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For awhile now, many Steam users have fallen victim to a rash outbreak of malware. Simply put, the malware's function is to steal your inventory of targeted items by exploiting the Steam Trading system. All a victim has to do is execute a file, one disguised as a .scr, and blammo - goodbye CS:GO or Dota 2 items. Inside sources say that these phishers create "thousands of bots" a day to help seed the malware.
Steam Trading did not have much of an authentication safeguard in place, so it was pretty easy for phishers to steal items. Well, today, Valve has implemented a new safeguard.
Trade offers now require that both users pass a CAPTCHA test before committing to a trade deal.
"We’re updating trading to include a captcha as part of confirmation process," John C. from Valve said today. "This is to prevent malware on users’ machines making trades on their behalf. We know it’s a bit of a hassle, and we don’t like making trading harder for users, but we do expect it to significantly help customers who are tricked into downloading and running malware from losing their items."
Is this a good idea? It should help to curb some of the cases of victims of this malware, easing the load on Valve's already strained Customer Support. But is this just making the trade experience more of a nuisance? Also, Google says that there are bots out there that can solve nearly 100% of all CAPTCHA tests. Google has developed their own system, called reCAPTCHA, which they claim no bot can crack and is a more streamlined process for users. Should Valve implement reCAPTCHA instead?
Image: SteamDB's Twitter
It's almost been a year since Valve predicted a 2015 release of their Steam Controller, and it looks like they're going to hit their mark. Is this the end of Valve Time? (Hint: no)
Speaking with GameSpot today at CES, Origin PC CEO Kevin Wasielewski revealed that we can expect to see Valve's final design of the Steam Controller at GDC this March.
"At GDC, they're going to have more information," Wasielewski said. "That's the official stuff we can say. They came out with the controller, then they got some user feedback, and they had to revamp it; they got some more user feedback and had to revamp it again. So they went through that like three or four times. And now their controller is finalized. So now they're going to production and at GDC is when they're going to announce more stuff."
Wasielewski also said that the Steam Machine is "pretty much dead." He expanded by saying that, "It's like a living room PC--is now the new term. Living room PCs have been around forever. That's not anything new either. But it seems like there's a legitimate demand and push for living room PCs."
Update from GameInformer:
"Yesterday, a report emerged that the term 'Steam Machine' is dead. Valve refutes that assertion..."
Despite not taking place until Summer 2015, Valve have already went ahead and announced The International 2015 tournament for Dota 2, which is set to run in Seattle from August 3rd through the 8th. Like previous years, the event will see 16 individual teams (yet to be revealed) compete for a currently unknown prize pool.
We could have guessed as much, but now it's official: Valve will not be holding a Steam Dev Days conference this year. Instead, as ValveTime reported a few weeks ago, Valve will be focusing their energy on the Game Developer's Conference 2015.
In a statement made to Gamasutra today, Valve said that "Steam Dev Days was a great way to brief a large number of Steam developers... This year our focus will be a bit different, so we are planning a larger than usual presence at GDC. So, there will not be a Steam Dev Days this year, but we will certainly consider doing it again in the future."
You can see most of last year's Steam Dev Days presentations on YouTube and on the event's official website.
It's not all that common we post about milestones, but we think this one is definitely worth mentioning. For the first time, Dota 2 has surpassed 10 million unique players within the last month, peaking at 10,017,953 on January 1st 2015, according to the automated counter on the Dota 2 blog.
Dota 2 has consistently stood as Valve's most popular game since well before its release in July 2013, maintaining a player base of around 8-9 million regular unique players throughout 2014. As a point of comparison, Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continue to sit around 3 million and 4 million players, respectively.
Obviously this doesn't provide a very good indication of how many total players have played the game throughout its lifetime, but it does show Dota 2 definitely still has room to grow, despite already being Valve's most popular title, the most played game on Steam, and one of the most popular games in the world.
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