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  1. Good news, Sega fans. Cult classic graffiti skater Jet Set Radio has now officially been priced and given a release date in North America and Europe. First up, the price will be an extremely reasonable $9.99 across all four platforms (360,PS3,PC, and Vita). As for the release dates, it'll arrive on PSN first, with PS Plus users getting access to the game a whole week earlier on September 11. Non-PS Plus members will then get their chance to purchase it on September 18. XBLA and Steam users come next on September 19, and then finally Vita owners will get their mitts on the game on October 16. It's great to see Sega revive some of their older IPs like this, even if it is just an HD remake. Perhaps if it performs well in sales, we might see another entry in the series after so long? You never know! Are you planning on buying Jet Set Radio?
  2. Perhaps you remember sometime in July when pictures of the Steam smartphone app showed categories other than video games. It had sections for things like photo editing, video production, and web publishing. No one was certain of what this meant but it definitely suggested that Valve was planning on introducing other software to their store. Source Filmmaker was the first but it won't be the last. Today Valve sent out a press release which basically proved all that speculation right. On September 5th, various software applications will be added to Steam which aren't video games. What exactly the software is wasn't announced but they will "range from creativity to productivity." This isn't just a test either, since they also say that non-game software will continue to come out after that date. Prospective programs may even be submitted through Steam Greenlight to see if the community is interested. What would be the benefit of having something like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite on Steam? Installation should be streamlined as it is with the games on Steam, as well as have automatic updates. Steam Cloud will also sync with the software so that files can be accessed in multiple places. So far there's no mention of adding achievements though (thank goodness). Why did Valve decide to expand beyond gaming products on their store? Mark Richardson of Valve gave an answer: "The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games. They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests." Would you buy non-gaming software on Steam? If so, what are the kinds of programs you'd be interested in?
  3. The eXceed Collection... What is it? It's a set of three shoot 'em up games brought together in one budget package. What's special about that? Well, the eXceed series is relatively popular bullet hell in the "doujin" game world. In case you didn't know, doujin is sort of akin to our term "indie". A doujin series you might be aware of is the extremely popular Touhou Project games. The collection includes the following games: eXceed - Gun Bullet Children, eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX, and eXceed 3rd - Jade Penetrate Black Package. If you can manage to ignore the awkward and humorous names then it's a nice set of titles for $10. In case you don't want them all, then it's also possible to buy each game separately as well. In case you're not ready to make the purchase, the trio of games can be demoed on their official site. Those who want to take a look at what eXceed has to offer might want to check out this trailer (for the 3rd game):
  4. It's been available for download for about a month now, but indie point-and-click adventure game, Resonance, has just made its debut on Steam today. While it does very much feel like an old-school adventure game, especially with its pixel art style, Resonance offers a lot that makes it feel like a unique and modern-day game. In Resonance, you must control four characters that have teamed up to stop a powerful technology from falling into the wrong hands. Said characters are all controllable simultaneously, which makes for a very different experience. Resonance also boasts a "short-term" and "long-term" memory system, which makes it so you can ask other characters about ANYTHING in the game. Resonance is available on Steam for a discounted price of $9 right now, and will return to its regular price of $10 on August 1st. If you are interested in playing the game but need a little push, please read our review of the game!
  5. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Finally Moving Toward Linux Support

    For some time now Steam has made mention about Linux every so often. Even as far back as when the Mac client was launched there was talk about eventually getting onto Linux. Still, things have been mostly quiet on Valve's end until a brand new blog debuted today. It's a post by the Valve Linux Team and they have shared a little about their existence and what they're working on. Earlier this year news got out that Valve had gotten Left 4 Dead 2 running stably on Ubuntu, but not much else came after it. Now the team is speaking and saying they want to get Left 4 Dead 2 running as well as it does for Windows OSes. Not only that, but they want the Steam client ported over and to retain all functionality. As you might expect, they're also hoping to get other games running too. Their biggest goal is simply getting Steam to run with all its features on Ubuntu 12.04. So far they've done well, and eventually, want to bring it to other Linux distributions too. It might not be the most exciting news but it's a start.
  6. Marcus Estrada

