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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.

Chinese Gamers to Finally Get Steam, Sort of

Valve announced that Steam will finally enter the Chinese market. The Chinese version of Steam will be entirely different from the International version of Steam (available in markets such as Taiwan, India, and Australia). Valve's Chinese partner, Perfect World Entertainment, which already operates a Steam-like DRM platform called Arc, will also operate Steam China, which will go under the brand name "Zhengqi Pingtai" (Steam Platform).

The need for a China-specific version of Steam arises from stringent regulations by China on not just game content, but also data-localization. This partitioning of the userbase cuts both ways, as it keeps data of non-Chinese Steam users from being localized in China. Perfect World will also handle the individual screening and publication of Steam titles to not break any Chinese laws. The platform will initially have 40 titles, including Valve's homebrew "Dota2" and "Dota Underlords." Perfect World CEO Xiao Hong assured gamers that they will benefit from high-bandwidth and low-latency servers spread across China.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.7.2 Drivers

AMD late Tuesday posted its latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition. Version 19.7.2 adds optimization for "GEARS 5" beta. It fixes a number of issues, beginning with Facebook being unavailable with Radeon ReLive. "Star Wars Battlefront II" textures appearing pixellated or blurry with the DirectX 11 API has also been fixed. Radeon Overlay flickering in DirectX 9 apps with Radeon Image Sharpening enabled, is fixed. Valve Index HMD experiencing flickering when launching SteamVR on machines with Radeon RX 5700-series graphics cards, is fixed.

Radeon WattMan auto-tuning global settings not applying per-game has also been fixed. WattMan showing max values instead of increased values in auto-tuning results screen has also been fixed. The WattMan memory clock gauge now correctly auto-updates. Texture corruption on enemy models in "Doom" (2016) has been fixed. A bug that caused Radeon display drivers to fail to uninstall in hybrid graphics configurations has been fixed. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.7.2

Valve Officially Launches the Valve Index VR HMD, Full Kit Preorder Up for $999

We knew this was coming, given Valve's own teaser confirmation from March, and then a faux pas that resulted in an incomplete Steam store page ending up public for a short time. Valve had promised more details would come in May, and here we are with a lot of information available about the Valve Index headset, the controllers, the base stations, as well as retail pricing + availability.

Name aside, the Valve Index specs that leaked before end up holding true with the retail product. The headset uses dual 1440x1600 RGB LCDs which Valve claims helps provide 50% more subpixels relative to an OLED display. This in turn should result in higher effective sharpness for the same rendering horsepower, and is further accentuated via a 3x better fill factor to mitigate the dreaded screen-door effect. The headset runs at 120 Hz with full backwards compatibility to 90 Hz to work with VR titles built around that specification and, more interestingly, also supports an experimental 144 Hz mode. PC gamers have long known the benefits of higher framerates, and this is especially valid with VR, but time will tell how the rest of the ecosystem works around this. Equally important to VR gaming is the illumination period, which allows on-screen imagery to remain sharp while you are in motion just as well as when at rest. Valve claims up to a 5x reduction here, with a rated illumination period of 0.33 to 0.53 ms depending on the real time framerate. More to see past the break, so be sure to do so if this interests you!

Epic's Tim Sweeney Says They'd Stop Hunting for Exclusives if Steam Matched Epic Games Store in Comission Rates

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has come out with an interesting commitment: that EPIC would stop hunting for exclusives in the PC platform is Steam were to match them in their 88% return to developers for each game sold. Being a developer themselves, Epic games have certainly looked into creating their own storefront as a way to escape the clutches of Steam's cut in the digital, PC distribution market (a move that had already been done by the likes of EA and Ubisoft, if you'll remember). A commitment to stop hunting for exclusives (and thus segregating the PC games offering across different platforms) is a clear indicator of Epic's mission with the Epic Games Store: to bring back power and returns to developers such as them (while taking a cut from the profits for themselves, obviously).

