As expected, CES 2016 has seen Valve and HTC unveil the "Vive Pre", the second generation developer kit for the HTC Vive revealed last year at GDC. While we previously had a pretty leaky look at the headset and the newly-designed controllers, today's unveiling has really drawn back the curtain on this new model and it's enhanced features.
All of the headset's components feature a smoother and clearly more finalised design, with the now-smaller base stations appearing almost entirely black and featureless. While the controllers have had the biggest redesign in terms of ergonomic use, they are apparently nearly functionally identical to their older counterparts, with the only real improvements arriving in the form of new built-in lithium batteries and a "dual-stage" trigger making it easier and more natural to interact with objects.
The headset itself actually features the biggest changes, with new rotating hinges presumably making it easier to take the headset on and off while limiting potential damage to the now-tougher head straps. Even so, it sounds as if you won't have to take off the headset nearly as often, as the speculated front-facing camera is in fact real, and allows the real-world to be shown to the user of the headset, augmented-reality style. A black and white, opaque preview of the real-world can now be used instead of the exterior area boundaries, allowing the user to know exactly what it is they may be about to bump into, while a full Chaperone mode can display the real-world in full, allowing you to move around, sit down, or even eat and drink without having to worry about not being able to see.
The headset has also been improved in other ways, featuring a more compact design, with a brighter display, and "image refinements" that provide "increased clarity", according to an HTC representative speaking to ArsTechnica.
One thing missing from the headset that was rumoured to be included closer to launch is a pair of headphones, which are strangely missing. It's possible that HTC and Valve have given up on this idea in order to allow users to pair the headset with their own audio equipment, or maybe they just haven't gotten around to it yet. Considering Valve's largest team is currently working exclusively on virtual reality, this latest reveal makes us even more excited for what the future of the Vive may bring.
The Steam Store is now back up and running. After a few failed attempts to login, we have also been able to access the Account Details page and can confirm it now verifies the account ID before displaying any secure information.
Our buddies over at SteamDB have posted a full explanation of what they think caused the issue. Their article continues to dispel rumours of a hack while reiterating the reasoning why faulty webpage caches are to blame.
The Steam Store has now been taken down and will likely remain offline until the problem is well and truly worked out. Concerns on social media regarding hacks and full security breaches have been grossly over-exaggerated, with the original idea of incorrectly cached pages still holding up as the most water-tight theory.
What was that? You think Christmas could just come and go, and sail by with absolutely no problems at all? Nope!
Less than an hour before the writing of this post, users on the r/Steam subreddit began discussing a weird problem related to users not being able to load up or view their own account information, with the Steam client instead showing details gathered from randomly-selected profiles. That may sound a little confusing, so let's demonstrate with a simple step-by-step process which can reproduce the issue 100% of the time for every Steam user.
Selecting your profile name in the top right corner of the Steam Client UI and selecting "Account Details" should load up an incorrect profile, complete with accurate account information. These include full email addresses, account names, Steam Wallet funds, Steam Guard status, payment addresses, partially hashed bank details, and phone numbers. Clicking any of the "View purchase history" or "View licenses and product key activation" options does not take you to the details of this listed profile, however, instead taking you to two very different, and completely separate profiles, complete with whatever language that user's Steam Client is set to by default. The images linked below show this process in detail (any sensitive information has been censored).
Although only fragments of total user profiles, these pages do allow you to view the in-depth details of whichever profiles you happen to have landed with, including Steam Store transactions, Market trades, and in-game purchases, among others. Thankfully, due to the bug's completely crippled nature, it does not appear as if you can actually use any of the information found in these account details, as required pages such as the likes of the "Add funds to your Steam Wallet" option continue to redirect to other accounts, breaking the chain rather quickly. Our friends over at SteamDB believe this to be caused by incorrect webpage caching, which would definitely explain these problems. Along with SteamDB, we are keen to remind readers that this is NOT a traditional security breach.
It's not currently known how long this bug has existed within the Steam Client, but we're hoping it won't take Valve too long to sort all of this out given the possibilities for account abuse or data mining. Even though the actual practical implications of this bug are actually pretty limited (no apparent risk of credit card theft, etc), the backlash against Valve will likely continue to grow more extreme as more users discover their personal data (or at least some of it) may be at risk.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more.
In case you didn't know...it's Christmas! Like every year, we're celebrating by wishing all of our followers, visitors, and fans a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We're also giving away a bunch of neat games, so keep watching to find out how you can win!
Thanks to everyone who has checked out our content in 2015! To catch all of our new content in 2016 and beyond, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
It's only a few short days until Christmas, and that means Valve have been pulling out all the stops to get their games and services ready ahead of the big day! Preparations have included the release of TF2's Tough Break Update and Dota 2's Balance of Power patch, the start of this year's Steam Winter Sale, and a confirmation that the next "traditional" Half-Life game definitely won't be exclusive to virtual reality!
While this may be our last Round-Up episode of the year, the show will be returning sometime around January 10th 2016! Until then, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to catch all of our latest content in between then and now! Thanks for watching in 2015, see you next year!
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