Valve are so good at hiding revelatory new features in patch notes, that I worry they might have released Half-Life 3 years ago, and we just never realised. In this latest instance, they've updated the Steam client beta's in-home streaming functionality to support "streaming non-Steam games in the Steam library". That means, whether they're part of Steam or not, you'll be able to beam your most powerful games between local area network PCs. Even Minesweeper.
This weekend, you've the chance to sample two entirely separate threads on the PC gaming quilt. There's the gruelling, harsh, harrowing struggle of war in Company of Heroes 2; or the super-powerful, super-power-ballad-full, comedy hijinks of Saints Row IV. Fun and frolics or fear and frostbite? Either way, both games are free to trial until Sunday, and are accompanied by discounts that will last until Monday.
Tension! Betrayal! Vomit! Our DayZ stream had it all. For over three hours yesterday afternoon, the PC Gamer UK team journeyed across Chernarus. Along the way, we met friends, fought foes, and even encountered a couple of the game's developers. We were also hunted mercilessly, as viewers of the stream triangulated our position and set out on their own adventure to take us down. If you couldn't join us live, you can catch up with the full broadcast through the VODs inside.
Okay, this makes more sense. Last November, eyebrows were cocked when Valve announced the session names and descriptions for this week's Steam Developer Days conference. At the time, when describing their VR session, Valve revealed that they'd "assembled a prototype," which would show what VR hardware could be capable of within two years. The question then became what they planned to do with this prototype, and whether their VR expertise would lead to an Oculus rival.
Quite the opposite, as it turns out. During the session, presented by Valve's VR virtuoso Michael Abrash, it was confirmed that the company have no current plans to release VR - at least, not yet. As a result, it's Oculus VR that are their most obvious choice as to who will ship a quality consumer headset. What's more, Valve say they're "continuing to work with Oculus to drive PC VR forward".
Net neutrality taking a beating isn't going to stop you from playing Battlefield, or prompt restrictive bandwidth caps overnight that make it harder to download games from Steam. Tuesday's decision likely won't affect your day-to-day gaming at all.
But net neutrality is still something you should care about. If you've ever streamed a game on Twitch, followed an amazing speedrunning event like Awesome Games Done Quick, or watched a YouTube archive of a world record solo eggplant run in Spelunky, Tuesday's ruling could impact elements of the PC gaming community you care about.
Steam Dev Days is well underway, and although the press wasn't invited to the party, they can't stop us from pressing our ears up against the window trying to catch snippets of what's being said. Hey, it's a living. The latest snippet came in the form of a sneaky tweet from Coffee Stain Studios' Armin Ibrisagic, whose captured slideshow image reveals that Valve is planning to add support for a bunch of new currencies to Steam sometime this year. The Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars appear to be included, as do the Japanese yen, the Mexican peso and the Singaporean dollar. Metro 2033's bullet-based currency is notable by its absence.
Valve is dropping the touchscreen from the center of its new experimental controller, according to attendees at the Steam Dev Days developer conference in Seattle. The move ditches the conceivably infinite number of buttons presentable on a touchscreen for a rather more finite, and traditional, D-pad and ABXY configuration. The haptic thumbpads will remain where they are—for now.
We’ve all been eagerly anticipating the info coming out of Steam Dev Days, the developers-only conference held by Valve in Seattle. There have been rumors of the demise of Greenlight and pictures of free Steam controllers and Steam Machines given out to attendees—rumors that we’ve been unable to substantiate because press is not allowed at the conference. To make up for barring us, though, Valve has sent us the most precious gift of all: a graph.
Steam Dev Days, the developer-only conference kicked off by Valve in Seattle this morning, is off to a roaring start. In the first two hours of the show, every attending developer has been given a new Steam controller and a promise of a free Gigabyte Steam Machine. Now, Valve founder Gabe Newell has stated his goal of getting rid of the often-troublesome, frequently controversial Steam Greenlight system.
Oculus Rift owners have mastered the open roads in Euro Truck Simulator 2, upset a fascist alien dystopia in Half-Life 2, and... had a lovely Tuscan holiday in that tech demo thing. Thanks to Valve, development kit owners have a new experience waiting for them: a nice floating menu. Ahead of their Steam Dev Days conference, they've released an experimental VR version of Steam. It's like Minority Report or something, only with a great big chunk of plastic pressed up in your face.