Check out after the break for the full content of Sweeney's remarks regarding their Games Store and the problem with Steam. I, for one, don't see much of a problem with virtual segregation of games across multiple PC-bound platforms - one of the strengths of PC gaming is actually the ability to install multiple applications that increase functionality, after all. But if the end game of all of this is simply to give more back to developers and Epic's move facilitates that by forcing Valve's hand in matching them for fear of drying profits - then so be it.

Steam Hardware Survey Shows AMD's Continued Struggle to Gain Market Share

Steam's latest hardware survey has been released, and while there is no real head scratching changes, it does continue to give us a glimpse into current market trends. In regards to CPU adoption, both six-core and eight-core processors now account for 12.2% and 2.2% respectively. Looking at just Windows data shows six-core processors gained a bit over 2% market share in 3 months. Meanwhile, eight-core offerings saw a market share increase of roughly 0.5%. Speaking of processors, Intel still dominates the market capturing an 82% share. AMD, while competitive in many tasks besides gaming still only has an 18% share. Looking at the data would lead one to believe AMD is gaining back market share; however looking at previous hardware surveys their current share is mostly holding steady. Considering Intel still offers better gaming performance for the time being its unlikely AMD will make any real gains in the Steam hardware survey until gaming performance reaches true parity.

Looking at graphics cards, NVIDIA still reigns supreme holding the same 75% market share they have been clutching for quite some time. AMD, on the other hand, continues to struggle, holding a paltry 15% share with Intel and their integrated graphics still managing to hold a 10% share. Considering AMD's only release as of late was the Radeon VII it is not all that surprising to see no change here. That said, NVIDIA's dominance is indeed not a good thing as it means competition is minimal, and pricing is likely to remain high. Right now according to the Steam hardware survey, NVIDIA currently holds the first 12 spots in regards to today's most popular graphics cards, which combine for a 52.8% share. The most popular of these being the GTX 1060. You have to go all the way down to 13th place to find an AMD graphics card which just so happens to be the Radeon RX 580 with its 1.1% share. To find the next AMD graphics card you have to go all the way down to 19th where the companies Radeon R7 Graphics holds steady at 0.87%. Hopefully, AMD's upcoming Navi graphics architecture can bring them back to prominence and drive more competition.

"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?

Valve Index VR HMD Details Leak Via Premature Store Page Release, Ships June 2019

When we first covered Valve's own teaser about their first-party VR hardware ecosystem under the Valve Index moniker, we were not expecting to hear much more until May. Thanks to an error on their part, product pages for the headset, base stands, and controllers were all published prematurely on Steam for a few hours yesterday, and that was enough time for all the information to be saved online by others. The product pages were not complete, and lacked details that we expect to get sooner than later, but Valve has since confirmed that all information inadvertently leaked are accurate and we now more about the retail package now.

To begin with, May 1 is targeted as the official announcement date which will also bring with it pre-order options for those going this route in PC VR. The complete package will contain the headset itself with integrated headphones, of which we have a better render available now as seen below, a tether cable using DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 connections (and not the VirtualLink standard we were hoping to see), a region-specific power adapter and plug(s), and two face gaskets (narrow and wide). Interestingly the now-renamed Index Controllers are not included and are an optional, separate purchase. This is also the case with the Index base stations, which all leads us to assume that existing HTC Vive controllers and base stations will be compatible with the headset, or there will be another, more complete package to choose from. No pricing information available yet, and Valve says they are still finalizing this as well as actual shipping detail- with an aim to hit it in June.

Valve Confirms First-Party VR Headset Titled Valve Index, Launches May 2019

PAX East 2019 brought with it some exciting news, and the world of virtual reality no doubt sees this news as the biggest in quite some time. Valve has finally made good on their promises from yesteryear, bringing in personnel to work on both the hardware and software side of the VR market. We first saw a hint of this via a prototype VR HMD late last year, with leaked specs confirming it was Valve's own design going beyond the established competition at the time from HTC Vive and Oculus. Since then, the Vive Pro has come out with an even higher-end version using eye-tracking to target prosumers initially, and also showcasing foveated rendering that will no doubt herald VR getting more mainstream and allowing for a higher graphical fidelity as well.

