I was kind of lazy…the entire year of 2018. I didn’t afford myself many chances to enjoy things. It has been a tough year personally, and even professionally. I never really allowed time to escape into leisure activities, and instead would sort of…crumple into myself. While I did this, good games came out, there were things to be done, and I let it pass me by. 2019 needs to be better for me, on a few fronts, but honestly enjoying myself is one of the big ones. I need to learn how to relax more, my jaw hurts all the time from stress, I need to learn how to take a break. To that end, I am setting some gaming resolutions that you know…I will hopefully follow. We’ll see. Continue Reading
With the holiday season now in the rear-view mirror, and New Year’s quickly approaching, it is time to look forward to the games of 2019. Granted, I have a backlog so big that if I were to put all of these games in a single PS4 game-case, the pile would be dozens of feet tall; and would fall over on top of me, killing me with the sheer weight of my wasted dollars. However, the march of time is inexorable, and games will continue to come out despite my backlog. Worse even, there will be some games I want to play, and will have to inevitably spend money on, making sure some of those backlog games will stay in the backlog.
So in the style of so many other articles about upcoming games for a year, I have taken a look a lists of 2019 in video games. I have chosen the ten games that appeal to me the most, and have ranked them based on my level of anticipation. Note some of these games don’t have set release dates, and some of them are not even guaranteed for 2019, I just believe they will come out then. Even if they don’t it doesn’t much matter, I didn’t write this article under penalty of perjury or anything. Let’s get on with it. Continue Reading
Have you ever purchased a game from Steam, and found out quickly it wasn’t what you thought it was, or just wasn’t very good? Maybe it was a game all your friends were playing, or maybe it was the new hyped up big release. Maybe you realized you actually needed the money for something else more important, but that money was now gone, thrown into the burning pit that is Valve’s gaping digital-distribution hole. Well whatever your reasons are or were for wishing you had that money back, fret no more. Steam announced the other day that you can now get a refund for a game purchased, for any reason. Don’t like it, can’t play it due to an underpowered computer, developer said something you don’t like on Twitter, it doesn’t matter!
There are a few, common sense restrictions associated with the service. You cannot have owned the title for more than 14 days, and you must have less than 2 hours of playtime on the game. So if you’re iffy on a game, don’t accidentally leave it on idly while you’re cooking dinner, as you’re just eating up precious refund time at that point. One last restriction that matters, if you’re banned from a game due to VAC violations, you cannot refund the game. Also Steam said they’re gonna be on the lookout for people abusing the system, which take that for what it is, as Steam is pretty much crap on the service front.
While this new system is great on its face, and is definitely a good step in the pro-consumer direction, it is not perfect. Some game developers, such as Nina Freeman are worried about games that take less than 2 hours to have a full playthrough. This essentially makes the game free as someone could play it, then get a refund, leaving the developer with nothing. While this sort of experience is probably in the minority of gaming, it should be addressed by Valve. Gaming is not as much a one-size fits all pastime anymore, and Valve should work with the developers of these bite-sized titles to fix this issue that could become a bigger problem. Maybe flagging a certain part of the game, made clear to the player as the point of no refund. I have no clue, I am not a developer, nor do I really tend to return games I buy. But something should be done on that front.
But that edge-case problem aside, this is definitely a positive development for the service. With such a large catalogue of games, there is definitely bad stuff in there that people should avoid, and may not realize that fact right away. Empowering a buyer with more options tends to be a better choice most of the time. While it isn’t perfect, it is a great first step, and should be revised and perfected with time. So for now, good on you Steam. If you have any further questions about the new system, head to the link above that answers some questions.
