News Posts matching "Valve"

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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.

Steam Releases 'External Funds Used' Tool

Have you ever wondered how much money you've invested into your entire Steam collection? Well, now you can! Valve has recently added a nifty feature called 'External Funds Used' that allows Steam users to see the total amount of money spent at the Steam store. All users have to do is sign into their Steam account at this link. Do note that the tool doesn't take into account key activations. So, games that have been purchased through third-party stores like GOG, Green Man Gaming, Humble Bundle, G2A, and etc. will not contribute to the grand total. The "OldSpend" field equals to the amount of money that was spent before the Limited User Account policy was implemented in 2015. The "PWSpend" is related to purchases made on games operated by Perfect World Entertainment. a Chinese company that runs CS:GO and DOTA 2 in China. So, how much have you spent? Let us know in the comments below.

Apple Claims Steam Link App Violates App Store Guidelines

As most of you have heard by now, Apple revoked the release of the Steam Link app on their platform last week. Concerned customers have been sending emails to Apple to inquire about the reasons behind the decision. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, stated that the Steam Link application didn't comply with the App Store guidelines. Unfortunately, he didn't explain exactly how the application violated the guidelines. Nevertheless, Apple assured their customers that they will continue to work with Valve to bring the Steam experience to iOS users.

Steam Link App for iOS Rejected by Apple

Apple approved the Steam Link app for release. On Weds, May 9th, Valve released news of the app. The following morning, Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team. Valve appealed, explaining the Steam Link app simply functions as a LAN-based remote desktop similar to numerous remote desktop applications already available on the App Store.

Ultimately, that appeal was denied leaving the Steam Link app for iOS blocked from release. The team here spent many hours on this project and the approval process, so we're clearly disappointed. But we hope Apple will reconsider in the future.

Valve Announces the Steam Link, Steam Video Apps are Coming to Its Ecosystem

Valve today announced the upcoming release of two additional apps that will further the way users can interact with - and more importantly, game on - their Steam platform. The two apps, dubbed Steam Link and Steam video, will bring users new functionality that aims to extend their freedom to game and consume content in new ways, particularly geared for mobile, on-the-go interaction.

The Steam Link app, slated to launch on the week of May 21st, allows gamers to experience their Steam library of games on their Android (phone, tablet, TV) and iOS-based (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV) devices while connected via 5Ghz network or wired Ethernet to a host system (Mac or PC). Android access will be initially offered in beta. The Steam Link App will feature support for the Steam Controller, MFI controllers, and more across both platforms. The Steam Video app will take a little while longer to perfect, though, and should be available on the start of summer, just in time for those long hours when users just want to enjoy the thousands of movies and shows available on Steam directly via their Android and iOS devices over Wi-Fi or LTE - in both offline and streaming modes.

Firewatch Developer Campo Santo Acquired by Valve

Firewatch Developer Campo Santo has announced in a blog post that their studio has been acquired by Valve. The affair has come about after a sort of enamorement period after the team at Campo Santo drank a bottle of champagne that was meant to be opened with the attribution of a Game of the Year accolade to Valve's own Portal 2 - back when Valve actually developed games (some of us can remember that time, yes).

The message sent by the Campo Santo team is one of excitement at the opportunity, and confidence that Valve will be a partner in the development their studio wants to make, rather than an evil overlord mind-bent on franchise and creativity destruction. Knowing Valve, I'm sure people would agree with the developers. Here's hoping this marks a newfound interest from Valve in games development... even if by proxy. How I miss GLADoS' jokes... but that's a story for another day. For now, you can read the press release from Campo Santo right after the break.

Valve Uses over 1,700 CPUs to Catch CS:GO Cheaters

Valve was one of the first to run a centralized game distribution + multiplayer service, through Steam, and its in-house alternative to the Punkbuster anti-cheating software, in the form of VAC (Valve Anti-Cheating). Over the years, VAC has evolved to leverage newer technologies. Its latest avatar is VACnet, an AI deep-learning system built up of over 1,700 CPUs, to more intelligently sniff out cheaters. VACnet leverages CS:GO's player-operated replay system. It studies replays of players who have been reported for cheating, and studies their replays for patterns of cheating, such as wallhacks, aimbots, and more.

What makes this different from previous approaches to the problem is that the AI evaluates the behavior of the gamer through their inputs in a way only a human could, before this. It also makes up its own criteria for spotting cheaters, as it learns more about cheating, so creative and new cheaters are quicker to spot. The decision to suspend or ban players ultimate falls in the hands of humans. VACnet sniffs out the most probable cheaters, and reports its findings to human moderators that determine guilt, and hand out suspensions or bans. VACnet has the potential to increase "convictions" of cheaters by close to four fold.