The so-called Valve Index has been listed on Steam now, with no other information to see than from the image below. We know it is coming in a couple of months, perhaps even during Computex although it is unlikely. It certainly looks similar to the prototype HMD, and presumably retains the 135° field-of-view and 2,880 x 1,600 total resolution. No mention of the Steam Knuckles controller here, but that is no surprise for a teaser. What we can tell is the headset has a physical slider, presumably to assist with pupillary distance calibration, as well as fairly large lenses that extend outwards which may assist with IR-based tracking. There is no mention of HTC anywhere here, and it would be right up Valve's alley to introduce this at a relatively affordable price point to then make up on software and distribution (savings via Steam) instead. Perhaps we will see the long-rumored Half Life VR as a launch title? Time will tell, and this may well be the big boost to gaming VR that is sorely needed.

Valve Announces Steam Link App for Mobile Game Streaming Anywhere

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Valve had promised continued support to the Steam Link after discontinuing it last year, and most took it to mean basic updates to the hardware device itself at the time. That was 2018, and it is remarkable how the topic of in-house game streaming has come up since. Be it Google's Project Stream which seemingly is leading up to a major announcement by the company at GDC coming up very shortly, or Microsoft introducing their new Wireless Display app for PC game streaming on the XBOX One, as well as bringing its XBOX Live service to mobile platforms on iOS or Android alike, 2019 seems to herald a re-focus into the concept of game streaming whether the infrastructure is ready or not.

Valve for their own part has had their Steam Link be enjoyed by a fairly niche audience, one that shares a more local form of game streaming from a host device to another on the same network. NVIDIA's Shield offered a similar concept, and that too has not really made the news as much as NVIDIA would surely have wanted. This latest news from Valve allows streaming of one's Steam library (games, in particular) to phones, tablets, and TVs with no download or service fees applicable. Interested users can participate in the open beta program by simply downloading the app (Google Play store only for now) or on the Raspberry Pi as has been the case for a few months already. The Steam Link app is compatible with a number of popular Bluetooth controllers, including the Steam Controller, and Valve recommends a 5 GHz network or wired Ethernet for best experience. Looks like the weekend just got busier than I originally planned!

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.

Valve to Remove all Non-game Videos from Steam

Steam is perhaps most known for their massive video-game library, but they have expanded their product portfolio in the recent years to include software and other video content, including movies that could be rented or even purchased. Valve perhaps wanted to go beyond just being a game storefront, and take in some of that hollywood money as well. Things did not turn out as they expected, however, with the vast majority of end users not using the Steam platform for this venture. It also did not help that movies tend to operate with in a market where Steam does not boast a large market share, and licensing rights meant that the available content was meager at best. Valve tried to work around this by providing a platform for free content as well, but that did not help either.

In a blog post, Valve confirmed that they are making changes to all non-gaming video content on Steam. Indeed, as of the time of this post, there is no more Video section on Steam. They mentioned, and I quote, "In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam". Accordingly, any existing content will be retired in the coming weeks, although owners of previously purchased video content will still find it accessible in their library. With pressure building from competing store fronts, perhaps this renewed focus on video games will be just what Valve, and Steam, want to have.

Steam Desertions Bode Well for Half Life 3 Prospects

When Steam hit critical mass in the mid 2000s, digital distribution of games was close to non-existent, Internet speeds were too low to transmit 8-10 GB games that would ship in DVDs, and game patching was a mess. Steam solved many of these problems by offering distribution, DRM, aftersales support (automatic updates), and even multiplayer services across its network. Steam didn't become popular on its own, though. Valve Software was mainly a game developer, and it marketed Steam by making its AAA smash-hits "Half Life 2" (and its episodes), "Counter Strike," and "Left 4 Dead," exclusive to the DRM platform. Even if you bought those games on DVDs, they would have to be installed and supported through a Steam account. Those games served as tech-demonstrators for Steam, and how efficient an all-encompassing DRM platform can work.

