Valve today announced the public release of Big Picture, the 10-foot user interface (UI) that makes it easier for PC gamers to plop on the couch and play their catalog of titles on their big screen HDTV. To celebrate the public launch, more than thirty "controller-friendly" games will be on sale from now until December 10, some of which will be marked down by as much a 75 percent.
Some long time fans of Star Wars are afraid of what will become of their favorite franchise now that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (to be fair, Disney's done a good job with Marvel assets, like The Avengers movie), but as an old school adventure gamer, I'm even more concerned with what fate awaits old friends like Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret of Monkey Island) and Bernard (Maniac Mansion). So is Ron Gilbert, the guy who created both games (along with Gary Winnick, who co-conceived Maniac Mansion).
Best of luck to anyone trying to snag a Wii U console to plop under the Christmas tree this holiday shopping season. It's "essentially sold out of retail," though less desirable avenues remain, such as paying inflated prices on eBay or Craigslist where $100 premiums are commonplace. Since launching just over a week ago, Nintendo has sold 400,000 Wii U consoles, topping the original Wii, which added another 300,000 sales last week.
Back in September, Microsoft program manager Daniel Moth indicated during a Q&A session on MSDN that DirectX 11.1 was going to be exclusive to Windows 8, shunning Windows 7 users the same way DirectX 11 initially shunned pre-Windows 7 OSes (it was later made available to Vista and Windows Server 2008). If you were hoping Microsoft would have a similar change of heart and bring DX11.1 to Windows 7, you're in luck.
Nintendo on Sunday launched its Wii U console in the U.S., and though it's sold out at most places (good luck finding one without an inflated price tag), that didn't stop Anand Lal Shimpi from Anandtech from carving into his like a Thanksgiving turkey. He got his mitts on the 8GB Basic Set (a higher priced 32GB Deluxe Set is also available) and posted several pictures of what makes the Wii U tick.
It's always perplexing to us when research groups release game related sales figures that completely ignore digital downloads, especially on the PC. Only counting physical hardware and software leaves out a significant portion of overall sales and misrepresents the market. For that reason, we're thrilled that The NPD Group left no stone unturned in tallying $2.87 billion spent on game content in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2012.
GameFly has stripped its digital PC game distribution client of its beta tag and launched it as a polished download. It's both a storefront for over 1,500 Windows and Mac games, and a queue management frontend for subscribers to GameFly's game rental service, essentially a Netflix equivalent for games with a Steam-like distribution model baked in. To celebrate the launch, GameFly is offering up BioShock for free.
Linux fans are free to do the open-source shimmy today in celebration of Valve announcing the launch of a limited access Steam for Linux beta. Valve invited experienced Linux users to sign up for the closed beta in October and claims to have received over 60,000 responses in the first week alone. The first round of beta participants has already been selected, though more gamers will be added throughout the course of the beta, Valve says.
Now that Surface RT is here (and Surface Pro not far behind), it appears Microsoft wants to turn its attention to the 7-inch tablet market next, but with a twist. Unlike the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and Nook Tablet, Microsoft's 7-inch slate -- dubbed Xbox Surface -- will be squarely aimed at gamers, the same ones who go out and buy handheld gaming consoles like the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.
Stuck on a gift idea for that special gamer in your life? We'll be posting a geek gift guide in the near future, but until then, consider the GameMaxx Hydrating Game Controller. What the flip is a hydrating game controller, you ask? It's exactly what it sounds like, assuming your idea of such a device is a giant controller about the size of a phonebook with a 5 amp adjustable fan and mister built in. Oh, and did we mention it holds up to a gallon of gaming refreshments?