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SteelSeries Announces Peripherals for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2

SteelSeries, the leading global manufacturer of gaming peripherals, today announced co-licensed product line-ups for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, which are anticipated Valve games targeted for release later this year. Created in collaboration with Valve Corporation, the peripherals for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive include a co-branded SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset, SteelSeries Kana Gaming Mouse and SteelSeries QcK mousepad.

In addition, SteelSeries is also introducing the SteelSeries Dota 2 Limited Edition Mouse Bundle. Glossy black and sporting the red Dota 2 logo, the mouse is optimized and perfected with the help of professional gaming teams including the award-winning Dota International team, Natus Vincere. The bundle will include the optical, 6-button mouse, the Dota 2 branded SteelSeries QcK Mini mousepad, and an exclusive Dota 2 in-game item.

DOTA 2: Free to Play Confirmed

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today confirmed that Dota 2 will be free to play and announced the Dota Store in preparation for the game's release.

Upon its opening, the Dota Store will offer items created by Valve and members of the community that may be used immediately and carried over after the public launch of the game. Early Access to the game is not required to purchase items before launch. However, gamers may get into the game now by purchasing the Dota 2 Early Access Bundle of items.

Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative: Test Results

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the early findings of the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative.

Released just days ago, The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" has already resulted in the creation and publishing of over 35,000 user-created maps, collectively consumed via more than 1.3 million downloads.

To celebrate the launch, Steam is holding a Weekend Workshop Sale offering Portal 2 for 66% off, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for 33% off, and many of this year's Team Fortress 2 Workshop Items available for 50% off their regular price.

Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative Starts Now

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the arrival of the free Portal 2 update titled "Perpetual Testing Initiative."

Available now for PC and Mac, The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" allows players to easily create, share, and play Portal 2 puzzles. The Initiative comes with a simplified Puzzle Maker that allows that creation of mind-bending puzzles without ever leaving the game.

Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative Begins May 8

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the free Portal 2 DLC titled "Perpetual Testing Initiative" will be available for the PC and Mac on May 8th.

The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" allows players to easily create, share, and play Portal 2 puzzles. The Initiative comes with a simplified puzzle maker that allows that creation of mind-bending puzzles without ever leaving the game.

Steam for Linux Arrives "in Months"

There is light in the end of the tunnel for proponents of a native-Linux version of Valve's Steam platform, as a Steam for Linux is just months away, according to a Phoronix report. Linux has been hiring developers with experience in Linux OpenGL applications for some time now, and the gearwheels at Valve have been able to drive out an early version of Left 4 Dead 2 that was seen running native on Linux (Ubuntu 11.10), without translation layers such as Wine, utilizing the OpenGL API, with the ICD provided by AMD Catalyst. Although first denied in 2010, Valve is back to the idea of Steam for Linux, thanks to its "flat" company structure that lacks a hierarchy. Following the footsteps of Steam for Mac, Valve could port some of its games to Linux, and give the client SteamPlay capability.

Sources: Phoronix, Engadget

Valve Recruiting Electronics Engineer for Developing Homegrown Hardware

It's no news that Valve is working on its own gaming hardware platform so far referred to as Steambox, but its talk has been mostly based on rumors and anecdotal information. The Steambox theory, and the theory that Valve is working on hardware, got cemented by a new job vacancy posted by Valve, which calls for experienced electronics engineers. The posting reads "For years Valve has been all about writing software that provides great gameplay experiences. Now we're developing hardware to enhance those experiences."

The skillset asked for in the posting fills a lot of holes in the Steambox theory. It requires engineers to be proficient with prototyping, system-level design, embedded systems, high-speed serial interfaces, circuit simulation, etc., with a much more juicy "recommended" skillset requirement covering areas such as board layout, ARM/x86 system design, power/thermal management, RF and antennas, etc., basically everything a company out to design a game console would seek in its new engineers. Find the posting here, under "Electronics Engineer."Source: Engadget

Portal 2 Bags GDC Honors, Skyrim GOTY, Battlefield 3 Beats Crysis 2 at Technology

Portal 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won big at the Game Developers Choice. Bethesda's smash-hit title bagged the coveted "Game of the Year" (GOTY) title, while Portal 2 bagged three top honors, winning "Best Narrative", "Best Game Design", and "Best Audio".

The year 2011 also saw the raising of the technology bar with two new game engines, CryEngine 3 from Crytek, and Frostbite 2 from EA-DICE. The two were implemented in flagship titles, Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3, respectively; both of which were published by EA. In the end, Battlefield 3 won "Best Technology". "Best Visual Arts", however, went to Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.



A list of top honors follows.

Valve Corporation Worth $3 Billion

Video games developer, publisher, and distributor, Valve Corporation is valued at US $3 billion. A privately-held company, Valve doesn't disclose its finances to the public. Forbes estimated its worth by consulting video game industry insiders, equity analysts, investment bankers, and technology analysts. Valve's co-founder and managing director, Gabe Newell, who owns over 50% of the company, has a net worth of $1.5 billion, making him the newest billionaire from the video games industry. He ranks 854th out of 1,226 global billionaires in Forbes' list. Apart from having largely successful game franchises such as Half Life, Counter Strike, Left4Dead, and Portal, Valve has arguably the most popular video games digital distribution platform, Steam. Steam distributes more than 1,800 titles, from 50 different publishers.

