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Valve Antitrust Class-Action Lawsuit Allowed to Proceed

A federal judge in Seattle has recently ruled that the antitrust class-action lawsuit brought against Valve by Wolfire Games over their Steam Key Price Parity Provision can proceed. The Key Price Parity Provision is a policy that prohibits game developers from pricing their games cheaper on competing storefronts such as the Epic Games Store even if they offer lower fees. The judge noted that Valve "relies on provisions within Steamworks Documentation to impose conditions on how non-Steam-enabled games are sold and priced." and that "Valve also threatens game publishers with punitive action, including removal of their Steam-enabled games, if they sell non-Steam-enabled versions of those games at lower prices,". The ruling states that allegations of the company exploiting it's market dominance to threaten and retaliate against developers were "sufficient to plausibly allege unlawful conduct". This decision will allow for a class-action lawsuit to be brought against Valve.

Bethesda Launches Bethesda.net Steam Game Migration Tool

Bethesda announced earlier this year that they would be shutting down their Bethesda.net launcher and moving all games to Steam. Bethesda has now enabled the functionality to transfer any games owned on a Bethesda.net account to a Steam account using the new Transfer Page. The migration process will include all games and DLC in addition to cloud saves, and any virtual wallet currency. The Bethesda.net launcher will be retired on May 11th with game launching no longer available from that date.

You can transfer your Bethesda.net game library to Steam here.

Steam Deck Takes Number One Spot as Best Seller By Revenue on Steam

With the debut of the Steam Deck handheld gaming console, the whole community wanted to grab one and made preorders for a few up-front months. Over the last five weeks, the console held the second spot as the best seller by revenue chart; however, that number changed in the console's favor. According to SteamDB, which collects information from Valve's Steam platform, the Steam Deck console climbed to the number one spot as the best selling item by revenue. This is no surprise given that the Steam Deck base model is priced at $399+, with top models going for $500. For the past three weeks, the leading competitor was the game Elder Ring, which sold 12 million copies in the past three weeks. We are yet to see if Steam Deck manages to hold the top spot in the charts or if other games start to defeat it.

Hexa-Core CPUs Are the New Steam Gaming Mainstay

Gamers across the world seem to have settled on the price-performance ratio of hexa-core CPUs as their weapon of choice to process virtual worlds. According to the latest Steam Hardware Survey, 34.22% of machines running steam feature a CPU design with six physical cores, surpassing the 33.74% of users that employ a quad-core processor.

The first mainstream quad-core CPUs were launched circa 2009, having had thirteen years in the market already, while mainstream, true hexa-core designs saw the light of day just a year later, with AMD's Phenom II X6 CPUs. CPU designs featuring more than six physical cores have been increasing in numbers consistently throughout the years, while most under-six-core designs have been slowly bleeding users as gamers upgrade their systems. Our own reviews have shown that the best price-performance ratios for gaming are found in the hexa-core arena, but the latest architectures should help accelerate the number of available cores for mainstream users - whether for gaming purposes or not.
Steam Hardware Survey data for CPU cores

Elden Ring PC Stuttering Issues Fixed - But Only on Valve's Steam Deck

Elden Ring launched in late February to rave critic and consumer reviews. The game is an excellent showcase of From Software's gaming design ethos, but ultimately proves that the company's rendering engine still requires work after years of installments due to widely-reported stuttering issues - irrespective of hardware configuration. A fix for Elden Ring's stuttering issues has surfaced on late Monday - courtesy of Valve and its Proton wrapper, and only applicable to the Steam Deck. In a way, this turns Steam Deck into the smoothest device to play Elden Ring on.

The issue with Elden Ring's stuttering has been linked to the games' continuous shader loading. Apparently, Elden Ring allows users to enter its vast open-world without pre-compiling the required shaders (something that we've seen other games do through usually lengthy boot-up processes) for the specific hardware. This forces the game to constantly compile shaders as they're required (due to world loading, animation loading, among other triggers), which is responsible for the stuttering issues gamers on PC have been encountering.