Steam maintained its dominance for a good 8-odd years until big game publishers such as EA and Ubisoft wised up to the concept of multi-brand distribution platforms Steam mastered. Steam operates on a revenue-sharing model. For every Dollar spent on a game, a percentage of the money is retained by Steam toward its services. EA and Ubisoft figured it wasn't rocket-science to copy Steam, and came up with their own platforms, EA Origin, and Ubisoft UPlay, both of which are multi-brand. They figured their capital-expenditure toward running these platforms was less than what they'd pay Steam at scale. EA restricted all its titles to Origin, while Ubisoft made some of its games available on Steam, even though UPlay would remain a concentric DRM layer to those games. Then something changed in 2018.

Subnautica Currently Available for Free on Epic Games Store

Epic Games has been pulling a few major moves in the PC gaming market lately, none bigger than creating their own game store and following up with shifting over some of their games from Steam. The company promises a more lucrative profit distribution share to developers (to which Valve had preemptively countered slightly with their own Steam revenue update), and that did help get some game developers and publishers on board, including Supergiant with their new games Hades.

To appease the cautious PC audience thus far, Epic Games has decided to begin with some free games for account holders. As of the time of this post, the excellent aquatic survival game Subnautica is up for grabs. The game was somewhat of a sleeper hit this year, and well worth the free price of admission for anyone interested. The game is available through December 27, after which Epic Games will offer Super Meat Boy for free the following two weeks.

Valve Announces New Battle Royale Mode for CS:GO, Changes Model to Free to Play

Valve has brought about an update to their eons-old competitive shooter CS:GO. The update brings the game to the modern, post-Fortnite era of multiplayer games, with a new Battle Royale mode named "Danger Zone". The "Danger Zone" Battle Royale mode cuts the number of maximum players to 18, though, which is a far cry from other market offerings - but has designed to mode so that each match lasts at most 10 minutes, which should bring about some escalating tension despite the reduced number of players compared to other Battle Royale game modes. The usual "save the hostages" mechanic has been baked into the mode as a way for players to make money, which they can use to purchase weapons, a la classic CS fashion.

The other move that Valve has made in order to boost popularity of CS:GO has been to make the game free to play, waiving the usual $15 entry fee. It just wasn't justifiable, it seems, to keep such a price on a game released back in 2012 - especially not when compared to the money-making prowess of Fortnite.

SteamVR's Motion Smoothing Exits Beta, Enabled Now By Default on Windows 10 PCs With NVIDIA GPUs

A few weeks ago Valve developers announced a new technology called Motion Smoothing that would enable low-end GPUs to support VR games without problems. The system "looks at the last two delivered frames, estimates motion and animation, and extrapolates a new frame. Synthesizing new frames keeps the current application at full framerate, advances motion forward, and avoids judder".

Motion Smoothing has been available in Beta for some time, but the test phase has come to an end and it seems the technology is ready to enter the final, stable stage. You'll still need an HTC VIVE or HTC VIVE Pro headset -Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headset have their own display drivers with other tricks to sustain frame rates-, and the lack of AMD GPU support is somewhat disappointing, but hopefully Valve will fix this in future iterations of this technology.

Valve Says Goodbye to Steam Link But Will Continue to Offer Support

Valve seemed to have the ambition to become a hardware company when he launched peripherals like his Steam Link and its Steam Controller. The scope of these products has been limited, and now the company reports that "the supply of physical Steam Link hardware devices is sold out in Europe and almost sold out in the US". Valve has discontinued the product, although the company will continue to offer support for the Steam Link.

