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Steam continues to work on bettering the user experience for its digital distribution system. Just recently, Steam released Big Picture and they are continuing to produce new features. Today sees the release of a real-money marketplace designed to allow gamers to buy and sell digital items.
The marketplace has launched with support for only Team Fortress 2, but Valve is looking to expand the market to more games. Funds are traded using Steam Wallet funds and, of course, Steam and the developer of the game get to take a cut of every transaction. Diablo 3's auction house is one of the prime examples of this kind of market place.
Steam collects a mere 5 percent from each transaction and the developer can set the cut they want to take from each. For instance, Valve is taking 10 percent of all TF2 transactions. This yields a total cut of 15 percent off of the total, which is much better than Blizzard's 30 percent take.
In an interview a Bioware employee has revealed that the next installment in the Mass Effect series is slated to release sometime in the 2014 or 2015 time frame. He went on to state that the full scale production of the new game commenced sometime around 2 months ago.
It's no secret that we would be seeing more Mass Effect games as Bioware has stated that the Mass Effect universe that they have created would be wasted if they just tossed it to the side. Unfortunately Bioware has reportedly killed off Commander Shepard. It is rumored that the game picks up the story where the last installment left off, in the aftermath of Mass Effect 3.
We want to know what you think about another installment in the Mass Effect saga. Head over to Facebook and comment on this post and let your voice be heard!
I've got to admit, I'm pretty excited about SimCity - every trailer so far has been better and better, and this trailer is no different. This one goes into some more detail of how surrounding city interactions work, and more.
As you can see in the video above, you can work with neighbor cities, or friends cities. The video has a great example of using a Fire Department from another city - in the case that you didn't have one, a neighboring city will come over and put out your fires for you, all without any user interaction.
I'm loving the upgrades to buildings, and the very social aspects of the game. I'm incredibly excited to see what the final game turns out to be!
Blizzard are one of the only developers left that are PC-only, but it looks like this could change. The developer are testing Diablo III out on consoles, and have said that it could eventually turn into an "official project", which would see a departure from their PC-only stance.
We heard rumblings of a console release earlier this year, but haven't heard anything else until today. We might eventually see Diablo III, and previous as well as future Blizzard titles reach current- and next-gen consoles. Rob Pardo, Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard has told Polygon:
We're still kind of exploring it. We've got builds up and running on it. We're hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we're not quite ready to release stuff about it, but it's looking pretty cool.
Meet the Arduino Esplora, an open source Arduino Leonardo based gaming pad that can be used in DIY Gaming projects, to control robots or just about any other project where a hand held controller is needed. Sporting an Atmega32U4 AVR microcontroller with 16 MHz crystal oscillator and a micro USB connection capable of acting as a USB client device, like a mouse or a keyboard.
With 32 KB of memory (with 4 KB used for the bootloader) and a 3 axis acceleration on board we are sure that there will be some awesome games configured to support this controller. The Esplora can appear as a generic keyboard and mouse, and can be programmed to control these input devices using the Arduino Keyboard and Mouse libraries.
"To facilitate writing sketches for the Esplora, there is a dedicated library that contains methods for reading the sensors and writing to the outputs on-board. The library offers high level methods which provide pre-processed data, like degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius from the temperature sensor. It also enables easy access to the outputs, like writing values to the RGB LED." We can't wait to see someone playing Angry Birds on their 10" tablet using the Arduino Esplora as the control device!
Razer releases crowd sourced specs on its long awaited "Project Fiona" gaming tablet today, after the project received 10,000 likes on Facebook. Fans spec'ed out the Windows 8 tablet with some pretty beefy hardware, including an Intel i5 or i7 processor, room for a mid range GPU, and dual controllers were considered a must.
Would be consumers also stated that they would be willing to pay something in the $1300 to $1500 range. Razer has not yet confirmed if these specifications will make it into the production model. Sources have stated that a variant of Project Fiona has already made it past FCC scrutiny. No release date has been set as of this posting.
The Nintendo Wii U has been out for a few weeks now, and there have been some more interesting tests run on Nintendo's next-gen console. With no increase in actual processing power over the current-gen Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, where can we see some improvements? Efficiency.
Performance per watt numbers show Nintendo have the lead, where the Wii U offers some of the same graphical capabilities and gameplay experiences that the current Xbox 360 and PS3 offer, but at much lower power consumption numbers.
The Wii U is slimmer than the just-released PlayStation "Super Slim" model, but offers the same performance (and sometimes better) in terms of resolution support, and lower power consumption numbers by a decent amount. During the FIFA 13 Demo, the Wii U only consumes 32w of power compared to the Xbox 360S and PS3 Super Slim with 76.5w and 70w, respectively.
I don't know why this hasn't happened sooner, but it looks like League of Legends just might make it to Steam after all. The latest tease comes from entries in the Steam CDR database for something called the 'lol.launcher.exe, and versions of League of Legends in French, German and Spanish.
Considering League of Legends is often referred to as the world's most popular game, putting it on the biggest PC digital distribution network, Steam, would be a great move. Gabe Newell has said that he liked the genre which competes against his own DotA 2, but who knows if he meant he'd like to see DotA 2's main competition on his Steam network is the million-dollar question.
With LoL enjoying 30 million active monthly players per month, it would be a great addition to Steam. I'm guessing the large majority of those 30 million gamers use Steam, but would hate not having LoL on Steam. Then we have the fact that Valve's competitor to LoL, DotA 2, isn't even out yet - another issue.
Valve's Gabe Newell confirms they're working on a competitor to the next-gen consoles - hello, Steam Box
I've just come back from a 2 hour drive with my family to see my niece for her 7th birthday, and between getting home and going out again to drop my wife off to a friends house so they can go to the J Lo concert (ugh), I thought I'd sneak in some weekend news - little did I know I'd stumble across this bad boy.
As soon as I read the article, the inner-kid in me got incredibly excited, so here we go. At the VGA's on the weekend, Valve's Gabe Newell confirmed that you'll be able to buy a living-room-friendly PC package next year that will be a competitor to the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
You might know I'm a little bit passionate about Valve, as I really think they're about the only company that can firstly, save PC gaming and secondly, change gaming in general. Gaming right now is stuck in this pathetic cycle where developers have all but abandoned high-end, or even now mid-range systems, and run off to the consoles. We see yearly releases of the same games (COD) and we don't really get anything exciting anymore.
You read the title right. When Nintendo was first envisioning the Wii U GamePad, they prototyped one by taping two Wii remotes to a monitor. They used this prototype to develop roughly 30 Wii U game concepts. It looks pretty cheesy, but you can definitely see how the GamePad was developed from the prototype.
"We used this prototype and two Wii consoles to run simulations for Wii U," EAD boss Katsuya Eguchi said. "EAD isn't a hardware department, but a 'handicraft team' knowledgeable about hardware makes stuff like this. One of the staff members expressed a desire for a game that would gather Nintendo's franchises into a single spot and each franchise would have something to do with the others. It was quite a grand concept. But we were like, 'How do we bring them all together?' We didn't take it too seriously."