    Ubisoft's DRM Hurting During Steam Sale

    If you've been living under a rock since Thursday maybe you wouldn't know about the annual Steam Summer Sale currently going on. However, for all those engaged in it you can be sure that tons of people are buying, downloading, and playing new games during it. There's such a mass of people using Steam that oftentimes the service itself has issues keeping up! However, even when Steam is just fine that doesn't mean all their products are. Ubisoft game players have been finding this out the hard way during the sale. Ubisoft's UPlay is a DRM method which forces you to log in and be connected to their servers for your entire play session. Although not all the games they publish contain it, many do. Games that have been featured on the sale, such as Anno 2070 do come with UPlay. With all this attention paid to games on Steam, titles with UPlay just can't handle the stress. Ubisoft's servers are getting far too much traffic and have caused many to be unable to play their games. Apparently, if the server is down it will return an error message about your password being wrong, rather than simply saying the servers are packed. So even if you can manage to get through Steam's servers to buy and download new games for the sale you may not be able to play them straight away thanks to DRM. On the official Ubisoft forums the issue was claimed to be resolved but is that something you can immediately fix? Post a comment here if your Ubisoft games are running fine!
  7. Well folks, it's that time of the year again. We're right in the middle of summer and that means the Steam Summer Sale 2012 has finally launched. We've seen two days so far but there's going to be over a week's worth of sales going on (all the way until the 23nd). Even if this isn't your first Steam sale you've probably been surprised by a bit of what this year's sale has to offer. However, for those of you who haven't yet braved a massive sale yet, this is for you. It's time to share tips to getting the most out of a Steam sale. Understand the Difference Between Daily Deals and Regular Deals Upon loading up Steam on any of the sale days you're set to be greeted by a special homepage. Instead of looking like it always does, it instead features an image grid of nine specific games on sale. These games are all the deals specific to today, and will change to other titles at 10AM PST each day until the last day, which will probably be a "second chance" sale. If you want any of the games featured in the main spot then it's best that you act on them as they won't be available for the entire sale. Common sense, right? However, I still see many people make the mistake then of snapping up games immediately that are not in the daily category. Yes, many games are on sale right now. Thousands of titles in Steam's catalog probably have discounts but that doesn't mean you should hurry and buy them. They're not going to disappear! Beyond that, some of the games that just have discounts (but are not featured specifically) may be featured as a daily deal at some other point. This isn't a guarantee, as there are so many games that could possibly be on sale, but it's worth waiting it out. The games you're eyeing will still be just as fun in a week. These Aren't All the Deals Sure, you are greeted with a lovely home screen filled with deals but this isn't all there is to the Steam sale. If you check out your Wishlist (if you don't have one, you should make one!) you'll probably see that most of the games have discounts on them right now. This is just a peek into the massive library of games that are all on sale right now. Not every title is discounted, but the majority are. In the case that a game you want isn't discounted at all though it may be a sign that it's going to be a daily deal. That, or the publishers are opposed to playing along with the sale. So how do you check out all these deals? There's really no best way, or easiest, but there are a few methods. If you're looking to browse through all the games at a certain price range then try Steam's search listings. This works pretty well as you can filter it by price as well as content (full games, DLC, etc). The only real problem with Steam search in general is that during peak hours of the sale it probably will become inaccessible. In that case, try out SteamGameSales. This site tends to be much more stable and is easy to read. If you use this one just make sure to uncheck the fields for other digital game marketplaces. They're having sales too but we're interested in Steam here! Expect Steam to be Unavailable A Lot Did you excitedly log into Steam today to find that the store pages were constantly throwing back errors instead of showing you content? Did you try to log in at 10:01 AM and find that Steam was refusing you? Perhaps you attempted to make a purchase only to find an error waiting for you. This is all very common and an unfortunate part of each sale so don't worry. There's nothing you can do to fix it when it's down besides waiting it out. One way to not be met with so much trouble is to simply not browse Steam when the new sales go live (10AM PST). Most gamers know this is when the sales change so they hammer away at the servers. It might feel like a pain to not be able to access the deals but you can definitely see them in other ways. The aforementioned