For quite a while now many people have been talking about a “Steam Box”. A piece of hardware that would allow you to play your steam games in your living room, dorm room or wherever you are. Valve has always denied these rumors, but things like the Steam Big Picture Mode always kept us thinking about a Steam Box. Now Steam has a new job listing on their website for a an industrial designer. The post says, “Valve is traditionally a software company. Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in.”
I’m sure many have you played Half Life or Half Life: Source. Launching September 14th is Black Mesa, an re-imagining of the original 1998 game Half Life. The game will be free and is based off Valve’s own Source Engine. The first release will feature up to 10 hours of gameplay, improved graphics and much more. If you were ever a fan of the Half Life series then this is definitely a game you are going to want to check out. As I said the game will be free, but you will need a copy of any Source Engine game to play it.
It seems sort of ironic that tomorrow is my Birthday and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive comes out. I have been playing Counter-Strike on and off for years, even in the competitive circuit. It has always been a game that I’ve come back to over and over again. I have been spending some time playing the Global Offensive Beta over the past couple of month and I think the improvements bring new life into the game. Valve recently released the cinematic trailer for the game, which you can see below.
Have you heard of Steam’s big picture mode? First announced last year, Big Picture Mode allows users to easily navigate the steam interface on a large TV screen. Big Picture Mode will be open for beta access in September, as confirmed by product design executive Greg Coomer.
Many steam games play very well with a controller, but even if you have your PC connected to your TV you will need at least a mouse to get the game started. With Big Picture the Steam UI is designed to be used with larger TV’s and with a controller, although you can still use a mouse and keyboard of course. Bringing this new UI to the “lounge” or living room area steam hopes to allow greater accessibility to their digital distribution platform.
Many games have since been made emulating DotA’s basic principle, and an entire genre has been created in its honor. MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games have grown at a phenomenal rate, and an example of success is League of Legends. Enter DotA 2. The first true successor to the original custom map is currently in-development by Valve and in closed beta. More people are added frequently, with online numbers reaching around 30,000 people at any time of the day.