Steam's Family Sharing feature exits beta
Digital game distributor Steam has officially released its Family Sharing feature. Originally released in beta, users can now authorize another user and their device to "borrow" a game from their library. Up to 10 computers can share one library at a time, with up to five different accounts permitted to use any of the aforementioned computers. Steam's Family Library Sharing is now available for all users.
Microsoft offers 100GB OneDrive storage via Bing Rewards scheme
After the success of its 100GB of cloud storage giveaway to 100,000 users as part of the SkyDrive rebrand to OneDrive, Microsoft is offering another way to gain the large block of online storage. The Bing Blog claims users of the Bing Rewards scheme, a program that offers discounts and other incentives for using Bing, will exchange 100 credits for a code, which provides access to the same 100GB allocation for one year, though the promotion will only be offered until June 30th of this year.
Increase in Windows 8.1 usage still not enough to beat Windows 7 on Steam
The adoption of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 by gamers has broken 21 percent for the first time, up from 20.06 percent for December, according to the latest figures from the Steam Hardware & Software Survey. Last month, Windows 8.1 systems made up 10.75 percent, with Windows 8 existing on 10.56 percent of reporting systems, though this is still far behind the older Windows 7.
Small World 2 digital game board launches on Mac via the Steam platform
Small World 2 has launched for Mac, and is available via the Steam platform. Featuring maps accommodating two to five players, the aim is to play fantasy societies with special power combos for the purpose of conquering as much of the 'land' as possible. Originally only in physical form, Small World's digital version offers players to challenge fiends to a real-time game across iPad, Android tablets, and PCs via Steam or Days of Wonder Online.
New controller eschews touchpad, adds D-Pad and ABXY diamond
Valve is in the middle of its annual Steam Dev Days developer conference, and it has revealed the addition of 10 million new users in just the last three months. Additionally, the forthcoming Steam controller will no longer have a touchscreen, and will see other modifications for backwards compatibility with legacy applications and other industry-standard controllers.
Both services unavailable for a period of time during holiday sales
Shortly after the arrival of the new year, online gaming powerhouses Electronic Arts plus Valve's Steam suffered from an array of denial of service (DoS) attacks. For a period of time, EA's Origin service was completely inaccessible, preventing players from playing EA games or accessing the storefront. Steam's authentication server and store also went down for an hour in the middle of its now-complete holiday sale. Both services are now fully restored.
Valve makes Left 4 Dead 2 free on Steam until 10am PST on December 26th
Valve Software treated customers of its Steam game store to an unexpected holiday gift, by making Left 4 Dead 2 free to play. The team-based first-person-shooter for PC and Mac, which sees a group of survivors attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse, is free to claim through the online store until 10am PST on December 26th, according to PC Gamer, after which it will revert to its usual price.
Steam Holiday sale begins, new titles for sale daily
Game purveyor Steam has commenced its annual Holiday sale, with deep discounts on games, many playable on both OS X and Windows. Titles on sale change every day -- today's Steamplay highlights include comedic heist title Monaco for $3 (80 percent off); dystopian shooter Bioshock Infinite for $10, 75 percent off; and '80s sci-fi board game translation Space Hulk for $10, a 66 percent discount. Other titles cycle through steep discounts in eight-hour intervals. Steam claims that more than 2000 games are or will be on sale for this event.
Steam Machines arriving at beta tester households
The first units of Valve's Steam Machine gaming devices have begun arriving on the doorsteps of beta testers. Engadget on Sunday pointed to reports from a number of sites showing that beta units have begun showing up at a few households of the 300 beta testers Valve has signed up to try out its new device. The units are arriving in a wooden crate, which opens to reveal a padded interior with the gaming device and its novel gamepad tucked inside.
Linux-based SteamOS at the core of slated testing
Digital game purveyor Steam has revealed that 300 beta "Steam Machine" gaming hardware suites will commence shipping to selected participants on Friday, December 13. The 300 recipients will be informed today at about 2PM PST (5PM EST) that they are the recipient of the hardware, as well as a collection of games that run natively on SteamOS. All other factors ignored, qualified users have less than a 0.07 percent chance of being selected for the trial.
Rdio opens service to another 20 countries, covers a total of 51
Rdio has expanded its reach to include 20 more markets, bringing its total coverage to 51 territories across six continents. The areas the streaming audio service now operates in include Argentina, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Panama, South Africa, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Hungary. It is not clear if Rdio will be offering a free account option alongside the subscription version in these countries, something users in the United States, Canada, and Australia already enjoy.
