Hot off the presses at CES in Las Vegas, it sounds like Valve has finally dropped some details about their upcoming foray into home entertainment—the Steam Machine. While the idea of a Valve system that acts as a vehicle for all of your impulse buying—er, I mean, PC gaming—right from your couch might be appealing, the company has had quite a few questions to answer about price, specs and the like.
You have to admire Valve, they really think out of the box. Between XP, trading cards, everything going on with Dota 2 (thanks Volvo for Diretide), they’re turning Steam into not only the premier digital game delivery service on the Internet, but also some sort of weird crowdsourced laboratory.
Take this recent move as a prime example. Steam users will now be able to leave reviews on games they have launched via Steam (purchase not required) without having to recommend it, which was the previous method of doing user reviews (indeed, any previous recommendations will be upgraded to reviews).
The user reviews will exist alongside the Metacritic scores on Steam. I think this is a really cool move for Steam, and I’m eager to copy/paste some GS reviews in there to see what happens (kidding!). What do you guys think about this? Have you written any reviews yet?
Valve kicked off the announcements this week by showing off SteamOS, the Linux-based operating system that will guide your magical journey through living-room centered PC gaming wonderfulness. It sounds like you can dual-boot the SteamOS on an existing PC or stream games from your current gaming PC to a Steam Machine running SteamOS and play your games that way.
On Wednesday, JJ Abrams and Gabe Newell sat down for a session at the 2013 DICE summit where they discussed the strengths and weaknesses of games and movies as storytelling mediums. Polygon has a liveblog of the chat, and it’s definitely worth reading to get a sense of their alternating points. Newell argued for the value of player agency, of letting gamers be “architects of their own amusement”, whereas Abrams argued in favor of film’s “machinery” of storytelling, which allows for narrative control. They played clips from games and movies, and each made some excellent, thoughtful arguments.
Their discussion of the different forms of storytelling was especially exciting because they ended by announcing that Abrams and Valve are planning on collaborating on a game as well as possible Portal or Half-Life movies. If it’s even possible to make a decent movie out of a game, I think JJ Abrams could be the guy to do it. However, of the two properties, I think Half-Life is a bit better suited to the movie treatment, simply because there are more characters and settings to work with. Of course, Gordon Freeman would definitely end up talking in a movie version, and that might ruin some of his carefully cultivated mystique…
How about you? Do you find the prospect of a Portal or Half-Life movie exciting? Will you be curious to see what kind of game Abrams might make with Valve? How much would your head explode if a Half-Life movie came out before Episode 3? Let us know in the comments.
PC gamers and Steam lovers can rejoice, because the cat’s finally out of the bag: a Valve’s “Steam Box” is official, Gabe Newell confirmed in a recent interview with The Verge.
While we can mostly guess at what a Steam Box means for games — namely a “Big Picture Mode” console designed for your TV — Newell did talk about some of the box’s other early features. For instance, rather than just the living room, they want the Steam experience to be sharable from screen to screen, and between different rooms with ease. But beyond that, Valve’s main emphasis will be open platforms with different manufacturers, open content and a way for gamers to publish and create their own content through the Steam store or possibly even personal stores. The goal is to make things easy for publishers and developers, and ideally that trickles down to gamers as well.
It’s certainly too early to tell anything about the Steam Box, but it basically sounds like my dream console. I’m pretty pumped on Steam at the moment, mostly due to the most recent Steam sale (sorry, but you’ll hear me mention it a million times over the next, I dunno, year, so I love the idea of an affordable console that runs what I think is currently best platform for games. I love that Valve will be removing the normal restrictions we see from consoles, and can’t wait to hear more about this. I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the interview, there’s even a bit about how they have been researching biometric feedback and new controller inputs.
It’s a good day to be a Valve fan as we’re being treated to two new releases from everyone’s favorite gaming company. First is Meet the Pyro, which finally takes us behind the mask of the mysterious flame-spewing class…kind of. It’s not the strongest of the Meet the Team videos, but it has its moments.
In what might be the most game-changing agreement to ever hit the industry, Valve and Nintendo have announced an deal that will make the Wii U the only place to play console ports of Valve games, including the upcoming Dota 2, Counterstrike: Global Offensive and “any future Half-Life or Portal episodes”. No word on how much Nintendo paid for this deal but it signals that they are serious about reaching out to the hardcore gamer demographic that critics maintain have largely been abandoned by the Japanese superpower.
