Valve has refunded the money of a man who says that a certain choice in Bioshock Infinite goes against his religious beliefs. We won't mention the specifics of the choice beyond saying that it relates to a Christian religious rite, so as to avoid giving any spoilers. Breen Malmberg, who says he is a Christian, found the choice to be unacceptable.
Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell will be honored by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) with the Academy Fellowship at this year's British Academy Games Awards. He'll be honored with this prestigious award at a ceremony taking place on March 5 at the London Hilton, Park Lane.
Valve's Gabe Newell took the unusual step of breaking his silence on recent developments inside Valve after it was reported yesterday that as many as 25 employees have been let go. Valve did not confirm that that number was accurate. Among those confirmed to be leaving the company are Valve’s director of business Jason Holtman and hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth.
If you are longing for the day when virtual reality - you know, that fictitious virtual realm we have seen in movies like The Matrix, Tron, Lawnmower Man and more - become reality, then you'll have to wait for improvements in Internet latency. At least that is what Valve Software programmer Michael Abrash says in a new blog post.
As part of its Steam Community Beta, Valve has launched its own Game Guides, a section not unlike what is offered over at GameFaqs. The new section will offer guides created by the Steam community using text, images or images and other stuff you might have hiding in your Steam Cloud. From the Steam Community Beta Page:
Valve Software has launched the Steam Community Market in open beta, allowing Steam users to buy and sell in-game items using Steam Wallet funds. Sale items can be listed on the Community Market page or in players' personal inventories. Currently only Team Fortress 2 is supported and only consumables and tools can be sold at this time.
As the beta goes on, Valve plans to allow other items to be sold in Team Fortress 2 and to add the Steam Community Market functionality to other games. That will start to happen early next year.
Earlier this week Germany's Federation of German Consumer Organizations (or vzbv) called on Valve to explain the changes it made to the Steam end-user license agreement back in August. The vzbv found that the changes Valve made to its EULA were unfair to consumers and that Steam had no mechanism for allowing its users to trade games per a recent European High Court ruling. It required Valve to respond by September 26 to their insistence the company change its policy "restricting access to content based on the forfeiture of signing the new EULA."
Yesterday we highlighted a job listing on Valve's website that showed the popular game developer was looking to hire an Industrial Designer to work on "product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing."
While Valve Software has adamantly denied the rumor that it was getting into the hardware side of gaming (the infamous SteamBox rumor), a new job listing from the company seems to indicate otherwise. In that job listing Valve says that it needs an industrial designer to work on "product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing."
Valve Software's business development chief Jason Holtman finally offered a response to what EA Origin boss David DeMartini said last month about Steam sales "cheapening intellectual property." At the time DeMartini said that EA's digital distribution platform would not copy Steam's frequent and deep discounting sales tactics.
In an interview with GamesIndustry International, David DeMartini, Senior Vice President of Global Ecommerce for Electronic Arts and the head of EA's Origin digital distribution platform, decided to talks some smack about Valve's Steam. He also talks about the platform's rocky first year and how the company wants Origin to be the number one hub for gamers.
Blizzard Entertainment issued a brief statement this afternoon announcing that it had come to a mutual agreement concerning their competing DOTA games. Valve is developing DOTA 2, but under the terms of the agreement Blizzard will preserve its right to the noncommercial use of DOTA for its community relating to player-created maps for Warcraft III and StarCraft II.
EA's digital distribution platform "has a long way to go," according to Valve's Gabe Newell, who owns Steam. As part of episode one of the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Newell gave a blunt response when asked what he thought about EA's digital distribution platform.
"They have a lot of work to do to get to where they need to be and where I as a customer would want them to be," he said.
Valve Software's Gabe Newell has a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion dollars, putting him on Forbes Magazine's list of the richest people in the world. Newell ranks 854th in the 1,226 list of worldwide billionaires. Newell did not disclose his new worth to the magazine and since Valve is a privately-held company, Forbes had to estimate the figure listed above.
Blizzard has challenged Valve's efforts to secure a U.S. trademark on Defense of the Ancients - something it said it had no plans of doing. In 2011 Valve announced plans to create a sequel to the popular Warcraft II mod, Defense of the Ancients. At the time Blizzard said that it would not oppose the company, but said that it was confused by the move. Today we learn that Blizzard filed a complaint with the U.S. trademark in opposition of Valve's registration of the Dota name in late 2011.
Valve front man Gabe Newell says that there is a way to beat piracy, and it involves content creators and publishers providing better service. In other words, obtrusive DRM solutions are not the answer to the problem.
"One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It's a service issue," said Newell at a tech conference in Seattle. "The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting anti-piracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what they're receiving from the pirates."
Speaking to GameIndustry.biz, Jens Uwe Intat, the head of Electronic Arts Europe, said that his company continues to have a good working relationship with Valve Software, despite launching its own rival digital distribution services earlier this year. He is referring to the companies' continuing their retail relationship, and not necessarily the rivalry between its Origin digital distribution service and Valve's Steam.
While some publishers think that obtrusive DRM is the right way to go in protecting their PC game titles, Valve Software founder Gabe Newell sees the whole practice as wrong-headed and misguided. Speaking to Kotaku for its "Well Played" column, Newell said that Valve is a broken record on the topic:
Speaking to Eurogamer recently, EA Europe's top executive said that seeing future games on Valve's platform, despite recent disputes, is still a possibility.
"Never say never," said Jens Uwe Intat when asked by Eurogamer if EA could fully embrace Valve’s Steam platform again. "When we were talking about it's best for the consumer that competition is a good thing, for the consumer also choice is a good thing."
