Greetings NAGultuzins, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. In the news this week Valve talks about their new content distribution system (and what it will cost), a new contender enters the PC market to challenge Intel and AMD, a game franchise confusingly may have two games in development at once, a developer makes an awkward promise that they’ll need to keep, a forgotten studio announces a new AAA title with a big publishing partner and Nintendo has news on their online service. All that, some videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Valve reveals affordable Steam Direct fee
Earlier this year Valve announced they’d be dumping Steam Greenlight and replacing it with Steam Direct, which would allow developers to put their games straight onto Valve’s marketplace.
The most important issue in such a transition is what it would cost to do so, and at the time Valve gave the rather unhelpful estimate of somewhere between $200 and $5000. The goal, essentially, was to ensure that it’s not so expensive that indie devs can’t afford the cost, but not so cheap that people would just put random garbage on there, flooding the marketplace with crap.
Now it appears that Valve have settled on a very reasonable $100 per game, which even the poorest of indie devs can afford. Even better, once you hit over $1K in sales you get that money back.
“We knew that we wanted it to be as small as possible to ensure it wasn’t a barrier to beginning game developers, while also not being so small as to invite easy abuse by people looking to exploit our systems,” said Valve’s Aiden Kroll.
There may be concerns over it being cheap enough to fill with crap, but Valve is moving in a direction where they don’t want to curate the store, but rather direct people to content they may enjoy – a move we’ve seen recently from the likes of Netflix.
“We’re going to look for specific places where human eyes can be injected into the Store algorithm, to ensure that it is working as intended, and to ensure it doesn’t miss something interesting,” Kroll said.
“We believe that if we inject human thinking into the Store algorithm, while at the same time increasing the transparency of its output, we’ll have created a public process that will incrementally drive the Store to better serve everyone using it.”
There’s no set launch date yet, but this will no doubt be the easiest it’s ever been for indie devs to sell their games.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon to enter the battle for the PC
For a very long time the desktop PC market has been a clash of two giants in AMD and Intel, but now mobile juggernaut Qualcomm is looking to take their Snapdragon 835 processor and pair it with Windows 10 devices.
The plan is to take the advantages of mobile and give it the capabilities that Windows offers. “Today’s consumers experience mobility in nearly every aspect of their lives and they’ve come to expect more from their PCs than legacy computing models are able to provide,” said Cristiano Amon, exec VP at Qualcomm.
“With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation modern device form factors and deliver unparalleled anything, anywhere creation experiences with up to Gigabit Class LTE connectivity.”
That’s a lot of marketing rhetoric, but basically what he’s saying is you’ll be able to rock Windows 10 on thinner, sleeker and fanless devices.
You’re not going to be running Fallout, but it should be good enough for work stuff and games like Hearthstone.
A Life is Strange prequel may or may not be coming
It’s pretty confusing, guys. So original developer Dontnod revealed last month that it’s been working on a new game in the series.
But then a different studio, Deck Nine Games, said in a press release that it has “signed a partnership deal with a leading AAA videogame publisher and are deep in development on their first title, a brand new addition to a critically acclaimed franchise.”
Following this, some new Life is Strange-related images appeared on the Deck Nine website. Since Dontnod is already working on a sequel, this one is assumed to be a prequel, but working on two games in the same franchise simultaneously seems… odd.
Unless Dontnod was talking about this game all along, which isn’t really in line with what they said but hey, we all float down here.
Rime gets cracked five days after launch, and the studio made a promise
So publisher Grey Box attracted some ire for including Denuvo DRM with their recent release, Rime, as is part of the ancient custom of PC gamers getting pissed off with prohibitive DRM.
They did, however, promise that they would drop the DRM once the game got cracked, which they expected would take “two to three weeks”.
Unfortunately for them, Denuvo was cracked in five days, sharing an uncomfortable record with Resident Evil 7 for fastest Denuvo Crack. This means that they’re going to be forced to drop the DRM, less than a week after the game released.
This likely won’t thrill them, as they said that they were “scared” of the piracy rate of “games similar to Rime”. Producer Cody Bradley said, “At the end of the day, our obligation as a publisher is to protect our development team’s intellectual property to the best of our ability. Right now, Denuvo is our only effective option.”
Playing it pretty fast and loose with the word “effective” there.
Bulletstorm dev working on new AAA title
Square Enix has partnered with People Can Fly, the people behind the underrated Bulletstorm, to publish a brand new AAA game.
What we know is that it will be an original title for consoles and PC, and not much else. It won’t be at E3 2017 either, unfortunately.
“We’re massively excited to be working with the talented team at PCF in Warsaw, a studio filled with people who really know their craft,” said Lee Singleton, head of Square Enix’s London Studios. “We’re building a game we all want to play which will be the perfect addition to our portfolio.”
I’m pretty intrigued to see what these guys can come up with, as we haven’t seen a whole lot from them since 2011’s Bulletstorm.
Nintendo pushes back Switch’s paid online service to 2018
Back in January Nintendo revealed plans for the Switch to get a paid online service, much like the Xbox and PS4 have currently.
The pricing is pretty similar too, ranging from $4 for one-month to $20 for a one year membership. So what do you get? Access to a compilation of “Classic Game Selections” that will add online play, and a smartphone chat app for voice communications that allows users to “set appointments for gaming sessions”.
You’ll also get access to special deals on the eShop, including discounts on specific games and content. The whole thing is in a trial period currently, and will remain that way until the official launch in 2018. After that, most games you can play online will require the subscription in order to do so. Bummer.