Valve head Gabe Newell said in a statement, “Nintendo is always pushing the industry to new and exciting places and we at Valve like to think we do the same. By pushing together, perhaps we can usher in a new era of quality gaming on both PCs and consoles.” Mr. Newell also went on to say that, “Nintendo doesn’t care about high-powered graphics and neither do we. It’s a perfect fit for us and we look forward to blowing everyone’s minds with what we have to show at E3.”
Valve made waves last year with Portal 2’s feature that allowed Playstation 3 owners to play the game’s co-op mode with PC gamers, but this news far surpasses that innovative feature. There were rumors that Valve itself was looking to get into the console business, but it appears they are happy to enter into a marriage with Nintendo rather than go to the party stag. I’m pretty stunned and as a console-only gamer, it puts the Wii U at the top of my list of consoles to buy. What say you?
Valve, you wily devils. Not only do you make critically acclaimed video games, you also happened to pioneer iTunes for video games on the PC. Over the holidays, you wow-ed everyone with some ridiculous giveaways, absurd gaming deals and hit the whole Steam community with a shot of adrenaline that gave college kids the world over something to do during the Winter break.
But it doesn’t stop there. Valve recently reported its 2011 end-of-year statistics, and they’re staggering. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the highlights:
Steam offers over 1800 games to 40 million account holders
Year-over-year sales have doubled from 2010 to 2011, marking 100 percent growth for the 7th straight year
14.5 million copies of Steam registered in 2011, a 67 percent increase over 2010
Steam doubled the amount of content it served in 2011 – over 780 Petabytes
Firstly, I didn’t even know a Petabyte was a thing. It just sounds made up. Literally, my brain can not fathom the numbers that go into that, even though I looked it up. This might just be because I’m a stupid person, though. The other shocking statistic is the fact that Steam’s sales have doubled each year for the last 7 years. I knew that they had a corner on the market, but it’s nuts to me that keeps soaring upward. And when you think about it, there’s really no other place for those sales numbers to go, considering that more content keeps coming out and there are so few legitimate competitors.
So what do you guys think of these Steam statistics? Come sing Steam’s praises if you wish.
If we posted every rumor that the videogame industry latched onto, this site would be one great slobbering mess. As it stands, we try to handle ourselves with poise amidst a whirlwind of easily debunked rumors, rampant speculation and URL hounding.
I’m ready to throw all of that out of the window for this rumor: Valve is set to release Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the long-awaited sequel to their huge FPS franchise, in Q1 of 2012. In terms of credibility, it seems that Valve has recently been inviting major players in the eSports community to their studios to test the game out, and have been making posts around the Web about their experiences.
Some of the other rumors associated with the game as of now are revamps of Dust and Aztec, new weapons, an updated version of the Source engine, a focus on 5 v 5 play and individual and team rankings. Supposedly, a press release should arrive from Valve about the matter soon, but I couldn’t wait to go ahead and get this up.
Whew. I managed to get through that without letting off a major “squee” of excitement or four. Now it’s your turn. Thoughts about this rumor? Could Valve actually have been secretly preparing this game and plan to launch it in just a few short months? Go!
Update: This is now official: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will release on XBLA, PSN and Steam in early 2012. Woot!
I’m going to forgo my traditional jokes about Portal 2 and instead go right into the meat of this thing because it’s just too damn cool. We all know that Valve are a tricksy bunch, so the fact that Portal 2 has some crazy Easter Eggs shouldn’t surprise you; what should surprise you is how nuanced and intricate all of these are. Games Radar put together a list of 30 Portal 2 Easter Eggs that you may or may not have known about. It should be fairly obvious, but there are spoilers abound in this list.
Some of these secrets I already knew about thanks to the game’s achievements, but a few were new to me, and they’re really indicative of how much Valve wants to reward the diligent player. It’s true that you can play the game and enjoy it without searching for Rat Man’s dens or finding a secret berth, but all of these things really add a nice layer of complexity to what many people probably brushed off as a “puzzle game”.