Steam hits another record for most users at one time
Popular gaming service Steam logged a record number of concurrent users on Sunday, besting its previous high of 6.6 million users. Figures on the service's site indicate that Steam hit 7,190,578 concurrent users mid-morning Eastern Time on December 1. The figure is indicative of the service's growing popularity, and may bode well for the company's impending Steam Box gaming devices.
Linux-based game console includes AMD processor, Radeon R9 270 graphics
One hardware manufacturer has confirmed it is preparing to offer its own take on Valve Software's Steam Machine game console. iBuyPower has unveiled a prototype Steam Machine device that it hopes to launch sometime in 2014, one that for all intents and purposes is a high-specification home theater PC in a consumer-friendly case.
Google launches Connected Classrooms initiative
Google has introduced a new initiative, Connected Classrooms, that aims to enable "virtual field trips" via Google+ Hangouts. Upcoming events include sessions from the Seattle Aquarium and the Minnesota Zoo, along with a program "from the cockpit of a solar plane."
Service offers OS X, Linux, Windows games for download
Digital game online storefront Steam today announced 30 percent growth in active accounts during the last 12 months, bringing the company's total to 65 million. The increase in users puts the cross-platform game distribution service ahead of Microsoft's Xbox Live user base, which totals 48 million active users.
Steam Halloween sale offers up to 75 percent off 195 titles
Digital game purveyor Steam has unveiled its Halloween 2013 sale, where users can "save big on creepy titles." Some notable OS X and Windows cross-platform "Steamplay" titles at 75 percent off are the survival shooter two-pack Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2; classic horror title The 7th Guest; hybrid brawler and real-time strategy rock adventure Brutal Legend; tower defense/shooter game Dungeon Defenders, and the collector pack of the Penumbra adventure series. All told, 195 Windows-compatible games are on sale. The sale runs through November 1.
New 'console' will run custom branch of Linux
Digital game distribution service Steam has revealed some information about its prototype Steam Machine that it will ship to 300 Steam users for free. The prototype machines are high-end, high-performance boxes, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts. They are fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, and motherboard in a custom enclosure, which will have source CAD files available for people willing to replicate the device in its entirety.
Trackpads, clickable touchscreen feature on Steam Machine controller
Valve Software has completed a trilogy of announcements, by revealing a new game controller. The Steam Controller, said to be designed to work on SteamOS and with all games on Steam, uses a pair of clickable circular trackpads instead of the dual joystick configuration used on other controllers, which Valve says provides a "far higher fidelity input" than in other versions.
Hardware beta test ahead of expected 2014 Steam Box launch
Valve Software will be providing a number of Steam users a free hardware prototype of the fabled Steam Box, dubbed Steam Machines. The second of an expected trilogy announcements, the game developer has also revealed that it is working with multiple hardware partners to bring a number of Steam devices to market next year, all of which will run the previously-announced Linux-based operating system, SteamOS.
SteamOS to offer Steam-based gaming, licenseable by device manufacturers
Valve Software has announced it will be making its own operating system available to download in the future. SteamOS, the first of an expected trilogy of Steam Box-related items to be revealed this week, is an operating system based on Linux that is designed to run on a computer located in the living room, with a heavy focus on gaming.
Valve teases possible Steam Box launch with countdown timer
Valve Software is hinting at a new launch for helping gamers play in the living room. A countdown timer that will end on Monday could potentially be the launch of the rumored Steam Box, a Linux-based game console that founder and game developer Gabe Newell strongly hinted at during a presentation at the New Orleans LinuxCon earlier this week.
New service allows loaning users to earn achievements, save progress
Online cross-platform game seller Steam has unveiled Steam Family Sharing, a new service feature that allows close friends and family members to share their libraries of games. The feature will become available next week, in limited beta. Up to 10 devices may be authorized per Steam account, and the sharing is not limited to the confines of a single house or geographic locality, but only one user can be logged into the account at any time -- with priority given to the account owner.
Will also be available on Aspyr's GameAgent store
The third and latest game in the BioShock franchise, BioShock Infinite will debut on the Mac App Store, Steam and Mac publisher Aspyr's GameAgent store on August 29, with options for pre-ordering, bonuses and extra downloadable content -- as well as a way to save money on the game's $60 price. The game, which originally debuted on Windows, PlayStation and Xbox 360 in March, has won wide praise for its state-of-the-art graphics, artwork and story, though it is rated "M" for violence. The Mac version is likely to have steep graphics and horsepower requirements.
Digital titles could be shared by library owner with other users
Valve Software may be planning to add game sharing to its digital game marketplace, according to a rumor. Code allegedly found in the beta version of the Steam game client and store appears to show the software developer is working on a way to allow users to share their games with other Steam players, a system similar to what could have appeared on the Xbox One.
