While other companies roll out the savings to celebrate holidays and new game launches, Valve's themed its latest after the humblest and most unassuming of all roots: the potato. Then again, the simple confection's been instrumental in keeping humanity from dying of starvation over the years, so we think that might be worth a few slashed price tags. Gamers have quickly discovered, however, that this isn't merely some goofy Valve theme. Well, ok, it's still pretty silly, but apparently potatoes have infested each of the formerly spud-less games. Why? No idea, but there's already a wiki dedicated to it.
GameStop has been watching the declining fortunes of brick and mortar bookstores over the past several years, and I think it’s safe to say the company’s management knows they are headed down a similar path. The first nod towards acknowledging the problem came just two days ago with the acquisition of Stardock’s Impulse PC distribution platform, along with a second company named Spawn Lab’s which specializes in on-live style streaming. Yesterday GameStop’s CEO Paul Raines detailed his future plans for the new acquisitions, and actually claims that he sees the retailer evolving in into a full-fledged “Technology Company”.
Hit the jump to read about GameStop’s future plans.
If you're a PC gamer, you probably use Steam. Maybe originally it was because Steam was the only way to get at juicy morsels like Half Life 2, but these days Valve's online marketplace is pretty much the best thing going, with a huge library of titles, hyper-competitive pricing, and a strong set of social features. Keep reading for 13 tips, tricks, and addons that'll help you get the most out of your Steam games!
Ever wanted to login to a steam account with every single game unlocked and ready to download? Valve CEO Gabe Newell is taunting gamers with this very promise by offering up his username and password for all to see. So now your wondering, what's the catch right? His account is protected by Steam Guard.
Hit the jump to learn more about this great new security feature.
Buying games is messy business. You have to find a decent store, avoid the bad employees, and then dodge and parry as you're assaulted by barbed ripostes of “trade-in!” and “pre-order!” Or, you know, you could always just use Steam. GamersGate CEO Theo Bergquist, however, thinks Valve's reign as beloved Emperor of Sales is nearly at an end.
We realize we're preaching to the choir here, but PC gaming is alive and well, folks. Nay, PC gaming is thriving and well. Sure, your local GameStop/Babbages likely reduced the PC game section to a sad looking rack situated between walls of console titles, but while brick and mortar store shelves are getting smaller, virtual shelves keep growing. No one knows this better than Valve, who's Steam platform raked in nearly $1 billion ($970 million) in revenue in 2010, according to Forcasting and Analyzing Digital Entertainment (FADE).
Families eagerly gathering in celebration. Kids tossing and turning in their beds as sheer excitement overwhelms their very beings. Groups of people going door-to-door, merrily singing out of sheer joy. So, why all the build up? What could possibly inspire such fervent glee? That's right: the Steam Holiday Sale.
Ok, there might be some other stuff involved too, but how can you not feel the need to erect some form of decorative tree at the prospect of Battlefield Bad Company 2 for $6.79 or Super Meat Boy for $3.75? Oh, and let's not forget Fallout 3 and all its expansions for the irksomely non-round (but still great!) price of $20.09. Also irresistibly tempting: every Oddworld game for a total of $12.49.
And those are only today's deals. As with all things involving Valve and penny-pinching, the Holiday Sale's a multi-day affair, so you might want to make a detour to your PC on your way to see what's under the tree. And even if you miss a day, there's a mountain of obscenely buyable bundles that'll be around for the duration. How does every Valve game ever for $49.99 sound to you? What about eight of the best indie titles out there for only $19.99?
So yeah, Valve may not be the reason for the season, but you won't see us complaining. Also, an incredibly rare celestial event's technically occurring on the same day as the beginning of Valve's sales extravaganza. Kind of like how the Holiday Sale's eclipsing everything else. Ok, we'll stop.
If Valve's proven anything over the years, it's that it knows two things: games and sales. Going by that (incredibly flimsy) logic, then, The Great Steam Treasure Hunt is the culmination of everything Valve's ever created. Think we're full of crap? Well, fine then, leave. We'll just keep all these great deals and priceless prizes for ourselves. Oh, back so soon? Yeah, that's what we thought.
