Piracy's a scourge. It's had PC gaming pressed up against the ropes for years, remorselessly wailing away in what's easily one of tech history's most casualty ridden “victimless” crimes. It's sent countless developers fleeing for consoles' comparitively cash-green pastures -- whether their assumptions were erroneous or not. So, how in the hell do we beat it? Well, in addition to previously discovered methods -- which include “Dunno," “Give up,” and "Have a good sob" -- there's now “Be Valve.”
'Tis the season to watch in horror as your bank account whimpers out a pitiful final breath – tralalalala. That's how the song goes, right? Fortunately, as is its wont, Steam's attempting to make things a bit easier (or infinitely more difficult, depending on your inability to resist and pouncing on a perfect deal and savaging it like a rabid wolverine). Starting now and running until November 27, Valve's ubiquitous download platform will be rotating out deals so delicious that we've taken to calling this time of year “Excitedly-F5-Steam-Every-Morningsgiving.” The name could use some work, but you get the idea. Right now, standouts include Orcs Must Die for $3.74, Mass Effect 2 for $4.99, and Portal 2 for $10.19 – among many, many others.
Move over, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Homefront, and all the rest. The grandpappy of terrorist-blasting floating disembodied gun simulators is finally back to show the incredibly conformist youngsters how its done. Well, OK, it's not quite back yet, but you can finally mark down the hour of its triumphant return on your calendar. CSGO's closed beta kicks off on November 30. Initially, it'll be limited to folks who managed to nab keys at shows like PAX and the Eurogamer Expo, but it promises to steadily open the floodgates as time goes on.
Generally speaking, we love Steam so much that we occasionally drift off and daydream about long walks on the beach with it, but nothing's perfect. No two ways about it: Steam's been breached, and – though it's faring a lot better than a certain console-based gaming network so far – it's not exactly the prettiest sight. The long and short of it? Your credit card info may be out in the wild, but it's wrapped in a nice, warm blanket of encryption. That said, monitor it closely, and change your password right now. So that's our bit. Now then, play us off, Valve's Gabe Newell.
Steam has a lot of games. Like, all the games. Well, minus a couple from EA and – now that we think about it – indie ultra-sensation Minecraft. Pretty weird, right? We wish we could just chalk the whole thing up to coincidence and get back to constructing a scale replica of the second Death Star, but – as is typically the case with Death Stars – it's not quite so easy.
Modern Warfare and Battlefield 3 may be near-constantly forced into the colossal, cyclopean public eye these days, but make no mistake: Counter-Strike is still huge. Competitive gamers, especially, perform the eternal dance between terrorists and counter-terrorists with the lithe grace of swans. Swans with guns. And bombs. With CS:S recently reaching the ripe old age of seven, though, it's even getting a bit creaky in Valve Time. Enter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It's new and different – but, er, not. In a good way!
You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you just know something's about to go horribly wrong? Like when someone says “This can't possibly go wrong!” or “Let's buy iPhones”? Well, that's how we felt when EA and Valve started taking their toothbrushes back from each others' houses. Obviously, Battlefield 3 wasn't going to benefit from the divorce. And so, predictably – but no less regrettably – here we are.
There are several different ways to increase your net worth by seven figures. You could rob a bank, though that comes with a huge downside. If you have a killer jump shot, the NBA pays obscene amounts of money to its players, only the league is currently in a lockout. You could toil away for the man, only there's not much of a fun factor there. Yet another way is to participate in, and conquer Valve's newly announced "The International" tournament, and that's exactly what 16 teams will do.
Gamers love oppositions. PC versus console. Mario vs Sonic. Dude from Modern Warfare 3 vs Other Guy from Battlefield 3. And so on. So when gamers spotted EA lumbering toward the digital arena and even throwing around some fightin' words, they assumed things were about to get ugly. Bets were placed, dukes were put up, and... nope. According to EA's David DeMartini, it's all just a big misunderstanding. We're still keeping your bet money, though.
Portal was something different. It was compact, flawlessly designed, witty, and unexpected. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on it. Sure, it was a puzzle game, but in the process of ushering you gently through the puzzles it gradually transformed into a wickedly funny piece of sci-fi storytelling. The genius was in the thrill of this discovery, as a puzzle game flowered into something amazing and unpredictable.