With all the excitement surrounding Steam Machines this year, it’s easy to forget about the controversal "Steam Box" from last year's CES. As a reminder, in January 2013, Xi3 unveiled its Piston console, along with the news that the company had received an initial investment from Valve, indicating the Piston’s position as a Steam Machine. However, in March, Valve announced that it claimed no involvement with Xi3, sending ripples of confusion and drama throughout the industry.
Consortium, a new sci-fi adventure from Interdimensional Games, imagines a future of giant space planes running on clean energy. But the idiosyncratic starting point of this narrative involves the fictional launching of a satellite by the game developer that lets it communicate through a portal with an alternate reality. It’s through this “rift” that players inhabit the role of Bishop Six, a member of the Consortium crew.
Buying a Steam Machine right now—if they were available—would be a curious decision. You'd have an attractive, compact gaming PC meant to go under your TV—a good thing, but pricey—with a Steam-modded version of Linux that you'd be best off uninstalling. SteamOS might be better-designed than Windows for your TV, but a GTX 780 is a bit overkill for the small portion of Steam's library that runs natively on Linux. That's Valve's challenge, and expanding Steam's native Linux library is its priority, says Product Designer Greg Coomer, who spoke with PC Gamer at CES 2014 today.
The biggest threat my parents used to keep me in line was that they would take away my computer. If only they had Steam Family Options back then they could save themselves a lot of trouble (and back aches) and just lock me out my account. The feature, which up until today was in beta, is now available to all users. It allows you to limit an account’s access to the Steam Store, Library, Community, and Friends with an additional PIN.
Monday night at CES in Las Vegas, Valve unveiled the third-party Steam Machines currently under development. A few names on the list were well-known: Alienware, Origin PC, Digital Storm. But one of the lesser-known developers, Zotac USA, boasts a unique quality among its competition. “We were the first company to start working with Valve [on a Steam Machine],” Zotac’s Kevin Wang reveals. “Originally it was not going to be multi-partner, but Valve went that direction.”
Hmm... HMM... Steam users are reporting that, for a brief period, visiting the store's stats page sent them instead to the Shadow Steam: a secretive and underground society where developers engage in spectacularly tense battles of "Petroglyph Games Developer Test App". The list appeared to forego the public applications of the Steam database, instead reporting those marked as private. Kind of like the exact opposite of what it should be doing. Of course, things are back to normal now, making it difficult to prove the veracity of the list. If the community's claims are true, though, it would suggest the existence of unannounced games like Killing Floor 2, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate HD, Half Minute Hero 2, and Battleblock Theater.
Like an elderly contest judge at a village fête, Steam Greenlight has spluttered awake and handed out prize ribbons to another fifty games. Embossed on those ribbons? The phrase "I'm the best, and, at an unspecified time in the future - determined by both my own level of completion, and a conversation between my developer and Valve about the business strategy of my launch - I will be added to Steam." They're pretty big ribbons. This time, highlights of the current crop include Depression Quest, avant-garde stealth game Tangiers, and frighteningly detailed plane-'em-up X-Plane 10.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, Gabe Newell was blinded by a bright future as he revealed the manufacturers working with Valve to release this year's line of Steam Machines—living room PCs which will come equipped with Valve's free, Linux-based SteamOS. The current lineup includes Alienware, Materiel.Net, Alternate, Next, CyberPowerPC, Origin, Digital Storm, Scan Computers, Falcon Northwest, Webhallen, GigaByte, Zotac, iBuyPower, and Maingear.
Ooh, it's been a while since we last delved into the silicon minutia of Steam's Hardware Survey. As it's a new year, let's treat ourselves with a quick rundown of the recently released December stats. Through them, like hushed archaeologists on a giant mound of plastic, we can glimpse at the habits of the prehistoric gamers of that ancient era known as 2013.
Q-Games' Dylan Cuthbert confirmed on Twitter that the Steam Winter Flash Sale of PixelJunk Eden, which slashed the price down from $10 to $1, doubled that game's income. In other words, with front page placement and the deeply discounted $1 price tag, PixelJunk Eden earned in just 8 hours what it previously earned over a little under a year. Q-Games and Cuthbert have not shared specific figures, but needless to say they seem enthused.