I’ve already written about Portal 2 and the build-up to this formal announcement, but there’s one thing I didn’t know then: Portal 2 has co-op. Besides that, I’m considering the creative marketing campaign as the PC version announcement; this press release and Game Informer cover are for Xbox 360 players.
I’ve been trying to write some thoughts about Infinity Ward’s decapitation, but the sensationalist tone of the enthusiast press has distracted me. West and Zampella were kidnapped? Snuffed out? Those are the logical conclusions to why two people were escorted from their workplace? Activision may have released 9 Hero games last year, and Bobby Kotick probably wears socks weaved from baby hair, but they aren’t an organized crime syndicate. Is the extra traffic really worth exploiting a developing story?
My apathy may be due to my preoccupation with Valve this week. I usually think about Valve and Steam a lot anyway, and not always good thoughts. Sometimes I envision a future where Valve goes public and starts making Actiavellian decisions, such as developing Counter-Strike 2 as an Xbox 360 lead, charging $10 for the Engineer update, or releasing Half-Life 2: Episode 3 as three separate games. All of these belong to a future I don’t want to live in. Continue »
Does game design work best when it’s analogous to film making, or to music composition? Neither, and I don’t think it’s important to make the distinction. Games shouldn’t imitate a specific art form, they should express the qualities of them all. Because they can. Video games are the culmination of art as technology, and technology as art. They’re amazing. We shouldn’t limit such a medium by trying to make sense of it in the context of less capable mediums.
EA/DICE restricting dedicated server files to certain “partners” is leaving me conflicted about wanting Bad Company 2. They’re keeping dedicated servers on a leash, just out of reach of total freedom. But whether I like it or not, the market is changing, and we players seem incapable of shifting it in our favor. If EA’s restriction really is just to maintain statistic and rank integrity, and to sell maps (which seems benign in comparison to Activision’s or Ubisoft’s), I can be okay with it. Or I could, if it weren’t for EA’s history of shutting down online games.
But I’m probably overreacting. EA appears to deactivate games based on how many people still play. There’d be greater cause for concern if Battlefield 1942, despite its persisting popularity, had its master servers taken offline in light of a sequel being released. Besides, the Bad Company 2 beta was a heck of a lot of fun, and we haven’t had a successful non-Call of Duty, non-Valve shooter on PC in a long time. I’ll probably give in to temptation and buy it.
In January I posted a series of suggestions for how Valve could improve Steam. Since they’ve just announced and launched a beta version of the most significant update Steam has had since its 2003 launch, I’m comparing what I proposed before with what they’ve actually changed or added. I’ll omit the items which don’t apply.
My suggestion: Allow users to create and name groups in the My Games and Friends lists.
What they did: Half of this suggestion was implemented; we can now create and add games to “categories” in our games library. It works like a tag system on a blog in that games can belong to multiple categories.
Follow-up: Allow users to filter by “installed” and “uninstalled” regardless of which category they’re viewing. Also add an extra context menu item with a sub-menu where users can add games to existing categories.
To celebrate the beginning of Downloadable Suicide’s third year, I’m looking toward the future and sorting out which of 2010′s games I want to play. Only two games from last year’s post actually came out (Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, Dragon Age: Origins), but I’ve managed to play them both. This time I’ve tried to choose games that I’m pretty sure will launch this year, and I’ve added a section for games that might be announced. Continue »
$119.01USD — that’s what I spent during Steam’s holiday sale. For less than the price of two new console games, I bought nineteen PC games, all from Steam. Although I was aware of sales at other stores, I bought nothing from them. Steam demanded my undivided attention; its two week store-wide sale grabbed me, and its daily sales held me tightly. Just as a clumsy analogy reinforcing a simple point, Steam’s sale refused to go unnoticed, and it refused to be forgotten. No other digital distributor’s sales accomplished this; apart from some festively redesigned websites, they were unremarkable. Continue »
For now, I’m in favor of this. Although Microsoft’s efforts with the Games For Windows Live software have done little but bring the Xbox experience to PC gamers, so have Valve’s efforts with Steamworks and Modern Warfare 2. And if anyone’s capable of muscling some marketshare away from Steam, it’s Microsoft.
I was skeptical of Stardock’s claims as well. It makes sense to me that, based on seniority alone, Direct 2 Drive’s marketshare would be larger than Impulse’s. But is Impulse’s share really so small that it doesn’t even chart?
This story originally reported that Threewave was to shut down, and I’m glad to see that’s not the case. I have no affinity for their recent games, but I was an avid Threewave CTF player in Quake 3. I would hate to see them simply run out of work.