Beta in progress, users can sign up for future invitation
Digital game marketplace Steam has added a new feature -- in-game Steam Trading Cards. Steam Trading Cards are virtual cards earned by playing games on Steam. Sets of cards can be turned into game badges and tradable Steam community items, including discounts on titles or downloadable content, profile graphics, and custom game-related emoticons.
Some 25 percent of in-development games available for Mac
Game developer Valve has launched a new "Early Access" program that allows gamers on both Mac and PC platforms to purchase and play and handful of new games that are still in development. The idea behind the program is to give the developers feedback in pre-release, and in some cases add to or otherwise affect the game's final development. The pricing of each game includes a copy of the finished release on Steam, but only three of the current 12 Early Access games are compatible with the Mac.
Linux client, games major step towards Steam Box
Valve has launched its Steam game distribution platform on Linux, after a lengthy period of beta testing. Initially announced in July 2012, the internal project has now opened up the store on Ubuntu, with interested users being able to download the client through Canonical's Ubuntu Software Center at no charge.
Nearly 10 percent of the company may have been laid off
(Updated with a statement from Gabe Newell) Following a tweet Tuesday confirming the firing of human interface engineer Jeri Ellsworth, Valve is apparently in the midst of larger staff cuts. Valve has indirectly confirmed reports of the departures, with the purge of eight staffers from the staff list website that were present as recently as a week ago. The firings include Valve's director of business Jason Holtman, and a handful of development personnel and engineers.
Steam founder fears Apple-curated living room gaming environment
Steam founder and game developer Gabe Newell gave a speech at the University of Texas on Wednesday where the luminary claimed that Apple -- not Microsoft or Sony -- were the biggest threat to the company's upcoming "Steam Box" PC-based hardware. Newell believes that if Apple makes a move on the living room before the PC industry gets a foothold, then the Cupertino manufacturer can "shut out the open-source creativity" possible with the Steam platform.
Valve CEO explains hardware plans, user-generated Steam future
Gabe Newell has confirmed that Valve Software will release its "Steam Box" in the future, and it will run on Linux. The Valve CEO spoke about how, in working with multiple technology partners, creating Steam-powered hardware was like herding cats, that the company's own hardware offering would be based on a narrowly-focused set of values, and the potential user-generated future of Steam itself.
First software available intended for game production and design
Steam online store owner Valve Software has announced the availability of the first non-game software for purchase on the online venue. While the Steam game store is cross-platform and includes Macintosh OS X software, the current seven offerings are Windows only. During the first week of Steam Applications availability, all titles are ten percent off.
Claims solved problem of game controller-based typing
Valve Software will be making an assault on the living room later today, with the introduction of Big Picture Mode. According to Kotaku, the menu system, previously thought of as part of the rumored Steam Box console, will allow users to have access to Steam content through a PC connected to a TV, with an emphasis on game controller-based navigation as opposed to the keyboard and mouse.
Crowd-sourced scheme sets popular items onto online store
Valve Software has opened its crowd-sourced product release scheme. Steam Greenlight will allow game creators to list their titles on the service and allow users to vote for which they wish to see put onto the service in the future, effectively taking a significant amount of product vetting work off the Valve employees. Large game publishers will still be able to add their titles to the system though existing procedures.
First applications on sale through service September 5th
Valve is set to open its Steam store up for non-gaming content. The formal announcement confirms speculation that was fueled last month through the company's mobile apps, which would see Steam gain categories for various productivity and creativity genres. The first non-gaming titles are slated to begin digital distribution on September 5, in a move that evolves Steam into a general app store beyond its original gaming focus.
Left 4 Dead 2 reportedly stable, working towards full Linux support
Valve is bringing the Steam game distribution platform to Ubuntu. A company blog for the project tells of an 11-person team porting not only Steam, but also Source engine-powered game Left 4 Dead 2. According to the post, co-founder of Valve Gabe Newell has been interested in a Linux port of Steam and Source for some time, and last year formed the team devoted to the project.
Extra non-gaming categories added to app store
Game download service Steam may be moving into other markets, according to its Android app (Free, Google Play). Genres listed in the mobile app now show non-gaming listings, suggesting the Valve Software service may transition toward a general app store. The move itself would be a natural progression for the service, and would see it competing against Apple's Mac App Store.
Tiny Wings HD introduces split-screen multiplayer, AI racing
Tiny Wings is heading to the iPad. Spiritual successor to the iPhone game, Tiny Wings HD (App Store, $3) adds on-device multiplayer in a chapter called Hill Party, where a second player takes half of the display in a race to 10,000 points. Flight School is a single-player race against three other AI-controlled birds across 15 new levels.
