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HTC Announces VIVE Pro 2 and VIVE Focus 3 VR Headsets

HTC VIVE, the global leader in premium virtual reality (VR), today set a new benchmark for business and consumer VR, bringing 5K resolution and a 120-degree field of view as standard to the two new VR headsets announced today at VIVECON 2021, HTC's global VR conference. VIVE Pro 2 pushes the boundaries of PC VR for incredible gaming, creating, and experiences, while VIVE Focus 3 redefines business VR with a purpose-built All-in-One with no compromises. HTC also announced VIVE Business, its comprehensive range of tools designed to support businesses of any size to get the most out of VR.

"Today's launch marks a major milestone in our strategy to create the very best immersive experiences. We have listened to our customers, from well-known global companies to smaller firms and professional users, and have designed these premium headsets from the ground up to meet the challenges they face, adding a professional range of software, platform and services to make implementation as smooth and effective as possible," said Cher Wang, HTC Chairwoman and CEO. "In line with our mission, we've combined the very latest technology with the needs and aspirations of our customers, enabling them to unleash their imagination to improve people's lives and solve problems for business and society."

Portal Reloaded Fan Mod Adds 25 Test Chambers, Time Travel Portal to Valve Classic Portal 2

A new fan-made mod for Valve's classic (I think we can say classic) Portal 2 has been made available on Steam, bringing a plethora of new content to the fine wine puzzle game. The mod, named Portal Reloaded and available on Steam for anyone who already owns a copy of the original game, adds a grand total of 25 new test chambers to out-think and out-puzzle, alongside a brand new mode for the Portal Gun - a Time Travel one. This Time Travel portal joins the classic blue and orange ones, and gives players the ability to jump 20 years into the future so as to be able to wreck havoc with the time continuum all in hopes of solving just... one... more... test chamber.

The mod includes 100 new voice lines and an original soundtrack, and should bring veterans or newcomers to the Portal series a new reason to stay awake until dawn breaks. Be careful when bringing cakes from the future, however - we all know what happens to people who want their cake and eat it too. Check some of the trailers explaining the new mechanics after the break.

Valve Releases Official Steam Link App For macOS

Steam Link is a program developed by Valve which allows gamers to remotely play games from their main computer on other devices. The program originally launched for Android before expanding to iOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, tvOS, and now macOS. The Steam Link application relies on Steam Remote Play technology which performs real-time H.264 video streaming over a low-latency protocol to the connected device, resolutions of up to 4K 60 FPS are possible if enough bandwidth is available. The Steam Link app is now available to download through the official Mac App Store and comes in at just 30 MB. Steam Link for Mac requires macOS 10.13 or higher along with a PC to host the games running on the same local network.

Apple Subpoenas Valve for Steam's Data on 346 Games

Apple and Epic Games have had quite a turbulent history of legal issues in the past year. Fortnite, the world's biggest battle royale game, got removed from the Apple store because its developer, Epic Games, had refused to comply to store rules. If a developer is listing a game on the Apple store, all in-game payments must be processed through Apple, with the company taking a 30% tax cut for it. Epic Games didn't like that idea too much, so the company just used an external system that gave players the option to pay for in-game goods using different ways. However, that represented non-compliance to Apple store guidelines, and Apple took the Fortnite game down.


Update February 26th 07:50 UTC: In the court hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that Apple's subpoena was considered valid. Valve's lawyers urged the judge to not force the company to produce the requested data, however, Apple's lawyers have said that the request is doable and the company is only requesting data on a few hundred games, and it could have been worse by requesting data on over 30000 games instead.

Valve Ordered to Pay 4 Million USD in Damages to Corsair over Steam Controller Patent Infringement

Valve has recently been ordered to pay 4 million USD in damages after they knowingly infringed on patents owned by Ironburg Inventions with the Steam Controller rear grip button design. Ironburg Inventions is the IP-holding arm of controller manufacturer SCUF who was acquired by Corsair in late 2019. Valve was warned by Ironburg Inventions in 2014 that their Steam Controller infringed on their patent relating to rear-side control surfaces. Valve ignored the warning and went on to produce 1.6 million units before discontinuing the device in 2019. The Jury awarded Ironburg Inventions 4 million USD in damages and found that Valve willfully infringed on Ironberg's patents which opens them up to further litigation. Corsair has published a statement on the case which can be found below.

