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"Steam Was Killing PC Gaming", Former Valve Dev Says

The EPIC confrontation with Valve has become a hot topic in recent months, as a veritable Exodus of titles have migrated to the greener, 12%-limited cut that the EPIC Games Store takes from publishers who put their games on the EPIC Games Store digital storefront. Mostly, user reception of EPIC's practice of securing mostly one-year timed exclusivity deals for games that would otherwise also be available through Steam has left a sour taste oin gamers' mouths, as it is seen as a forced way for EPIC to fracture the PC gaming space.

However, a former Valve developer has come forth to say that in his view, Valve's 30% cut was already way behind the times, and was actually "killing PC gaming". The train of thought is that Steam itself changed Valve from a software company to what mostly amounts to a service provider, with Steam serving as a veritable digital money printing machine, that stole focus from games to games publishing, due to higher margins and much lower development costs. It's interesting - and logical - to assume that the reason an Half Life 3 never saw the light of day was because Valve had its revenue stream well secured in Steam. Why invest for a game that could be a flop, when you can just take a 30% cut from other developers' efforts?

Three Kingdoms: Total War- System Specifications Revealed

The Creative Assembly has released the system specifications for Three Kingdoms: Total War. It seems those with less powerful systems will still be able to enjoy this title with relative ease considering the minimum specifications reference an Intel i7-8550U, UHD Graphics 620, and 6 GB of system memory. With a system of this caliber, users can expect to run the game with low settings at 1280x720 while getting 25-35 FPS. Minimum specifications change somewhat when looking at dedicated graphics cards. The CPU requirement drops from an Intel i7 to a 3.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, but only if the GPU is equal to or better than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7850.

In regards to pushing the game at high or ultra settings. Users will need a slightly beefier system. For High at 1080p you're looking at needing an Intel i5-6600 or Ryzen 5 2600X with 8 GB of memory and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury X. All these considered these requirements are quite reasonable. Moving on to Ultra settings is where the requirements take a large jump with the Creative Assembly suggesting the use of an Intel i7-8700K, 8 GB of memory and either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or RTX 2060. Even with the large jump between high and ultra the fact remains these requirements are rather tame compared to some other AAA titles as of late.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Announced For PC

The last time an actual Halo game made its way to PC was 2007 when Halo 2 launched three years after the console version to little fanfare, as it required the Windows Vista operating system. Since then Microsoft has not bothered to release any of the mainstream titles on PC. However, that is no longer the case as Microsoft has announced that they will be bringing Halo: The Master Chief Collection to PC. While some may think it too little too late, considering the Master Chief Collection initially launched nearly five years ago, the fact remains with this release PC gamers now have access to the majority of the series including Halo 1, 2, 3, 4, ODST, and Reach which was just recently added to the collection. The only title missing at this point is Halo 5.

While a typical re-release is possible it appears that is not the direction 343 Industries will take as they recognize that PC gamers are an exacting bunch and as such have brought in help from Ruffian and Splash Damage studios in order to polish the collection ahead of its debut. As of now, you can expect support for 4K resolution, 60 frames per second gameplay, and HDR at least as a minimum along with proper controls. Overall the Master Chief Collection offers a ton of content including 67 campaign missions and 120 multiplayer maps when you include both Horde Survival and Spartan Ops. Pricing and availability currently remain unknown, but at the very least it will be available on Steam meaning it is not a Microsoft Store exclusive. That said, it will still require an Xbox Live account.

Upcoming Release List On Steam Sees Abuse By Developers

Valve's popular "Upcoming Release list" within Steam has become a bit of a hot button topic as the abuse of the feature becomes more widespread. As pointed out by Mike Rose, founder of indie game publisher No More Robots, on Twitter, the system behind the upcoming release list can be easily rigged by developers themselves. For context, the release list is created by Steam when it checks the release date for each title set in the Steam back end. Once it has verified the release date, the system then lists all titles that have been found on a fair number of wish lists, and displays them in the order they will be released. At this time, developers can continuously change the back end release date, thus keeping their games at the top of the list. This makes it easy for already popular titles to remain at the top, soaking up even more views. Meanwhile, if you take a gander at the games store page, you will see the proper release date which differs from the back end date the system currently uses.