SteamGameSales updates whenever a deal goes live. Not only that, but you can always browse your favorite gaming sites for deal news or harness social networking to see what's up. There's no perfect solution but it's easier to simply avoid Steam for a while rather than being faced with constant errors. There Are Some Changes to the Sale So what if you've weathered all the past Summer and Winter sales? There's still new things to factor in. For one, you're probably wondering where the whole "Summer Camp" thing with achievements went. Unfortunately that's not a part of the sale this year. What we do have is the opportunity to earn badges. These badges are a newly released feature with Steam which coincide with the sale. However, there are a big batch of tasks specifically made for the sale so be sure to check them out. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about then: Go to your Profile, click on View Badges on the right, then you will see all the tasks waiting to be fulfilled! Beyond that there is now Community Choice and Flash Sales to keep an eye on. Apparently just having some daily deals wasn't enough. Community's Choice is a feature which allows Steam users to select one of three games that they would most like to see get a deal. These voting periods last for eight hours then the winning game is put on sale. Then after another eight hours the next game goes on sale, and so on and so forth. Then there are the Flash Sales which are staggered in when they end. If you'd like to keep track of them then perhaps keep their times in your head so you can check back when they are switched out for other games. If that's too cumbersome though, and you have a smartphone, then maybe you'll want to try out using it to tell you the sales. What If I'm Not Going to Have Access to My Computer? If you're going to be out and about you may be sad to be missing out on all the great sales. If you've got a smartphone (iOS or Android) then you don't have to! A little while back Steam introduced an app into both marketplaces which allows you to browse Steam quite well. You can log into your account and make purchases, and even start game downloads remotely (if your main computer is currently on and running Steam). The app's best feature for the sale though is that it can push notifications onto your phone when a new deal goes live. This can be found by going to the app's Settings, then selecting Steam Preferences, and checking the option to allow notifications about Steam sales. That way you'll never miss a deal - just make sure you actually keep Steam running in the background. You are able to add funds via the app, although I personally would recommend you do that via a desktop/laptop. The app features the same stuff you're used to on your home version of Steam. You're able to buy a game specifically or add funds to your Wallet. Steam Wallet is my personal suggestion because when Steam is acting up you may worry that you've accidentally double-charged your credit card. By using the Wallet feature you can easily check your amount and see that it only took the funds it needed. Control Yourself Now, this one might be a bit of a touchy subject but it's still worth going over. Yes, there are great deals to be had here... thousands of them. But do you need every single one? For my first sale I remember grabbing a few packs here and there as well as single games and before I knew it there was a massive amount of titles clogging up my Steam library. It might not have been too bad, but how many of these games were going to actually get played? Years later, many have yet to be installed even once. It's best to keep a wishlist about the games you'd really love to pick up on sale. As enticing as it might be (especially as a first time Steam sale shopper) to buy everything remotely cool, it's not always worth it. Keeping a budget may also be helpful here. For example, maybe plop down $25-$100 in your Steam Wallet and use that as your funding for the entire sale. With this method you're able to still buy a lot of games but must be a little more sure about purchases instead of simply buying everything left and right. Finally, Secure Your Deals So, you've weathered another sale and have picked up a great deal of games. Awesome, right? Yes, unless sometime in the future your account is compromised by evildoers. Wouldn't it be awful to lose access to those new titles as well as whatever else is in your library? Pretty much every Steam owner would be in agreement that would indeed be a terrible predicament. In case you haven't done so yet (although new accounts have this feature by default), it would be wise to use Steam Guard. This feature will make it so any time your account is accessed from a new location that it will need to be "unlocked" by a key that is sent to your email address. This is a helpful layer of security just as long as your email and Steam passwords are different! With all this fresh in your mind you're now ready to hop onto Steam and venture forth! Hopefully you'll be able to grab all the titles you're interested in (and maybe play some games too). Just be sure to take advantage of the Summer Sale because the next big sale is all the way off in Winter. What games do you have your eye on for the Steam Summer Sale? What have you already purchased?
  8. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Geico