Gabe Newell Confirms That Valve Has Multiple Games In Development

Gabe Newell who is currently residing in New Zealand has recently confirmed in a new interview that his company Valve "definitely has games in development that they're going to be announcing". With the positive release of Half-Life: Alyx the company plans to create further single-player games and Gabe noted that there is a lot of momentum within Valve to do so.

Gabe Newell has been living with his family in New Zealand since early 2020 when they decided to stay in the country after a holiday due to the countries successful management of COVID-19. He has now been granted New Zealand residency in principle and is actively considering transferring Valve operations and major events to the country. This includes hosting the companies DOTA 2 and CS:GO annual esports tournaments which had to be canceled in 2020 and "strong interest" from employees for relocation.

European Commission Fines Valve, Five Game Publishers in €7.8 Million for Regional Pricing and Geo-blocking Practices

The European Commission has issued a fine to Valve and five game publishers (Bandai Namco, Focus Home Interactive, Capcom, Koch Media, and ZeniMax after an antitrust probe decided the companies violated EU antitrust laws. The Commission investigated regional pricing and geo-blocking practices that were put in place by valve and the hitherto fined publishers, and says that these rule-breaking pricing manipulations resulted from bilateral agreements between game publishers and Valve between 2010 and 2015, as well as from purpose-built licensing and distribution licenses between four out of five fined publishers between 2007 and 2018.

The European Commission found these practices to relieve "European consumers of the benefits of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to shop around for the most suitable offer in the EU". In particular, the offendants sold video game licenses relative to some 100 different titles at lower pricing in certain Eastern Europe countries, and which could not be activated in Western Europe. The fine's total amount of €7.8 million is shared between Valve (€1,624,000); Bandai Namco (10% fine reduction for cooperation, €340,000); Capcom (15% fine reduction for cooperation, €396,000); Focus Home Interactive (10% fine reduction for cooperation, €2,888,000); Koch Media (10% fine reduction for cooperation, €977,000), and ZeniMax (10% fine reduction for cooperation, €1,664,000). Valve didn't receive any fine reduction because the company elected not to cooperate with the Commission.

Valve Prohibits the Mention of "non-Steam versions" of Games

Valve has recently updated it's Steam Community Hub policies to prohibit the mentioning of non-Steam versions of games, this likely comes as competition increases in the largely stagnant PC gaming market from the likes of the Epic Games Store, and Xbox Game Pass for PC. This will mean that the Steam Community Hub will no longer include mentions to releases on other platforms. These new rules apply to both releases and DLC effectively stopping the promotion of other platforms on Steam.
Steam
In the game you ship via Steam, and in communications on Steam, you may only promote the Steam version and its availability via Steam, and not other distribution outlets. This applies both to full versions of your game and to content patches that change the existing version.

EA's Move to Steam Makes its Games the Most Played on the Platform

EA has recently decided to break away from the exclusivity of its games on Origin game launches and started to offer some games on Valve's Steam gaming platform. The move has turned out to be quite substantial for EA and Valve just reported some big news. Out of the top 20 best-selling games on Steam for the month of July, EA games accounted for eight of them. This rather massive share is all thanks to the new markets EA opened themselves to. Without a doubt, Steam is still the world's biggest gaming platform, so it was a smart move to expand the availability of games to it. The financial gains follow as well. EA saw a massive 74% surge in PC revenue it is a quarterly report, all thanks to expansion to Steam.

The Steam Game Festival is On Now

The Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition- the largest yet- is on now, featuring hundreds of free demos from games set to be released in the coming year.
From now until June 22 at 10am PDT, the Steam Game Festival showcases the newest games across every genre from developers in 65 countries. Fans have a chance to try out new projects from first-time devs and veteran developers alike, including the opportunity to be among the first to demo some of the most highly anticipated games of the coming year.