The idea was (and still is) really nice: any decent PC or laptop can be converted into a video game and even video content server, allowing the user to enjoy those experiences on much less powerful devices through an Ethernet or a good wireless connection. They started supporting Linux and Windows desktop and laptops, but Steam Link made it possible to stream video games to Android devices (Apple rejected the application for iOS) and Samsung Smart TVs. The product, announced in 2015, therefore says goodbye, although surely those who already have it will be able to continue enjoying it for a long time.

Valve Seemingly Preparing Their Own VR Headset; Hints Point to Half Life VR Bundle

In June 2016 Valve announced 'Destinations', a Steam workshop not easy to find anymore, that allowed the end user to enter real and fictitious scenarios through the magic of virtual reality. The idea was intriguing, but the media was not completely sold and judged Valve's proposal as both "the best and the worst of VR". From all this, however, came a singular discovery: those who reverse-engineered its code discovered in it the HLVR acronym, which initiated a wide debate about the potential appearance of a Half Life VR (HLVR) version specifically developed for VR headsets.

Lending further credence to this hypothesis was Gabe Newell's announcement in February 2017 that Valve was preparing three big titles for virtual reality- two of them based on Source 2, and one of them based on Unity. More such signs appeared in the summer of 2018, and everything was pointing towards this project being indeed real, that it would likely be based on Source 2, and that it would offer a full-fledged blockbuster title that this generation of VR has been desperately seeking. We now have more data courtesy a "leaked email" to Reddit user 2flock that suggests Valve's work is apparently going beyond just VR game development, as images of a prototype device seen below confirm that Valve is also working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD), one whose development would also be more advanced than initially suspected.

Valve Approves Team Fortress 2008 Mod, Reverses Decision, Angers Modding Community

Well this was a tale that took a roller-coaster ride, and then some. It started with a YouTube trailer for a mod that promised to take back Team Fortress to its 2008-era, which unsurprisingly got many fans of the game excited. The developer/modder who went by the handle XYK initiated a website (now inactive), along with other social media channels that included an active Discord server for the project. Timely updates followed, and good news came in the form of news from Valve that informed the modder of approval of a Steam release, as well as upcoming beta test keys as well. This was followed by Valve wanting some things to be changed, which were also done and things looked smooth at the time.

Then Valve decided they were not sure the mod was more than just a re-purposing of leaked game code, and decided to reverse their decision of approving a Steam release for the mod. This, as expected, did not go well with the vast majority of fans. The killing blow to the project came, however, not from Valve but from the modder himself who decided to go out with a negative bang of sorts instead of working with Valve. As it is, not only is the game community upset at both Valve and the modder but the u-turn taken by Valve has since been negatively criticized by other modders as well.

Motion Smoothing in SteamVR Will Make Low-End GPUs Ready to Support VR Games

Developers at SteamVR have announced a new feature called Motion Smoothing that will enable "more players on more PCs to play high-fidelity VR games and experiences". This technique works in a similar way to what it does on flat screen TVs. In this case, Motion Smoothing interpolates between two existing frames and creates a new in-between frame that smooths the experience and increases framerate. That adds latency, which is not a good idea in VR experiences, and that's precisely what's different at SteamVR implementation.

With that feature enable, SteamVR detects when an application is going to drop frames. If that happens, "it looks at the last two delivered frames, estimates motion and animation, and extrapolates a new frame. Synthesizing new frames keeps the current application at full framerate, advances motion forward, and avoids judder". This allows the user to enjoy full framerate while the performance requirements decrease. That way, even users with graphics card not specially powerful can still enjoy VR experiences without problems.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0 Released

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0 released today with useful new features and several stability updates. We worked extensively on the ability of GPU-Z to detect fake NVIDIA graphics cards (i.e cards not really having the GPU advertised on the box). GPU-Z now prepends "[FAKE]" to the Graphics Card name field, and lights up with a caution triangle. This capability is forward compatible for the supported GPUs (listed in the changelog), so for example, it will be able to detect a fake RTX 2060, which in reality uses a GK106 GPU. The second big feature is the ability to extract and upload graphics card BIOS of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 graphics cards. Graphics cards with multiple independent fans (each with its own speed control) are gaining popularity, and we've added the ability to read and log fan-speeds of individual fans on NVIDIA "Turing" graphics cards that support the feature, in addition to fan speed percentage monitoring.

