Valve releases 15-minute Team Fortress 2 "Expiration Date" short for Love and War update

Evan Lahti at

The first day of Team Fortress 2's countdown-teased update was light on game content reveals but heavy on entertainment.

Team Fortress 2 countdown clock appears, update assumed imminent

Phil Savage at

The Team Fortress 2 blog has updated with a brief and mysterious message. It leads to a countdown page, called "suspense.html", ticking down to... something. Whatever that something is, it'll happen in just over 13 hours, at 1am BST.

Those are the facts, all that remain now are questions. Questions like, what do Valve have planned? Why are Reddit's TF2 community suddenly obsessed by bread? And how are Valve managing to reignite my interest in TF2 for the first time in almost a year?

The best and weirdest Steam skins

PC Gamer at

At one point in the last 24 hours, the number of concurrent users on Steam peaked at around 6.9 million people. A lot of time is spent staring at Steam's familiar grey interface, and it's time for a change. Fortunately you can reskin your Steam client with user-made varieties, which change the look, feel and functionality of Steam's familiar old tabs. Read on for our pick of the best Steam skins, and a round-up of some of the most outlandish designs.

Paul 'ReDeYe' Chaloner talks ESL One Frankfurt, casting, and the future of e-sports

Chris Thursten at

Paul 'ReDeYe' Chaloner has been involved in e-sports for fifteen years as a shoutcaster, host, and presenter. He's seen every part of the business, from amateur bedroom casting to addressing thousands of people on stage. Next week, he'll be hosting his first Dota 2 tournament—ESL One Frankfurt. Earlier in the week I spoke to Paul about his expectations for the tournament, how he goes about preparing for an event this big, and how the business of presenting e-sports has changed over the years.

ADOM, Logigun and 73 others get the Greenlight on Steam

Andy Chalk at

I have good news for those of you who can't wait to get your hands on Super Lemonade Factory, I am weapon or Car Disassembly 3D: Steam has given the Greenlight to 75 more titles, including those three and one that's actually been banned.

Three Lane Highway: learning to take a hit, and other thoughts on trying too hard

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes silly, sometimes serious column about Dota 2.

Yesterday I discovered a phrase that I like. I was reading this article about faster-than-light travel in the Washington Post, an article that includes probably the most exciting picture of a spaceship on the internet at the moment. The article links back to a previous interview between io9 and leading NASA engineer Harold White in which he describes the search for his "Chicago Pile moment".

"Chicago Pile moment" is his own coinage, and refers to the development of the first nuclear reactor in Chicago in 1942. It generated very little power, looked like a stack of bricks, and took up most of a large room - but it was proof that nuclear power was a possibility in practical terms. After the Chicago Pile, building a viable reactor was a matter of improving on proven principles. It's the difference between trying to tame the yeti in your garden and trying to prove that the yeti exists at all.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive weapon skin removed after DMCA takedown notice

Phil Savage at

You may remember CS:GO's M4A4: Howl as one of the most expensive weapon skins available for the game. Today, Valve announced their receipt of a DMCA takedown notice, stating that both the skin and the Howling Dawn community sticker were not the original work of the item's Steam Workshop contributors. "This matter is extremely serious," Valve wrote in a post to the CS:GO community, "and we have taken appropriate action to resolve it."

The E3 2014 press conference PC gamers deserve

Evan Lahti at

E3 remains the place for big developers and publishers to reveal and showcase their games. We love PAX, Gamescom, and GDC, but E3 is where Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, et al. come out swinging with millions of marketing dollars to try and outdo one another in spectacle in a series of Monday press conferences.

The PC, lacking a sole, corporate representative or elected monarch, doesn’t have its own press conference at E3. Our platform has a great presence on the E3 floor, which we’ll be covering tirelessly this week, but we can’t help but wonder each year: if PC gaming a press conference, what would it be like? As we’ve done in 2013 and 2012, here’s our vision.

E3 2014 predictions from the PC Gamer team

PC Gamer at

The Electronic Three is nigh. Next week, the entire gaming industry will descend on E3 2014, eager for big announcements at flashy press conferences and as many video games as can fit in LA's massive convention center. There will be new PC games and new PC hardware. That's all expected. But what about the unexpected? What E3 announcements will blow our minds? Is this the year Gabe Newell finally walks onto a stage and says "Half-Life 3 is done, and you can play it right now," and we all leave E3 early?

Probably not. As we psyche ourselves up for E3, the PC Gamer staff have made some wild and not-so-wild predictions about Oculus and Steam Machines and the biggest surprises we'll see at this year's show.

Three Lane Highway: learning to watch Dota 2 as a newcomer

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes serious, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

Later this month I'll be attending ESL One Frankfurt to cover the tournament for PC Gamer. It's one of the last high profile Dota 2 competitions before The International, and the best chance most European fans are going to get to watch some of these teams play before they win eleventy million dollars at TI4, buy private islands, and vanish.