Simultaneous release expected August 21
As promised by Valve in 2011, the follow-up to one of the most popular player-versus-player online games of all time, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is shipping for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam for Windows and OS X on August 21. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a combined effort from both Valve, and Hidden Path Entertainment. Demos are available for play at this week's Electronics Entertainment Expo.
Apple CEO visits Valve for possible software deal
Apple CEO Tim Cook was supposedly spotted at Valve Software's Bellevue headquarters on Friday. His purpose and who he talked to weren't mentioned by the AppleInsider contact. Most likely, he would be visiting company founder Gabe Newell.
Dev more than doubles original target
Double Fine Productions has surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal in just eight hours since the developer began accepting pledges to help create an adventure game and a documentary to chronicle the experience. The project has achieved over $1 million in investment pledges, more than doubling the original goal of $400,000.
Invites no longer equired
After a brief period of exclusivity, Valve has opened up the Steam Mobile beta to the general public. Previously just a select group of Steam users were allowed to try the beta, although invites handed out to testers gradually increased the userbase. Free Android and iPhone versions of the mobile client are available.
Steam Mobile live for iOS and Android
Valve has partly fulfilled one of the most common wishes of gamers Thursday by posting Steam Mobile. Versions for both iOS (App Store) and Android (Market) lets users both keep up with their Steam chats and groups while away. They can go so far as to buy games for the Mac or Windows that they can start downloading immediately when they get home.
NPD tracks smartphone and digital gaming at last
The NPD Group in a rare step began tracking some of the contributions of non-traditional gaming to the industry for the first time. It estimated that about $1.64 billion came from "other content," which includes mobile games as well as direct downloads and social network games, generated $1.64 billion in revenue. The growth made it larger than the traditional software side of the business, which dropped to $1.3 billion
Mac App Store version coming soon
The epic X Universe series expands with the simultaneous release on Steam and Mac version of X3: Albion Prelude, set in-between the old and new X Universe that puts players in the middle of a power struggle between corporations during a time of war. The new game features more than 30 new ships and stations, an improved UI that incorporates charts to help players see and factor in economic developments, and support for head tracking.
DRM-free version will wait till 2012
Frozenbyte will be releasing Trine 2, the long-awaited sequel to its fantasy physics side-scroller Trine first on Steam and in retail versions for Windows and Mac, followed by console versions later in December. The Steam and retail versions will debut on December 7th, with the North American PlayStation 3 network getting the game on December 20th, a day before the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace. A European release date for PlayStation is not yet confirmed.
Steam version offers cross-platform multiplayer
The sequel to the successful video game, Trine 2, is nearing release and the ongoing beta is now available for Mac players who have pre-purchased the game, allowing cross-platform multiplayer adventures to be available immediately. The game features side-scrolling adventuring and physics challenges in a dungeon-crawl motif with exceptional graphics, even available in 3D on some systems.
Valve says Steam payment, passwords may be at risk
Valve Software co-founder Gabe Newell warned in a message to users that a forum hack found on November 6 had also touched on vital account information. After an investigation, the Portal 2 developer found that the unnamed intruders had gotten into a database that also had account names, e-mail, encrypted credit card numbers and passwords, and purchase records. While Valve had no reason to think the account information itself had been compromised, Newell advised gamers to watch their credit card activity "closely."
Scooby-Doo books released for iPad
Frozenbyte has announced that its upcoming game, Trine 2, can now be pre-ordered through Steam. Trine 2 is a side-scrolling platforming game that places players in the role of one of three heroes. Customers who pre-purchase the game will gain access to the Trine 2 Beta, which features the first two levels, as well as full multiplayer support. The company has also announced that it plans to release all versions, including Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Steam versions on Mac and Windows, simultaneously in December.
NPD gives Xbox 360 lead in May despite new low
New NPD data unveiled Monday night showed the video game business at a rare low with Microsoft getting the most benefits. Although it hesitated to give full numbers, it had the combined hardware and software sales in May at their lowest point since October 2006 based on a "light slate of new releases" led mostly by LA Noire and Brink. The Xbox 360 was the top system of the batch at 270,000 units and was up 28 percent, making up 34 percent of the revenue, while the Wii's continued fall was the primary drag on the industry.
We chat with id's Rafael Brown at E3 2011
Legendary first-person shooter developer id Software was at the Bethesda booth for E3 2011 as part of its tie in with ZeniMax, and we got a chance to talk to the company's Rafael Brown, who handles much of the company's mobile work. He discussed the company's current hesitation on Android and gave us brief hints about iPad 2 and iPhone 5 plans, the Sony PSVita, and even hints of a Mac port of Rage.