Worse yet, there are currently no consequences for developers that are partaking in this practice. While in some ways I can appreciate the devs noticing these loopholes and taking advantage, the fact remains that it hurts the general user base. It also shows another flaw in Valve's various systems, showing how vulnerable they have become in recent years as their omnipotence has been steadily fading. For now, Tom Giardino from Valve's business team has made it clear that they are looking to fix and or resolve the problem, but do not wish to give an ETA for when a said fix would come. This is likely because they don't want to mess with the developers' ability to control their games release timing. It seems Valve can't catch a break between this, the Epic Games Store, and other problems. You can check the thread linked below for a full look into Mike's findings and thoughts on the issue.

Metro Exodus Now Available For Preload On Steam

For those who got lucky enough to pre-order Metro Exodus on Steam before its defection to the Epic Games store are now able to pre-load the title in preparation for its launch. It will require 51 GB of storage space, so if your connection is a bit slower, you'll be waiting a while for it to download, which means the Steam pre-load period quite beneficial. For those that bought the title elsewhere and have to go through the Epic Game store, you will have to wait for the official launch since the platform does not currently support preloading of soon to be released games. This will likely make those with slower connections a bit irked since it means they will be waiting even longer to play the title come release day.

The fact Metro Exodus was pulled from Steam but can still be preloaded on the platform, while the Epic Game store will force users to wait will likely just add to the drama and controversy. However, if you step away for a moment and focus on the game itself one thing remains breathtakingly clear, the game is quite astonishing in regards to the graphics, even with RTX disabled. You can take a closer look for yourself in our performance analysis of Metro Exodus.

Anno 1602 Free For A Limited Time on Ubisoft's Uplay Platform

Anno 1602 will likely be a blast from the past for some of us, with the game initially launching all the way back in 1998. Now 20 years later, Ubisoft has decided to give the first game in this illustrious franchise away for free on Uplay until December 23rd. This cult classic brings a mix of city building and economy management with a liberal sprinkle of real-time strategy creating a unique title that defined a genre and still scratches that odd nostalgic itch today.

Of course, since the game is being made available on a digital platform, means improved support for modern operating systems including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. That said, you will need a Uplay account if you don't have one already and will need to redeem the game on Ubisoft's site. Considering the February release of Anno 1800 is fast approaching, now might be a good time to enjoy a classic while you wait. After all what do you have to lose? It is free.

Fallout 76: Atom Shop Prices Reach New Level of Absurdity

It seems many companies just never learn, you would think with Bethesda's various controversies surrounding Fallout 76 that they would have taken a step back and reevaluated their position. You would also think that their first decision would not have been to add more horrendously overpriced downloadable content to their Atom shop. However, instead of making an educated decision Bethesda continues to march straight for the cliff like a group of lemmings.

What did they do this time you ask? Well, they decided to offer more absurdly priced bits of cosmetic gear. First up was their Holiday Emote bundle for 1200 Atoms which is 50% off the regular 2400 Atoms. Next is the Mr. and Mrs. Claus outfits listed for 2000 Atoms, down from 3000. Finally theres the Red Rocket Mega Sign for 1400 Atoms. All told buying those three featured items from the Atom Shop would run you about 4600 Atoms or $40 which is coincidently the highest price the game sells for currently. It would appear Bethesda really wants to earn back their development costs on this one.

