If you're currently imagining a dystopic future in which we all nervously salute guards clad in Combine outfits while texting on our Steam-powered phones and breathing the Steam-branded air, calm down. Gabe Newell has no aspirations of heading up his own ill-gotten evil empire. In truth, he'd prefer that Valve forever avoids getting its hands dirty with the greasy innards of some proprietary piece of hardware. However, if it's the “only” way to keep innovation's gears churning, then he won't hesitate to bite that particular bullet.
When Steam was hacked way back in November, Valve took the high road and immediately informed users of the breach. (Not that the company had much choice -- the hackers defaced the Steam forums as part of their nefarious deeds.) The baddies snuck into an encrypted database full of sensitive user info -- including credit card numbers -- but Valve found no evidence that any of the data was stolen or cracked. That's the good news. Now the bad news: the breach is probably worse than originally thought and the hackers may still have your credit card information.
Are you having troubles getting Steam to boot up today? If so, the problem might not be with Valve's blockbuster gaming service; the issue could be your antivirus, instead. This weekend, the freebie Avast! antivirus misidentified a Steam component as a nasty little Trojan and sent the executable to the time-out box known as Quarantine as a result. The problem: SteamService.exe was a totally clean file, and Steam won't run without it.
So you chugged the blood of Aela the Huntress whe she was in werewolf form and now you too are on a bad Twilight trip, which was fun at first, but began to lose its charm when a bug prevented you from turning back into a human. D'oh! Well, there's good news for you. Skyrim 1.4 update is available on Steam and it will cure your constant beast mode, along with dozens of other bug fixes and quest glitches.
Do you live and breathe the Steam platform? Constantly wondering what your Steam friends are up to when you're way from your PC? Do you start to twitch if you don't get your Steam fix every hour on the hour? You should try coffee or Monster or any caffeinated beverage. In the meantime, Valve has found a way to feed your obsession to Steam with a new mobile app for Android and iOS.
BioWare's Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, is letting Mass Effect fans know that if they plan on helping Commander Shepard save the planet from Reapers, they'll have to go about it without using their Steam accounts. Mass Effect 3 will require interacting with EA's Origin platform and will be available for purchase through Origin and select digital download services not owned by Valve.
We don't advocate real-world violence, but if you catch someone claiming PC gaming is dead, feel free to give them a wedgie, especially if he's quoting numbers that don't include online game sales. Take Steam for example. The ultra popular online PC (and Mac) gaming platform increased its year-over-year sales by 100 percent in 2011, and lest anyone chalk that up as an anomaly based on a rash of hit titles, this is the seventh straight year Steam has doubled its sales figures.
Three cheers to Bethesda, who finally rolled out a small patch for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the PC through Steam that shows big love for gamers rocking more than 2GB of RAM. The Skyrim 1.3.10 patch adds "support for 4-Gigabyte Tuning," otherwise known as Large Address Aware. Lack of LAA support made third-party mods like "4GB Skyrim" popular (as featured in PC Gamer's "Skyrim Mods: the 20 best so far").
PC gaming is awesome. Steam is awesome. Getting free stuff is always awesome. Mix all three and what do you get? This year’s Steam Holiday Sale, which kicked off today. In addition to the usual savings, this year’s sale includes multiple daily “Great Gift Pile” challenges, which give you a chance to win additional discounts (and maybe even free games) every day. If you don’t win, you’ll get a lump of coal, instead, which sucks compared to a free game at first glance – but those lumps of coal are the key to the cool things being doled out in the Epic Holiday Giveaway.
Skyrim is a technical and artistic masterpiece, but you don’t need us to tell you that. The title is expected to pick up just about every game of the year award up for grabs in the next few months, but more importantly for Bethesda, the game also appears to have been a huge financial success as well. According to Valve’s Jason Holtman, Skyrim is the “fastest selling title in Steam’s history”. And just to be clear, Steam has quite a bit of history having launched officially all the way back in 2003.