Lunar Sale, Wishlist Tweaks Hit Valve's Steam Platform

Valve yesterday announced the begin of yet another wallet-burning sale to appeal to our consumerist bones. The Lunar Sale, as it is being called, is live from February 15th through February 19th, so, a mere four days with tons (thousands) of games under heavy discounts that can sometimes go up to 90%. On this front, it's business as usual - buy all those games you've been wanting at a fire-sale price, and then look at them guiltily as they collect virtual dust on your backlog.

Other, somewhat more relevant changes that have been made by valve to the overall Steam experience also look towards making it easier for customers to part with their hard-earned currency of choice (or not so hard-earned, it's all good for Valve, really.) Namely, there are some changes to the wishlist which now allow users to place items on their shopping cart directly from their wishlist page - which is nice, since before, you had to enter the games' own store page, and then add it to your cart). Of course, for items that are sold in packages or where there's a bundle, customers will be invited to peruse "Details" on the package, via the relevant store page. There's also the ability to sort your wishlist gamers through those that have the higher discount percentage - a handy tool for bargain-bin hunters. There's also tag search, and filtering options to exclude games such as W"Early Access" titles that aren't currently finished - and that may, or may not, be finished in the future.

ClockStone Software & Valve Come Together to Make Bridge Constructor Portal

We welcome all lucky applicants to Bridge Constructor Portal with our new vehicle-based test chambers, Quantum Tunnels and patented Aperture technology! For the last year we've been secretly working in our underground labs on the next iteration of the million-selling Bridge Constructor series. This new stand-alone title will release on PC, MacOS, Linux, mobile devices, and console, and fully embraces the Portal license, one of the most beloved video game franchises of the last decade.

Bridge Constructor Portal will blend the laws of structural engineering and technology straight from Aperture Laboratories into an exciting new game experience, all under the demanding gaze of GLaDOS. Bridge Constructor Portal will be released on December 20 2017 for Windows, MacOS and Linux as well as for mobile devices. The console versions will follow in early 2018.

Microsoft to Roll-out Anti-cheating Tech with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

With its upcoming "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10, Microsoft is preparing to roll out its own game anti-cheating platform, under two new technologies, TruePlay and Game Monitor. TruePlay provides a "new set of tools to combat cheating within their PC games," according to Microsoft. This is similar to VAC (Valve Anti-Cheating). From the looks of it, the TruePlay API is limited to games built for the UWP (Universal Windows Platform), such as recent additions to the Forza franchise. Game Monitor is another side of this coin. When enabled, the operating system shares system information with games to weed out cheating tools such as aimbots. Enabling it could soon become a requirement of certain online multiplayer games.

Games with TruePlay run in a "protected" (read: sandboxed) process, which mitigates a class of common cheating tools, as the game's real PID is never exposed to other processes. A separate Windows process will be on constant lookout for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios. Data (read: telemetry) of this process will be shared with game developers after determining that cheating could have occurred. The "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10 is likely to be released before December.

Ex-Valve Writer Marc Laidlaw Releases Would-be Half-Life 2: Episode 3 Story

In what might sadly be the closest we'll ever get to knowing Valve's original plans for Half Life 2: Episode 3, if you will, Ex-Valve lead writer on Half-Life Marc Laidlaw has released a prospective, would-be script for the game that never came to be. The writer, who recently left Valve after 18 years working for the company, posted the story entitled "Epistle 3" on his personal blog (which is, naturally experiencing heavy traffic). He then gave a heads-up through his Twitter account, commenting on the fact that his website was brought down by the sheer amount of traffic it generated, Laidlaw said "I guess fanfic is popular, even a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago."

Whether or not this closely resembles the would-be script for that third Half-Life installment only Laidlaw knows; perhaps this is just the writer's own take on what the story should have been, lacking any of the changes that it would incur during the development process. The fact that Laidlaw says this is fanfiction can be interpreted as a line of defense against lawsuits - as is the fact that he slightly altered the character's names from their originals (Gertrude Fremont seems a lost opportunity for Gordon Freeman's actual name...) Perhaps some crafty, dedicated users will create a mod that brings this story to fruition? Time will tell; for now, this seems to be as much closure as we're ever going to get. Follow the source links for Laidlaw's site, as well as GitHub and Pastebin links for the corrected story. There are also some interesting hints for a subsequent Half-Life 3, but alas, that one is even more of a mirage.

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.

Valve to Launch "Knuckles" VR Controllers; Include Individual Finger Tracking

Even though current VR controllers already do a competent job of tracking our movements in the 3D world, there is always room to improve (and VR has much, much room to improve.) AS such, valve is looking to improve the way we can interact with the VR worlds we are offered. And one of those ways is by improving gesture and hand recognition in these worlds. If ever something seemed to be designed to allow you to taunt your opponent, Valve's "Knuckles" controller is it.

Through the use of a new "CapSense" tech, which basically adds capacitive fields to the grip of the wand controller, games will be able to know whether you're fully gripping the controller or not. These sensors, which for now need to be calibrated on a per-user basis, can "detect the state of the user's hands", meaning, they're able to track the degree to which your fingers are curled or sticking out. Valve has used a technologically impressive solution for those cases where you might drop your controller for eagerness of showing your fingers to your enemies: an adjustable strap on both controllers that tightens around your hands. Valve has started to ship the Knuckles controllers out to developers, but there's no word yet on when consumer versions of the device might be available.
After the break: bonus taunts.