Battlefield V Update: Tides of War, Chapter 1: Overture Was Delayed, Live Now

For Electronic Arts when it rains, it pours, as Battlefield V continues to experience a multitude of issues. The various controversies and problems that plagued the game leading up to its release were terrible enough. Now with numerous bugs such as audio issues to squash along with balancing of guns and gadgets, DICE remains unable to catch a break. They have now discovered yet another problem, this time resulting in the delay of their first Tides of War content update "Chapter 1: Overture." This particular update was to deliver the new Panzerstorm map, vehicle visual customization options, The Last Tiger War Story, and the practice range among other things. All this new content will still be released but when that is is currently unknown.

DICE expects the delay to be a short one, but no official date for the launch has been set.

Update (5th Dec, 10:00 UTC): The update is now live and distributing via Origin.

Update (5th Dec, 14:30 UTC): We have just posted a detailed performance review of this patch across all three RTX graphics cards, at three resolutions each. To summarize, the performance gains are big enough that the RTX 2080 Ti can comfortably handle 4K again, and RTX 2080 be capable of 4K with some riders.

Epic Games Store to Launch Soon, Developers to Receive 88% of Revenue

With more and more companies creating their very own digital storefronts in the PC gaming space, it was only a matter of time until Epic Games threw their hat into the ring. With an announcement posted today, by Tim Sweeney the Epic Games store is now officially a reality. The new digital storefront will be made available for PC and Mac to start with, while other platforms will be added throughout 2019. In regards to games available on the platform, Epic will offer Fortnite alongside a set of hand-curated titles at launch. What those games might be is currently unknown.

Delivering a shot across the bow at Steam and their 30% revenue cut, Epic's game store will instead only take 12%, resulting in developers earning 88% of sales revenue. If they are using Unreal Engine the 5% engine royalty will be waived by Epic and instead is factored into their original 12% take. Putting that into perspective, an Unreal Engine based game released on Steam currently gives developers only 65% of the revenue with Steam earning 30% and Epic 5% due to engine royalties. Going from 65% to 88% is a significant increase in earnings, and it doesn't matter what game engine a developer uses, the revenue split will remain the same. This should leave developers quite happy since they are not limited by game engine choice and Epic benefits from a vastly increased selection of titles they can offer in their digital store.

HTC and McLaren Launch Special Edition VR Headset With New Racing Sim

After forming a partnership back in May of this year, HTC and McLaren are now seeing their cooperation pay off with the launch of a Limited-Edition HTC VIVE Pro headset ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that takes place this weekend. The overall goal for this launch is to give fans a "unique experience that can't be had watching on television" according to Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC's China president. The racing simulation released with the headset is rFactor 2 Mclaren Edition, which is based on rFactor 2 and was produced by Studio 397. This particular version allows users to race classic cars from the British team's history. As expected it sports a full day-night cycle along with dynamically varying weather, which pairs well with the "real-road" technology that changes grip characteristics as more cars drive on the track. The most prominent new feature to be added with this release is the inclusion of mixed class road racing. The game is available now but requires a Viveport subscription.

Bethesda Continues to Struggle With Fallout 76, Refunds Now a Possibility

With the release of Fallout 76 a week ago, Bethesda continues the tradition of releasing buggy games that are full of glitches and issues. These problems are always expected to come from Bethesda; typically the game is still fun however unlike previous titles, Fallout 76 is has been universally panned by gamers and critics alike. At this point, some of the bugs, exploits, and problems are just hilariously bad. Tools such as Nukacrypt are already available online, using only a partial code it can decrypt the in-game nuclear launch codes drastically speeding up the overall process. Keeping with nuke theme, players working together were able to crash a Bethesda server by launching three nukes simultaneously. There are more glaring examples but when you add them to the laundry list of problems its begins to look pretty bad even for Bethesda.

Then there is Brogadyn on Reddit, who for a week now has been stuck in a semi-god mode. Usually that would be something to rejoice about but in this case, has caused many issues with the game's mechanics as the player is seen to have 0 HP. Worse yet, Bethesda has been dragging their feet when it comes to looking into the problem with Brogadyn speculating that they could reproduce the issue based on the circumstances in which the issue occurred. When you consider all this along with the general bugs, glitches, and problems that are typically a minor annoyance, you end up with a game that likely should have stayed in beta.

