Archive for the ‘Valve’ Category

Apple reversal allows Valve’s Steam Link streaming app on iOS, tvOS

May 16th, 2019

Valve's mobile Steam Link app, which lets users stream PC games to other screens inside and outside the home, is now available on Apple's iOS and tvOS App Stores.

The news comes almost a year after Apple revoked its approval for the Steam Link app to run on Apple hardware, citing what Valve said were "business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team." Apple and Valve have not responded to a request for comment on what exactly changed in the intervening time period.

As we said in our review last year, the Steam Link app works acceptably well if you have the 5Ghz wireless router that's close to the target device. Even then, you may notice some screen-tearing and stuttering on high-res games that require the most video bandwidth.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, iOS, Steam, tvos, Valve | Comments (0)

Epic discounts entire Game Store library in storewide “Mega Sale“ [Updated]

May 15th, 2019
Epic discounts entire Game Store library in storewide “Mega Sale“ [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Epic)

[Update, May 16: The first ever "Epic Mega Sale" is now live, with discounts of up to 75% on every game in the Epic Games Store catalog through June 13. On top of those sale prices, purchasers receive an additional $10 off every game currently listed for at least $14.99 on the platform. That offer excludes DLC and in-game purchases, but includes pre-orders for upcoming titles (previous pre-orders will receive an automatic credit to reflect the savings).

Epic is also increasing the usual biweekly pace of its free game offers for the duration of the sale. Through June 13, a new free game will be offered on the service every week, starting with narrative adventure Stories Untold.]

Original Story

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Posted in epic, epic games store, Gaming & Culture, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)

Epic’s store continues to absorb PC gaming exclusives large and small

May 13th, 2019
<em>Breakpoint</em> is the first Ubsioft game in recent memory to never be made available on Steam.

Enlarge / Breakpoint is the first Ubsioft game in recent memory to never be made available on Steam.

Gamers hoping to stick with Steam and avoid Epic's major effort to compete in PC game distribution will have to ignore two more major upcoming PC titles, at least for a little while.

The first newly announced exclusive, Ubisoft's Ghost Recon Breakpoint, doesn't come as much of a surprise. Following The Division 2's last-minute move to the Epic Games Store in January, Epic and Ubisoft announced in March that the publisher would be bringing "several major PC releases" to Epic's store instead of Steam. Since then, Ubisoft moved historical real-time strategy title Anno 1800 away from Steam to the Epic Games Store ahead of its April 16 launch.

For those two titles, Ubisoft was put in the awkward position of having to honor Steam pre-orders that were made before the store transition took place. Breakpoint will be the first Ubisoft title in recent memory to never be available on Steam, however. The game is currently available only via Epic and Ubisoft's own UPlay store.

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Posted in epic, Gaming & Culture, Steam, Ubisoft, Valve | Comments (0)

Epic acquires Rocket League studio, bringing game to Epic’s store this year

May 1st, 2019
The blue car represents Psyonix leaping over Steam's... orange car? Look, it's a loose metaphor. Work with me here, people.

Enlarge / The blue car represents Psyonix leaping over Steam's... orange car? Look, it's a loose metaphor. Work with me here, people.

In a surprise move today, Epic Games announced it has "signed a definitive agreement" to acquire San Diego-based Psyonix and its 132 employees, who make the hit car-based soccer game Rocket League.

As part of the deal, the PC version of Rocket League will be moving to the Epic Game Store "in late 2019," Epic announced. "In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers." Psyonix says it will continue to sell and support Rocket League on other platforms, including the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, going forward.

"In the short term, nothing will change at all!" Psyonix writes in a blog post accompanying the announcement. "We’re still committed to providing Rocket League with frequent updates that have new features, new content, and new ways to play the game for as long as you’ll have us."

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Posted in epic, epic games store, Gaming & Culture, psyonix, rocket league, Steam, Unreal, Valve | Comments (0)

Gearbox’s Pitchford: Steam may be “a dying store” in 5 to 10 years

April 19th, 2019
"You can't get us on Steam, and that's a good thing."

Enlarge / "You can't get us on Steam, and that's a good thing."

Earlier this month, Gearbox drew some ire from Steam-loving Borderlands fans by announcing the next game in the series, due in September, would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store on PC. In a massive tweet thread earlier this week, though (helpfully collated in this reddit post), Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford defends that decision and highlights what he sees as the long-term positives that Epic's competition with Steam will bring to the industry.

While acknowledging that Epic's platform currently lacks many quality-of-life features available on Steam, Pitchford pointed to Epic's public road map for adding many of those features before September's Borderlands 3 launch. In fact, Pitchford sees the game's impending release as a "forcing function... that will, in turn, make all those features available on a faster timeline than otherwise possible... If I were to bet on this... Epic will inevitably surpass Valve on features and quality of service."

Pitchford acknowledges that publisher 2K and developer Gearbox could have hedged their bets by releasing on both Steam and Epic. But he added that he feels the entire industry will be better served in the long run if Borderlands 3's exclusivity can help make the Epic Games Store competitive with Steam. (The sizable investment Epic has made in paying to get exclusive content on its store probably didn't hurt, either)

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Posted in Borderlands, borderlands 3, epic, epic games store, Gaming & Culture, Gearbox, Pitchford, Randy Pitchford, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)

Borderlands review bomb triggers Steam’s “off topic” fix [Updated]

April 5th, 2019

[Update 10:30 p.m.: In a statement sent to Ars Technica just now, Valve's Doug Lombardi says that "after a review of current review activity on Borderlands titles, the decision was made to tag the franchise for off-topic reviews on Steam, effective immediately. As a result, user reviews submitted while the titles are tagged will not count towards the games’ Review Scores. User reviews written during the tagged period will still be accessible and users can choose to include these reviews in the Review Score by changing their preferences."