If you're considering attending then you probably play Dota 2. You know something about the meta, drafting, laning, teamfights, whatever. You're capable of replicating many of the things that you watch professional teams do—albeit imperfectly—on your own time, and doing so constitutes a big part of your hobby. You watch Dota because you play Dota.

Valve updates Steam Early Access FAQ, warns that some games may never be finished

Andy Chalk at

Remember Earth: Year 2066? It was $20 on Early Access until Valve pulled the plug on it in early May because the game was such a train wreck. The War Z suffered a similar fate in 2012. Both games were high-profile examples of the risks of Early Access, and yet neither resulted in any immediate changes to the system. But Valve has recently, and rather quietly, updated its Early Access FAQ to note that things can, and will, go wrong.

The most expensive CS:GO weapon skins

Christopher Livingston at

In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the only thing more important than accuracy is style, and nothing says style like "I've spent hundreds of dollars on slightly differently-colored skins for imaginary guns." After scouring Steam Marketplace for hours we've assembled the most expensive skins and what you might expect to pay—based on recent average prices, not crazy sales spikes—for each type of weapon in CS:GO. You'll no longer have to settle for just making holes in your enemies. Now you can make an impression!

Despite some of the crazy prices in this list, these aren't necessarily the most expensive skins ever sold in CS:GO. There's an estimated 1 percent chance of getting a knife drop from a weapon case, and an even lower chance of that knife being Factory New quality with a StatTrak counter attached. Skins like that are so rare that they're often not on the market. No permanent record exists for all items, so this is a reflection of the CS:GO market as it exists today.

Steam client beta update lets you preload games to any folder

Andy Chalk at

Yesterday's Steam client beta update introduced some minor tweaks to in-home streaming, a new library section for Big Picture mode and the ability to preload games to any folder rather than the Steam default. That last bit may not seem like a big deal, but it's one of those things that could prove awfully handy if you ever find yourself in need of it.

Steam Greenlight gives the thumbs-up at 75 more titles

Andy Chalk at

Another 75 games have made it past the velvet rope known as Greenlight and entered the not-as-exclusive-as-it-used-to-be club known as Steam, less than two months after the last batch.

Air Control may be the worst game on Steam — we played it and asked the developer to explain

Tyler Wilde at

There are a lot of bad games on Steam, but last night while browsing the new releases, I encountered a game that is beyond bad. It's not that Air Control is buggy or poorly designed: Air Control is basically just one giant bug, and I'm not sure you could call it "designed." Do not buy Air Control for $6. Do not buy Air Control for £4.79. Do not even buy Air Control for a laugh. But while you're here, let's have a look at Air Control, and see what the developer has to say.

Three Lane Highway: why Dota 2 isn't really about heroes at all

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes silly, sometimes serious column about Dota 2.

It is the most human thing in the world to want to be the coolest person in the room. Competition for status is written into our society and culture. It is why we valourise the assertion of individual will and downplay collective success. It's how teenagers figure out who they are. It's how democracy (sort of) functions, how movies get made, how lies pass into general acceptance. It's a process we can't shake, a process that generates politicians and celebrities and bullies and—to the point—some really, really shitty Dota players.

What I learned about CS:GO after watching the Twitch stream of someone I beat

Evan Lahti at

I played a vitamin D deficiency-fostering amount of CS:GO over the long weekend. In one of my dozen-some competitive matches (CS:GO’s excellent five-on-five matchmaking mode), I noticed that one of my opponents was livestreaming.

After we won, we booted up the archived video together, commenting in Mumble as we watched. It was a rare chance for my CS:GO group and I to see ourselves through an opponent’s eyes (and comms)—what did it look like to play against us? These were my takeaways.

Steam Controller delayed to more 'realistic' 2015 release window

Shaun Prescott at

Valve's Steam Controller will no longer release in 2014, an official post on the Steam Community forum confirms. According to the update the delay to a 2015 release window has been prompted by "a ton" of useful playtesting feedback.

Giveaway: win tickets to the ESL One Dota 2 finals in Frankfurt

PC Gamer at

At the end of June some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world will meet in the 51,000-seat Commerzbank Arena to battle for a prize pool of nearly $200,000. It's sure to be a terrific event for anyone who loves Dota, or watching esports with huge crowds of fans, and we have five pairs of weekend passes to give away.

"I did see some concept art for Half-Life 3" says Counter-Strike co-creator. Left 4 Dead 3 "looks great"

Tom Senior at

Counter-Strike creator Minh Le has been talking to goRGNtv about Valve's most anticipated projects. He's seen artwork of Valve's next Half-Life game, and more of Left 4 Dead 3, which has been rumoured since the Valve database leak late last year.