Civilization VI Adds Climate Change With Gathering Storm Expansion

Sid Meier's Civilization VI will get its next expansion dubbed Gathering Storm on February 14th, 2019. This latest expansion will add nine new Civs to play as, along with new buildings, mechanics, and technologies, which are all par the course for a Civilization expansion. What is different here is the focus on mother nature's wrath, with natural disasters being a major part of the game. Catastrophic volcanic eruptions and earthquakes will become moments of crisis, destroying or damaging nearby cities. This on top of the issues carbon and pollution will inflict on the general environment to the point you can actively seek to destroy it yourself as a means to negatively impact other Civs. Meanwhile, they have options at their disposal with which to try and thwart your evil plans, including using expanded diplomacy options brought into play by the World Congress, which also makes a reappearance in this expansion.

Rather than using the environmental issues as a gimmick, Firaxis has instead tied it into the core gameplay. Players will now generate carbon as they use fossil fuels throughout the ages, for example, coal during the industrial revolution. As fossil fuels usage rises so will carbon, thus the race for renewable energy becomes more important as the issues related to climate change will start to have a far more significant impact, such as the flooding of coastal settlements and resource wars over dwindling fossil fuel reserves. It is at this point, you can opt to go to war in an effort to conquer your neighbors and take their fossil fuel reserves, or you can take on the worst polluters to save your sinking settlements and postpone the inevitable. In Civilization VI: Gathering Storm the choice is yours. You can view the announcement trailer below and first gameplay trailers at source below.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Achieves Entertainment's Biggest Opening Weekend of All Time

(Editor's Note: Now isn't this beautiful. We could likely coin a "single player gaming isn't dead" hashtag right out of this one, for sure. What's more impressive is that this particular Rockstar release has only targeted current-gen consoles, leaving out a huge, booming slice of the market - PC Gaming. Let's forget the fact that it isn't all that hard to have a more powerful PC than any of the top consoles on the market today... But well. let's not be salty. here's hoping that Rockstar taps into our own PC gaming market so we can have a shot at Red Dead Redemption 2 as well. Kudos for the company for the apparently amazing world they've built.)

Rockstar Games is proud to announce that the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption 2 has achieved the single-biggest opening weekend in the history of entertainment. With over $725 million in worldwide retail sell-through during its first three days, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the second-highest grossing entertainment launch of all time next to Rockstar Games' previously released title, Grand Theft Auto V, which achieved over $1 billion in retail sell-through in three days.

Telltale Games Enters Majority Closure, Walking Dead Finale Reportedly Cancelled

In what will likely hit more than a few PC gamers hard, Telltale Games- the studio behind The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales From The Borderlands and more- will be closing. The studio currently maintains only a skeleton crew of 25 out of what once was an estimated 250 employees at peak. Sadly, the employees that were let go received no severance pay, while those remaining have been tasked with completing a single final project. Reports as to the final project are conflicting, but it appears to be the Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix. Either way, it is the studio's last gasp as it attempts to fulfill various obligations. Meanwhile, projects like The Walking Dead final season, The Wolf Among Us 2 and others have been outright canceled.

With the whirlwind of activity surrounding the closure is still ongoing, the hashtag #TelltaleJobs on Twitter has currently begun to take off with offers from various studios letting former Telltale staff know they should apply. These studios include, but are not limited to ZeniMax Online Studios, Sony Santa Monica, PUBG corp, Gearbox and many more. While Telltale Games have been experiencing some troubles over the last year or so, its closing was still unexpected. More pressing is, what happens next for those that purchased the entire final season of The Walking Dead- with only one episode out, there is no word yet on what will happen to those that purchased it.

Update:One of the major reasons behind the closure can likely be traced to falling sales, likely leaving the company in a tough position.
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