Benchmark software leader Futuremark today announced its plans for the development of a new software suite, the company said in a statement to the press. Futuremark is perhaps best-known to our readers for its development of 3DMark and subsequent Firestrike benchmarking utilities, software that resembles extreme game graphics scenarios for GPU testing. We've also covered the company for its API Overhead Benchmark, utilized in testing DirectX 11, 12, and Mantle API load on the CPU.
In a major overhaul to Valve's digital distribution platform, Steam will now offer refunds under more open conditions, the company reported today. Previously, Steam's refund policies have been “once per account” and “we'll take a look,” but the Valve-owned platform now promises refunds for products under these conditions:
- Simply didn't work.
- Minimum hardware requirements not met.
- Game played for fewer than two hours and disliked.
- Game purchased within two weeks and one of the above conditions is met.
Note that Valve has offered to “take a look” if none of these conditions are met. An example of this, for instance, would be if a patch broke a game that you've invested minimally into.
We’re approaching that time of year again. Dota 2’s “The International” is beginning with its announcement of the invited teams and the playoff stages are firing-off early. As with the last two years, Valve is selling Compendiums to build hype and money for the prize pool. Last year, the tournament set a record prize pool with $10,930,698. Compendiums went live just a month ago and, with two more months to go until the event, there’s already $10,012,360 in the pool. Just the same as last year, Valve initiated the pool with $1,600,000 -- the other $8,412,360 has all come from the fans.
The Witcher 3's bombastic launch included bonus, spill-over fanfare surrounding the use of nVidia's GameWorks middle-ware in Project Cars. AMD spewed fire, telling Ars that GameWorks “completely sabotaged” AMD's performance, further stating “it's wrecked our performance, almost as if it [were] put in to achieve that goal.” This implication of an nVidia-branded torpedo to AMD's performance garnered attention on reddit and other social networks, following a week of similar postings related to Project Cars. We decided to do some of our own research.
Due to take effect on May 10, AMD just announced at Financial Analyst Day that it would further sink its APU pricing on several SKUs. This price dip is likely a part of AMD's annual inventory clearance, an action usually taken to reduce channel inventory leading into new product launches. Retail prices have dropped upwards of $23 in some instances, resulting in – for example – a $127 A10-7850K.
The full pricing table is below:
Corsair’s RGB series of keyboards is among the most-hyped peripheral lines in recent history. These keyboards were the first to feature programmable RGB lighting on a keyboard with mechanical switches, and even signed one-year exclusivity with Cherry MX RGB switches. The hype train was going at full-steam ahead with these keyboards.
Then, Corsair’s RGB keyboards were delayed. Following this, Corsair started using its new gaming logo in lieu of a traditionally more reserved logo, annoying fans of the old logo (perhaps to a point of irrational rage). Then -- somehow -- more bad news emerged pertaining to quality control and supply issues with Cherry MX Blue switches, to the point that they are now discontinued entirely.
The annual East Coast Game Conference -- a 1500-attendee attempt at GDC-style development gatherings -- welcomed Mike Laidlaw of Bioware for its keynote today. The Bioware Creative Director has been tasked with oversight of the company's Dragon Age product line, drawing from his experience to discuss world design and storytelling at the conference.
Laidlaw's presentation spanned behind-the-scenes aspects of the development process, including unique considerations taken into account when producing a more open-world title. Throughout the keynote, Laidlaw made playful jabs at Bioware's own shortcomings with Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, often referencing the Hinterlands and player defiance for migration.
The only perceivable competitive threat faced by the world’s most successful silicon company, Intel, is the one posed by ARM. For an understanding of just how large Intel is, we can use market capitalization as a relative measurement: AMD sits under $3B these days, NVIDIA (for point of reference) is marked at $12.19B, ARM has grown to $25.5B, and Intel’s market cap rests near a staggering $161B. AMD is a non-threat, but ARM has continually ensured fierce competition in the mobile and integrated devices markets with its low-TDP, high-performance processors.
ARM wasn’t at GDC to talk about its CPUs, though.
The annual Game Developers Conference is this week, with PAX East overlapping the tail-end of the event. We’ll be at both GDC and PAX, followed by the GPU Technology Conference about two weeks later.
Event management and RSVP service Eventbrite today published a study of eSports live events, analyzing demographic data, favored games, reason for attendance, and building a profile of an “eSports viewer.”
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