Archive for the ‘Steam’ 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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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)

Valve Index reveal: The best of VR’s first generation—but is it worth $999?

April 30th, 2019
Say hello to the Valve Index, developed and manufactured by game studio Valve.

Enlarge / Say hello to the Valve Index, developed and manufactured by game studio Valve. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

BELLEVUE, Washington—The Valve Index, a new virtual reality system from the creators of beloved video game series like Half-Life and Portal and the mega-popular Steam game store, is an aspirational product. Its sales pitch, as explained by various Valve staffers, revolves around the VR experience of tomorrow.

Headset specs
Valve Index HTC Vive Pro
Display 2880×1600 (1440×1600 per eye) "fast-switching" LCD panels 2880×1600 (1440×1600 per eye) AMOLED panel
Refresh rate 90Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz 90Hz
Field of view 130 degrees with integrated FOV "eye relief" knob 110 degrees
Audio Near-field off-ear speakers with 3D directional audio support; built-in microphone Integrated adjustable earcups with 3D directional audio support; built-in microphone
PC connection Custom single-piece cable Custom single-piece cable with PC junction box
Optional Bundled Accessories Two wireless motion-tracked controllers with rechargeable batteries, two SteamVR 2.0 room-scale tracking stations Two wireless motion-tracked controllers with rechargeable 960mAh batteries, two SteamVR 1.0 room-scale tracking stations
Modularity Front trunk ("frunk") expansion port with USB 3.0 connector; front-facing stereo cameras Front-facing stereo cameras
Price $499 ($999 with two tracking stations, two controllers) $799 ($1,099 with two tracking stations, two controllers)

That's a nice way of saying that Valve is going for features and dreams rather than affordability with its $999 Valve Index kit, which ships "by the end of June" after "limited" pre-orders go live "in May" for users in the contiguous US and most of Western Europe (the UK is left out for now).

But through the course of Valve's reveal event, its aspirations for VR's future became abundantly clear—and abundantly conservative. If you saw last month's news about Valve's VR headset and began dreaming big, today is the day to scale those dreams back.

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Posted in Features, Gaming & Culture, htc vive, oculus rift, Steam, steamvr, valve index, Valve Software | 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)

GameStop posts massive loss as pre-owned game sales plummet

April 3rd, 2019
Pretty much every part of that "Buy Sell Trade" sign is suffering in GameStop's latest fiscal year.

Pretty much every part of that "Buy Sell Trade" sign is suffering in GameStop's latest fiscal year.

One of the world's biggest video game retailers just announced its worst annual performance in decades, raising renewed questions about the health of the physical video game market as downloadable games continue their ascent. Net sales for GameStop were down 3 percent for the 52-week period ending February 2, a slide that helped flip last year's modest $34.7 million profit to a sizable $673 million operating loss. On top of that, the company expects sales to decline another 5 to 10 percent in the next fiscal year.

GameStop's massive loss is the largest ever reported by the company, and only the third annual loss since it grew out of the corporate remains of FuncoLand in 2000. GameStop last posted a loss in 2012, when it lost nearly $270 million thanks in part to weak holiday sales near the end of that era's console generation.

But more than the amount, the reason behind the new loss could be cause for long-term concern at the retailer's thousands of worldwide storefronts. While hardware sales were roughly flat and new software sales fell about 4 percent year over year, pre-owned software sales cratered nearly 12 percent for the year, continuing a years-long slide.

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Posted in digital, Gamestop, Gaming & Culture, retail, Steam | Comments (0)

Borderlands 3 is the next big Epic Game Store exclusive

April 3rd, 2019
Follow us to a new PC platform!

Enlarge / Follow us to a new PC platform!

Borderlands 3 is the latest high-profile game to announce that it is ignoring Steam and other PC platforms in favor of an exclusive launch on the Epic Games Store. Developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K revealed this morning that the game will be an Epic exclusive from its Sept. 13 launch through April 2020.

"The PC gaming community has been an important part of the success of the Borderlands series, and we are excited to be partnering with Epic who recognize its worldwide popularity and share in our commitment to bring Borderlands 3 to this rapidly expanding audience," 2K President David Ismailer said in a statement. "Our mission, in addition to delivering the most engaging and captivating entertainment experiences, is to embrace new distribution platforms that will contribute to our effort to grow the audience for Borderlands 3."

Borderlands 3 joins previous Epic exclusives including The Division 2 and Metro Exodus and upcoming PC releases including Control and Detroit: Become Human, which will only be available on Epic's storefront.

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Posted in 2K, Borderlands, epic, epic games store, exclusives, Gaming & Culture, Gearbox, Steam | Comments (0)