PC Gamer
steam top sellers

Valve did a sneaky, small-but-significant thing recently: it expanded its "Top Sellers" list on Steam to include one hundred games. The sales leaderboard doesn't tell us exactly how many copies a game sold, but it gives us a vague idea of how well certain games are doing on Steam in a given moment.

It's an inherently misleading metric—take that as a disclaimer. Still, as we sit in the shadow of some of 2012's biggest releases, I'd like to take a crack at gleaning what we can from this moment in time.

2K's having a great end of the year.
The $50 pre-sale of XCOM is outselling everything but Borderlands 2 on Steam. We might be able to chalk that up to fairly generous pre-purchase incentives (which could include a free copy of Civ 5 if enough people pre-buy it). It might be mild evidence that demos still work, too. Borderlands 2's high concurrent user count over the past few days (reaching 123,758 last weekend) is also evidence that 2K will win the weeks connecting September and October on Steam.

Digital pre-orders are a thing.
XCOM isn't the only thing-you-can-buy-but-can't-play-yet doing well. Joining the unreleased are Dishonored at #7, War of the Roses at #12, Football Manager 2013 at #17, Company of Heroes 2 at #29, and Hitman Absolution at #51. Even though there's no chance of a game going out of stock, Steam users don't seem to mind putting money down in advance, especially if they're rewarded with bonus content or a small discount for doing so.

Where are the MMOs? Oh, right.
Zero MMOs appear in today's top 100. I might consider that unsurprising—we wouldn't expect too many people to be picking up competitors while Guild Wars 2 and Pandaria are drawing the attention, and neither are available on Steam. Still, it's a little surprising not to see RIFT ($10) or EVE Online: Inferno ($20) popping up anywhere.

Call of Duty remains a PC fixture.
The sense that Call of Duty remains a fixture for PC gamers is supported by SteamGraph data. Some form of Call of Duty make up 10 whole entries of the Steam's top 100. Many of those are map packs, but the performance of Call of Duty: Black Ops - Mac Edition (#41) is interesting to me. It released yesterday, September 27, and it's outperforming stuff like Civ V: GOTY and Natural Selection 2. Modern Warfare 3 is 50% off until October 1, and it's sitting comfortably at #5.

DayZ continues to have a long tail.
I don't think Arma 2: Combined Operations (what you need to play DayZ) has left the top ten of Steam's Top Sellers since it caught on in May and June. It seems to be outperforming other games that released in May and June like Sins: Rebellion (#56), Max Payne 3 (#76), Civ 5: Gods & Kings (#20), and Spec Ops: The Line (unlisted).



Below: the data, captured at 6:05 PM PDT. Ctrl + Fing encouraged.



Top Ten
Borderlands 2
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Total War Master Collection
Torchlight II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Dishonored
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Arma 2: Combined Operations
Empire: Total War



#11-25
Castle Crashers
War of the Roses
Borderlands 2 Season Pass
FTL: Faster Than Light
Cortex Command
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Football Manager 2013
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard
Garry's Mod
Sid Meier's Civilization V - Gods 'n Kings
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition
The Binding of Isaac
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy
Left 4 Dead 2
Hell Year! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit



#26-50
F1 2012
Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
Rome: Total War - Gold
Company of Heroes 2
Total War Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Counter-Strike: Source
Borderlands: Game of the Year
Worms Revolution
Total War Mega Pack
Terraria
The Walking Dead
Rocksmith
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Collection 3: Chaos Pack
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Mac Edition
Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb
Portal 2
McPixel
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Game of the Year
Total War: SHOGUN 2
The Sims 3
Counter-Strike Complete
Hearts of Iron 3 Collection
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition



#51-100
Hitman: Absolution
Borderlands
Train Simulator 2013
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
Medieval II Gold
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Orcs Must Die! 2 - Family Ties Booster Pack
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
The Amazing Spider-Man
Orcs Must Die! 2
Saints Row: The Third
Dead Island: GOTY
Natural Selection 2
Orcs Must Die! 2 - Complete Pack
Half-Life 2
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Rome: Total War - Complete
The Orange Box
Borderlands 2 + Official Brady Guide
Batman: Arkham City GOTY
Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
Grand Theft Auto IV
Endless Space
Killing Floor
Call of Duty: World at War
Max Payne 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
SPORE
I Am Alive
Fallout 3: GOTY
Fallen Enchantress
Valve Complete Pack
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition
Mount & Blade: Warband
New Star Soccer 5
Portal Bundle
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Collection 2
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Expansion
Counter-Strike
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® 3 Collection 1
Arma 2
Might & Magic Heroes VI - Danse Macabre Adventure Pack
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic II
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Planets Under Attack
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection

