The time is nearly upon us, and the first batch of Steam Hardware gets closer by the day! As of today at 10am PST, pre-orders for Valve's brand of "Steam Hardware" are available from the Steam Hardware page, GameStop, EB Games, Micromania, and GAME UK, depending on your location. This means the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines will simultaneously launch in North America and parts of Europe at the same time, with the rest of the world to likely follow shortly after.
For those who may not remember, the Steam Controller is Valve's attempt at bridging the wide gap between "the precision of a mouse" and the "familiarity of the controller", and the Steam Link will allow users to easily stream game content across their home from their PC to a connected TV regardless of whether or not it also has a computer attached. Valve's official trailer for the Steam Controller has a lot more information to share, which you can check out below.
Those who pre-order either of the devices or an Alienware Steam Machine will receive their products on October 16th 2015, several weeks ahead of the official launch on November 10th. At the current time, the Steam Machine and the Steam Link are available for £39.99/$49.99, while the price of Steam Machines varies heavily depending on their brand and technical specifications.
The Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines are all reportedly only available in limited quantities during the pre-order period, meaning they could sell out rather fast. With that said, be sure to head on over to the Steam Hardware page or the home page of your "local" online retailer to pre-order now if you're interested.
Some new Steam statistics have been revealed. Presented at the Content Delivery Summit by Valve's Mike Dunkle, these statistics reveal everything from the number of active users, to the size of the massive amounts of data that Steam's network handles every year.
Below are the highlights from Mike's keynote presentation.
A World-Wide Marketplace
- 125 Million Active Users
- 9.5+ Million concurrent players
- 2 Billion Minutes Played Per Day
- 4500+ Pieces of Content
Economy + Trading
- One of the largest and most active virtual economies in the world
- 2.3 billion items traded since inception
- Currently averaging over 5.5 million items traded per day
Steam by Region
Content Delivery – Points of Presence
- 52 Cities, 260+ Servers
- 2.5 Tbps+ Capacity
Network/Content Backbone & PoPs
- Growth, including live broadcasting, new content
- Challenges when content is 100GB+
- DDOS, IP Spoofing, BotNets etc… are becoming fairly prevalent
- Content delivery in emerging markets
After faaaar too long, the Steam Workshop hub for Team Fortress 2 now supports the uploading, rating, and downloading of custom maps! While Team Fortress 2 was actually the first ever game to support the Steam Workshop by more or less creating it, it has always been limited to the uploading of custom items such as weapons or cosmetics, leaving custom maps as a much-desired and strangely missing option.
Like the Steam Workshop pages for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and...well, most other Source games, this now allows the Team Fortress 2 mapping community to easily upload their own maps and to easily receive detailed feedback via comments and analytical data, something previously restricted to third-party websites such as TF2Maps.net. This should also make joining community servers that much easier, as the management and downloading of custom maps can now be offloaded to the Steam Workshop, automatically downloading a supported map simply by joining the server.
Despite being listed as a "Beta" feature, the Team Fortress 2 Steam Workshop page already features a massive number of the community's most popular and top rated maps, including Snowplow, Glassworks, Metalworks, and Orange X, with many more likely to follow. With the list growing steadily, make sure you head on over to check out what the community has to offer, and don't forget to give Valve some feedback while you're there!
One of the longest running controversies for both Valve and Steam is finally dead! As of today, Steam users can contact the "help.steampowered.com" support page to receive full refunds for purchased games and downloadable content; so long as the title was purchased within the past two weeks and has been played for less than two hours. Even if a purchased game or piece of downloadable content falls outside of these parameters, the Steam Refunds page promises Valve will "take a look" regardless. Movies and Gifts are currently not supported by Steam Refunds.
While "competitors" such as EA's Origin have offered full refunds for the longest time, this is a bold new step for Valve which will more than likely help further improve their communication with consumers. There's a lot more information about Steam Refunds over on the official announcement page, so be sure to head on over if you're looking for more details!
In this week's News Round-Up: CS:GO's "Operation Bloodhound" introduces 6 community maps, the delayed Source 2 port of Dota 2 may be splitting things up somewhat, and Portal is relevant again with the releases of both Portal Pinball and the Portal Stories: Mel mod!
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