There's a virtual reality panel slated for later today, so hopefully we'll receive more details from Valve at that point.
Alienware teases us
A small item, but important: Alienware announced its Steam Machine will launch in September. The box will be based around an Intel Haswell-generation processor and an Nvidia graphics card, though the company declined to provide more detailed specs.
See our earlier report for more information.
Steam hits a new milestone
Steam grew a lot in 2013. A lot. Don't believe me? Check out this graph (courtesy of Hot Blooded Games CFO Dave Oshry):
That's right. Valve added 23 million users to its service in the last year, for a grand total of 75 million.
Why? Well you can probably thank the extraordinarily long console cycle for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Both consoles looked long in the tooth by the time their replacements came around, and it's easier than ever to run PC games on even middling hardware thanks to the console stagnation.
Plus everybody heard about those killer Steam sales. Why buy one console game when you could buy twenty PC games for the same price?
New local currencies
Speaking of money, Valve wants more of it. US dollars, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars...they just want your dollars.
And they want it even if your country doesn't call it "dollars." Valve is adding a collection of new local currencies to Steam, including Australia, Thailand, Canada, Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Ukraine, and Japan. And possibly Turkey, though we're not sure yet.
This should hopefully protect users against large price disparities, and it's good for Valve too — the company showed off this graph of how sales increased in Russia after rubles were added to the service:
Greenlight gets guillotined
Valve's growing in more ways than one. The most noticeable lately is the absolute flood of releases at any given moment. Thanks to the growth of independent development and the rise of crowdfunding, there's a wealth of games out now. Just this week we got two Kickstarter darlings — Broken Age (developed by Double Fine, review coming soon!) and The Banner Saga (Stoic).
But that's not all! We also saw the launch of Realms of Arkania 1-3, 3089, Freedom Fall, War of the Human Tanks, Nidhogg, Galcon Legends, RaiderZ, Loren the Amazon Princess, and Assassin's Creed Liberation HD.
Thirteen games released on Steam since January 10. I didn't even go back a full week.
Getting on Steam used to mean you had a decent shot at success. Now getting on Steam is the bare minimum an independent title needs to do in order to sell through to consumers.
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