Reiterating: We don't know what formula or data drives Steam's Top Sellers rankings. It's probably safest to consider them a representation of what games are selling well in one moment of time on Steam.
Product Update - Valve
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:


Shared Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Improved the performance and stability of the libraries used for in-game HTML display

Team Fortress 2
  • Added new promo items
  • Fixed hats sometimes appearing multiple times in incorrect locations when changing classes
  • Fixed Demoman shields not reducing explosive damage in non-MvM games
  • Fixed the tf_bot_add command using the same name for all of the bots when adding multiple bots simultaneously
  • Updated the localization files
  • Moved map descriptions into the localization files
    • Map descriptions will still be loaded from the maps folder first if they exist
  • Updated Mann vs. Machine
    • Fixed a bug where players could only buy 1 upgrade at a time from the upgrade station
    • Fixed a bug where the Victory dialog would sometimes show during incorrect times
TF2 Blog
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:
Shared Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Improved the performance and stability of the libraries used for in-game HTML display
Team Fortress 2
  • Added new promo items
  • Fixed hats sometimes appearing multiple times in incorrect locations when changing classes
  • Fixed Demoman shields not reducing explosive damage in non-MvM games
  • Fixed the tf_bot_add command using the same name for all of the bots when adding multiple bots simultaneously
  • Updated the localization files
  • Moved map descriptions into the localization files
    • Map descriptions will still be loaded from the maps folder first if they exist
  • Updated Mann vs. Machine
    • Fixed a bug where players could only buy 1 upgrade at a time from the upgrade station
    • Fixed a bug where the Victory dialog would sometimes show during incorrect times
Kotaku

A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy LandLaura Dubuk is an artist and designer employed at Valve, where her most recent public work was her contribution to the studio's terrific Meet the Pyro trailer.


She's also worked on games like Portal 2, and in this gallery you'll see a collection of some of her best stuff, both from personal projects and from Valve games.


Note that you may have seen that top pic before, especially if you've been to Michael Fahey's house.


If you like what you see, you can check out more of Laura's work at her personal site.


To see the larger pics in all their glory (or so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".


Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!

A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land A Closer Look at Meet the Pyro's Psychotic Fantasy Land
Product Update - Valve
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:


Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Fixed a client crash bug caused by overflow of the audio cache
  • Fixed a bug that allowed server browser network activity to continue after choosing a server

Team Fortress 2
  • Added new promo items
  • Unlocked the "What's in the Sandvich Box?"
  • Unlocked the "What's in the Companion Square Box?"
  • Fixed a server crash related to Demoman bot AI
  • Updated the Tin Pot to use the correct skin for each style
  • Fixed seeing the fire texture on Gold Botkiller items in DirectX 8
  • Updated the localization files
  • Updated Mann vs. Machine

    • Matchmaking search criteria supports selecting multiple missions
    • Mann Up servers will retry notification of mission victory to game coordinator, to ensure loot is eventually granted in the case of service disruption
    • Matchmaking will prevent late joining into the a server near the end of the last wave
    • Added a new currency UI element to indicate money that is active in the world
    • Added the tour number to the information on the scoreboard
    • Fixed the Medigun overheal duration attribute causing the overheal effect to decay faster, rather than slower
    • Added the ability to buy projectile penetration for the Crusader's Crossbow
    • Fixed a false positive for the achievement "Clockwork Carnage"
    • Added a new command "bot_hurt"
      • Parameters -name [bot name], -team [red/blue/all], -damage [amount]
    • Fixed the Demoman shields not saving their upgrades upon round reset
  • Updated koth_king
    • Reflections fixed for the floors and some glass windows
    • Modified model file for the sign 6 through 9 to avoid Red signs on Blu side of the map
    • Modified light pole to merge bulb and pole into a single model for perf
    • Fixed location where mini-sentries can shoot through a bush without being seen
    • Clipping pass
    • Added glass on footbridge roof and lights nearby
    • Prop reduction for perf
    • Some props changed to non-solid for player mobility
    • Adjusted health and ammo in various spots
  • Community requests:
    • Add a new server ConVar "tf_avoidteammates_pushaway" to control whether or not teammates push each other away when occupying the same space
    • Add a new server ConVar "tf_arena_override_team_size" to allow server owners to set the maximum team size in arena mode
TF2 Blog
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:
Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Fixed a client crash bug caused by overflow of the audio cache
  • Fixed a bug that allowed server browser network activity to continue after choosing a server
Team Fortress 2
  • Added new promo items
  • Unlocked the "What's in the Sandvich Box?"
  • Unlocked the "What's in the Companion Square Box?"
  • Fixed a server crash related to Demoman bot AI
  • Updated the Tin Pot to use the correct skin for each style
  • Fixed seeing the fire texture on Gold Botkiller items in DirectX 8
  • Updated the localization files
  • Updated Mann vs. Machine
    • Matchmaking search criteria supports selecting multiple missions
    • Mann Up servers will retry notification of mission victory to game coordinator, to ensure loot is eventually granted in the case of service disruption
    • Matchmaking will prevent late joining into the a server near the end of the last wave
    • Added a new currency UI element to indicate money that is active in the world
    • Added the tour number to the information on the scoreboard
    • Fixed the Medigun overheal duration attribute causing the overheal effect to decay faster, rather than slower
    • Added the ability to buy projectile penetration for the Crusader's Crossbow
    • Fixed a false positive for the achievement "Clockwork Carnage"
    • Added a new command "bot_hurt"
      • Parameters -name [bot name], -team [red/blue/all], -damage [amount]
    • Fixed the Demoman shields not saving their upgrades upon round reset
  • Updated koth_king
    • Reflections fixed for the floors and some glass windows
    • Modified model file for the sign 6 through 9 to avoid Red signs on Blu side of the map
    • Modified light pole to merge bulb and pole into a single model for perf
    • Fixed location where mini-sentries can shoot through a bush without being seen
    • Clipping pass
    • Added glass on footbridge roof and lights nearby
    • Prop reduction for perf
    • Some props changed to non-solid for player mobility
    • Adjusted health and ammo in various spots
  • Community requests:
    • Add a new server ConVar "tf_avoidteammates_pushaway" to control whether or not teammates push each other away when occupying the same space
    • Add a new server ConVar "tf_arena_override_team_size" to allow server owners to set the maximum team size in arena mode
PC Gamer
Company of Heroes 2