Elon Musk Teases Steam Game Support for Tesla Infotainment System

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently stated that Tesla is currently working on adding support for Steam games to the Linux-powered infotainment system found in Tesla cars. The latest hardware version of the Tesla infotainment system features a quad-core AMD Zen+ CPU paired with an Radeon Navi 23 GPU similar to that of the Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and Steam Deck. The GPU includes 28 Compute Units running at 2.8 GHz to drive the 17-inch 2200x1300 center screen for approximately 10 TFLOPS of performance. Tesla has previously worked to bring individual games to the infotainment system such as Beach Buggy Racing 2, The Battle of Polytopia, Cuphead, Stardew Valley, and Fallout Shelter in addition to the Atari 2600 emulator. The timeline for any such implementation is likely to be in the medium to long term.
Elon MuskWe're working through the general case of making Steam games work on a Tesla vs specific titles. Former is obviously where we should be long-term.

Valve Releases Steam Deck Game Compatibility Tool

Valve has recently launched a tool that allows you to check what games from your Steam library have been tested and confirmed to work with the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck runs the custom SteamOS Linux distribution with the Proton compatibility layer for Windows exclusive titles. The compatibility tool from Valve lists games that have been tested into three categories consisting of verified, playable, unsupported in addition to a list of currently untested titles. Valve classifies games listed as verified as not needing any configuration for use with the Steam Deck and those classed as playable may require modifications to get controls working correctly. You can check what games are supported from your Steam library by following this link.

Valve Introduces New Rules To Reduce "Fake" Discounts on Steam

Valve has recently announced a collection of new store discount policies to clamp down on fake sales and offers that currently plague the Steam store. The cooldown period for sales will be reduced from six to four weeks with exclusions for the major store-wide seasonal sales. The new rules prohibit publishers from discounting their game within 28 days following a price increase in any country and prices can no longer be adjusted during sales. The allowable discount range has also been restricted to between 10 and 90 percent while custom sales must now last for 1 to 14 days. These new policies will take effect starting March 28th, 2022 and will hopefully improve the user experience.

Bethesda Retires the Bethesda.net Launcher and Moves to Steam

We're saying goodbye to the Bethesda.net Launcher this year. We would like to thank you for your support and assure you that all of your games are safe. If you're not playing PC games through the Bethesda.net launcher then your work is done here. Thanks for reading! If you do have games through the Bethesda.net launcher, don't worry. Starting in early April you'll be able to migrate your games and Wallet to your Steam account. For more details on what this process will look like, read on.

You have plenty of time to plan and begin migrating your Bethesda.net library to your Steam account. The migration to Steam will include your game library and Wallet - meaning you will not lose anything from your Bethesda.net account. Many games will also have their saves migrated, with a few requiring some manual transfers. For games that require it, you will still use your Bethesda.net login to sign in to play. Your Bethesda.net account will not be lost and will still be accessible on our website and in-game, and we will continue supporting all Bethesda.net accounts with our future titles.

Steam Reports Monthly Connected VR Headset Count of 3.4 Million

The latest Steam Hardware survey from January 2022 shows significant growth for VR headsets with the number of connected units reaching 3.4 million or 2.14% of Steam users. This is up from 2.95 million in December 2021 with the Meta Quest 2 responsible for the majority of this growth now accounting for 46.02% of the VR headsets used on Steam despite being able to operate without a connected computer. Meta now controls 67.3% of the PC VR market with Valve coming in second at 14.4%, HTC third at 11.2%, and Microsoft fourth with just 5% market share. The total number of monthly-connected VR headsets has risen 29.5% since this time last year but it remains to be seen if this growth will continue past the holiday season.

Steam Deck Officially Arrives on February 25th to First Customers

Valve's highly anticipated handheld gaming console, Steam Deck, officially arrives on February 25th. According to the newest information from Valve, the company plans to start sending our Steam Deck units to customers who first pre-ordered their units on February 25th, and the arrival time should be three days. That means that on February 28th, customers will have Steam Deck in their hands. Regarding press units for reviewers, the company has already started shipping review units to select media partners. The review embargo for Steam Deck is also set to February 25th, so that marks the date when we can see the full potential of AMD's custom Van Gogh SoC.

As a general reminder, the Van Gogh SoC features four Zen 2 cores with eight threads, running at a 3.5 GHz frequency. The graphics side is powered by eight RDNA2 CUs clocked at 1.6 GHz, meaning that the chip can support some decent handheld gaming. The base model starts at $399, while the top-end configuration costs up to $649, carrying more extensive memory/storage options.

