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Steam Survey Update: It's All About Quad-cores, NVIDIA and Windows 10

An update to the Steam survey results is always worth noting, especially with the added, tremendous growth Valve's online store service has seen recently. And it seems that in the Steam gaming world at least, quad-core CPUs, NVIDIA graphics cards, and Windows 10 reign supreme.

Windows 10 64-bit is the most used operating system, with 50.33% of the survey. That the second most used Windows OS is the steady, hallmark Windows 7 shouldn't come as a surprise, though it does have just 32.05% of the market now. OS X has a measly 2.95% of the grand total, while Linux comes in at an even lower 0.72%. While AMD processor submits may have increased in other software, it seems that at least in Steam, those numbers aren't reflected, since AMD's processor market share in the survey has decreased from 21.89% in February to just 19.01% as of June, even though the company's Ryzen line of CPUs has been selling like hotcakes. Quad-core CPUs are the most used at time of the survey, at 52.06%, while the next highest percentage is still the dual-core CPU, with 42.23%.

A Steamroller Among PC Games Stores: Steam Increases Growth, Updates Incoming

In an internal presentation, Valve, the company which simply won't give us Half Life 3, made a pretty interesting presentation on its growth and plans for the future. During the independent games showcase Indigo 2017, which took place in the Netherlands this past June, Steam revealed it had achieved a record 14 million concurrent users, up from a 2015 peak of (comparatively) just 8.4 million. Some other interesting statistics include an average of 33 million daily active players; 67 million monthly active players; and around 26 million gamers who made new purchases since January 2016.

North America seems to represent the bulk of Steam sales, with around 34% of sales through the market occurring way over that side of the ocean. Next comes Western Europe, with 29% of the sales pie, followed by Asia, which achieves a grand total of 17%. Next come the Russian Territories, Oceania and Latin America, which account for 5%, 4%, and 3% respectively. We'll just assume the remaining 8% come from Eastern Europe, the African Continent, and those researchers in Antarctica. Jokes aside, this shows monumental growth for the company, which should only increase provided the continued growth of the PC gaming market. Steam certainly has features games appreciate already - the growth speaks strongly for this. So now Valve only has to not ruin it, and keep on adding incremental features.

GIGABYTE Gives Away Up to €80 Worth Steam Credit with X299 Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, is pleased to announce a new promotion event starting on the June 26th, 2017 until August 31th, 2017. Any one that buys selected GIGABYTE AORUS X299 motherboards will receive up to €80 in Steam Wallet Codes totally free. Steam Wallet codes work just like gift cards which can be redeemed on your personal Steam account for Steam credit and used for the purchase of games, in game content, software and any other item you can available in the Steam store.

To participate in this new promotion, simply purchase one of the selected boards below and register on the micro-site. Please note that this promotion is open to residents of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Iceland.

Hold On to Your Wallets: It's the 2017 Steam Summer Sale

Ah June. "Summer," they said. "It will be nice," they said, unknowingly. Many choose this month as the somewhat officially unofficial start of that period where you are expected to go to the beach, enjoy sunbathing, and generally just go out. But those of us in the know, well, know, the truth. The truth is that Summer means bank accounts in distress, wallets screaming not to give way to those $, €, or monetary currency of your choice. Summer means steaming temperatures, and that gives its way to the Steam Summer sale.

It's official. It's started. Already the Steam servers are taking a pounding. Money is flowing in metaphorical rivers, a cascading bluff of hopes and dreams of gamers everywhere towards finding that hidden, discounted gem, or just getting that one amazing game that just came out a few months ago at a steep discount. Luckily, this Summer sale is a little shorter than actual summer. Can you imagine yourselves with three paychecks to burn on building up your games library? And, necessarily, your backlog of games you will never even get to play? Happy days those. Happy days these. Go now. You have until July 5th.

GTA V is Slammed with a Swarm of Negative Reviews Following Mod Tool Shutdown

Grand Theft Auto V's Steam entry has been swarmed with negative reviews following Take Two Interactive's decision to shutdown the popular modding tool OpenIV with a legal cease and desist letter. In just a weeks time, over 42,000 reviews have been published on the Grand Theft Auto V steam page, the overwhelming majority of them negative (only 13 percent were positive). This is in stark contrast to the games usual rating, which is generally positive. It appears to have had such an impact as to actually make the game's overall rating fall into steams "mixed" rating territory.

Gigabyte Offers up to 60€ in Steam Wallet With Select Aorus Motherboard Purchase

In a bid to increase attractiveness of its offerings even further, Gigabyte has recently announced via a forum post that it's offering up to 60€ in Steam vouchers to consumers who purchase a select Aorus motherboard. This promotion is available for both Intel and AMD Aorus-branded motherboards, and will be open until June 30th 2017 or while stock lasts. Intel customers seem to be getting the bulk of the promotion though, with AMD users only getting 20€ in Steam Wallet vouchers.

