Sharing is caring, and there’s no better way to show your friends and family you care than to let them have a taste of your abundant Steam library. Today, after six month in beta, Valve announced Steam Family Sharing is available to all Steam users.
As our review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance pointed out, we welcome games and franchises previously known as console exclusives to the PC with open arms. Bring us more Metal Gear Solid, please, and have Platinum port Bayonetta while you’re at it. Just please, don’t ruin it over a stupid technical issue.
For example, many players reported that Revengeance’s framerate drops to an unplayable level when the resolution was set to 1920x1080. Luckily, one enterprising fan has created a fix for the issue.
Steam has announced new Steamworks tools for developers that will allow them to discount their own games when and how they like. Developers can choose to participate in weeklong deals, add custom discounts, and schedule sales up to two months in advance.
New indie shooter Tower of Guns looks like it's custom made for the time-crunched, over-scheduled gamer. The FPS releases March 4 and offers randomized mayhem and challenges the developer Terrible Posture Games says can be accomplished in a single, lunch break-sized sitting. It also has a wonderful and vicious-sounding shotgun rocket launcher which sounds like a perfectly natural way to relax.
My favourite thing about the big Games for Windows Live shutdown is that it was never officially confirmed. While originally announced via a message on the Age of Empires Online support page, that update was quickly removed. Since then, the Age of Empires Online support page has also been removed, as part of Microsoft's apparent attempt to hide all evidence that PC gaming even exists. As far as I can see, this is all that remains of Microsoft's non-Windows 8 support.
At least that feeling is mutual, with PC games trying to hide all existence of Games for Windows Live. A further official confirmation of the July 1st switch off date seems almost unnecessary, especially given that many GfWL games are switching over to Steamworks. The latest to do so is Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Its developers recently announced that owners can manually activate a patch to remove the unwanted client.
As good as the current crop of first-person horror games are, I sorely miss the days of tankwalking, fixed-perspective survival horror. Hydravision's Obscure was one of the better games not to feature the words 'resident' or 'hill' in its title, thanks to its near-copyright-infringing riffing on the fun teen horror film The Faculty, its well-meaning but not implemented particularly brilliantly same-screen co-op, oh and its giant evil plants. Giant evil plants! Both Obscure and its mechanically smoother sequel did see a PC release back in the day, but if you don't fancy paying over the odds for a disc copy you'll soon be able to pick the games up on Steam. No word on a price yet, but the re-releases will feature added widescreen and 360 controller support - which is nice. I've checked the trailer below and, phew, character Stanley's cheeky resemblance to The Faculty's Josh Hartnett remains intact.
Valve have released a new CS:GO 'Operation' pack, bringing unlimited official server access to a selection of community made maps. For Operation Phoenix, the maps were chosen by popular vote - and as such, round up some of the best battlegrounds featured in previous operations. Although, if you're anything like me, the quality is less important than the variety. When you're inevitably killed in the first few seconds of the round, it's important to have some nice level design to enjoy through the death camera.
Two days ago, Reddit user theonlybond posted lines of code from Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), the software Steam uses to curb online cheating, accusing it of scanning users' internet browsing history and sending it back to Valve. Other users were quick to point out that the accusations were unfounded, but the discussion got serious enough for Gabe Newell to make an official statement.
It's been a long road, but four months after making it through Steam Greenlight, Ikaruga will finally land on Steam February 18. The shoot 'em up was first released in Japanese arcades in 2001. It came to the Dreamcast in 2002, then for a limited run on Gamecube in 2003, and then Xbox Live Arcade in 2008. A new set of features may help the Steam version find a bigger audience than ever.
Steam has a new feature. Users can now add tags to games. In theory it gives customers a new way to sort Steam's massive library, and lets the community collectively decide on its own genre definitions. It also forms the foundation of a new recommendation system that offers up tags Steam thinks you'll like. It offered me a "mechs" tag, providing a positive glimpse of how the system is supposed to work.