Steam Breaks Another Record with 29.2 Million Concurrent Players

Just three weeks after having an all-time high number of 28 million concurrent players, Steam has managed to break another record and provide its services to 29.2 million gamers across the globe. According to the data from SteamDB, there were 29,201,174 concurrent gamers were utilizing Valve's Steam platform and playing their favorite game without realizing that they were breaking a world record. And of course, the highest contributor to this record are online multiplayer games such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which achieved 900K and 787K active players in the last 24 hours. This shows an excellent trend for Valve's Steam platform, and we are just a shy away from seeing 30 million concurrent gamers playing "side by side."

December Steam Survey Numbers Points Towards Slow Death of the Quad Core Gaming CPU

This might not come as a real surprise, but in the latest Steam hardware survey, we're seeing clear declines of quad core CPUs, the category that some people have been claiming for the longest of times, is all you need for a gaming PC. Among the Windows systems, the decline is over a percent, with six core CPU gaining well over a percent, although the numbers vary quite a bit over the past five months, which is all the history Valve provides. The decline is also clear on OSX, although it's not quite as big percentage wise, but here the biggest growth is in the eight and 10 core segments, most likely due to Apple's introduction of its own M1 variants of CPUs. Only in the Linux segment are the dual and quad core CPU segments increasing, which suggest that some of these systems might be repurposed Windows machines.

The six core and higher CPU segment now holds over 50 percent share in the Steam survey and eight core CPUs are also up somewhat for Windows machines. Of these CPUs, Intel is holding a 69.27 percent share, up 0.82 percent compared to November, although still down over 3.5 percent since August versus AMD. Intel also gained 0.33 percent of Linux users and is back over 60 percent for the first time since August. On the OSX side of things, Apple seems to have gained a 27.97 percent share of Steam users surveyed, up from 6.05 percent just a month earlier. There has also been a 1.2 percent increase in Steam users surveyed that have 16 GB of RAM, suggesting that the low RAM prices in 2021 has made people upgrade their systems. Over 47 percent of all Steam users that were surveyed appear to have at least 16 GB of RAM in their systems.

Steam Announces The Best of 2021 Game Awards

With just a handful of days left until The New Year, we're excited to look back at some of 2021's top sellers, most-played games, new releases, and more! As with previous years, we've organized several Best Of lists that each showcase how great 2021 was for players, developers, and all of the games in between. Before we see what 2022 has in store, let's look back at the Best of Steam - 2021.

As you've probably noticed by now, the Steam Winter Sale is in full swing, with 1000s of discounts across the store. So if you're looking for a sale on the best games of the year, we recommend browsing some of these lists! For anyone jumping straight into the lists, we recommend reading the notes at the bottom of this page, which explain some of the technical criteria for how the lists are generated.

Valve Launches Steam Labs Store Hubs Experiment

With Steam Labs Experiment 10 last December, we introduced dozens of new genres, categories, and tags to our store's navigation. Today we're launching Experiment 13, where we've revamped these destinations, or store hubs, with powerful new tools for browsing, filtering, and exploring deeper into each category.

When you join the experiment from the Steam Labs page, you will find that every category and tag page on the store has been updated, introducing these new layouts and features to hundreds of niche destinations throughout. You'll encounter these pages by exploring the "Categories" drop-down in the store menu, or by clicking on tags from a game's store page.

Qualcomm Introduces Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform to Power a New Generation of Dedicated Gaming Devices

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. announces the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, a purpose-built platform that allows gamers the best place to play their favorite games. The platform delivers cutting-edge performance to run all Android games, play content from cloud gaming libraries, stream games from your home console or PC, and enjoy entertainment from your favorite Android apps. Amassing the entire arsenal of Snapdragon Elite Gaming technologies together to create a premium category of dedicated consumer gaming products, the platform is designed to power incredible experiences for gamers on-the-go.

To showcase the platform, Qualcomm Technologies partnered with Razer to build the first Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit, which is available exclusively for developers starting today. Razer is a global leader in gaming hardware and has already constructed one of the world's largest gamer-focused ecosystems of hardware, software, and services.