Something that we don't see everyday is that this promotion is particularly focused on the EU. Gigabyte states it's only open to residents of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal (yay!), Serbia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuanian, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Croatia and Slovenia. Check the list of featured motherboards and respective voucher value eligibility after the break.

Valve Reportedly Indifferent to Fate of Virtual Reality Tech

It seems Valve is far from concerned about rumors of an underwhelming Virtual Reality headset market. In a recent interview with the head of the game studio, Gabe Newell said his company was still "optimistic" in regards to VR's present state of affairs, and that it's "going in a way that's consistent with our expectations." He also added that Valve was "pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure."

VR Tech sales have come under scrutiny due, in part, to lack of information. Neither Valve nor Oculus' respective marketplaces have produced sales data, leaving speculation to run rampant. To further fuel the fire, leaked figures from late last year suggest only 140,000 HTC Vive headsets had been sold, below market expectations for what is supposed to be the next "big thing."

Steam Changes Indie Game Policy. For Better or Worse?

Valve has a right to be proud of their Steam platform. After all, it's become an essential part of any gamer's tool belt. Even if one does not buy games on the Steam store directly, many games require it as part of their DRM to activate and launch, and you will end up with Steam on your system anyway. Recently, Valve has been looking into ways to make their system more accessible to smaller companies and Indie Developers, and until now, Steam Greenlight has been the main way to allow for this.

Under Greenlight, for a fee of $100, a developer could put up as many games as they desired into the Steam platform, but they are not immediately put into the store. Rather, they are voted on by the community and only games that do well are allowed in. Steam Direct differs from this in that it gets rid of the community voting process and allows developers to publish directly for a fee that is paid for each title. This opens a new can of worms that depends entirely on how large this fee is. Valve is currently talking in the range of $100 to as high as $5,000 (based on a survey among developers).

Unigine Superposition Benchmark not Good Enough for Steam

Unigine's dazzling-looking Superposition benchmark (which was due for a late 2016 launch but still hasn't made the rounds, having an expected release date on Q1 of the current year) won't be coming to your average PC gaming platform of choice: Steam.

Apparently, the absence of the benchmark on Steam isn't a choice made by Unigine itself; instead, the "Superposition" benchmark has effectively been locked from entering Steam's catalog on account of it not being "suitable" for their Greenlight initiative. And this comes on the toes of the benchmark having recently achieved the status of number one application on Greenlight - not an easy thing to do, considering the amount of applications that vie for that spot.

Khronos Group Announces Open VR Standards Initiative

After putting in work in the OpenGL, WebGL, and most recently, Vulkan APIs, the technology industry consortium Khronos Group is setting its sights on the VR industry and ecosystems. Their aim: to create a "cross-vendor, royalty-free, open standard" for the VR development community. This move is an effort to prevent the VR system from fragmenting itself towards an eventual collapse, considering the multiple engines to create content, platforms to sell that content through, and a few different hardware options with casuistically different requirements and tool-sets. As a result, for a developer to support SteamVR (OpenVR), Oculus (OVR), and OSVR, it has a lot of work to do, since each platform (with its unique runtime) interfaces with the game engine in a different way. Developers must account for the intricacies of each platform during the development process.

Watch Dogs 2 Wants to Monitor Your System, But You Need Not Let It Do So

We've earlier reported about the implementation of EasyAntiCheat on Watch Dogs 2 - and how the Ubisoft game installs a driver in kernel mode and a service that monitors your systems' operating files (when Watch Dogs 2 is running). In that piece, we said that "This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only - and even offline - modes, meaning that you're not getting out of its crosshairs no matter how you are playing the game". Now, there seems to be a way to bypass the system monitoring altogether and enjoy the game in single-player. The way to do so, however, varies whether you're running the game on Steam or on Uplay.

Resident Evil 7 for PC will support HDR and 4K, No Cross Saves for Steam

Japanese developer and publisher Capcom has publicized that the PC version of their anticipated Resident Evil 7 game will support up to 4K resolutions and HDR. Naturally HDR will remain dependent on being connected to a compatible TV or panel, whereas high resolution support could provide additional levels of image quality through the use of super sampling on screens that do not support such resolutions natively. It is said that HDR will complement the immersive experience, better enabling the game to deliver overwhelming fear and ultimate horror.

As previously revealed by Capcom, Resident Evil 7 will also support cross saves between the PC and Xbox One versions of the game, however this will only be possible if you purchase it for PC on the Windows Store. Resident Evil 7 is also available on Steam and this version will not support cross saving. Resident Evil 7 will be available for PC on the 25 January, 2017.

