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It's now officially 2014 here in Australia, and it's getting awfully close in the US, so let's jump right into the current games on special with the Steam Holiday Sales.
We have Planetary Annihilation on sale for 33% off, down from $59.99 to $40.19. Half-Life 2, if you didn't already have it, is on sale, down from $9.99 to $2.49 - or 75% off. Company of Heroes 2 is on sale, with a huge 66% off, down from $49.99 to $16.99. GRID 2 is also on special with some big discount: 75% off, reducing its $49.99 price to just $12.49.
PC gaming is dying? Not according to Valve's numbers for its digital distribution giant: Steam. According to the Steam stats page, the peak user count of 7.6 million.
This is mostly thanks to some massive specials courtesy of the Steam Holiday Sales, and some massive concurrent users on some of the hottest games like DOTA 2 and Left 4 Dead 2. What did you buy during the Steam Holiday Sales? There are some great bargains to be had, that's for sure!
Just as my Radeon R9 290X GPUs arrive, the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4 has been delayed. The news has been confirmed to Polygon, which talked with an AMD representative who said:
After much consideration, the decision was made to delay the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4. AMD continues to support DICE on the public introduction of Mantle, and we are tremendously excited about the coming release for Battlefield 4! We are now targeting a January release and will have more information to share in the New Year.
It wouldn't matter right now, because Battlefield 4 is still a mess with problems.
The Steam Holiday Sales continue, with some even bigger sales today, including Metro: Last Light for 66% off, dropping it to just $18.69 from $54.99. You can also grab Grand Theft Auto IV for $12.49, a huge 75% off its original $49.99 price.
If you're into superhero fighting games, Injustice: Gods Among Us - Limited Edition is 50% off, down from $49.99 to just $24.99. Alan Wake is a massive 90% off, down from $29.99 to just $2.99 - a bargain right there! Outlast, the creepy game that is compatible with the Oculus Rift, is just $6.79, down $19.99 or 66% off.
Today's specials in the Steam Holiday Sales include some big titles, such as Hitman: Absolution for 80% off, dropping its original $24.99 price to just $4.99, and Resident Evil 6 has 70% off, dropping it from $39.99 to $11.99.
You can grab Portal 2 for just $4.99, which is down from $19.99 or 75% off. Some large games are discounted, with Assassin's Creed: Black Flag having 25% off, dropping its $69.95 price to $52.46 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II down 50%, from $89.99 to $44.99.
If you've seen any of the previous videos of Watch Dogs, you'll know it's one gorgeous looking game - but did you know the engine behind it was originally made for a driving game?
Ubisoft North America President, Laurent Detoc, talked with IGN, where he said: "They were working on a driving engine, working on something. We had the Driver license. This was years ago. Then we were thinking, 'no, this is not the way we want to go with a driving game,' so we canceled that and restarted. It's not like Watch Dogs started as Watch Dogs. The Watch Dogs project was initially another game."
Detoc also said that parts of the engine for the previous title, were then spun into Watch Dogs once the team reshuffled and added a new creative director to the project. The developer then began working on another driving game, so that project was cancelled. Detoc added: "What happens is that a game gets canceled, and then you take pieces of that game to make a new one. We could have had another driving engine from another team in another place, and then it would have been used by the Watch Dogs team."
Star Citizen has passed over $35 million in crowdfunding, with the new stretch goal sitting at the easily-reachable $36 million. Considering we saw $33 million raised at the end of November, we're seeing millions pour into Roberts Space Industries' coffers.
Chris Roberts, the brain behind Star Citizen, said: "Wow! When I started this journey I would have never guessed that we would have come so far in such a short time. $35M in funds raised to build Star Citizen before the end 2013 it truly a monumental achievement! You're not just re-writing the rules of how games are made and funded but you're showing the power that a committed community has to achieve a vision that so many people said was no longer relevant. You've broken every record there is in crowd funding - and not just for games - for any type of project!"
I'm beginning to feel like this game won't be anywhere near complete in time, considering the scope of the game - especially with the Dogfighting Module expected this month, but delayed for months. The game does scale well at 7680x1440, something we tested with some Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire.
Valve is currently offering Left 4 Dead 2 for free, which promptly took down the Steam Store servers, but the Steam Holiday Sales continue no matter what, right? Of course!
Today sees a bunch of new games on sale, including Skyrim with 75% off, down from $34.99 to just $8.74, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut also seeing 75% off, down from $19.99 to just $4.99. If those games don't tickle your fancy, you could grab Payday 2 for $13.49, down from $29.99 or 55% off.
Valve took to its official Left 4 Dead blog to announce that it is feeling festive, giving out Left 4 Dead 2 for free, for a limited time. Valve said the game "will be free as in, grab it now, pay no money, and it is yours to keep forever - for free!"
The only thing you have to do is go into Steam, and install it - after which, it will be in your library forever. This is a very limited time offer, with Left 4 Dead 2 only being free until December 26 at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern. Jump in and grab the zombie shooter now!
Valve isn't the only one hosting some great sales, with EA kicking off its Origin End of Year Sale. Included in EA's sales are some of its biggest games.
We have Battlefield 4 at just $42, SimCity for $24, FIFA 14 for $28, Need for Speed: Rivals for $35, and Dead Space for just $18. If you wanted some older EA titles, you can pick up Battlefield 3, The Sims 3, and Mass Effect 3 for $12 each - not bad at all!