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  9. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Summer Sale 2012 Daily Deal Banner

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  10. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Server Error

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  11. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Guard

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  12. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Android App

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  13. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Summer Sale 2012 Community's Choice

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  14. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Game Listing

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  15. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Sale 2012 Badges

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  16. Harrison Lee

    Spec Ops: The Line Review and GIVEAWAY

    DISCLAIMER: As I wrote this review, I found it difficult to put into words the emotions I felt from playing Spec Ops: The Line. As such, prepare for a lot of anecdotal discussions and open-ended questions. While this may be a review, it's a broader introspective evaluation on the modern shooter and the player's role in said genre. Prepared? Then read on. Developer: Yager Studios Publisher: 2K Games Release Date: June 26, 2012 (out now) Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the PC version of Spec Ops: The Line. "War is hell," said General William Tecumseh Sherman. It's a quote that modern shooters often toss about, but one which no video game has ever embraced the meaning of. Most developers glorify tearing hands, feet, and other limbs off of generic enemy soldiers with as much gore as humanly possible. Through the glorification of war in gaming, the meaning of life is cheapened with half a magazine of 5.56 ammo. In these war games, there are only heroes and villains, with the most morally-grey aspects of war reduced to cheap marketing tactics like Call of Duty's "No Russian" mission. Spec Ops: The Line has taken all of these tropes of the modern shooter and thrown them in my face with disturbing clarity. After playing, nay experiencing, Spec Ops, I may never play a shooter with the same mindless power fantasies ever again. The premise behind Yager's cover-based third-person shooter is almost mind-boggling simple and generic. A US Army commander by the name of Colonel John Konrad has led the Damned 33rd Infantry Battalion into Dubai to evacuate the populace from history's largest sandstorm. Players, taking the role of Captain Martin Walker, are to investigate Konrad's whereabouts and, if necessary, save the Colonel and his men. Spec Ops even leads you to believe that this generic premise is indicative of the entire experience with the opening helicopter pursuit sequence. The sense of deja vu is undeniable; I've been here, shot helicopters down with a mi***un, and done this turret sequence so many times before. Once you get to the ground, however, Spec Ops mutates into one of this generation's most morally, mentally, and emotionally taxing shooters. At the games conclusion, I was left battered and bewildered by everything I had seen. The conclusion only serves to make the games unsettling events that much more horrific. As much as it may have impacted me, Spec Ops is first and foremost a game, so is it any fun to play? To say Spec Ops is fun belies the game's contradictory, complicated nature. At every point during the campaign, I felt the juxtaposition of a shooter framework with a strong anti-war sentiment. In everything from the shooting to the graphic dialogue and horrific war crimes committed, I felt uncomfortable. Yager clearly intended this game to disturb and unsettle. Enjoyment and fun are not the words I would use to describe my experience with Spec Ops. I would describe my five-hour trip through hell as uncensored and raw, striking nerves the whole way through. Whether I was gunning down rogue American soldiers or deciding the fate of a CIA agent and a group of civilians, Spec Ops made it tough for me to want to continue playing. But I had to see it through. I had to see what shade of monster Walker was becoming. While all of this may sound like I'm rambling, these thoughts are the predominant reason for my constant pursuit of Konrad and the truth. I had a hard time stomaching the thought of killing civilians and murdering countless US soldiers. While this may sound trite in lieu of "No Russian", believe me when I say the dead will haunt you throughout the campaign...and perhaps beyond. For every enemy you kill, you constantly ask yourself why you're shooting dozens of people. In all the chaos, Walker can only defend himself with ***ue notions of wanting to be the hero, of trying to be Dubai's savior. But what of us players? Why are we massacring virtual meatbags that scream for mercy, drag themselves on the ground missing limbs, meatbags that have casual conversations about sharing