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Monday, Jan 06, 2014

  

Steam Machines Announcement

Valve announces over a dozen Steam Machine designs are now in production for release this year, confirming the list of manufacturers revealed earlier today, and saying systems will start at $499:

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced over one dozen Steam Machine designs now in production from leading manufacturers and targeted for release in 2014.

The lineup of Steam Machines announced today offers a wide variety of price and performance options made possible by the Steam Machine's open design, with systems starting as low as $499 and top end systems rivaling today's bleeding edge gaming PCs.

Every Steam Machine includes an innovative Steam Controller designed for use with a wide variety of game genres, and is powered by the SteamOS, a custom OS built atop Linux.

"The first generation Steam Machines offers something for every gamer, which is a critical part of extending Steam into the living room," said Gabe Newell of Valve. "With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it's important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them."

Announced earlier this year, Steam Machines are new entertainment systems targeted for use in the living room and leveraging Steam, the popular online platform for gaming and software with over 65 million accounts worldwide.

The makers of first generation Steam Machines are:

  • Alienware
  • Alternate
  • CyberPowerPC
  • Digital Storm
  • Falcon NW
  • GigaByte
  • iBuyPower
  • Maingear
  • Material.net
  • Next Spa
  • Origin PC
  • Scan
  • Webhallen
  • Zotac

DayZ Beta No Sooner Than End of 2014

A DayZ blog post reflects on the first three weeks of Early Access to the DayZ alpha on Steam, saying the zombie survival game has sold 875,000 copies over that time. The post discusses the uncompromising gameplay players are experiencing in the game and discusses plans for the future, saying the earliest we should expect DayZ to hit the beta testing stage is the end of the year: "Please keep in mind that we do not expect to reach Beta status sooner than the end of 2014."

Hitman Game Not Cancelled

GameSpot has a correction from Square Enix saying the upcoming Hitman game has not been cancelled, contrary to a report that emerged today. The publisher clarifies that a AAA Hitman is still in the works at IO Interactive separate from the mobile game being developed by Square Enix Montreal:

"There's a bit of confusion around the Hitman projects currently in development at Square Enix-owned studios and so we wanted to take the time to clarify what each studio is working on to clear up some of this confusion. Io-Interactive is developing a new, AAA Hitman game that will be coming to PC and next-gen consoles and Square Enix Montreal is fully focused on mobile development of games some of which are related to the Hitman franchise," the representative said. "We look forward to sharing more details about these titles later this year."

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Full Steam Machines Ahead at CES

This week's CES will feature looks at Steam Machines from various partners in Valve's hardware initiative. Engadget reports a dozen companies have announced plans to show off SteamOS machines at the show: Alienware, Falcon Northwest, iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, Origin PC, Gigabyte, Materiel.net, Webhallen, Alternate, Next, Zotac, and Scan Computers (thanks Destructoid). On a related note, CyberPowerPC sends along specs for two of their SteamOS-powered machines to give a sense of what to expect:

CYBERPOWERPC Steam Machine will come in several pre-configured options priced from $499 to $699 with the ability customize all models.

Continue here to read the full story.

Telltale Stirred, Not Shaken, at James Bond Prospects

Telltale Games CTO and cofounder Kevin Bruner reveals that making a James Bond game would be the next license Telltale Games would adapt if money were no object. "I'm a giant James Bond fan and I'm always frustrated by games that make him a mass murderer," he recently told OXM. "He's a super-spy, and that's a different skillset. The films make him less of a mass murderer, and there's not much killing in the books - more spying and intrigue." A recent reddit ask us anything session also revealed their enthusiasm at the prospect of making a Star Wars game, especially given CEO Dan Connors' history at LucasArts.

No Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for PCs

A new Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition FAQ is online to answer questions about the upcoming enhanced edition of the Tomb Raider reboot which will include DLC, preorder content, and spiffier graphics. One of the things they confirm is that the already spiffier looking PC edition of the game will not be getting an update, as they say: "Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition was designed and rebuilt from the ground up for next-generation consoles. At this time a PC update is not planned." They also note this will not come to last generation consoles, and that there will be no upgrade path for next-gen consoles, where the game will be a full US$59.99. Thanks MCV.

Eidos Montreal's Unannounced Action/Adventure

The LinkedIn profiles of an artist and a designer at Eidos/Square Enix Montreal reveal the company is developing a yet-to-be announced action/adventure game that's coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Details are scant, but after discovering this Videogamer apparently knowingly writes: "The title is not expected to be the same game reported to have been cancelled in October 2013." The words Deus Ex are nowhere to be found amid any of this.