Source: Forbes

Borderlands 2 PC uses Steamworks

More and more publishers seem to be seeing Steamworks as the best viable DRM on the market and 2K Games is no exception. All PC editions of Borderlands 2 will use Valve's Steamworks suite as their DRM. Steamworks supports snazzy features beyond simple copy protection, Gearbox's shooter-RPG will also use it for multiplayer matchmaking, Steam Cloud storage, achievements, auto-updating, downloadable content, "and more." How Steamworks... works is that if you buy a boxed edition of Borderlands 2, you'll need to register the game with a Steam account, and launch it through Steam. The box will still contain a disc to install the game from, but you'll have the option to download it directly through Steam whenever you please. Digital distributors other than Steam will simply sell you a product key to activate on Steam. Steamworks was to be expected, really, as 2K Games has used it for PC editions of games it's published since Mafia II in 2010. It briefly dabbled in Games for Windows Live before then but, thankfully, that was a short-lived experiment.

Borderlands 2 is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 18. As ever, a selection of shiny things are on offer as pre-order bonuses.

Source: Shacknews

Valve Asks Users to Keep An Eye On Their Credit Card Usage

In November 2011, Valve admitted that its Steam forums were hacked, and some user data including encrypted credit card information and hashed passwords were stolen, and that pending investigation, it asked users to change their Steam passwords. Valve noted that at that time, it had not seen any evidence of encrypted data being hacked. Today, Valve issued an update to all its Steam members via e-mail, where it notified them that investigation is still in progress, that Valve is taking help of external agencies to investigate, and that it still sees no evidence of encrypted credit card data being tampered with. As a note of caution, though, it asked users to keep an eye on their credit card activity and statements.

The transcript of Valve's email to Steam users follows.

Valve Announces Mobile Steam App, Closed Beta Now Available to iOS and Android

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the beta release of the Steam application for iOS and Android devices.

With the Steam app, gamers around the world may chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content for their favorite games, read the latest gaming news, stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales, and more.

Alan Wake to Use Steamworks, MSR Given Out, Slated for February 2012

Remedy Games' critically-acclaimed title, Alan Wake, which was initially developed and demonstrated for both consoles and PCs, with the PC version being shelved, is coming to PC in February, 2012. It is announced that the game will use Valve Steamworks as its DRM and content-distribution platform, will be available through Steam store as digital-download, and its likely hard copies will also use Steamworks. Its minimum system requirements look like this:
  • Dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.80 GHz
  • 2 GB memory, 8 GB disk space
  • DirectX 10-capable graphics card with 512 MB memory:
  • o ATI/AMD Radeon 3650, 4450, 5550, 6450 or higher (per series)
    o NVIDIA: GeForce 8600GT, 9500GT, GT120, GT430, GT520 or higher (per series)
  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
  • Mouse and keyboard, Xbox 360 controller supported
The launch trailer follows.

Steam Closes 2011 with 100% Sales Growth, 5 Million Simultaneous Users

Valve today announced the 2011 growth data for Steam, a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment. During 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to over 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100% for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale Steam's simultaneous user number eclipsed the 5 million player mark.

Meanwhile Steam doubled the amount of content delivered in 2011 vs. 2010, serving over 780 Petabytes of data to gamers around the world. To meet the increasing demand for games and services on the platform, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Skyrim becomes 'Fastest Selling Title in Steam’s History'

It should come as no surprise that Skyrim would be a popular game for the PC platform. However not many people would have ever guessed it would surpass Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in PC sales. On Thursday that became a fact as Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve Corporation confirmed to IndustryGamers in a candid interview. He is quoted as saying,
“Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam's history,” said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve Corporation. “Bethesda’s commitment to and understanding of the PC as a gaming platform shows in the great review scores, spectacular launch, and continued high player numbers that Skyrim has received. We are delighted that Bethesda chose to use Steamworks to support Skyrim both at retail and digitally.”
Considering the Call of Duty franchise has been a SteamWorks distributed game for the PC since Modern Warfare 2, it says a lot for Skyrim's popularity on the platform. As a matter of fact, one could say Call of Duty was on its way to being the best selling game ever on the PC......until it took an arrow to the knee.

