Would you upgraded to Windows 8.1 if Microsoft gave the OS away for free?
There are some interesting things happening in Microsoft's world right now. The company has a new CEO in Satya Nadella, co-founder Bill Gates figures to devote more time as Nadella settles into his new role, and there's an update to Windows 8.1 on the horizon. Depending on what impact that update has on Windows 8.1, some big changes could be in store, including a free version of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Here's the scoop.
One thing you can't accuse Valve of being is stingy with its Steam platform. It seems there's always a Steam sale going on, making it easy to add to your games collection quicker than you can actually play through your titles. Well, guess what? If you thought Steam sales were frequent now, they could become even more commonplace now that Valve is allowing publishers to self-discount their games.
To put it bluntly, "Metro is shit for power users." Those are the words of Jacob Miller, a UI designer for Windows 8 who lunged into a Reddit bash fest of Windows 8 that began with a discussion of how many licenses have been sold to date. To be clear, Miller's intent was not to pile on the Windows 8 hate, but to clarify why Metro exists. To do that, he wanted to start from common ground before going down the rabbit hole, hence his opening comment.
Thief reboot and new beta drivers from AMD are both available today
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. In a blog post earlier this week, Eidos confirmed that Thief, which launched today, doesn't have Mantle or TrueAudio support at the outset. However, support is coming soon (March), and in the meantime, AMD is serving up its Catalyst 14.2 beta drivers specifically with Thief in mind, though there are other reasons you might want to install the latest driver release as well.
New drivers from Nvidia boost performance up to 19 percent
As Nvidia often does when releasing new graphics cards, there are new WHQL-certified drivers to download. According to Nvidia, the recently released GeForce 334.89 drivers offer double-digit percentage performance gains in some titles (up to 19 percent) for GeForce 400, 500, 600, and 700 series GPUs (compared to GeForce 332.21 WHQL). The drivers also add a few new SLI profiles.
Mark Zuckerberg makes a major play in the mobile messaging arena
One thing is certain, Facebook isn't the least bit afraid to throw obscene amounts of cash at startups and services that have proven themselves in the public eye. It's a rather long list that includes Instagram ($1 billion), FriendFeed ($47.5 million), ConnectU ($31 million), and several others, though Facebook just announced its largest acquisition to date -- $19 billion for WhatsApp.
Talk about a (Bio)shock to the system -- Irrational Games, the studio responsible for the BioShock series, is officially closing up shop after close to two decades of game development. Co-founder Ken Levine delivered the sad news to the gaming community in a blog post today, saying he's at a point where he needs to refocus his energy on a smaller team with a more direct relationship with gamers.
The folks at Futuremark offer a ton of popular benchmarking applications for desktop PCs and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, though noticeably missing is any kind of server benchmark. Futuremark is attempting to tie up that loose end by announcing Servermark, a new and comprehensive benchmarking tool for x86-based servers running Linux. According to Futuremark, it will be especially suitable for testing virtual machines.
Redmond finally provides an update on Windows 8 sales
We haven't heard a whole lot from Microsoft in regards to Windows 8 sales, so it was a nice surprise when Redmond's Executive Vice President of Marketing spilled the beans on exactly how many license have been sold to date. According to comments Reller made at a Goldman Sachs technology conference, Microsoft has sold more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses since launching to the public in October 2012 (and to OEMs in August 2012).
Pay more than $15 to unlock a treasure trove of Sid Meier games
Looking for something to do this coming weekend? Have a look at the Humble Sid Meier Bundle. Many of you already have, as the collection of titles raked in $1.7 million during the first two days last week. What was already a good deal is even sweeter with the addition of two DLC packs for Civilization V and the 2004 reload of Sid Meier's Pirates. At present, it takes $15.01 to unlock the entire collection.