Hitman Game Cancelled [Updated]

The next installment in the Hitman series has been cancelled, reports Videogamer in another tidbit discovered on LinkedIn, as Richard Knight's profile reveals the game was formally cancelled last year. Hitman developer IO Interactive said a new AAA installment in the assassination series was their sole focus after laying off staff and cancelling projects last spring, but with that project now cancelled, the profile of network engineer Anthony Pressacco suggests the new plan is to create a mobile installment in the series. Update: Square Enix has responded with a correction, saying the AAA Hitman game is still in production, saying: "Io-Interactive is developing a new, AAA Hitman game that will be coming to PC and next-gen consoles and Square Enix Montreal is fully focused on mobile development of games some of which are related to the Hitman franchise."

Multiple DiRT Games Hinted

One more tidbit from Videogamer, where they note an intriguing tweet from Codemasters suggests the studio is working on more than one continuation of the DiRT series. When asked if they were working on a new installment in the rally racing series, they replied "Well we're not, not working on one ;)"

Clint Hocking Leaves Valve

Clint Hocking's personal website notes the former Ubisoft Montreal and LucasArts designer has now parted ways with Valve Software, saying: "From 2012 until the end of 2013, Clint worked as a designer and level designer at Valve in Seattle," and his LinkedIn profile likewise now lists Valve as a previous employer. Hocking joined Valve last July shortly after his departure from LucasArts and did not ship a project with either of those last two gigs after leaving Ubisoft where he was creative director on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. Thanks GameInformer.

New NVIDIA Mobile SOC Runs Unreal Engine 4

NVIDIA has taken the wraps off a new system on a chip called the Tegra K1, aimed at mobile devices after going a little wacky with their viral tease for the announcement. NVIDIA live blogged their own event and CNET has details from the announcement, while The Tech Report and Techgage have previews of the new technology. One of the bragging rights for the Tegra K1 is its ability to handle Epic's upcoming Unreal 4 engine, and this trailer offers a look at the engine running on the new SOC, which Epic's Tim Sweeney says blurs the line between desktop end mobile devices in a way he didn't expect for another three or four years. Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

GfK Chart Track offers the first new U.K. game sales charts of the new year. Both charts are pretty stable, with the full-price PC games chart featuring a slightly shuffled top five and the all platforms/all prices chart unchanged through number seven. This is noted in the summary:

It might be a new year, but there is very little change this week in the All Formats Chart with the Top 7 all non-movers.

'FIFA 14' (-48%) scores its 6th week at the top, matching its predecessor, which was also No1 this week last year. Compared to the same week last year, sales of 'FIFA 14' are 21% up versus 'FIFA 13', no doubt boosted by the new formats. 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' (-55%) remains at No2, selling 4,000 more units this week than 'Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag' (-50%) at No3. 'Grand Theft Auto V' (-64%) is currently the 4th biggest selling game ever in the UK and if sales remain strong it could well become the biggest selling game of all time within the next 3 months. The only changes to the Top 10 are 'Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition' (-42%) at No8 swapping places with 'Just Dance 2014' (-60%) at No9.

Daylight Trailer

A new "Don't Look Back" trailer shows off the Unreal Engine 4 graphics from Daylight, Zombie Studios' upcoming first-person psychological horror game that's slated for release for Windows and PS4 early this year. Word is: "The latest trailer for Daylight, the first person psychological horror game from indie developer Zombie Studios, is testament to the isolated feeling that permeates the derelict Mid Island Hospital and beyond. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, Daylight's procedurally generated levels ensure that no door, hallway, life-saving flare or clue to the main character's past are ever in the same place twice. Oh, and just as the trailer warns, sometimes it's best not to look behind you." Continue here to read the full story.

Deadbreed Revealed

This recent trailer is from the Deadbreed website, home to an upcoming three-on-three MOBA coming this year from "a group of industry veterans from Sweden," which VG247 notes is lead by Stefan Ljungquist, formerly of Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios. They are accepting beta applications on the website and the game is also the subject of a current Steam Greenlight campaign. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com - Why Marketers Fear The Female Geek. Thanks Ant via Boing Boing.
Is this really what marketers do? Do they really purposely exclude women and then also go ahead and push sexist ideas? Yes, they do. Because it works. It’s best practice. I mean, it’s cynical, sure. But that is capitalism. Capitalism is cynical. It is what marketers often MUST do – if they like it or not – because the people in power, meaning the people with the money demand, that they get as much positive returns as possible on each dollar they spend.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I think things are likely to get really ugly here weather-wise over the next couple of days. It is currently pouring rain and the thermometer reads 52°F, which is creating a lot of water between rainfall and melting snow. Meanwhile, the forecast for tonight calls for a low of 5°F, which I'm going to imagine is going to make for a bit of iciness, though I must warn, I am not a meteorologist.

R.I.P.: Obituary: Iconic video game box art illustrator Greg Martin.

Icy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: The Great Bazooki.
Images: Nice Popeye Tattoowwwwait a Minute That’s Amazing.
Media: Xbox One versus/vs. Nintendo 64.
Best News Bloopers of 2013 - Pt. Deux. NSFW.
Bird plays dead Until The Last Moment.
The Funnies: xkcd: Regex Golf.



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