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.
This week's game news looks to the worlds of Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, Overwatch, Elite: Dangerous, Paragon, and Steam's account theft.
An interview with CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski went live on Polish site Money.pl, where the CEO – who openly discusses his company's financial efficiency – talks about the White Wolf's future adventures. The company hopes to continue its devotion to the Witcher series, despite initial plans to conclude the story with Wild Hunt. Geralt's story is done, Kicinski told the site, but that doesn't mean The Witcher is. This has been the major delay to Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has internal, unannounced deadlines, but Kicinski said to expect Cyberpunk news in 2016.
Our hardware news recap is over here.
That and all the other week's news items are recapped in the below video:
Last week's game news recap overviewed major No Man's Sky, Star Citizen, and RPG news (including some Fallout 4 discussion). That was our first weekly recap of games industry news and, finding it to be tremendous fun and receiving positive feedback, we've returned with the second episode.
This week was another eventful period for the industry, heralding the arrival of Black Ops III, the Fallout 4 launch trailer, and putting a public spotlight on Valve's advertising during sales. News also erupted surrounding the Warcraft movie trailer, followed shortly by news that The Witcher series has already gone through pre-production for its own movie creation. Granted, the Witcher is technically based on a book – but close enough.
Valve has just launched “item stores” on Steam that will allow developers to sell digital items for their games through the Steam platform. Rust is the first game to do so, launching its store with a plethora of cosmetic items ranging from $2.50 to $5.00 a pop.
Interestingly, this change means that developers can now set values for items and possibly compete with users selling items. Developers will also be able to sell user-made items in their stores with portions of the sale going toward the creator of the item, effectively a revenue share model as is possible through other marketplaces, like the Unreal Engine marketplace.
Valve's Steam Link, a streaming video transmitter we encountered at GDC this year, is now available for $50 via the Steam store. The company dispatched a new teaser video for the hardware today, providing a TF2-inspired 40-second overview of how Link works.
Steam Link is a TV-attached device that works to live encode game data as a video stream, similar to the DOKO or Shield products. The Link connects to TVs via HDMI, but includes 3x USB2.0 passthroughs, an RJ-45 ethernet jack, and a 3.5mm header for audio. The USB passthrough feeds input data (controller, keyboard, or otherwise) to the host PC, located remotely within the local area network. There is a low latency target on such USB passthrough devices, but gamers should not expect to play highly-competitive titles on the Link (or any competing devices) while retaining ability to adequately compete. There is usually a sub-100ms input latency, which isn't much for RPGs and the like, but is detrimental to a game like CSGO or DOTA2 at a competitive level.
Dota 2 is being Reborn. Valve has begun rolling-out a massive set of changes to the game’s UI, cosmetics, and some general housekeeping. In the midst of all these changes is an updated tournament section, where fans can find live tournaments and viewable replays of previous events.
Showcased amongst these changes, though, is the new Dota Levels system. Players will now earn trophies for playing Dota 2; these trophies contribute trophy points to the player, with every 100 trophy points granting a new level. From information released, these trophies and levels seem to be largely cosmetic, like gamerscore and achievements. Bragging about a number in Dota 2 should now be much easier.
At PAX Prime, thanks to the folks at Valve and HTC, we got another first-hand experience with what may be the best option in personal VR to-date: the Vive.
Our first encounter with the Valve/HTC Vive was at GDC 2015, the headset’s first showcase, and we were limited on information and recording permission. HTC and nVidia brought the Vive to PAX Prime this year, the former bringing us into their conference room for another lengthy, hands-on demonstration. We took the opportunity to talk tech with the HTC team, learning all about how Valve and HTC’s VR solution works, the VR pipeline, latencies and resolutions, wireless throughput limitations, and more. The discussion was highly technical – right up our alley – and greatly informed us on the VR process.
The day’s first game -- a match between Virtus Pro and compLexity Gaming -- started with some interesting draft choices. CompLexity picked up the Bristleback + Io combo that hasn’t been nearly as popular as it was last year, they also managed to get the Gyrocopter through the draft. Virtus Pro also snuck the Naga Siren into their draft, as well as taking the Razor; a hero who was incredibly popular last year, but has since fallen off. CompLexity’s draft combo seemed to be going poorly throughout the early and mid game as Virtus Pro was able to mount a significant lead. The American team, with a five man Smoke of Deceit, was able to pick off three of VP’s heroes and take Roshan. Though the game became a slugfest, it was compLexity that only barely managed to break their opponent and win the first game.
The first day of The International 2015 main event is in the books. The day broke with the announcement that the massive prize pool had broken 18 million dollars. In addition to filling Key Arena in Seattle, the event was viewed in 400 theaters across the nation and with limited television broadcast.
The first match came from the upper bracket, between Europe’s Team Empire and the Chinese LGD Gaming. Game one looked to be in Team Empire’s favor as they took a strong lead with aggressive play in the mid-game; however, LGD was able to find the cracks in Empire’s continued aggression and LGD was able to fight Team Empire all the way back to the European’s fountain, taking game one from the European team.
The time has finally come: Monday is the beginning of the main event for The International 2015, Valve’s DOTA 2 eSports tournament. The tournament has officially collected the largest single-event eSports prize pool in history.
Last weekend, four teams made their final gambits for spots in the event; China’s CDEC Gaming and Korean team MVP Phoenix snuck into the final two spots. This past week, all 16 teams battled through a fierce group stage to determine the final bracket for the main event.
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