This is the third Steam Game Festival, and the largest yet. What began as a collaboration with Geoff Keighley and the Game Awards featuring a dozen titles soon branched off as a Valve-run event, with over 40 demos featured this spring- and now over 900 titles in the summer edition.

HP Announces the Reverb G2 VR Headset Co-designed by Valve and Microsoft

Today, HP Inc. unveiled its latest virtual reality (VR) headset, the HP Reverb G2, in collaboration with industry leaders Valve and Microsoft. The HP Reverb G2 is the world's highest resolution VR headset among major vendorsi, delivering cutting-edge optics, inside-out tracking, spatial 3D audio, natural gestures, long-wearing comfort, and plug and play support for Windows Mixed Reality and SteamVR.

"The power of collaboration is on full display with the HP Reverb G2, and alongside Valve and Microsoft, we engineered a no-compromises VR headset that's immersive, comfortable, and compatible across Windows Mixed Reality and SteamVR," said Spike Huang, vice president and global lead of VR, HP Inc. "The time is now for VR and the HP Reverb G2 brings high-quality VR to the masses with more immersion for gamers, interactive experiences for creators, increased engagement for collaboration, and higher retention rates for education and training."

Steam "Play Next" Game Recommendation Feature Now Available

Valve introduced "Play Next" as an experimental feature as part of Steam Labs earlier this year for testing. The feature previously known as "Experiment 008: Play Next" uses machine learning algorithms to provide suggestions to gamers with extensive libraries on what unplayed or very low playtime game in their library they should try next. This technology is also used in Valve's Interactive Recommender and works by identifying comparable games on Steam. The feature is now live for all users in the latest Steam client update and can be found under the Play Next shelf in library view.

Valve Rumored to Launch Steam Loyalty Scheme

SteamDB developer Pavel Djundik has uncovered evidence of a Steam loyalty scheme in some recent code strings. The developer detailed how the scheme may consist of a points system where users can redeem points for badge levels and possibly game discounts. This discovery comes just as the dates for the next Steam sale were leaked to be the 25th June - 9th July so this new loyalty scheme may launch alongside the sale and replace previous sale schemes.

Djundik has also discovered potential changes to the Steam review system with the introduction of user reactions. These reactions include deep thoughts, heartwarming, hilarious, hot take, poetry, and helpful. Djundik has an excellent track record for leaks regarding Steam just last week predicting the announcement of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, so it will be interesting to see if this new loyalty scheme gets released.

Half Life 2: Remastered Shows Up on Steam Database: An Eye-candy Uplift Mod

A new game on Steam DB titled "Half Life2: Remastered" raised eyebrows across the web. Unlike "Crysis Remastered," which is an official Crytek upcoming title that adds content to the path-breaking shooter from the late-2000s, "Half Life 2: Remastered" doesn't come from Valve, as DSOGaming explains. Developed by Filip Victor, author of the community-made "Half Life 2: Update," a mod for your HL2 installation; "Remastered" adds some new content such as improved lighting, a revamped HDR implementation, and an improved fog. If "Update" is any indication, "Remastered" could be a continuous community effort, adding content to HL2. The holy grail in our opinion would be Valve releasing master versions of its textures for the game, so the game could receive a texture quality update. Find more details in the Steam DB listing here.

Valve Removes SteamVR Support on macOS

Valve has announced that SteamVR will drop support for the macOS platform so that development teams can focus on Windows and Linux support. SteamVR users running macOS who wish to continue using SteamVR will need to opt-in for legacy macOS builds from the "Beta" tab under SteamVR properties. This measure will probably stop functioning relatively quickly as new hardware and software changes appear. This move doesn't come as much of a surprise as the macOS platform isn't known for its VR activity, in the long-term macOS users will have to migrate to an alternate operating system or dual boot if they wish to continue accessing SteamVR.