So here's how it works: The Steam Treasure Hunt tasks you with completing any of ten in-game objectives leading up to December 20, when three winners will be given a golden ticket to crazy Newell's videogame factory. Translation: 100 free games of your choosing. On top of that, Valve's selecting 20 contestants every two days and granting them the top five games in their wishlist.
Let's face it, though: this sort of thing is just a step or two below the lottery. Why even try? Well, for you, Debbie, and the rest of the Downer family, there's still a reason to briefly shoo that stormcloud away from your head. Whenever a game has an objective attached to it (for instance, right now you need to become a Desert Fox in RUSE, among other things), it's put on sale. Currently, RUSE is going for $33.49, Poker Night at the Inventory's at $2.99, and Chime's at $1.25.
So then, there's something for everyone. Unfortunately, it's now only a matter of time until Valve makes shopping as fun as playing Half-Life, Portal, or Team Fortress, at which point we'll all go end up living on the streets. For now, though, hooray!
It's that time again. No, not that time! And definitely not that time. It is, however, about the only time that the phrase “that time” has a positive connotation. Yep, as per tradition, Valve's slashing prices right and left in order to celebrate that weird, barely advertised void between Halloween and Christmas. Correct us if we're wrong, but it also involves the eating of an iconic American bird, doesn't it? The bald eagle?
Anyway, Steam's taken to carving up the prices of multiple games until they're damn near unrecognizable, and will continue to do so until November 30. Currently, featured titles include Borderlands for $9.99, the Deus Ex collection for $4.95, Alpha Protocol for $7.50, Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse for $10.50, and more. As usual, though, each day will bring with it an avalanche of dastardly new temptations that'll slowly whittle away at your wallet until you wake up to find that your house and/or kidney has been repossessed.
Even if you've resolved to not spend a single cent this time around, however, there's still something in this year's sale for you. Yes, that does in fact mean what you think it means: free stuff. Valve's added a wishlist feature, you see, and each day 30 people will receive whichever games are in their top five.
So there you have it. Cheap stuff. Free stuff. You know what to do.
After boldly proclaiming its intention to “lead the way” in PC gaming, Microsoft's cast its latest shiny thing into our waters in yet another attempt to lure us back. Unfortunately, the bait – a redesigned Games For Windows Marketplace – only serves to disguise a jagged hook that's just as painful as it's always been.
The store's certainly functional; don't get us wrong. But it's still lightyears behind Steam and similar competitors, which is just about as far from “off to a good start” as you can get. Foremost, the selection of games and add-on content is only a small sliver of what Steam and co. are peddling, and system requirements, game descriptions, etc are practically incomplete – mere skeletons compared to the meaty wealth of info provided by other services. On the upside, the service is very upfront when it comes to warning you about DRM and things of the like, but it still omits too many other useful details.
Steam's excellently pervasive community integration is also completely absent (signing in with your Gamertag lets you buy things -- and that's it), as are reccomendations, indie titles, and demos. Yes, demos! Currently there's an option to search for them, but it only serves to slam you face-first into the brick wall that is a “no results” screen.
The frontpage, meanwhile, is as about as barebones as they come, displaying a few select games, a daily deal, and a weekly deal. It's not awful by any means, but – as with the rest of the service – there's really not much to it right now. And there's definitely not anything that makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd.
You're also forced to deal with a bunch of malarky about signing in at Xbox.com to read and agree to the new Terms of Service – an extra intial step that seems totally unnecessary and sloppily implemented. If Microsoft's trying to convince us that the PC's no longer playing second fiddle to the Xbox, this is a pretty crummy way to do it.
Overall, there's simply no reason to choose the new GFW Marketplace over Steam, Direct 2 Drive, Impulse, and other such established storefronts. Anything GFW does, they still do better. Microsoft's service is still trailing behind like it always has, and if this is Microsoft's idea of whipping it into shape, then that incredibly depressing status quo won't be changing any time soon.