As 2016 comes to an end, Steam is hosting their annual Winter Sale from now until January 2nd at 10AM PST. Steam’s annual Autumn Sale ran this year from November 23rd to 29th, so if you missed out on that, this is probably the last chance to get some savings for the year. Then again, Steam does sales routinely -- careful use of the wishlist means you’ll get notifications as items go up for sale throughout the year.
For today, we have a list of some of our best PC games of 2016 as well as some titles from 2015 that are discounted significantly. As these Steam sales come to a close, we will just be arriving in Las Vegas for the year’s Consumer Electronics Show, so do follow closely for that! News will ramp-up significantly post-Xmas.
Here is the shortlist:
As the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start to wind down, we will begin to take a look at some games that are among the most popular on Steam. Some of these games were greatly reduced on the Autumn Sale, and while that sale has ended, Steam usually hosts a Winter Sale -- that’ll be coming up shortly.
For today, we’ve got a list of some of our top PC games for 2016 (including previous releases and sales). All the below games are available on Steam. This year's game releases felt a little lighter in the AAA category versus last year; at least, when considering last year offered GTA V and The Witcher 3 in rapid succession, but active sales have revived last year's titles alongside a couple major indie hits for 2016.
Here is the shortlist:
Software publisher and game development studio Bethesda has silently rolled-out its alpha version of the “Bethesda.net” launcher, posted alongside card game Elder Scrolls: Legends. Plans for the launcher are yet undisclosed and the store front isn't active, but a key code redemption link indicates that Bethesda will soon be moving product through its store.
This is not a departure from Steam (at least, not yet), but is almost certainly a move to bypass the revenue share with Valve. Bethesda isn't the first publisher to explore this route. EA's Origin took the more extreme approach, simultaneously launching its storefront and completely removing its games from Steam. Ubisoft's uPlay doesn't do this, but buying a Ubisoft title on Steam will invariably launch the uPlay launcher, which then requests a sign-in – and that game may request its own sign-in, in case two weren't enough. GOG Galaxy is perhaps the least offensive in its authentication practices and most neutral, but is still closely related to CD Projekt Red.
It's an interesting world where global video game industry revenue out-grosses that of the incumbent movie and music entertainment industries. In an unprecedented cross-over, Valve today announced its partnership with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGFO) to bring “more than 100 movies” to Steam. Among the selection is the Hunger Games series, Ender's Game, and the Saw series. From our first look, we're only seeing 70 total films – but there are supposedly at least 31 more on the way.
The past week in game news saw some contradictions in initial RollerCoaster Tycoon World plans, Steam controller 3D print customization, Battleborn's beta, and Hyper Light Drifter's launch. Big news in various segments of the gaming market, all covered in our weekly recap that's embedded below.
RollerCoaster Tycoon World is up first (RCTW) – an easy topic, given our extensive coverage history of the game's tumultuous development pipeline. Developers nvizzio and publisher Atari have given in to the Early Access model, making available RCTW for $50 pre-purchases. More on this and other weekly news topics in this video:
The hardware world has been lit ablaze with news over the past few weeks – CES a huge boon to that, of course – and now we turn the magnifying glass to the world of gaming. This past week alone, we've seen a new mod for Fallout 4 that introduces seasonal changes, a Call of Duty sales surge to 250 million boxed copies, Steam's Winter Sale volume increase 50% over the Summer Sale, and major eSports news from ESPN and Intel.
Fallout 4 still doesn't have official tool kits available, but that hasn't stopped modders. Most mods are making use of .ini tweaks, overwrites, and even Skyrim editing tools, and they've come a long way with that limited suite. Fallout 4's seasonal changes mod is one of the most visually appealing to-date, in our experience, and kicks-off our weekly game news recap. Video below.
For a week following the holidays, game news has been non-stop in its roll-out since Christmas day. Valve experienced store downtime on Xmas for a period of about an hour, resultant of an emergency shutoff to protect users from a caching issue that exposed personal information. Valve stated that users have nothing to worry about with regard to credit card information and account data.
That wasn't Santa's only gift to the games industry, though; employees at Red5, developers of Firefall, were reportedly told that payroll would not be issued due to lack of studio finances.
News more specific to games – not just the industry – emerged for The Witcher 3, Escape from Tarkov, and Far Cry Primal. Additional information was revealed about the new Assassin's Creed: The Game: The Movie adaptation. You'll find all that in our news recap video below. Script below that.
The Steam store was shut down on Christmas day following a series of DDOS attacks. Valve released a statement and apology following the event, clarifying that 34,000 people have been affected and that the released information “did not include full credit card numbers, user passwords, or enough data to allow logging in as or completing a transaction as another user.” Further, those who did not input any personal information to Steam on Christmas will not have been affected by the caching error.
Game publisher and, at one point or another, developer Valve has called teams together to resolve an account caching issue that is confirmed to reveal user information to other users. This isn't the first time it's happened, but the timing is certainly sub-optimal for the digital retailer.