What Else? The Steam sale and some other filler...
I called it!
I said last week that the Steam Summer Sale usually starts around the time the Killing Floor Summer Sideshow event makes its appearance and this year was no exception. " Pier of Pain" will continue till July 23rd but it isn't free to play anymore but c'mon you had a week to pick it up for $3. It's still on sale for $9.99 which isn't a bad deal in itself.
The Summer Sale began on July 11th almost to the day it started last year. This year's edition features many of the same opportunities including daily, hourly and flash sales. Voting makes a return as well with related discounts generally in the 70% or better range. .
Also returning to this year's event is the occasional "503" error on launching Steam when rabid gamers get a little overexcited. If it happens to you just think of it as delayed gratification.
New this year are the trading cards (badges) which are tied to (discounted) game purchases, random "drops" based on ownership, crafting of new "badges" and of course voting.
Borderlands 2 was on sale along with most of the DLC (as of 7-12). Grid 2, Bioshock Infinite and all your favorites are either on sale or soon will be. Most were discounted 50% or more as of this writing.
Daily deals generally run for 24 hours starting at 10AM with incidental offers running for 8 hours or less. The sale ends 10AM July 22nd.
The Steam Sale is dominating most of the news this week but a rather amusing tidbit came from CNET. It seems Microsoft is trying to position the Xbox 1 as a replacement for all that conference room videoconferencing and multimedia clutter.
It sounds like something a gamer in an IT department would come up with but the assertion isn't that far off base. The Windows 8 core, Skype, Skydrive, Wi-Fi and connectivity features do lend themselves to conference and presentation duties.
It appears the XBox 1 is aiming to be the device to rule them all from the living room to the board room. Considering the console is more HTPC than gaming console the crossover to business isn't a big stretch. Its capability and versatility could capture a whole new segment of the market that could care less about Halo.
Here we go again...and again...
In the department of: Are you Freakin' nuts!
Seems some so-called "fans" of Microsoft's original DRM policies want them back citing the desire to digitally store games instead of swapping media and of course entering the always enticing land of Microsoft licensing.
"This was to be the future of entertainment... A new wave of gaming where you could buy games digitally, then trade, share or sell those digital licenses. Essentially, it was Steam for Xbox. But consumers were uninformed, and railed against it, and it was taken away because Sony took advantage of consumers uncertainty. We want this back. It can't be all or nothing, there must be a compromise.”
For one thing, it's just a console and you're making it sound like universal health care. That beloved Steam Box is still in absentia and nobody knows for sure if it'll be more Ouya or Xbox. What everybody got upset about was effectively killing the secondary market and forced connection to the Internet "Just Because."
Not to mention the often dismissed reality that not everyone can afford upwards of $60 for a game or has reliable Internet connectivity.
There's been speculation that this "petition" is little more than a publicity stunt orchestrated by Sony to further tarnish the Xbox 1. The only way that's going to happen is if Microsoft flip-flops again.
Steam really does dominate the news this week but the rumblings from Redmond come in a close second. Along with the potential for a new market for the Xbox 1 comes a new division head after the departure of Don Mattrick.
Following this week's companywide reorganization Julie Larson-Green will take over the reins of the Xbox. If the name's familiar it's because she occupied one of two spots created after the end of Steven Sinofsky's rule over the former Windows division.
She oversees the new Devices and Studios Engineering group that includes the Xbox and anything else with a button and a Microsoft logo.
By the way, if you hate Windows 8 and the Office Ribbon you can send your hate emails to her. She was in charge of both of them.