gum? Are we truly the desensitized monsters that men like Konrad have become? I wish I knew the answer. By the time the credits roll, you'll wonder yourself whether Konrad was ever the true antagonist. No matter what choices you make, Walker still becomes a sa***e, ruthless killer. If you've seen Apocalypse Now, you understand just how insane war is. That madness is not lost on Walker or the two men he fights alongside with, Lugo and Adams. All three men experience the conflict differently, and all three will change from the people they began as. Does Spec Ops change the player as well? In these reflective moments, the jarring reality that this is just a game readily becomes apparent. There is a constant barrage of achievements that applaud me for the decisions I did or didn't make. While it may not bother some, I felt like it broke the immersion when a pop-up announced I had 'crossed a line' or 'aimed high' on targets. Isn't this game supposed to be more than just a game? In some ways, being a shooter has ensured the full impact of Spec Ops will never be realized. Since we are simply playing a game, it only leaves lingering doubts in our minds once we put the controllers down. For many gamers, Spec Ops may never resonate with them in the same way that it struck my nerves. I sincerely hope, however, that they at least have an open mind to the horrors that await them beneath the sands of Dubai. If you can walk away unmoved by what takes place, you may already be more of a monster than any of the Damned 33rd or the Delta soldiers. Mechanically speaking, Spec Ops is a fairly competent shooter. It plays a lot like Gears of War, where players take cover behind sturdy objects and use big guns against enemy targets. Where Spec Ops differs is in the flow of combat. There's a relentless push forward, a constant thrust urging players onward. That's carried over into the relatively quick kills and brutal executions that emphasize and reward speed. I found myself stressed and overwhelmed by constantly having to progress forward, fearing I would be quickly overrun if I cowered behind cover. I never felt like camping behind objects was safe as the enemy AI, however basic it can appear, always outflanked me and tore me to shreds. If I have one complaint, it's the quirky control scheme. Some of the buttons are mapped to more than one function, making it possible to sprint into cover when you actually meant to sprint around a target. The cover system, which people have also complained about, didn't really trouble me. Once or twice I was left exposed to enemy fire, but I didn't really feel like it was a major issue. The weapons themselves feel powerful and deadly. When I pulled the trigger, soldiers often crumpled or doubled over, coating the walls in red, messy spatters. It felt awful to gun down people who were likely as desperate as I was to survive. In the end, however, I had to regard the violence as a mercy upon my foes. The way they begged for help or clutched massive wounds didn't make it any easier for me to execute them. Even more disturbing was the fact that I was treated to additional (typically scarce) ammo for finishing them off, forcing me to do the deed. If Yager wants to bother players, this is a great way to do it. The aforementioned squadmates, Lugo and Adams, are great companions on this trip to insanity. They offer constant tactical feedback and aren't bad shots themselves. They can be given a few commands to help alleviate Walker's pressure, but act independently for the most part. The banter between all three soldiers is always interesting, well-written, and appropriately frantic when things get absolutely FUBAR (and they really get bad). Players will likely recognize Nolan North's voice as Walker. I felt North did an admirable job taking on a much more mature character. Though the (sometimes gratuitous) swearing may offput some, I recommend you grit through it to see the shocking conclusion. There's multiplayer in Spec Ops, but I recommend you skip it. The game works when the servers aren't being slammed, and there are some cheap thrills in modes like Chaos (free-for-all) and Buried. However, it's clear the singleplayer was the focus of development. I felt like the MP didn't carry the same weighty feeling of combat. It also lacked the emotional impact that the narrative hit home. If you purchase Spec Ops, stay for the campaign, not the compe***ive multiplayer. The technicals behind Spec Ops are fairly strong. The visuals, though lacking when compared to games like Battlefield 3, are suitably gritty and do the job well. Some of the character models look great, and the ruined city of Dubai is beautifully rendered. When the dust kicks up from explosions and gunfire, the air is obscured and a tactical element is layered onto the shooting. The particles aren't just for looks; they can really come in handy when the defecation hits the oscillation. The audio is absolutely fantastic. With a fully-licensed soundtrack and some haunting musical scores, Spec Ops succeeds in mooding you out. Everything here is meant to unsettle