Valve and Pixvana bring Quality VR Video Content to Steam

Pixvana, makers of the cloud-based 360 video creation studio SPIN, today announced a partnership with Valve to integrate their software services into the greater Steam platform. A beta version of the SPIN software will now let users directly publish 360 video content directly to the Steam Store, which will allow Steam VR enabled headset users to browse a new huge library of high quality (up to 12k according to Pixvana) 360-degree video content.

LG Electronics Looks to Take a Share of the VR HMD Market

LG Electronics has just made one of the most cryptic, devoid-of-any-real-information announcements we've seen in recent years. The company will apparently enter the VR HMD field, and is looking to unveil its first prototype at this year's GDC in San Francisco, CA. LG will make use of Valve's GDC booth to showcase an HMD capable of delivering "a high fidelity, next generation VR experience".

That's about all the information we were given at face value. However, some other tidbits serve to paint a picture on how premature this announcement may have been: LG will purportedly be meeting with developers to "collect feedback and impressions as part of its effort to define the first commercial units". This means that the HMD is likely still in a proof of concept phase, early enough in development to cater to developers' expertise, needs and suggestions, which means it's probably still far removed from retail to be of any real import in the grand scheme of things. However, it Is a confirmed dip from another tech giant in the fully-fledged, high-performance VR HMD game. And judging by the proximity with Valve, we would expect LG's unit to borrow heavily from that company's input and vision for VR.

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).

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.

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.

ASUS Announces the ROG GR8S Steam Machine

A fusion between PC hardware giant ASUS' Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand, and Valve's Steam Machines, was bound to happen. With the new ROG GR8S, ASUS has taken a plunge into the exciting new gaming platform that bridges living room gaming consoles, and full-blown gaming PCs, backed by Steam. The ROG GR8S is roughly as big as a modern console such as Xbox One, but features ASUS' signature red and black ROG product design.

The ROG GR8S is peppered with a lot more wired connectivity than a console, offering two USB 2.0 (for controllers, keyboards, mice), four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 - both of support 4K Ultra HD at 60 Hz; gigabit Ethernet (Intel controller), digital and analog multi-channel audio connectivity. Under the hood, ASUS offers Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors (options), GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" graphics (options), between 4 GB and 16 GB of DDR3 system RAM (options), either 500 GB to 1 TB HDD or 128 GB to 512 GB SSD storage, and an 802.11 ac WLAN controller with Miracast receiver.

Valve Announces Link, Source 2, SteamVR, and More at GDC

Valve announces a number of product and technologies at this week's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. "We continue to see very strong growth in PC Gaming, with Steam growing 50% in the last 12 months," said Gabe Newell, Valve's president. "With these announcements we hope that we are helping build on that momentum."

Steam Machines, Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux PCs will be able to take advantage of a new product announced at GDC called Steam Link. Designed to extend your Steam experience to any room in the house, Steam Link allows you to stream all your Steam content from any PC or Steam Machine on the same home network. Supporting 1080p at 60Hz with low latency, Steam Link will be available this November for $49.99, and available with a Steam Controller for an additional $49.99 in the US (worldwide pricing to be released closer to launch).

Valve Runs a Direct3D to OpenGL Translation Layer

Digging through the source code tree of Dota 2, developers discovered Valve's latest creation, ToGL. Simply put, it's a Direct3D to OpenGL translation layer, which works to reduce duplication of effort in developing games for multiple platforms (such as Windows, Linux, and OS X). The software can translate Direct3D calls to their OpenGL analogues. So far, it can translate only certain kinds of calls within the Direct3D 9.0c API, which should fit Valve's needs adequately. It features a bytecode-level HLSL to GLSL shader language translator. It features only a limited shader model 3.0 support. ToGL is currently being provided by Valve as-is on GitHub, and is unsupported. Developers are free to incorporate it into their projects, and make modifications to it.

iBuyPower Announces SBX Steam Machine

There are very few instances where one product category can leap frog over to another and make a profound impact. Today, iBUYPOWER, together with Valve, is making one such leap. Introducing the iBUYPOWER SBX Steam machine, an ultra-simplified system designed to do one thing: entertain. Melding together the simplicity of a traditional game console, but harnessing power usually available to only high-end desktop PCs, iBUYPOWER is able to usher in both performance and content unheard of in the living room space.

Designed in Los Angeles, iBUYPOWER labored to create a highly tuned and optimized system that would deliver a sustainable 60 frames-per second gaming experience at true high-definition resolutions. Powered by multi-core processors in both AMD and Intel flavors and paired with the latest in graphics technology from AMD, customers will be able to jump a full generation ahead of the latest game consoles.
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