(Update 12/20/14): Hatred was returned to Steam Greenlight soon after it was taken down. Apparently Gabe Newell even apologized to the team behind the title, saying “Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.” So it seems Hatred is being given its fair shake. It may be an empty game that seems to be about little else than wanton murder, but I applaud this development. With some notable exceptions, Steam is the PC Gatekeeper of today, and this title has every right to exist. How well it does will now simply be up to the consumers. I for one will not be buying it. -Ray Grohosky
Hatred, the upcoming game from Polish studio Destructive Creations went up on Steam Greenlight today. After quickly shooting to number 7 in the Greenlight rankings, with a 93% “Yes” vote, Valve decided to step in and put the brakes on things. While games like Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto, and Postal remain up for sale on Steam, Valve has decreed that they would never sell a game like Hatred. As such, it was taken down off of Greenlight, leaving Destructive Creations to try and make it in the PC Wild West on their own. Shortly after the game was pulled, Destructive Creations issued a statement:
Steam decided to get in on Twitch’s gig yesterday by launching the beta for Steam Broadcasting. By going into your account details and making sure you are opted into beta programs, anyone can join in on this and stream their gameplay live. Unlike Twitch however, which is a huge, organized, easy to use service, Steam’s version is kind of a jumbled mess right now. It’s easy to watch a friend’s game if they have the option enabled, but going to the community page just seems to reveal a huge list of random streams going on, not all of which are on the up and up. Yesterday I found two streams putting out some porn, and another streaming the movie Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. While I am all for some Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, I don’t really think this is what Steam has in mind with their service.
To that end, I am not even entirely sure what they mean to do with the service at all. I found someone streaming the new Wii U version of Smash Bros, and watched that for a while. However, they were doing it over, OBS, a third party streaming service, like XSplit. But nowhere in the Steam Broadcasting FAQ, could I find out if you’re only supposed to be streaming Steam games, or if any game was okay on this service. To compete with Twitch, or even Hitbox in any meaningful way, it would have to be any game I would imagine. League of Legends and Hearthstone are way too big on the streaming scene to be ignored entirely. If Steam doesn’t allow non-Steam games, this is really a non-starter. However if they do, then great. The picture quality on games I was watching was really up there, so there is the chance this could be something good. Only time will tell. Until then, go look into it. If nothing else, it is an interesting experiment.
Last year, Valve hosted the DOTA2 International Tournament. It was a big deal, with a big prize pool of 2.9 million dollars. This year makes the last look like chump change though. Thanks to the crowdfunding effort based in The Compendium, an item for DOTA2 which anyone can buy, the prize pool for The International 2014 has grown to over 10 million dollars. Let us stop and think about this for a moment. The prize pool for a video game is 10 million dollars. That is actually more than The Masters Golf Tournament, according to USA Today.
If you look at the DOTA2 site, you will see for right now there are no more stretch goals for the crowdfunding portion of the prize pool. However, I would not be surprised to see Valve add more, trying to add to the already insane amount up for grabs in what has quickly become to most lucrative video game tournament in history. If you’re into watching the tournament, it may actually behoove you to go get The Compendium if you haven’t yet. For 10 dollars, you get the chance to make predictions on matches, and earn points, getting rewards for your own DOTA2 account along the way. Plus on top of that, $2.50 of your 10 dollar payment goes on top of the huge prize pool. Let’s help it climb even higher.
Source: DOTA2 Site
I don’t know why this is. Do I just own all the games Steam commonly puts up on these major sales? Maybe, I do have a lot of games, and Valve tends to recycle the games that come up on sale a lot it seems. Besides that however, I do see many games come up I do not own, and at very good prices. However, unlike years past I am not opening my wallet to remember the CVC number on my debit card on a near constant basis. I actually just checked my Steam history. The only two purchases I have made for this entire thing thus far has been Spelunky, and the soundtrack for Transistor, which I just bought. So really I have spent about seven dollars on the Steam Sale (I actually only paid 3.80 for the Transistor soundtrack due to me selling my spare Steam cards on the Marketplace), which is a paltry amount compared to seasonal sales past. So why am I not opening the wallet up, ready to fork piles of money over to Gabe’s waiting maw? I think the answer is that I have finally reached something of a critical mass when it comes to what I am allowing myself to purchase and own. Continue Reading