you, and the soundtrack does an admirable job fulfilling this roles. As I mentioned earlier, the great dialogue is well acted. The sound effects are also great; they really add to the visceral impact of combat and the narrative. If you're expecting the next generation in A/V though, you'll be disappointed. Then again, if you're coming for that, you're not playing the right shooter. Is Spec Ops the best shooter of 2012? Probably not, but that's for a reason. Spec Ops is a criticism of the modern shooter, taking the fundamental concept of the war game and inverting it. It may seem like a blatant copy of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, but don't be fooled; there are far more horrific things to experience in Spec Ops than you may expect. Prepare to have your moral and ethical codes challenged in this game, and always remember that not everything in Dubai is as it seems. But this you already know. The rest you'll just have to figure out for yourself. Welcome to Dubai, gentleman. Pros: + Incredibly deep story, filled with hidden intel to unravel more of the mystery + Forces players to make a number of difficult choices at any given time + Great audio and a few beautifully rendered scenes set Spec Ops apart + The multiplayer is not the focus of the game this time around Cons: - The multiplayer is also incredibly barebones - Some odd control bindings can cause trouble - Occasional bugs and technical glitches here and there Overall: 8.5/10 Great Spec Ops is a great, mature third-person shooter that actually makes you regret the choices you make. A deep story is coupled with great dialogue to create an excellent campaign. GIVEAWAY: Want to win a Steam copy of Spec Ops: The Line? Simply tell me what you thought of Apocalypse Now and why you're excited to play Spec Ops. Winner chosen randomly on July 6th at 9 PM Eastern.
  17. Today Steam announced something big. No, not their much-anticipated Summer Sale. They have unveiled their new project which is titled "Steam Greenlight". It's not live yet but they have already shared a fair amount of information about it. So, what is Steam Greenlight? Here's the word straight from Steam: "Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution. Steam Greenlight also helps developers get feedback from potential customers and start creating an active community around their game as early in the development process as they like." Before this, Steam has been known as notoriously difficult to get indie developed games onto. Some very successful indie games on other platforms have been unable to make it onto Steam. This is a massive change to the system which will now let the community help bring games onboard that probably deserve it. Greenlight will function very much like the currently existing Steam Workshop, except now it's not about modifications but entire games. Hopefully exposing new indie titles to the community instead of a small set of reviewers will help get many more titles onto the digital storefront. There will also be tools in place in case a game on Greenlight is obviously copyright infringing or doing something more malicious. The launch of Greenlight will be at the end of August, so get your indie games prepared! This looks like an interesting new angle for developers to have their games shown, and hopefully accepted, by players everywhere.
  18. What is the future of video game sales? If you ask Electronic Arts, it“s a digital-only library. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz ( Brightman, 2012), EA Labels president Frank Gibeau stated that EA“s “fastest growing segment...is clearly digital and digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future...we“re going to be a 100% digital company, period.” Hold up, a gaming future where there won“t be any more discs? Is EA absolutely insane? Before we cry foul, EA has assured us that it will not be dropping standard retail services right now. “If customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too. We“ll continue to deliver games in whatever media format makes sense,” said Gibeau. That means all of you lovers of physical game copies can breathe a sigh of relief; your next EA purchase will likely come in a plastic case. The fact remains, however, that EA is still pushing towards a digital services-based future. While many gamers may naysay EA“s efforts, I“d say the company“s decision is completely sound. Take a look at the success of Valve“s digital distribution service, Steam. At any one point in time, more than 3,000,000 users are logged into the popular digital game delivery app. At its core, Steam is meant to be a universal platform for easy, fast, and convenient gaming. You can log in to Steam from your laptop, mobile device, or Mac. Valve has also ensured users are treated well with regular sales including the Steam Daily Deal, Midweek Madness, and seasonal clearances such as the Winter Sale. For frugal gamers, what“s not to like? Given Valve“s commitment to making digital distribution the most viable platform for buying games on PC, just how much has the company