Digital Homicide Suing Steam Users, Considering Suing Valve after Valve Pulls Games from Steam

digital-homicide-logoTwo-man indie developer Digital Homicide has made more news and gained more notoriety from their response to criticism than from their games themselves. Despite having nearly two dozen games on Steam, they are perhaps best known for representing themselves in a lawsuit against critic Jim Sterling for $15 million in damages related to his reviews and first impressions videos of their games.

Now, Digital Homicide is taking their legal game to the next level. The developer is now in the early stages of filing lawsuits against 100 Steam users for $18 million and is considering taking legal action against Valve itself.

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Report: Valve Made $730 Million in Revenue in 2014

steam-money-headerOne of the advantages of being a private company is that you are not required to publicly file your annual financial statements. That won’t stop people from trying to figure out the financial health of your company.

A market data firm called SuperData has prepared a report on the revenues of Valve and Steam. Their calculations indicate that Valve made $730 million in revenue in 2014.

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Is Ubisoft Overcharging Canadian Steam Users?

ubisoft-cad-price-headerDuring Steam’s Monster Summer Sale, I noticed something during the Tom Clancy franchise sale. The price of the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege is $80 CAD. The US dollar price is $60. If you were to pay for the game in USD and have your credit card company convert it to CAD, a Canadian customer would spend $73. That’s an inexplicable loss of $7 as a sort of living in Canada tax (when no sales tax is charged by Steam in Canada) from a company whose biggest development studio is in Canada and receives subsidies from various levels of Canadian government.

It’s not just the Canadians who are losing out for not living in America. According to the Steam All Region Price Checker extension, British customers are being charged the equivalent of $80 USD and others in the EU will be paying the equivalent of $68 USD.

So why are certain countries paying more than other and who is at fault for the price discrepancies?

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Steam Launches Steam Broadcasting Streaming Service

steam-broadcasting-headerThe biggest digital store and the most popular game client in gaming isn’t enough for Valve. Last year, Steam announced the launch of their own operating system, controller and Steam-branded Steam Machine gaming PCs for the living room. Now, Steam is taking on Twitch with its latest project.

This week, Steam announced Steam Broadcasting, a new streaming service that will let you watch people play games in and through the Steam client.

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How Steam is Striking Gold with the Summer Adventure

steam-summer-adventure-headerWhen Steam launched the 2014 edition of the Steam Summer Sale, it came with a new wrinkle that no one saw coming. No, I’m not talking about the four packs of Community Picks. This time out, Steam introduced the Summer Adventure to the sale. While it looks like a little competition between users for prizes, it’s actually another quiet way for Valve to make a few dollars more from Steam.

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The Economics of Steam Trading Cards and the Steam Wallet

steam-trading-cards-headerIt’s been six months since Steam introduced their Trading Cards. When they first launched, I was utterly confused as to why anyone would be interested in virtual trading cards that had no purpose and no value. It just seemed like a way for Valve to make some money that no one would buy into.

However, having just completed the Steam Holiday Sale, it’s readily apparent that Valve has hit a home run with the Trading Cards. It’s not just the transaction fees that are making Valve money. The spin-off effect from Trading Cards does just as much to make Steam even more profitable.

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Caveat Emptor: What Rights Do You Have as a Gamer?

simcity-2013-connection-errorIn the last couple of months, we’ve had some very bad experiences as a gaming community. There was the abysmal Aliens: Colonial Marines that left gamers and fans of the Aliens franchise dissatisfied at best and angry at worst. The SimCity launch was a disaster of the highest proportion. It was probably worse than the Diablo III launch since EA and Maxis couldn’t be bothered to plan for a worst case scenario that we all saw coming. While, not a major issue, Tomb Raider had some serious issues on certain NVIDIA graphics cards.

The problem is that, unlike customers of most products, you have virtually no rights as a customer of the video games industry. Have you ever read the terms of service that you agreed to for digital distributors like Steam and Origin? If you have, you should ask yourself why you would ever buy a game from these people.

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The Showdown Effect Beta Impressions

the-showdown-effect-bannerWho doesn’t love the good old action movies of the 80s and 90s? There’s something epic about one man taking down a horde of terrorists and other baddies using nothing but a couple of guns, a ton of ammo and a few well-timed catchphrases.

While action movie games haven’t really translated over to video games, with the exception of Uncharted (though that’s more Indiana Jones action-adventure than an Arnie/Sly/Bruce action flick), the folks at Arrowhead Games are giving it a try with The Showdown Effect. Continue reading

Death Rally Review (or Why You Should Read the Whole Review, Not Just Scores)

death-rally-box-artThis won’t shock regular readers but I’m a bit of a racing fan. Find me a driving game and I’m likely to take some positive from it. I say “likely” because that was “going to take a positive” from a driving game until I picked up the remake of Death Rally. Remedy Entertainment might be best known for its work on Max Payne and Alan Wake but the first game out of the studio was 1996’s Death Rally. Fifteen years later, it was remade for iOS and this year, it was ported to PC.

So is Remedy’s update of one of its classics up to par with recent updates like XCOM and Baldur’s Gate? Can an iOS port to PC be worth the price of admission? I examine in my review. Continue reading

My Twelve Favourite Video Games of 2012

Since we’re doing lists of our favourite things of 2012, I thought I would cover video games. This was an odd year in gaming. New triple-A IPs were few and far between. Sequels were the name of the game this year as developers and publishers bided their time until the launch of the next generation of XBox and Playstation. However, thanks to Kickstarter, indie game bundles and digital distribution on multiple platforms, I think 2012 started to usher in more emphasis on high-quality independently developed games.

So in no particular order, here are my favourite games of 2012. Continue reading