Valve Software President Gabe Newell says that his company has a responsibility to show Electronic Arts that it is "smarter business" to add (and keep) its games on Steam instead of removing them. In a recent interview with Develop, Newell lamented EA's decision to remove games from the Steam service and put out an olive branch to the company.
"We have to show EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we’re going to try to show them that," he said.
Valve is beta testing a new feature that allows users to trade in-game items, games and other stuff called Steam Trading. Right now they are testing it with Team Fortress 2. From the Steam blog:
"Team Fortress 2 items and Steam Gifts can currently be traded in the Steam Trading Beta.
Any game you've purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in Team Fortress 2.
Valve Software's popular online team-based shooter Team Fortress 2 is going free to play - a first for a Valve Software title. Valve plans to support the title on virtual items.. like hats. All current owners of the PC game will automatically become premium account holders. Premium members get access to rare and cosmetic items through random item drops, the ability to store more items in your backpack, and more powerful trading and crafting abilities
The gameplay experience (beyond the extra baubles TF2 premium account holders get) will be the same for everyone. Gamers who purchase any item from Team Fortress 2's digital storefront (Mann Co. Store) will also be granted premium account privileges. Players spend real money to buy virtual items such as weapons for various character classes, and a wide variety of hats. Those who bought Team Fortress 2 will also receive a "Proof of Purchase hat" for any character.
Valve has always been keen to track user data and use it to improve its games, but many may not know that the company has always been acutely aware that some of its players may have special needs in order to play many of their most popular games. Speaking to Gamasutra Mike Ambinder of Valve Software explains some of the things the company does to help players with different kinds of disabilities:
"Most of the accommodations we make for disabled gamers (closed captioning/subtitles, colorblind mode, in-game pausing in single player, easier difficulty levels, re-mappable keys/buttons, open-microphones, mouse sensitivity settings, use of both mouse and keyboard and gamepads, etc.) stem from functionality added to improve the experience of both able and disabled gamers," Ambinder tells Gamasutra.
One recipient of a rare and controversial item granted last month to 100 players of Valve’s Team Fortress 2, is turning a negative into a positive and has organized a charity drive that will see owners of the items delete them in order to benefit the Child’s Play charity.
The item in question is the Golden Wrench, used by the game’s Engineer class. John Tran, the man behind the charity drive, received one of the items, but claimed, in talking with Bitmob, that they were not randomly distributed, as Valve had earlier stated.
EA's popular squad-based shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2 recently received a patch to remove the much-maligned SecuROM DRM.
Sounds great right? Well, hold off on the celebration, because there's a bit of a caveat. The patch, which comes with a number of bug fixes and interface changes, will only remove SecuROM for Steam users. Retail owners of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are still out of luck, at least for the time being. Steam users will find themselves using Valve's internal DRM, which is a significant improvement.
It’s been about five and a half years since Valve released Counter-Strike: Source and a growing gaggle of gamers think it’s about time for some news and action on Counter-Strike 2.
Organized by UK-resident Sam England, the group hopes to goad Valve into issuing an official response on the matter—and to eventually put CS2 into production—by drawing 25,000 members to its Facebook page. The group has already surpassed 2,300 members.
Why the does the group see a need for CS2?
….we want to bolster interest in CS so more people play it, and if we want to regain mainstream attention in the game it needs to be re released as Counterstrike 2. Even if it was just re released with some fixes/patches, additional official maps, a graphical upgrade and a new shiny box... Counterstrike would then survive as a franchise and become popular once again.
England added a few more thoughts:
The most popular multiplayer FPS games on the PC are either non-realistic, less mainstream games or simply very poorly executed ports of console FPS games like Modern Warfare 2. There is no longer a single iconic game on the PC which everyone can enjoy, and play together.
The forced integration of the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Valve’s Steamworks platform has turned off other digital game distribution services.
IGN-owned Direct2Drive has opted not to offer MW2 on its service reports Gamasutra, calling the forced use of Steam a “Trojan Horse.” The company will offer $5 off other Activision games as compensation. From a statement on Direct2Drive’s website:
At Direct2Drive, we believe strongly that when you buy a game from us, you shouldn't be forced to install and run a 3rd party software client to be able to play the game you purchased.
Meanwhile, VoodooExtreme received confirmation from both Stardock and GamersGate that neither of those two services will sell MW2 either. Stardock elaborated to VE on the reasoning for not selling MW2 through their Impulse service:
We share some of the same concerns as Direct2Drive over the bundling of the Steam client with the game. The most obvious issue is the forced inclusion of a competitor's store that blocks us from carrying the game.
Our issues with the game are solely with the Steamworks bundling. We enjoy a great relationship with Activision and would love to sell the title, but not with Steam.
GP: A commenter on the Gamasutra story noted that Direct2Drive offers other games that require a Steam install, such as Zeno Clash. Of course that game will not move nearly the amount of copies MW2 will, so it appears in this case that IGN/Direct2Drive is just being selective in its stand against Steam.
A reddit user has created a striking visual representation of what *could* happen if net neutrality laws are shot down.
The image is based tiered pricing plans that some cable and Internet companies currently offer (lending, perhaps, an increased measure of reality to the illustration) and imagines, for example, websites such as Hulu and YouTube as part of a "Hollywood Tier," available for $10 over the price paid for basic Internet service.
More relevant here is the rendering of a “Playground” tier that includes Valve’s Steam platform, World of Warcraft, Gametap, Electronic Arts and Real Arcade, offered for a $5 surcharge. Yikes!