While Steam is the largest digital distribution platform for video games, its store homepage presentation and search function has been in need of renovation for a while. And it has finally received one. Valve has launched the Steam Discovery Update that has improved the Steam Store’s appearance, made it easier to search for games, and adds a new Curator feature.
Razer has been rather busy with adding a new feature to Chroma and, more recently, releasing Razer Cortex to help players find the best video game deals. If that weren’t enough, Razer has announced an open beta for Razer Synapse: Stats & Heatmaps.
If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer Jacob Miller admitted as much several months ago (Microsoft's good at coming clean after the fact).
Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.
Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.
With that said, Windows 9 is on the horizon, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've never seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.
That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Hit the jump to see what they are.
Why pay for a game when you get it for free? That's not an invitation to go pirate a PC title via BitTorrent or any other method, we're just wondering if you like free stuff. The answer? Of course you do! The reason we ask is because if you act fast, you can grab Tropico 3 for free from the Humble Bundle Store. The deal is good for one day only and is set to expire tomorrow at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern.
The deal calls for an Israeli grant of $300 million over five years
Intel has hammered out a deal with Israel's finance and economy ministries to invest $6 billion towards upgrading its chip manufacturing plant in the region. That figure qualifies as the largest single investment by a foreign company in Israel, and in return, Intel will receive a government grant of $300 million over five years. The chip maker will also be eligible for a corporate tax rate of just 5 percent for the next 10 years.
We've already mentioned that Asus and Gigabyte may engage each other in a price of war of sorts as each one attempts to ship more motherboards than the other. However, weaker than expected demand in China combined with soft retail channel orders ahead of the country's National Day holidays are likely to cause both companies to fall short of their shipment goals. As a result, Asus and Gigabyte might be even more aggressive with motherboard price cuts than previously anticipated.
Quick, blurt our the first brand that comes to mind when you think about high-end motherboards. Did you say Biostar? Lies! We would have accepted several brand names, though Biostar isn't one that's typically associated with premium boards (to be fair, the company has released a few top dwellers). We don't know if that's going to change, and apparently neither does Biostar, which "launched the first development of what might become a possible series of high-end gaming boards." That's how Biostar describes its new Hi-Fi Z97Z7 motherboard. Might? Possible? C'mon Biostar, if you're going to play with the big boys, you need to bring a barrel of confidence with you!
Call it a marketing play if you will, but Corsair is determined to demonstrate its commitment to PC gamers by creating a new division called Corsair Gaming. It's under this new title that Corsair will release new and rebranded peripherals for gamers, starting with three RGB keyboards (K95 RGB, K70 RGB, and K65 RGB), two RGB mice (M65 RGB in black or white color options), and a pair of headsets (H1500 and H2100).
When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?