolizing all the news? What are you talking about? STEAM IS THE NEWS. The two have become one, a pulsating mutant announcement machine – or announcemutant for short. The latest and greatest? Word from Steam Dev Days is that Valve’s revealed the first big overhaul of its (somewhat finicky) beta controller. Say goodbye to that touch screen that never actually saw the light of day. Its variable button approach was interesting, but perhaps not in the best interest of backward compatibility. So it’s out. Don’t expect any biometrics either. At least, not initially.
RPS Feature Not Exactly A Hoot
Valve’s robot owl Steam controller has been the talk of the town since the town learned to talk, but talk is cheap. While attending Valve’s recent CES Steam Machine event, I realized I had light and a camera, so it was time for action. Go below to watch me comment on (and gripe about) a beta Steam controller’s many, er, eccentric ins and outs while playing games like Metro: Last Light and Starbound. Valve’s onto something, I think, but there’s still a worrisome amount of work to be done before primetime.
The Consumer Electronics Show is happening in Las Vegas right now, which is a lot like E3 but full of televisions and Michael Bay instead of videogames. There is at least one thing there of interest to us, though: Valve have been revealing the first concrete details of their Steam Machine partners, including the 14 manufacturers currently making them and the specs and prices of some of those boxes.
Nathan is at the event and we’ll have interviews and impressions to share with you soon, but let’s round-up the news so far.
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