Source Code of CS: GO and Team Fortress 2 Leaks

Source Code of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 got leaked today. It seems like Valve hasn't been careful with control of its output, and a few leaks came out. All of the licensees of the Source Engine, a multi-platform game engine used in all Valve's games like Dota 2, Half-Life, and CS: GO, have been empowered by Valve with access to the source code of 2017/2018 versions of CS: GO and Team Fortress 2. Someone down the line, however, took that opportunity and access to leak the source code. The original news source is the SteamDB Twitter account, so we don't have any link to the actual source code.

This pretty big news since CS: GO can be considered as the most popular game on the Steam platform, and IP that Valve holds on it is very valuable. The 2017/2018 version that is leaked is probably outdated by a mile now, but it still represents an act of theft and should be treated as such. We are yet to see the response from Valve and how they will handle this situation.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive source code

Valve's Project Proton has Brought Over 6,500 Windows Games to Linux

Project Proton is a tool developed by Valve Software which allows Windows games to run on Linux through Steam. The project was launched in 2018 as a forked version of WINE with some additional features such as DirectX over Vulkan. According to ProtonDB a fan page which reports game compatibility there are now over 6,500 games which work flawlessly without any modifications on Linux.

This is an amazing achievement for the Linux gaming community and outshines the work of any porting company, at the current rate over 100 games are gaining complete compatibility each month and the average quality of games has also increased. Out of the top 1000 Steam games 67% run perfectly after minor tweaks.

Patents Reveal Possible New Valve Steam Controller

Valve may be working on a new Steam Controller with swappable components like those found on the Xbox Elite Controller according to recently published patents. While this patent doesn't guarantee we will see a next generation steam controller it does highlight Valve's internal efforts in developing a new controller. The original steam controller wasn't the success many had hoped for and was discontinued in late 2019 after a myriad of issues.

The patent was filed in late 2018 but was only published last month and reveals several interesting abilities of the controller, the new version while maintaining the distinctive steam controller design would swap the joystick for a D-pad. The patent also includes information about a feature that would introduce more customization options for button and trigger mapping depending on the game or software. These ideas build on the original premise of the steam controller and presents a vast array of modding options.

Valve's Studio Orchestra begins Releasing its Iconic Soundtracks on Spotify

In case you didn't know, Valve Studio Orchestra is the group behind the iconic soundtracks of many Valve games including DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2. This week, the soundtracks for both DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2 became available to stream on Spotify, Valve Studio Orchestra has also hinted the Left 4 Dead soundtrack may soon be joining them.

The soundtrack for Valve's Portal series already exist on Spotify, as do tracks from Valve's Half-Life series. You can find the Valve Studio Orchestra Spotify page here.
DOTA 2 Team Fortress 2

Half Life: Alyx Now Released for VR Systems, Receives Acclaim in Reviews

Valve's Half Life: Alyx has been finally released, after the company first teased, and then unwrapped the game back in November 2019. Half Life: Alyx has been completely developed for the VR gaming crown, with a focus on execution that meant for it to finally be VR's killer app - much like Halo was for the original Xbox. Valve describes the game as a full-length release in the Half Life universe, slotting in the 20-year time gap between the events of the original Half Life and Half Life 2.

Of course, to play this game, you need a PC-based VR headset to play the game through Steam. The game has received rave reviews already, featuring a 93 Metacritic score based on 24 critic reviews, and an 8.2 user score. Give it some time before actually looking for guidance in that user review score, though. Valve founder Gabe Newell had this to say: "Half-Life: Alyx represents the culmination of Valve's technological advancement over the past few years. We have built SteamVR, our game engine, our tools, and VR hardware specifically to enable us to ship the best content we know how to create. Today, as we ship Alyx remotely from our homes, we are hoping that everyone stays safe and has a great time playing the game. Please let us know what you think."

Valve Index VR back on Sale on Monday for $999

Valve's Index VR headset is expected to go back on sale on Monday, March 9th, when Valve will again re-fill its stock of Index VR headsets, according to Engadget. Just in time for the Half-Life: Alyx launch, Valve has decided to supply all of the gamers with a stock of the headsets so everyone can experience the new Half-Life game with Valve's Index VR. Considering that Half-Life: Alyx is dropping on March 23rd, Valve thought of everyone in need of a new VR headset and decided to offer it on Monday. Valve is expecting the headset to sell out completely, so its best to be early if you want to get one too, for $999. The sale will begin at 1PM eastern time.

