It’s E3 time: the annual video game conference — still, barely nominally, a trade show — is taking place this week in Los Angeles, drawing developers, publishers, and media from around the world to gawk at titles large and small. From Facebook games to Fallout, everything is on display… including the long history of the contentious, adversarial relationship between the companies that make the games and the consumers who play them. [More]
For 125 million gamers who prefer to play on their computers, Steam is the online retailer of choice, especially when it runs one of its huge seasonal sales. But while these promotions, like the current “Monster Summer Sale,” offer what appear to be deep discounts, Steam is also repeatedly accused of artificially inflating prices to make these savings look better than they are. [More]
Video games have gotten ridiculously predictable. Not in stories, writing, or mechanics (although sometimes those, too) but in release, pricing, and distribution. When it comes to the big-budget blockbuster console-ready games, by now pretty much every player can recite the pricing timetable by heart. [More]
How do you legally “share” a game in the digital age when no physical media exists? Microsoft thought it had a possible answer for the upcoming Xbox One by allowing users to pass a game along, but the limitations were too strict and the company eventually backtracked in response to negative feedback. Now the folks at video game marketplace Steam have come up with what may be a more appealing solution — the ability to share a game with up to 10 other people. [More]
Selling something that isn’t perfect can be okay in some situations. An apple? Just cut the bruise out. Shirt missing a button? Ask for a discount and sew one on. But when it comes to technology and video games, if your product isn’t up to snuff, those playing the games are going to be very unhappy. The distributors of zombie survival game The War Z learned that this week and ended up pulling it from game site Steam. [More]
Valve, the makers of popular video game series like Portal, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, and Team Fortress, as well as the operators of the Steam online marketplace for games, have surprised fans this week by changing the Steam terms of service to effectively pre-empt any class-action lawsuits by forcing customers into mandatory binding arbitration. [More]
The popular online video game distribution system Steam was hacked and a database containing user names, passwords, user credit card information was compromised. [More]
Jeff’s account for the gaming platform Steam has been disabled, locking him out of Team Fortress 2 and other games he’s purchased. When he asked why, Steam support was tight-lipped, saying only that he was accused of “scamming or hijacking another user’s account,” refusing to elaborate or let Jeff make his case. [More]
Stephen has a word of warning for Mac users who want to use their machines to play PC games: Don’t buy games unless you’re sure they’ll work on your machine. He runs Windows 7 on his Macbook Pro, but can’t get Fallout 3, which he purchased through online distributor Steam, to play properly. He asked the publisher’s customer support service for help, but was turned away at first. [More]
After only a few months on the market, Electronic Arts pulled the plug on the monthly subscription fee-based game APB, leaving the game’s few devotees feeling burned. The company is saving face, though, by offering a freebie to those who downloaded APB via Steam. [More]
Yesterday we noted that Blockbuster was launching a new DVD-by-mail rental service (which Netflix promptly one-upped by announcing a new streaming agreement), and today we’re getting tips from people that the beleaguered brick and mortar movie rental company is throwing games into the offer as well. FastCompany notes that GameFly offers around 7,000 game titles compared to Blockbuster’s library of 3,000 titles. On the other hand, Blockbuster’s rental plans start at $9/mo compared to GameFly’s $16/mo (both for one disc at a time). [More]
To make up for mistakenly banning 12,000 Steam gamers from playing Modern Warfare 2 online, Valve served up a peace offering of up to two free Left 4 Dead 2 downloads. [More]
Joshua heard you could play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on the PC with an Xbox 360 controller, so he downloaded it through Steam, a digital distribution service. He hasn’t been able to figure out how to use his controller and suspects it may not be possible, and Steam is ignoring his requests for a refund. [More]
Back in March we posted a warning about thieves masquerading as Steam in order to get into customers’ accounts and download games to resell. One reader, Richard, just received this special “alert” on his Steam IM pane this evening.
PC World notes that phishers are now targeting Steam account holders. Games are an easy target because you can make quick money off of them and the security isn’t as high as with, say, credit cards. The site that first reported this, SpywareGuide, demonstrates two examples—steamgift.com and steamverification.com—that will attempt to trick you into giving them access to your digital library of games.