Valve have proven to be very busy over the past few weeks with various new Steam features entering Beta and even the opening of a new studio in San Francisco. First though, we will go back to the end of November with the third round of Steam Greenlight approvals. Hit the jump for the low-down.
At the end of November, Valve revealed the latest batch of games and software titles that were offered distribution deals on Steam. One of the standout titles in my mind was Euro Truck Simulator 2 while PvP MMO Darkfall: Unholy Wars also got the Greenlight from Valve and the community. There were also six new software titles which passed through the Greenlight system, you can see them all here.
Moving into December and we witnessed the public release of Big Picture mode for Steam. This new UI for Steam is designed for us with TV’s and control pads and comes with a nifty way of inputting text using a pad. It is known as the Daisywheel and makes entering text much simpler than when presented with a virtual QWERTY keyboard.
The development of the Big Picture mode has been put into slightly clearer context when Gabe Newell’s comments to Kotaku are taken into account. While there aren’t any direct quotes, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports the following:
[Valve’s] next step is to get Steam Linux out of beta and to get Big Picture on that operating system, which would give Valve more flexibility when developing their own hardware.
He also expects companies to start selling PC packages for living rooms next year—setups that could consist of computers designed to be hooked up to your TV and run Steam right out of the gate. And yes, Newell said, they’d compete with next-gen consoles from companies like Microsoft and Sony.
In the Kotaku interview, Gabe also confirmed that Valve’s next-generation game engine was in development.
The building blocks of a possible Valve-box would be a Linux-based operating system, and the Seattle based developer have been making moves forward with their development of a Linux based version of Steam. SteamForLinux report that a Steam for Linux Beta will be opened up next week. I’m sure that it will be a very stable release, and marks the next step towards a Valve developed console.
Moving back to the desktop experience, the Community Market has entered Beta. This is where players will be able to buy and sell in-game items for Steam Wallet funds, it is currently limited to Team Fortress 2 Tools, but will undoubtedly be expanded to other titles soon.
Another new addition to Steam is Game Guides whereby community members can create guides for games within Steam. You can grab pictures from the Cloud or insert YouTube videos and you can add friends to help you make your guide.
Finally, word comes from PCGamesN that Valve are opening a studio in San Francisco after buying up Star Filled Studios, a two-man studio comprised of Tod Semple and Jeff Gates. They have worked on titles as diverse as Diablo 3, Spore and Plants vs Zombies.
Are Valve heading towards world domination? I think it is becoming clear they are.