Steam Sets New Concurrent User Record

Steam has recently set a new concurrent user record with 27,385,025 gamers logging in over the Thanksgiving period surpassing the previous peak of 26.9 million from April. This new record coincided with the Steam Autumn sale which saw discounts across several popular titles on the platform. The store has also seen several new popular launches in recent months such as Naraka: Bladepoint, New World, and MIR4. The most popular titles over the weekend included Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at 800,000 players, Dota 2 at 650,000, and PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS with 320,000. Steam appears set to continue growing even with the increased competition from Epic and Microsoft if these recent records are anything to go by.

Valve's Arch Linux-based SteamOS 3.0 to be Available to Public as a Standalone Distribution

As Valve is preparing to launch its handheld gaming console called Steam Deck, the company is investing a lot of resources into the software side of things. Powering the console is the company's custom SteamOS distribution, a modification of Arch Linux in today's form. In previous releases, Valve has been pushing its SteamOS as a modification of Debian Linux. However, that version didn't get updated in over two years, and the last release happened with version 2.195. When the Steam Deck console lands in the consumer's hands, we are supposed to see a new version of SteamOS, called SteamOS 3.0, become available for the public to download as any standalone Linux distribution.

With the release of 3.0, the company is switching to a rolling release OS embedded with bells and whistles to make gaming on Linux a viable option. All that is needed to fire up Steam and start gaming is already pre-installed, and you can get the same Steam Deck experience on your PC or any device that can run Linux. The moment this becomes available to the public, we will update you with more information.

Valve Delays Steam Deck Console Shipments to February

Valve's highly-anticipated handheld gaming console, Steam Deck, is facing a two-month delay. According to the latest news from the company, the console will not be in time for holidays and will get delayed by two months to February. Suppose you are wondering what the reason behind it is. In that case, Valve says that "we did our best to work around the global supply chain issues, but due to material shortages, components aren't reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates." These consequences are understandable, given the issues many companies face with the global supply chain and the overall scarcity of components still ruling the market.

If you have pre-ordered a Steam Deck device, rest assured that your reservation will get shipped accordingly, just with a two-month delay. Valve states that "Based on our updated build estimates, Steam Deck will start shipping to customers February 2022. This will be the new start date of the reservation queue—all reservation holders keep their place in line but dates will shift back accordingly. Reservation date estimates will be updated shortly after this announcement." For more information, please head over to the Steam Deck website.

God of War PC Port Arrives on January 14, 2022

Santa Monica Studio, a video game developer, seated in Los Angeles and owned by PlayStation Studios, is the creator of the highly successful game God of War. Today, the company announced that they would be releasing a God of War port for PC owners, entering a whole new market. The PC port of the game will allow thousands of players to enjoy the story of Kratos and his adventures with a considerable boost to graphics. According to a company announcement, the PC port will allow fine-tuning of graphics settings, including a range of new technologies to back it.

Some essential upgrades over the console port include native 4K rendering and an unlimited frame rate. The company stated that the ambient occlusion pipeline had been upgraded with GTAO and SSDO tech, creating unique visuals. In addition to that, the game will feature support for NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and Reflex low-latency technology. For controllers, the game will feature support for Sony's DualSense and DualShock4 controllers. And last but not least, ultrawide gamers are in luck as well, as the game will support a 21:9 aspect ratio. The game is going to be available on January 14, 2022, on the Steam storefront.

For some PC visuals, check out the images and the video below.

Valve Introduces Steam Deck Verified Game Program

Valve has recently announced a new program aimed at verifying game compatibility on the Steam Deck with a simple four-category classification system. Valve is reviewing the entire Steam library to see how each title performs in four key areas on the Steam Deck including input, display, seamlessness, and system support. Games need to feature full controller support and automatically bring up the on-screen keyboard to fulfill the input requirement along with supporting the Steam Decks native resolution of 1280x800 or 1280x720. They will also need to work correctly with Proton including anti-cheat if no native Linux version is available along without displaying any warning messages.

Valve will mark games that fail some sections of these checks as playable meaning that the user may need to manually select a community-created controller configuration or use the touchscreen to navigate the launcher. Games that cannot run will be marked as unsupported while all other games will be classified as unknown meaning that Valve has yet to test the title on the Steam Deck. These new compatibility labels will be featured prominently throughout the Steam store on Steam Deck with detailed information about individual checks available. Valve will continuously update these ratings as developers launch updates for their games and they hope to have the feature live before deliveries of the Steam Deck begin.