Our feature-rich "Advanced" tab now also shows information on HDMI and DisplayPort connectors of your graphics cards. Power-draw on NVIDIA graphics cards is now reported both as a percentage of TDP and as an absolute value in Watts. Among the bugs fixed are a system hang due to Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) kicking in when GPU-Z is running in the background; memory bandwidth reading on RTX 2080 & RTX 2080 Ti with GDDR6 memory, AMD Radeon RX 400-series GPU utilization monitoring, and improved texts for system memory usage sensors.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0

The change-log follows.

Valve Apparently Working on Compatibility Tools Allowing Windows Games to be Played on Linux

Keen-eyed Linux and Valve uses have noticed what could seemingly be a big reveal and shake-up to games' compatibility with the Linux platform. If you're a die-hard Linux fan, or even if you're just a curious dabbler in that operating system, you know that there aren't many concerted efforts of bringing game experiences to that operating system. A good port requires many more hours than game developers are willing to put into it - let alone compiling a native implementation of their game for that OS.

However, Valve, being the most important digital games distributor through their Steam platform, know there's an untapped source of income in that part of the market. And if developers won't do it themselves, then Valve seem to be willing to take the matter into their own hands. This speculation arises from Steam's GUI files, which when looked at with SteamDB's Steam Tracker, include a hidden section with unused text related to an (as of yet) unannounced Steam Play system, which "(...) will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems."

Valve Reportedly Bringing Flash Sales Back from the Dead

It's been two years since Valve decided to take away the excitement of their flash sales out of the equation. The thought-process was that by having sales go uninterrupted from the beginning through to the end of each sale period would maximize chances of users being able to find it in their budgets - and in their time - more chances to purchase said games. However, one thing is for sure: that means that for users who see the sale in the first day, they've really seen it all.

Valve News Network's Tyler McVicker says the flash sales are returning in a different way now. This time, developers will be able to choose how long they want each game's flash sale to last: 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours, meaning Steam's front page will likely be updated every hour. This is both good and bad, as we've seen; however, it seems that Valve is erring towards the side of excitement and daily viewing of flash sales as being quantifiably better than the alternative. For one, I can see that users that see a flash sale are much more likely to do some impulse buys than if they know a sale will last for a long time. It's basic psychology here.

Valve Disables CS:GO Lootboxes in Belgium & Netherlands

Following Valve's decision to disable trading in the Netherlands due to that country's legal statutes regarding gambling, the company is now taking other steps to comply with the country's Dutch Gaming Authority. Players in the Netherlands and Belgium "will be restricted from opening containers" following this week's patch, according to the patch notes. This will prevent players in those countries from even opening the lootboxes. As the "Miscellaneous" section of the patch notes reads:
  • Updated Steam and CS:GO account restrictions for users in Netherlands and Belgium:
  • Steam Trading and Steam Market features are now re-enabled for Steam accounts in Netherlands.
  • Customers in Netherlands and Belgium will be restricted from opening containers.

Lootboxes: Valve Disables Trading for CS:GO and Dota 2 in Netherlands

Not long ago, the Netherlands ruled that loot boxes in games are gambling, and have been designed to get people addicted, in order to spend more money. Gaming companies had until June 20 (yesterday) to either change their game mechanics accordingly or to apply for a gambling license.

This has now caused Valve to disable trading of items on CS:GO and Dota 2, as the current interpretation of the law has a little loophole that considers loot boxes as gambling only, when the in-game goods are transferable between players.

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