Revisiting the top tech headlines of the past year
Another year is in the books and you know what? The PC isn't dead! Not that we ever thought our beloved platform was ever in jeopardy, though you wouldn't know it if you listened to analysts and market research firms predicting all kinds of gloom and doom for the desktop. We're happy to say the sky didn't fall, and as we look ahead to 2014, we're more excited than ever about all the advances in technology -- 3D printing, wearable computing, and advances in storage are just some of the things gaining momentum as we head into the new year.
Before we look too far down the road, however, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on some of the biggest news stories of 2013. We've put together a list of the most popular happenings of the past year based on a variety of factors including traffic, reader engagement, and of course editorial discretion. Some are included here because of their lasting impact on the industry, and others because they piqued the interest of you, our readers, and sparked lively debates.
Ready to get nostalgic with us? Then off we go as we relive the top 13 news stories of 2013!
Don't forget to set aside a few dollars for food and other bills
Word to the wise -- don't go quitting that second job you got to pay for all the games you bought during Steam's Autumn Sale, you're going to need it to fund another round of discounts. The 2013 Steam Holiday Sale is now on and runs through the remainder of the holiday shopping season, all the way up until January 3, 2014. As always, big savings are to be had on popular titles, such as 50 percent off Batman: Arkham Origins ($24.99) and 75 percent off Bioshock Infinite ($9.99).
YouTube user Corey Nelson is one of the lucky few who received a prototype Steam Machine from Valve and one of the first things he did after receiving his system was tear it down on video. What's revealed from the 5 minute video is an impressive arrangement of components packed tightly together in a precise manner, yet not all that difficult to take apart and service or upgrade, should either need arise.
Gordon Mah Ung goes hands on with Valve's new Steam Controller
PC Gamers, gods bless ‘em, are truly the most cynical sons of bitches on the planet. I say this because when I saw Valve’s attempt to build a controller for its upcoming Steam Machines, I, like all other PC gamers, just snickered and ran as quickly as I could to a web-based memegenerator so I could create and post something derisive and snarky under one of the five pseudonyms I use to troll the Internet with. Alas, I was already beaten as those cynical PC gamers had already beaten me to it.
A boutique built Steam Machine with a 'take no prisoners' approach
Let's get one thing straight -- even though Valve is making a push for PC gamers to plop their rumps in the living room where console gaming has traditional ruled the roost, there's no mandate that says a Steam Machine has to be only as powerful as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (or Nintendo Wii). Taking that to heart, boutique builder Digital Storm makes no bones about the fact that it's upcoming Steam Machine won't compete with consoles on price, but in return for a higher price tag, gamers will receive a premium set of components that send consoles cowering in the corner.
There's a reason your wallet is cowering in the corner in the fetal position, it knows it's about to be gutted. That's the inevitable fate that befalls the funds of gamers each and every time Valve decide to hold a major sale on Steam, and today marks the beginning of Steam's autumn sale. Big discounts ensure you'll lighten your load of cash while you beef up your games collection with titles you may have missed out on.
Want to help other gamers make informed purchasing decisions? Valve is giving you an expanded voice on Steam to leave reviews, good or bad, of any game you've played. Simply called Steam Reviews, the beta launch of this new initiative is an evolution of the Recommendation system that has been a part of Steam since 2010. If you're written Recommendations before, you can make them visible as Reviews by changing the appropriate setting in your user profile.
Steam Dev Days is a recently announced, two-day developer only conference where devs can meet “in a relaxed, off the record environment.” At the January 2014 conference, Valve will give attendees the opportunity to go hands-on with Steam OS, prototype Steam Machines, and Steam Controllers. They’ll also have the opportunity to get a first look at Valve’s prototype VR hardware.
Valve has been quite the busy developer as of late. Following the recent unveiling of its Steam Machine, Steam OS, and Steam Controller, Valve has now opened up beta registrations for Steam's upcoming In-Home Streaming service. For your chance to participate, you need to head over to the service's group on the Steam Community website and click the Join Group button.
The first pictures of Valve’s prototype Steam Machine are surprising to say the least. With a chassis that’s absolutely miniscule—for a system with a GTX Titan and standard desktop processor—it seems that Valve has been busy designing a custom case with a plastic shroud that ensures that each component in the machine is separate from the rest.