Valve Steam Deck FAQs Shed More Light on the Hot New Portable Console

Valve today put out frequently asked questions (FAQs) that shed light on many aspects of Steam Deck, the elusive new portable game console. Steam Deck is one of the first mass-market handheld consoles based on the PC architecture (if you don't count the various smartphones based on Intel Atom chips), or x86-based tablets. It turns out that Valve engaged in some segmentation between the storage-based variants. All three capacity variants feature optically-bonded glass IPS LCD touchscreens with 10-point multi-touch, but the 512 GB variant has an additional anti-glare treatment.

Steam Deck combines Linux-based custom operating system, along with the Steam UI and DRM platform, although it is possible to play non-Steam games through the Proton translation layer software. You can add games to your library just like on Steam on desktop. The Steam software itself has a custom UI optimized for the console, which replaces the Big Picture mode of conventional Steam desktop. Just like on regular Steam, the Steam Deck console lets you launch and play a game without an Internet connection, unless the game requires it.

Valve's Steam Hardware Survey Shows Progress for Gaming on Linux, Breaking 1% Marketshare

When Valve made a debut of Proton for Steam on Linux, the company committed to enabling Linux gamers from across the globe to play all of the latest games available for the Windows platform, on their Linux distributions. Since the announcement, the market share of people who game on Linux has been rather stagnating for a while. When Proton was announced, the Linux gaming market share jumped to 2%, according to a Valve survey. However, later on, it dropped and remained at the stagnating 0.8~0.9% mark. Today, according to the latest data obtained from Steam Hardware Survey, we see that the Linux gaming market share has reached 1.0% in July, making for a +0.14% increase. What drove the spike in usage is unknown, however, it is interesting to see the new trend. You can check out the Steam Hardware Survey data here.

Halo Infinite Multiplayer Beta Opening up This Weekend

If you're on the fence about whether or not Halo Infinite will be worth your time, you might just get your chance to find it out for yourself as early as this weekend. 343 Industries has announced the first of a series of technical flightings for the next chapter in the Halo universe, with users being called in an invite-basis to participate in and provide feedback on the multiplayer element of Halo infinite (which will be free to play when the game launches later this year). The gameplay focus is on team fights against bots (a first in the Halo universe) in big arena maps, plus a tutorial system called The Academy, which will feature missions for players to get into the groove of Halo's combat rhythms.

Tempered expectations are best when coming into any games' beta, and 343 Industries has informed players that the current build of the game being deployed for this flighting is some two to three months old compared to the games' current development stage - so there is some leeway to pardon their dust. If you want to get a taste of Halo's famed arena combat, you'll have to sign-up to the Halo Insider initiative, where you can choose the platform of choice for participation in the flighting program. If you choose PC as your platform, there are some other hoops to jump through; you'll have to send Microsoft a diagnostic of your system's DxDiag report, as well as connect your Steam account via the Halo Insider program. Meet you there, Spartan.

Scalpers Already "Offering" the Steam Deck for $5,000 on eBay

Valve's Steam Deck announcement took the gaming world by storm last week, as the announcement of a Valve-designed portable gaming console packing an AMD Zen 2 CPU with RDNA2 cores set collective imaginations on fire. However, as is the case for any recent gaming hardware launches, expect the Steam Deck to be hard to come by - demand for a mainstream portable, Switch-like console that promises to enable AAA-gaming on the go is apparently sky-high, despite the fact that some portable devices exploring the same concept have been available for a while now, such as the AYA Neo (which even packs two extra Zen 2 cores) and the Intel-based One XPlayer.

As is the case for any recent hardware launch that garners enough mainstream attention (looking at you, current-gen GPUs and consoles), a lopsided demand-supply ratio is a playground for unscrupulous types looking to make a profit at the expense of other people's impatience. And it sure is happening already - eBay listings for "pre-order confirmed" Steam Deck variants are already being set at €4,324 (roughly $4,989) - though we'd say they're tentatively set at that ludicrous pricing. It seems that the current median asking price sits around the $900 mark for the 512 GB SSD-equipped variant. Tentative or not, this just goes to show that the new normal is for launched products to be actively gauged for scalping practices - more now than ever before.
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