$50,000 worth of Shadow Warrior 2 Game Keys Free with GeForce Experience

Don't fancy GeForce Experience? Well, NVIDIA might have just made an argument for you to at least give it a try.

Shadow Warrior 2 has just left the oven (with no DRM) to early rave reviews, both with critics and on Steam, and now, a digital copy can be yours for the low, low price of $0. In a move to bolster the ranks of its GeForce Experience users, NVIDIA is now giving away copies of the game - and all you have to do is register your account with NVIDIA, download the latest GeForce Experience 3.0, login, and cross your fingers that you're one of the randomly-chosen lucky winners. If you already are registered, though, fret not - just make sure your app is updated and make sure to log in.

GeForce Experience allows you to not only have automatic, profile-based optimizations for your library of games, but also make use of its ShadowPlay game recording and capture software, among other features.

Source: NVIDIABlogs

Microsoft Out to Destroy Steam: Epic's Tim Sweeney

Tim Sweeney, a lead developer with Epic Games, behind the industry-leading Unreal game engine, once again raised concerns in a recent interview with print-magazine "Edge," that Microsoft is systematically killing digital distribution platform Steam, by deliberately eroding the reliability and longevity of the Win32 programming interface for PC versions of Windows, in favor of its UWP (universal Windows platform), through updates to the OS.

Microsoft, Sweeney argues, is carefully avoiding big changes to the way third-party software is distributed and used on Windows, but is definitely seen to be taking small strategic steps, "sneaky maneuvers," that could lead to Windows Store either monopolizing all third-party software distribution on the platform, or worse, making it the only way you can get third-party apps. The rising reliability issues affecting Steam, a Win32 API-based platform that distributes Win32 software, Sweeney claims are telltale signs of that dark future of the PC platform. Microsoft's biggest argument in favor of UWP is that software is inherently more secure, since it's sandboxed (covered in abstraction layers and virtualized by the OS) even further.

NVIDIA GeForce Experience Gets UI Update, Won't Work Without Login

NVIDIA released a major update to its GeForce Experience app, which significantly changes the user interface (UI). The new GeForce Experience 3.0 is being shipped as a public beta, and is currently not part of an NVIDIA driver installer. Its UI now has two key sections, one which deals with game setting optimization, and the other which lets users access NVIDIA GeForce features such as Ansel, GameStream, driver updates, etc. Perhaps the biggest change here is that having an online account with NVIDIA is no longer optional, if you want to use GeForce Experience.

NVIDIA uses this account to store your game settings and other preferences on the cloud, so they're portable between all your devices, and could be useful if you're a PC enthusiast that frequently changes hardware. On the flip-side, though, GeForce Experience becomes another app that dials home each time you start your PC, impacting start-up speed. The new UI does make things more organized, and labels your games much like a DRM client like Origin or Steam would. You don't need GeForce Experience to use NVIDIA graphics cards, though. The app's install is still optional, and can be unchecked in the "Custom install" screen of the GeForce driver installer.

Source: Tom's Hardware, NVIDIA

FSP Dagger SFX Power Supply Pictured Up Close

Here are some of the first pictures of an FSP Dagger series modular power supply in the SFX form-factor. The company is readying 500W and 600W models, and displayed the 500W model. The company believes that the 500W model has enough juice to power a high-end VR-Ready machine driven by a GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, and had an HTC Vive and SteamVR enabled machine set up to demonstrate that. The Dagger series features 80 Plus Gold efficiency, DC-to-DC switching, 100% Japan-made capacitors, and fully modular cabling with flat cables.

Hitman DirectX 12 Support Restored with Latest Patch

IO Interactive today released a 130 MB patch for the PC version of Hitman (2016), through Steam. The patch fixes DirectX 12 API support, which was broken by the recent April 26th update, that installs the game's second episode "Sapienza, Italy." After the update, Hitman appears to be working in DirectX 12 mode, in both its in-game benchmark, and the game itself, on both our GeForce GTX 970 SLI (365.10 drivers) and Radeon R9 290 (16.4.2 drivers) machines.

Valve-HTC VIVE Available for Pre-order

HTC and Valve today announced their 2016 CES Best of Show winning VR system is available now for pre order with first shipments targeted to begin on Tuesday, April 5th. A complete VR solution, Vive includes two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement, a full 360° of tracking, and an HMD featuring a built-in camera to create what many critics are calling the most convincing VR experience launching this year.