Source: IndustryGamers

Steam Hack More Severe Than Thought: Change Your Password NOW

Gabe Newell of Valve has issued a statement that the forum hack they experienced over the weekend actually goes much deeper than they thought. The criminals accessed the main database containing such goodies as user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. Apparently, no personally identifying information was taken - but we await the result of the full investigation before breathing a sigh of relief. Due to this serious breach, TechPowerUp advises all Steam users to change their account password immediately. People starting up their Steam client will now see the following message from Gabe Newell about this:

Steam Forums Get Nailed By Hackers

Valve, a company that operates solely online, takes its security pretty seriously and has a good reputation in this area. However, at the time of writing, its Steam forums are down, having suffered a hack attack earlier today. Visit the forums now and you see a message saying "The Steam Forums are temporarily offline for maintenance. Your patience is appreciated." This attack was apparently done by hackers who want to offer free game cheats (but one should be wary of stealthy malware payloads) since before the forums were taken down, they had planted this message:
Ever wanted to dominate the servers you play on with guaranteed results, but you were too afraid to cheat because of ban risks?
The rest of the message then recommends a website where one can obtain all sorts of illegal game cheats, hack tools and porn. Some Steam forum users even received an email with this text, such as this NeoGAF user. There's no indication that any user's account information has been compromised. However, if you haven’t yet set up Steam Guard, now is a good time to do so, along with changing your password when the forums come back online. Also, be sure to use different a password for every login. Of course, many other gaming forums have been hacked in the past and just this year saw many hacks against such big names as Nintendo, Sega, BioWare, Epic Games and of course Sony, which was hacked many times over in protest at their business practices, such as removing the OtherOS feature from their PS3 console.

Source: 1up.com

Valve Announces Portal 2 Update Featuring In-Game Editor

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the second game add-on for the year's highest rated multiplatform game, Portal 2, is in development and targeted for release early next year.

This major update will feature an easy-to-use in-game map editor that will let users design, build and share their own single-player and co-op test chambers with the community, who will be able to view, play and vote on them with a simple click.

Walled Garden Outfit Valve Accuses Apple Of Operating A Walled Garden

You've got to laugh at the hypocrisy of big companies sometimes. It's a well known fact that Apple operates a very closed and controlling walled garden eco system with all of their products, courtesy of the late Steve Jobs. Examples include the iPhone, which can only purchase apps from the official Apple apps store and the iPod, which can also only sync with iTunes, both due to deliberate vendor lock-in using a combination of hardware and software DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Apple claims that this is to ensure a seamless, consistent and high quality user experience. Savvy users know this to be only half the story, instead it's there to shut out competition and lock you in to Apple for everything in order to charge high prices for allegedly "premium" product. The only way to avoid this, is to jailbreak the devices (break the DRM) which conveniently (for Apple) voids the warranty on these expensive gadgets. Thankfully, this process is no longer underground, due to a recent court ruling that said jailbreaking was legal, much to Apple's displeasure.

However, the equally closed Valve, with their Steam gaming platform and it's account-based DRM has accused Apple of being a closed system! They are also "concerned" about it. This happened in an interview between Bellevue-based Valve's Gabe Newell and leading games investor Ed Fries at the WTIA TechNW conference. This has been reported in The Seattle Times in Brier Dudley's blog.

New Portal 2 DLC Imminent – and It’s Free!

It took somewhat longer than expected, after having been promised for the summer and then a couple more times, but now this fresh new DLC called Portal 2: Peer Review will be released to eagerly waiting Portal 2 fans on October 4 on PC (Steam), PS3 & Xbox 360 platforms. This is a hard date, so there should be no more slips.

SteelSeries and Valve Announce QCK+ DOTA 2 Edition Mousepad

SteelSeries, the leading global manufacturer of gaming peripherals, today introduced the first in a series of co-licensed products with Valve Corporation, creator of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source). The SteelSeries QcK+ DotA 2 Edition provides players with a smooth and consistent glide surface and a non-slip rubber base that keeps the mousepad in place regardless of the gaming environment. Optimized to achieve precision and accuracy for optical and laser technology, the oversized mousepad is 17.7 x 15.7 x 0.08 inches and features the vibrant colors of the Dota 2 black and red game logo.

Valve Announces Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO).

Targeted for release via Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam (for PC and Mac) in early 2012, CS: GO will expand upon the team-based action gameplay that it pioneered when it was launched exactly 12 years ago (CS beta 1, August 1999).

SteelSeries and Valve Announce Multi-Title Agreement for Co-Branding Gaming Surfaces

SteelSeries, the leading global manufacturer of gaming peripherals, today announced a new partnership with Valve Corporation, entertainment software and technology company and creator of the popular Steam platform and award-winning properties such as Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Portal and Left 4 Dead. Through a multi-title agreement, SteelSeries will work closely with Valve to design co-branded gaming surfaces, specific for Valve’s most recognized game titles.

Intel Brings ‘Eye Candy' to Masses with Newest Laptop, PC Chips

With more than one million computers selling each day, Intel Corporation introduced its game-changing 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family today. Intel highlighted several surprising new features, services and partnerships that combine to deliver an entirely new visual experience with processor graphics built in. More than 500 desktop and laptop PCs are expected from all major OEMs worldwide throughout the next year.

New features include Intel Insider, Intel Quick Sync Video, and a new version of the company's award-winning Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), which now adds 1080p HD and content protection for those wishing to beam premium HD content from their laptop screen to their TV. The company also revealed arrangements with CinemaNow, Dixons Retail plc, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment, Sonic Solutions, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
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