Microsoft Studios is once again expanding its Halo franchise beyond genres and beyond platforms. It has just announced the launch of Halo: Spartan Strike, actually its second top-down shooter game that eschews the FPS conventions of the main titles. And also unlike the main titles, which are mostly confined to Xbox consoles, Spartan Strike is available for a whole lot more platforms and devices, including the iPad, the iPhone, Windows 8, Steam, and even Windows Phone. Curiously, there is still no sign of an Android port.
The streaming game service known as OnLive has been acquired by Sony, and all OnLive services will be shut down on April 30th. Were you one of the unlucky few that purchased a physical OnLive Game System when it was released back in 2011? Too bad! That system doesn't work with any other software. Were you using the OnLive app on Android or your desktop machine? Too bad, it's all over. Starting on April 30th, all OnLive services are finished, gone, kaput, no more.
It's only just been announced to be heading to Steam's Greenlight program, but it already looks like a heavy hitter. This is Barrage, a game created by Tectonic Studios with Unreal Engine 4 - so you know it's going to look just lovely. This game is about bombardment, pointed strikes, and defending your home world. Research, launch, and kill. But that's not the best part - the best part is watching the process, Unreal Engine community involvement, creation, development, and everything step by step.
Who says you can't make it big just with game modding? While some game developers frown upon the act of modifying a released game, and even more on the act of releasing said mods, others have embraced the reality of this gaming sub-culture. And others, well, they might even reward you for it. Valve has not only sanctioned the mod that is now officially known as Half-Life 2: Update, it is even allowing it to be distributed on Steam. Provided, of course, you own the original game on Steam as well.
The recent GDC 2015, especially the revelation of its own VR ambitions, has thrust Valve and Steam back into the spotlight. Many gamers, especially of the PC kind, might still remember the promise of Steam Machines that have yet to materialize in retail forms. But while part of that equation lies on the hardware, especially the special Steam Controller, the other part is tied to the software. So just how well is Steam doing on Linux today? Well, apparently quite healthy, but it could do with a bit more.
Steam Machines are back in the spotlight after Valve revealed its big plans for gamers later this year. But while we approach with caution due to last year's disappointing turnout, some of the rising supporters rallying around Steam's ecosystem are quite interesting. You have small mini PCs dressed up as Steam Machines, ready to conquer the living room. And then you have bigger, hulking boxes that would still look nice somewhere near your TV. Maingear's upcoming Drift is one of the latter. It may not be a Steam Machine, but it might very well be.
If the stars align, Valve will really be announcing about a dozen Steam Machines come November this year. Of course, that was the promise last year and we all now what happened. Still, it seems like partners are getting back on track, and one of those is ZOTAC. The company that has recently been putting out mini and pico PCs has just announced that they are completely on board the Steam Machine thrust with a new SN970 gaming PC coming to its catalog soon.
I’m going to be blunt with you, words can’t do justice to the experience of using HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset. There’s nothing quite like slipping into a virtual 3D world, as I did this week in a preview of Vive ahead of developer units shipping this spring. Cloistered in a room at the back of HTC’s Mobile World Congress stand, and with the reassuring voice of a Vive engineer whispering in my ear, I got to try out a number of demo apps and environments created for the platform by Valve and others, including the first announced title for SteamVR.
The NVIDIA GRID experience is about to expand. Now that the graphics card-making crew at NVIDIA have created a PC game streaming service that's proven itself as robust, they're ready to move beyond their free model, and on to one that charges. Instead of continuing with a sort of an All You Can Eat situation, NVIDIA GRID will have you paying a subscription cost - for streaming services - as well as a cost per game. Each game you purchase in this way will be delivered to you with a Steam code as well - for full PC gaming.
It's GDC time again and PC gamers are in for a treat. As expected, Valve is making a big splash but it has more than just virtual reality in mind. To push the PC gaming industry even further, Valve is announcing the availability of the Source 2 engine, which any content creator can get their hands on. It has also disclosed a new hardware product called Steam Link for streaming any and all Steam content. Of course, there's also the SteamVR platform and, surprise surprise, Steam Machines.
One cannot say that Gabe Newell and Valve are without vision or ambition. At the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March, the company will be delighting the public with updates on its foray beyond digital game distribution and into gaming hardware. While there will indeed be many eyes on its Steam machines and controllers, perhaps the spotlight for that week will be taken by a "previously unannounced" SteamVR hardware system that will put the company in race towards that still young and still unverified virtual reality market.