In addition to the VR system, and for a limited time, those who pre order will also receive a free copy of three new VR titles: Tilt Brush from Google, Fantastic Contraption from Northway and Radial Games, and Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives from Owlchemy Labs. "We are delighted to help usher in the next generation of virtual reality," said Cher Wang of HTC. "Launching Vive with Valve has helped us ignite the creativity of thousands of content developers around the world." Vive is the first SteamVR system, giving it the backing of full integration with the leading online platform for PC games.

Steam Hardware Available Now

Valve today announces the official launch of its line of Steam Hardware devices in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe. A leading platform for PC, Mac, and Linux games, Steam offers more than 6,000 titles to millions of gamers around the world. The Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines are a collection of hardware devices designed to expand the Steam gaming experience into any room in the home.

Earlier this fall, Valve announced dedicated Steam Sections in most GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games stores. The sections will feature the Steam Hardware devicesas well as a variety of Steam prepaid cards. In addition, Steam Machines will be available from their respective PC manufacturers, and the Steam Controller and Link are available via Amazon and directly from Steam.

ZOTAC Unveils the NEN Steam Machine

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics card and ZBOX Mini PCs, makes the case for small form factor gaming with NEN, the most powerful small form Steam Machine. ZOTAC taps into NEN to draw out a truly powerful Steam Machine with minimalism, portability, and an all new design for a new way to game.

ZOTAC, the original Mini PC manufacturer, has been producing Mini PCs since 2008 and are continuing to innovate with more power, higher efficiency and smaller size. With the recent release of the MAGNUS, the most powerful small form barebones Gaming Mini PC, ZOTAC is pushing their momentum forward to unleash an even more potent machine.

NVIDIA Announces "Two Times The Adventure" Game Bundle

NVIDIA announced its latest game bundle for buyers of its GeForce GTX 900 series graphics products. Called "Two Times the Adventure" bundle, it includes two of the year's most anticipated PC titles - "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," and "Batman: Arkham Knight." New buyers of GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 graphics cards, from participating retailers, will receive game coupons to both the games, which can be redeemed on Steam. New buyers of GeForce GTX 960, and notebooks with GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M, will receive game codes to just "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt."

Codes for both games, if activated on Steam before their launch dates, will count as pre-orders, so you can pre-load and start playing on the launch dates. Both games come with NVIDIA's GameWorks varnish, which enables a few GeForce-exclusive eye-candy, such as HairWorks (GPU-accelerated hair effects) in The Witcher 3, PhysX-accelerated destruction and cloth effects, and HBAO+ in both games. The Witcher 3 releases on May 19, and Batman: Arkham Knight on June 23.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces GR6 Gaming Desktop

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the ROG GR6 ultra-compact desktop, a console-inspired 2.5-liter PC with supreme gaming performance. GR6 is powered by a 5th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics for Full HD gaming. It features 8GB of DDR3L memory (upgradable to 16GB), and hard disk or solid state drives (SSD). GR6 also has built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1. GR6 features a matte-black finish, Mayan-inspired detailing, and a pulsing ROG logo. It is ideal for gaming in the living room or bedroom, and is portable enough to take to LAN parties.

AMD's Excavator Core is Leaner, Faster, Greener

AMD gave us a technical preview of its next-generation "Carrizo" APU, which is perhaps the company's biggest design leap since "Trinity." Built on the 28 nm silicon fab process, this chip offers big energy-efficiency gains over the current-generation "Kaveri" silicon, thanks to some major under-the-hood changes.

The biggest of these is the "Excavator" CPU module. 23 percent smaller in area than "Steamroller," (same 28 nm process), Excavator features a new high-density library design, which reduces die-area of the module. Most components are compacted. The floating-point scheduler is 38% smaller, fused multiply-accumulate (FMAC) units compacted by 35%, and instruction-cache controller compacted by another 35%. The "Carrizo" silicon itself uses GPU-optimized high-density metal stack, which helps with the compaction. Each "Excavator" module features two x86-64 CPU cores, which are structured much in the same way as AMD's previous three CPU core generations.

DeepCool Announces the Captain Line of Liquid AIO CPU Coolers

DeepCool launched the Captain series of liquid AIO CPU Coolers, under its GamerStorm brand. The series debuts with the Captain 120, featuring a 120 x 120 mm radiator; and the Captain 240, featuring a 240 x 120 mm one. The cooler is characterized by a unique pump-block design that lets you visualize the coolant flow. The pump-block's design appears to be in-line with that of DeepCool's SteamCastle series of cases. Its block features a copper 0.2 mm micro-fin lattice. A 120 mm FDB fan with PWM control, is included, and ventilates the radiator. The cooler supports all modern CPU socket types, including LGA2011v3, LGA1150, AM3+, and FM2+. The company didn't reveal pricing.
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