Having surpassed 125 million users, Steam is the largest digital distribution platform in gaming. Given that Steam offers 4500 games and 400 million pieces of user-created content -- such as skins and weapons for your Valve games -- the attraction is no surprise.

Valve's Steam PC gaming platform reportedly bested its own record for peak concurrent users on 1/1/15, logging in excess of 8.4 million simultaneous gamers on the platform.

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It’s November. Time once again to do our American duty and feed the economy by buying lots of presents. In the event that a new video card is out of budget, games make for a more affordable, giftable option during the Steam & Amazon winter sales.

You could get your friend a Steam or Amazon gift card, but you’ll probably end up spending more than $10 and follow that up with the shame of admitting a lack of ideas.

Valve's wallet-draining endeavors have started early for this year's Halloween, it appears. Then again, apparently Halloween is now holiday enough to mandate sales. The good news is that Valve's kept it classy with games loosely related to All Hallows.

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This weekend, Steam is going to be throwing their biggest Free Weekend event to date. It begins today at 10 AM PST and offers free access to 10 of the more popular titles on Steam. This not only gives a great opportunity to try out some games risk-free, but also a chance to pick up other enjoyable titles on major sales.

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Innovators in wallet abuse by owners, Valve today announced an update to its client that aids in streamlining the discovery of new titles. “Discovery” is one of the more tangible benefits of real-world shopping that has been lost to the sands of time (or EB Games); there’s a very distinct, satisfying experience that accompanies finding a new title, buying it, and taking a chance. Steam hopes to bring eyes to its thousands of titles with greater ease, noting that the company has brought-on more than 1300 games in just nine months.

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The disappearing act performed by the physical retail games world has left us wanting some core functionality back -- like throwing away unwanted things. Steam support will delete games from an account at the request of the user, but that requires an awful lot of effort, especially because it's Steam support.

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Steam's most recent client beta update finally adds an option for hiding unwanted items. "Hide this game in my library" will be the newest available option upon updating to the beta client; the option can be found from the existing "Set Categories" menu. Hidden games will be visible removed from the Steam library, but can be accessed by enabling the hidden filter.

Raptr has just posted its Most Played PC Games for June 2014, and from the looks of it, EA’s first Origin “On the House” deal with Battlefield 3 was a huge success. The 2011 FPS jumped 30 spots on the list, resting now at #12. Raptr's latest research into the most-played PC titles of 2014 comes in the aftermath of the Steam Summer Sale, giving us unique insights as to how heavily sales impact gaming performance.

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Aside from Battlefield 3, the other deal-influenced title was Payday 2. Payday 2 piqued newcomers’ interests during last month’s Steam Summer Sale and earned its fan base’s time with the release of the Big Bank Heist DLC. It climbed 28 spots to #14.

If you like beta tests and want to break two systems at one time, have we got an opportunity for you: GOG.com is going to be testing their new multiplayer streaming system—Galaxy—with the release of the closed beta for The Witcher Adventure Game. Let’s take a peek at what both betas are and talk about what this means in the long run.

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Galaxy is GOG’s attempt to provide a multiplayer platform for the games they offer. The company promotes it as “a truly gamer-friendly, 100% DRM-free online gaming platform that will finally provide the GOG.com community with the easy option to play together online.” With the death of GameSpy, a large number of companies have been trying to find solutions for their games (... we covered GameSpy's death quite extensively). Galaxy is a great chance for GOG to step up and grab users who were left out to dry when playing older games that the creators are not maintaining.

For anyone who grew up in the era of cartridges, floppies, and discs -- physical media -- you'll know the nostalgic feeling of being able to loan games to friends. Pass off an Atari or NES game and let someone else play it, maybe even borrow one of theirs in return. Those times died with the advent of online distribution and the obsessive approach to combating piracy. Steam is a blessing and a curse: It's got great sales, improves accessibility to games, and is a convenient form of DRM that most people can agree with; at the same time, we're putting all our eggs in one basket, support is questionable, and the DRM is still, well, DRM.

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