While most of the fun with Easter Eggs is finding them yourself, sometimes it’s just as interesting to read the collected info all in one place. Have you guys found any of the Easter Eggs, and which ones were they? Are you going to go hunting for some more of them? What’s the craziest Easter Egg (Valve-related or not) that you’ve found in a game? Go! Feel free to get spoilery in the comments if you want to, but be warned if you have not beaten Portal 2.
File this under “This is why we can’t have nice things”. Apparently, the Alternate Reality Game that Eddy posted about earlier, along with DLC already available on the day of the game’s launch and rumors of the game being a console port has prompted some raging Metacritic users to emancipate Portal 2 from any true Metacritic User Rating by lowering it’s score. Currently, the game sits at a 6.9, which is far lower than expected from such a hotly anticipated game.
So what exactly is the cause? As 1UP is reporting, the disappointment that the aforementioned ARG was a ploy to get people to buy/play Steam games, along with the alleged short length of the game (I guess they aren’t counting the co-op in this) and the -WAIT FOR IT- “obvious console port clues” was just too much for these monsters to bear. A cursory scan of the comments reveals much hatred for Valve, the likes of which not seen since the days of Left 4 Dead 2.
When it comes to games, everyone’s got that list of a handful of titles that has influenced the way they view themselves as gamers, and to some extent individuals. I know that sounds a bit heavy, but I know that I have movies and music albums that have really affected me, and it’s just the same with games.
Have you ever wondered how your favorite developers feel are their most influential games? In a new feature titled Game Changers, CVG asks Valve founder Gabe Newell what his 3 favorite games of all time are. His answers? Star Trek on a Burroughs Mainframe, Doom and Super Mario 64, which convinced him that games are art (he still considers the controls to be unrivaled).
I’m glad that Gabe Newell and I are in total agreement about Super Mario 64, which still stands as probably the greatest platformer I’ve ever played. Other influential games for me as a gamer would happen to be KOTOR, Final Fantasy VII and Counter-Strike.
So what about you guys? What games have influenced you the most? What movies? Books? No holds barred!
Personally, this is pretty exciting news and hopefully the first step in a new gaming paradigm, where PC, 360 and PS3 gamers all can benefit from the creativity of their fellow gamers. I’m amazed by what I see people do on something like LittleBigPlanet and the chance to have some insane puzzles in Portal 2 from the addled minds of the masses makes me tingle in all the right spots.
What say you? Are you glad that Valve is pushing the industry in this direction? Would you want to see the mod tools brought over to the consoles in the future? Comments, plz!
For a three year old game, Team Fortress 2 manages to still have a few tricks up its sleeves mostly thanks to Valve’s penchant for thinking outside of the box. While the additions to TF2 started small with upgraded weapons, Valve slowly built the game up into a more than full-featured title featuring custom clothing, an in-game economy and now a boss encounter.
Yes, you read that right. Valve’s team-based frag fest comes one step closer to MMO territory with the addition of a neutral boss monster named the Horseless Headless Horsemann. When I say “neutral” I don’t mean in the conscientious objector kind of way, but rather that he hates both Red and Blu equally and can only be defeated by the combined might of both teams.
The Halloween update also features a two new community made maps (they’re free, don’t worry) and the return of last year’s spooky themed achievements. Players can now also gift wrap spare items for others, and I can only imagine the disappointed look on Timmy’s face when the bright wrapping reveals the unpleasant surprise of Jarate.
Yet again Valve uses Team Fortress 2 as an experimental platform, and I’d say they’re on track for success once more. I’ll definitely be hopping online this weekend to check out how the Horsemann works in game (and pick up some cheevos and hats) so what about you guys? Anyone lapsed on TF2 but have come back because of the constant love and care lavished on it by Valve? Do you wish that other developers would try something like this in their games?
Wow. This is one of those stories that just oozes awesome. It’s like our “Today’s WTF” topics, but in a totally different way.
If you are a lover of Team Fortress 2, then you’ll recall that Valve launched an in-game store for virtual items, Mann Co. Store. The coolest thing about this marketplace is that it allowed users to buy items for the game that they didn’t feel like earning over the course of time. So basically, the items could either be earned for free, or bought to skip all that grinding.
As part of the launch of this new business model, Valve participated in the Polycount item contest, where users competed to see whose items could make it into the game. Well, it turns out that the five winners not only got their items added to the game, but also to the Mann Co. Store, where other users could purchase them… and Valve gave the content creators a 25% revenue share.