Unfortunately, almost anything can be entered as a tag, which has granted some corners of the gaming community the opportunity to graffiti store pages with abuse and massive spoilers. Anyone dropping in on Final Fantasy's store page will have a major plot point ruined, as will anyone who clicks to add a tag to Bioshock Infinite. Strategy game Supreme Ruler 1936 currently has been tagged with "the holocoast never happened" and "Jews did 9/11".
There's been a new update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which, according to Steam's not at all ridiculous new tagging system, is a Competitive Tactical Multiplayer Shooter. And a CoD-Like. Whatever Steam users think about the game, the community now has access to a new weapon type. Alongisde highly important features like "added diagnostic info to debug video config reset", the most recent patch has introduced the CZ75-Auto, a fully automatic pistol.
Microsoft’s often troubled relationship with PC gaming took a positive step in our eyes when the company hired Jason Holtman, previously the head of Steam at Valve, last summer. Now it looks like the gain was short-lived as it emerges that Holtman has left Microsoft after only six months.
You already own more games on Steam than you'll ever manage to play, and if that wasn't enough to keep up with, games you did play are often updated with significant additional content. For example, did you know that Shadow Warrior received a free and totally great challenge mode? It was easy to miss. Valve is hoping that will happen less often with the addition of the "Recently Updated" section to Steam.
This isn't the first time one of the grandfathers of adventure games was brought into modern gaming. The first version of realMyst released in 2000 as a fully 3D remake of the titular island, its cleverly designed puzzles, and the dramatic bicker-war between two trapped brothers. Developer Cyan Worlds has now given the remake a remake with the Steam release of realMyst: Masterpiece Edition which improves compatibility for modern PCs and adds a few navigation aids.
Steam OS and Big Picture modes will soon include a music interface, as revealed by Valve last week. Gamers will be able to listen to their personal music collection while playing games with the integrated music player, which can organize music by album or artist. For gamers who spend hundreds of hours in a game, this added feature will be an added convenience for anyone who has special playlists for exploring in Skyrim or strategizing in Crusader Kings 2.
It's a grab bag of gaming topics this week. Cory and Wes swap stories about actiony roguelike Risk of Rain, Evan is octoglad to talk about his love for Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Tyler talks about shooting and slicing in Strike Vector and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. We also share early impressions on Steam's in-home streaming from PC to Linux.
Even if you don't have eight appendages, you can still click here to listen to PC Gamer Podcast 370 - Octodad: Taxi Simulator.
It was a muted January for Steam's hardware stats, perhaps due to all of December's lovingly gifted Christmas RAM. There were minor gains in expected areas, and minor losses that chipped away at the lead configurations. So where last month, 19.97% of polled users ran Windows 8, this month, it's 21.31%. But while the numbers aren't earth shattering, there are plenty of trends to mull over.
In October last year, Treasure put its much-loved but little-played shoot 'em up Ikaruga on Steam Greenlight. We're happy to report that it has since been Greenlit by the community, and while it doesn't have a release date yet, Treasure is already looking to port its other games and even develop new ones for Steam.
This is what I’ve been waiting for. And actually also cements in my mind exactly what a waste of time those $499 and up third-party Steam Machines are for many PC gamers. The beta version of In-Home Streaming (IHS) is up and running on my Steam account and I've had a big grin all over my face since I started playing with it.
As someone who can spend hours looking at reviews, videos and interpreting smoke signals before taking the plunge on a new game, pre-orders don't seem like the best idea. Mainly because they're usually a terrible idea - as anyone who bought X: Rebirth in advance will probably tell you. Pre-ordering on Steam is an even less tempting proposition, thanks to Valve's great money-rake grabbing your hard-earned cash the very moment you click 'confirm'. According to users on the Steam forums, however, you can now cancel pre-orders without having to open a support ticket - just so long as the game hasn't been released yet.