made? A report from the Forecasting and Analysing Digital Entertainment group estimated a whopping $1 billion in revenues in 2010. Forbes Magazine estimated Valve took a 30-40% cut of third-party game sales revenue, meaning Valve may have made as much as $400 million in 2010. When questioned about first-party release figures, Valve said profits were roughly comparable to its third-party game sales (Chiang, 2011). Think about it. That means Valve made between $600 million and $800 million almost two years ago, in a company that continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Are you seeing the dollar signs in digital distribution? It“s a massive market that hasn“t seen a true competitor to Steam in many, many years. Services like Direct2Drive and Impulse have come along, but Steam still remains the dominant force in digital gaming. Even EA attempted to counter Steam“s success with its own digital service platform, Origin. Though Origin“s success is relatively limited when compared to Steam, it represents a bold move on EA“s part to enter the digital gaming market and, perhaps, the publisher“s first true attempt at making a digital-only future. Now, the most important factor when considering digital distribution is the gaming platform of choice. Where EA“s plan still holds question marks is digital content in relation to game consoles. The disc-based monoliths such as the XBOX 360 and PS3 haven“t been known to cater to digital distribution. User interfaces make sorting through digital game libraries a pain, and most gamers aren“t willing to pay higher prices for the same games they can find cheaper in brick-and-mortar stores. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops on the XBOX Marketplace is still $49.99 while stores regularly clearance the game as low as $19.99. There“s a disconnect between digital and physical prices, a divide that can“t exist if digital distribution is to thrive. By removing the hard-copy element, EA effectively makes this issue null and void. Only having digital releases means brick-and-mortar stores won“t compete with digital markets by having the lowest prices. EA will also eliminate the need to regulate used game sales, since digital copies can“t be resold once the product key or DRM has been activated. For EA“s digital future to really take hold, I doubt its library will become all-digital until the next generation of consoles. While the PS3 and XBOX offer games on demand, the service is not the simple, convenient form which consumers want. Sorting through lists of digital games is a chore when it“s cheaper just to buy them in-store. Future consoles are under debate as to whether or not they will use disks, and it seems EA has fired its own answer; yes. What does a digital-only library mean for consumers? If EA doesn“t properly reward customers for purchasing their digital content, the consumers will likely stop purchasing EA products. It doesn“t make sense for a consumer to put up with inflated prices or a lack of sales if a company refuses to change its sales policy. For EA, this means the company must adapt. Having sales is one thing, but ensuring the customer experience is smooth and rewarding is paramount to the success of digital distribution. Valve won the PC battle with an easy-to-use, accessible platform that features great rewards for user loyalty. Can EA do the same for consoles with its digital-only future? Sound off: What do you think of EA's decision to go digital? Is it a great idea, a terrible one, or a mixture of the two? Leave your opinion in the comments below!
  19. From the album: Review Images

  20. From the album: Review Images

  21. From the album: Review Images

  22. Leah

    Steam Remote Downloads

    From the album: Leah's News Images

    © Valve

  23. Hey, sorry I haven't really been posting much at all on here lately! I've been really busy, and a tad lazy. ;D You know how that is. *rolls eyes* Well, I just thought I'd let everyone know that Rockstar Games is giving away FREE Steam copies of Midnight Club 2 to anyone that joins their Rockstar Games Steam group! The announcement was made here: http://steamcommunit...078427175199696 And the group is here: http://steamcommunit...s/rockstargames The game has multiplayer and if you're wary of the notice on the Steam store page that says "Not compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7", to my knowledge there is a patch out there that fixes that. So.....if there's enough people here who want to do it, maybe we can get a MC2 get-together going! Also, as a slight warning- you need at least 1 purchase, gift redemption, key redemption, or anything like that on your Steam account to get the free copy of Midnight Club 2. That's pretty much anything that doesn't have a "Free" or "Free To Play" tag on Steam. Another warning I might add- you have to join by May 15th, 2012, to be eligible (so this is a 5-day notice), and the copies should be sent out around the 29th. Enjoy!
  24. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Summer Sale 2011 Deals

    From the album: Marcus's Album