We generally like to avoid cluttering up the front page with multiple articles on the same story, but I think that this particular story deserves a follow up. A couple of days ago, I published an article in which I quoted Michael Pachter saying that Steam is “supposedly” looking into allowing trade-ins via their digital store. Now that the interview has had sometime to make it’s way to Valve, the quote is coming back to haunt Mr. Pachter.
Valve marketing head Doug Lombardi recently spoke to EuroGamer regarding the alleged trade-in plans, and said that Valve has never met with Michael Pachter, and they have no idea where he got the notion from. Pachter responded in turn, agreeing that he had never met Valve, and that the problematic quote came around because the game journalist posed the question to him awkwardly. This is his new stance on his line from a couple days ago after the jump: Continue reading Update: Valve Not Considering Steam Trade-Ins
Michael Pachter, an analyst that tries to gauge future trends in the video game industry, has basically built a career saying crazy things and hoping they come true (kind of like some games journalists, but I digress). While most of what he says can be brushed off as preposterous rumor, he sometimes produces a rare gem, like a diamond in a coal mine.
Take this recent interview he had with NowGamer where he postulated that Valve will begin offering a trade in service on Steam fairly soon. While we all love Steam, apparently there’s some demand to have Valve’s digital store offer the same sort of service provided by GameStop, i.e the ability to trade in titles for credit towards new ones. This is the explanation Pachter gave as to how he thinks it would go down:
“Steam is phenomenal, it’s a great service,” Pachter explained, “Steam gives gamers enough other stuff so that they don’t resent the fact they can’t trade in their games. And you know, name all the Steam games that you’ve purchased that you’ve traded back in to somebody else for credit. Steam’s about to let you do that supposedly, you know like trade and exchange, but they’re going to take a fee from it.”
While the “supposedly” does take this idea pretty firmly into guesswork territory, I think it’s a novel idea that Valve are possibly exploring, if only to further their dominance on PC gaming. What do you guys think? Any truth to Pachter’s statement? What kind of “fee” would Valve take, if any?
Steam. Everybody loves it. What better way to get your games online for your PC than with Valve’s awesome distribution method? Naturally, if a competitor is doing something excellently, Microsoft is going to try and capitalize with its own service: enter Games for Windows.
At the London Games Festival, Gearbox recently called for Valve and Microsoft to fix the incompatibility issues that plague users who purchase their games via the rival distributors. According to Gearbox’s marketing honcho Steve Gibson, the two are “building silos”, which will inevitably “hurt the PC industry.”
With their big release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011 sure to be a sales grabber, it’s no wonder that Gearbox is concerned about this kind of issue. Honestly, I’m wondering why anybody would purchase a game via Games for Windows when an option like Steam even exists.
This is sort of a week for excellent dance-themed machinima, it seems. First we get the sublime krogan dance off in the form of Mass Effect 2’s Dance Dance Redemption, and now we have Dance Fortress 2. This little beauty of a video was made by a talented man who goes by the name of James Benson. This project started two months ago, and the culmination of his efforts can be seen below. This was apparently made as a resume to Valve, so best of luck to you, Mr. Benson.
A few years back, around the release of The Orange Box and Left 4 Dead, Valve was really going hard for Microsoft. They were trotting out quotes left and right saying how LIVE was the wave of the future and that the PS3 wasn’t really a good choice for developers. Fast forward to 2010, and opinions are changing. Back in July, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell swaggered out on stage at Sony’s E3 presser and announced that not only would Portal 2 be coming to the PlayStation 3, but it would be the premier version of the game. Naturally, some hyperbole is expected at E3, but Valve seems to be doing a neat about-face in regards to their console preferences.
Part of what caused Valve to change their mind about the X-Box 360 is that the development cycle for the system is very closed off. If you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s certification process, it is a very stringent battery of tests that need to be done internally by Microsoft before anything gets released to LIVE. This adds to the time needed to get patches out, even the critical ones. Microsoft also has a habit of insisting that downloadable content costs money, something Valve has preferred to avoid. The PS3, on the other hand, presents a much more open development platform for Valve, something they’re eager to utilize. Continue reading Valve Regrets Love Affair With 360, Moves to Open Development