Steam reviews for Borderlands franchise games since April 2 are now shown in a histogram view with a large asterisk and the warning "Period(s) of off-topic review activity detected. Excluded from the Review Score (by default)." The "Recent Reviews "summaries for those games have also flipped from "Mixed" to "Very" or "Mostly Positive" as a result of the move.]

Original Story (12:21 p.m.)

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Posted in Borderlands, Epic Games, epic games store, Gaming & Culture, Gearbox, review bombing, review bombs, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)

Why Valve actually gets less than 30 percent of Steam game sales

April 4th, 2019
Why Valve actually gets less than 30 percent of Steam game sales

Enlarge (credit: Getty / Aurich Lawson)

Since Epic started taking a 12 percent cut of sales revenue generated on its new Games Store, much has been made of whether Steam's baseline 30 percent revenue cut is justified. But a new analysis shows that Valve sometimes receives much less than that headline revenue percentage for some of the most popular games on Steam.

The reason for the discrepancy is Steam keys, which developers can generate pretty much at will to sell through non-Steam storefronts and brick-and-mortar retailers. While these key-based purchases are still redeemed through Steam and can take advantage of Steam's suite of features, Valve actually takes no commission from sales that don't take place directly through its own storefront.

Valve doesn't directly publicize how many of a game's sales come from keys versus direct Steam purchases. But as Twitter user @RobotBrush recently pointed out, the Steam store does publish the numbers of user reviews that come from Steam purchases vs "Other" key-based sources (a feature designed to prevent key-based review manipulation).

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Posted in commission, epic games store, Game Sales, Gaming & Culture, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)

Accidental Steam store post shows new look at Valve Index VR

April 1st, 2019

Monday afternoon, Valve briefly posted and almost immediately took down a series of work-in-progress Steam store pages for its recently revealed Valve Index VR headset. But that was enough time for Twitter's Wario64, members of the ResetEra forums, and other sources to view the page online and capture the scant information available on the still-incomplete, lorem-ipsum-laden pages.

(Yes, we know today is April 1 and that all online information is inherently suspect today. But if the brief store postings apparently seen by multiple independent sources were a joke, they are an incredibly subtle one).

The most interesting bit from the posting is the apparent front-on view of the headset itself, which show's a set of flip-up, over-ear headphones hanging down from either side. That style of integrated headphones was a big distinguishing features on the Oculus Rift, but has been removed from the upcoming Rift S in favor of subtle near-ear speakers in the headband.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, Steam, Valve, valve index, virtual reality, VR | Comments (0)

Epic CEO: “You’re going to see lower prices” on Epic Games Store

March 20th, 2019
Epic CEO: “You’re going to see lower prices” on Epic Games Store

Enlarge (credit: Epic)

SAN FRANCISCO—The Epic Games Store's much-ballyhooed 88-percent revenue share has been great news for developers who are no longer forced to accept Steam's de facto 70-percent standard. But this new behind-the-scenes monetary split hasn't resulted in savings for gamers, who thus far have seen the same price tags for games on Epic's storefront as on Steam (when titles are available on both).

Speaking to Ars Technica, though, Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney says that players should look forward to paying less on the Epic Games Store in the future. While Epic leaves pricing decisions completely in developers' hands, Sweeney said, "after you go through several cycles of game developers making decisions, you're going to see lower prices as developers pass on the savings to customers, realizing they can sell more copies if they have a better price.

"This sort of economic competition is really healthy for the whole industry and will lead the industry to a better place for all developers and for gamers as well," he continued. "It's a supply-side thing, this revenue sharing, it's some sort of business arrangement between developers and a store that [a] gamer generally doesn't see... [but] as developers reinvest more of that 18 percent of additional revenue into building better games, that's key to the long-term health of the game industry that we all have to look out for."

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Any Steam game can now use Valve’s low-latency, DoS-proofed networking

March 15th, 2019
Any Steam game can now use Valve’s low-latency, DoS-proofed networking

Enlarge (credit: massmatt)

Valve is opening up its latency-reducing, DoS-protecting network relay infrastructure to every developer using its Steamworks platform.

A few years ago, large-scale denial-of-service attacks against game servers were making the news and becoming a frustratingly frequent occurrence in online gaming and e-sports. To protect its own games, Valve has for a number of years been working on developing a networking infrastructure that makes the system more resilient against denial-of-service attacks and lower latency to boot, and the company is using this system for both Dota 2 and CS:GO.

At 30 different locations around the world, Valve has established relaying servers that route networking traffic between clients and servers. These relay points provide DoS-resilience in several ways. They're equipped with an aggregate of several terabits of bandwidth, so they can handle a certain amount of flooding in any case. Games can also switch from one relay to another without necessarily interrupting their connection. This switching can be to another relay in the same location or even to another point-of-presence entirely.

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Posted in APIs, development, Gaming & Culture, networking, Open Source, PC gaming, Tech, Valve | Comments (0)