Steam Reveals Its Top Sellers for 2019

Steam has revealed the games that sold the most on the platform for this year of 2019. While Steam's own numbers don't represent the entirety of the PC market - considering other digital storefronts such as GOG, EPIC Games Store and publisher-exclusive stores like Origin also have a relevant market share - this does let us take a considered peek at the PC gaming landscape. Steam's top sellers also includes top grossing, where games that have store-bound skins or extras are also taken into account).

Steam's Platinum lineup includes all the hallmarks of PC gaming: online experiences such as Warframe, DOTA 2, PUBG, and the Elder Scrolls Online, through strategy experiences such as Civilization VI and Total War: Three Kingdoms. Considering that Destiny 2 also made it in the platform, many gamers actually enjoy that experience - it is unclear if Steam considers every redeem from the Blizzard store into the Steam Store a sale, but if not, it's mighty impressive that a game that released on October 1st.

Half-Life: Alyx Officially Revealed, Will Release March 2020

Valve has taken the proverbial wraps off the already-teased, and now revealed, Half Life: Alyx. The latest installment in the Half-Life universe, again, isn't a sequel to the narrative that has been left midway with the ending of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Instead, it's a prequel of sorts, situated in the 20-year time gap between the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2. It's at this point in the timeline that players will accompany Alyx and her father, Elias, in their fight against the Combine.

Engine-wise, the game will make use of the Source 2 engine, and will be released with accompanying Source 2 tools for worldbuilding, allowing players to design and distribute their own worlds set in this universe. The game will be a single-player, story-driven FPS affair, and will make heavy use of Half-Life's physics interactions. The game is being announced as a full-length game release built from the ground-up for VR - it's not just a VR adventure the development team embarked on, though it did start that way. But let that be for a while: go after the break to watch the game's trailer. I dare you to say this doesn't quite look like your Half-Life dream game.

Valve To Announce Half-Life VR Game, Half-Life: Alyx, on November 21st

Well, that headline must've been met with both a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, and a sudden, stab-like wound on the back of many readers. The usage of Valve and Half-Life together in the same sentence has been the victim of multiple memes and disappointments over the years, with the studio being seemingly unable to keep up with the mantle of great games it has released before in the Half-Life universe. Half-Life 3 is already so much of a failed expectation that the game could (likely) never live up to the expectations set on it at this point in time. It seems valve is shrugging the game away with a Half-Life set VR game, though, in the form of Half-Life: Alyx.

Valve itself have posted a teaser image on Twitter, announcing it as a flagship VR game available for SteamVR. To be unveiled on November 21st, nothing much is known about the game by now; but it's expected it will be a VR-exclusive experience. The game started out as a single-player exploration experience for VR, and it seems to have found its way developed into a full-fledged game. Apparently, this Half-Life: Alyx game is the first in Valve's plans of releasing more VR games in the future, which may or may not be set in the Half-Life universe. This could actually be an interesting experience for VR, if you can get beyond the usual betrayal of not seeing an announcement for Half-Life 3. Who knows - this could even be the killer app for VR, or an Half-Life renaissance in the minds of gamers and Valve themselves. At the very least, we know it will induce nostalgia.

Valve Offices Burgled, Thief Does Away with $40,000 Worth Equipment and Games

A man broke into the offices of Valve Software in September, and did away with $40,000 worth equipment and game keys. He was caught on camera trying to sell these keys at a Game Stop store. 32-year-old Shawn Shaputis already had six warrants for his arrest out on him when he broke into the Bellevue WA offices of one of the world's largest game distribution companies. The suspect is still at large, and is summoned to appear before court. Should he fail to show up, additional warrants for arrest will be put out. Valve Software owns Steam, the world's largest online game distribution platform.
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