Game developer Valve is preparing what it considers to be a "major update" to the Steam Community, one that will introduce a Game Hub feature to each and every game. The Hubs will highlight the most popular user-created screenshots, videos, and Steam Workshop items as rated by the community, while also populating them with game related news, discussions, and comments.
You may have heard that Valve is hard at work porting its Steam client to the Linux platform, but it's not because the company has developed a sudden affinity towards the open source space. The real reason is because Valve views Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 release as a "catastrophe" in the making for the PC industry at large, or at least that's the viewpoint held by Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director at Valve.
The kick ass Summer Sale isn't the only thing the Steam team has up their collective sleeves this week. Yesterday, Valve launched a brand-spanking-new Valve Linux blog to chronicle the company's forays into open source, and the initial post was a doozy: it confirmed all those earlier reports that Valve is working hard to get Steam up and running on everybody's favorite open source operating system. Actually, scratch that; the 11 person Valve Linux team already has the Steam client up and running.
Hopefully you don't have anything planned for the next couple of months, because the Steam summer sale is here and chock full of the kind of price cuts that make competitors weep. Each of the next ten days will bring new deals and discounts on a wide variety of blockbuster games, indie games, game packs and more.
I can't tell you the number of times I came down with dysentery, one of the many diseases that stopped me dead in my tracks on the Oregon Trail. But I plodded on, a banker from Boston who developed a skill for shooting bison and fast moving critters. And then it would be time for recess. Today's generation may never known of the awesomeness that was playing Oregon Trail on an Apple computer, but thanks to Valve, a good many will experience Portal 2 in the classroom as part of a "Steams for School" initiative.
Electronic Arts' contentious fued with Steam isn't exactly on the same level as the Hatfields and McCoys was long before the digital age, but it's clear there exists plenty of bad blood between these two sides. The latest indication of this comes from an interview Senior VP of Global E-Commerce for EA, David DeMartini, gave to GamesIndustry. DeMartini, who obviously has a vested interest in Origin, had some choice words for Steam.
If your trigger finger starts itching for a new FPS frag fest while you're out-and-about and away from your PC, Steam now offers the gaming equivalent of calamine lotion: remote game management. Yup, Valve's made it possible to install new games on your PC while you're "busy" at work. Yay instant gratification!
Love gaming on Linux but don't have a taste for Wine? Look for a nice hot helping of Steam-brewed titles to come to the rescue sometime in the future. After a couple of years of rumors -- and denials -- that Valve was working on a Linux port of its blockbuster Steam service, it looks like the project is actually happening. Valve recently invited Mike Larabel, the man behind the Phoronix website for Linux lovers, out to the company's offices to give him a glimpse of the Steam for Linux in action.
Have you ever wondered what everyday life is like for the average worker at Valve? As a privately held company they tend to be a bit overly secretive, and as such we know surprisingly little about what they do all day. Aside from tormenting us with silence over Half-Life 3, it turns out new employees actually get issued a handbook on what to do “when no one’s there telling you what to do”.
Valve has been attempting to be very outwardly complimentary of EA over the last several months, perhaps in the misguided hope that the publisher will quit it with the Origin exclusives, and start bringing some of its titles back into compliance with Steams terms of service. You’d be hard pressed to find any bad blood between the two companies, at least on the Valve side, but yet the stalemate remains. On the most recent Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Jack Inacker asked Newell what EA was doing right with Origin. His answer? Uhhh (pause), ummm (pause).