Company of Heroes 2 has rolled out its tiered pre-order goals on Steam, each of which will unlock a new level of free stuff for everyone who shells out for the Eastern Front rumble. Just for pre-ordering, you're guaranteed beta access and two medium vehicle skins (one for the Russkies, and one for the Germans). Three more unlockable tiers will be added if enough people pre-order the game.

At the first reward tier (specific numbers for how many pre-orders are needed to unlock each one aren't given), everyone gets a German and a Soviet hat for Team Fortress 2. The second tier adds a free copy of Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2's stand-alone Retribution expansion. The third and final tier unlocks an "In-Game currency gift to be used towards purchasing future content," an XP boost, a unit boost, and a new commander archetype.

This is the first we've heard of CoH2 having any sort of in-game currency system, and xp/unit boosts sound similar to the kinds of things you can buy in free-to-play multiplayer RTS games like Age of Empires Online. They're also reminiscent of the canceled Company of Heroes Online, and it would be unsurprising to find that some ideas from that project have been rolled into this sequel. It seems like a persistent commander leveling system in multiplayer has been all but confirmed.
PC Gamer
Team Fortress 2


Team Fortress 2 established itself as some of the best team-based shooting ever, but according to Lead Designer Robin Walker, PC Gaming's premier hat sim was also a test case for Valve's long-term survival. In an interview with Gamasutra, Walker revealed how the game's successful item economy doubled as an exploratory probe into MMO mechanics which Valve felt would factor into its livelihood going forward.

"Our secondary goal was to see if we could explore specific game and business design spaces that we felt were potentially a requirement for the long-term survival of our company," Walker said.

", MMOs were the dominant story in the industry, and one concern we had was that we might not be able to survive if we didn’t build one. We didn’t think we were ready to undertake that, but we did think that we might be able to build some pieces of one, learning enough so that if or when we did need to build one, we had less risk on the table. We decided that persistent item design and storage seemed like a reasonable amount of risk for us to bite off, and could be made to fit into TF2’s gameplay."

Valve's decision to turn Team Fortress 2 free-to-play last year also stemmed from monitoring ongoing MMO trends of shifting from subscriptions to microtransactional and pay-once models. "A couple of years later ... we were starting to feel the same way about microtransactions as we did initially about MMOs: that our company was at risk if we didn’t have internal experience and hard data on them," said Walker.

That most players I encounter during my rocket-spamming binges seem festooned head-to-toe with user-made badges, hats, facial hair, clothing, deodorant, and even spectral high-fives speaks volumes of Valve's favorable foray into MMO economics, a financial result Walker also acknowledged.

Read the full interview at Gamasutra.
Shacknews - Steve Watts

If you've been paying any amount of attention to Team Fortress 2, you've probably noticed that it's home to some of Valve's wackier ideas. The company says it may not have started as a test bed, but it's certainly become one as it's used to experiment with new strategies.

"In the end, TF2 has been ended up being one of the most useful tools we've ever built to reduce risk in our company's future," lead designer Robin Walker said.

"It's been really nice that it's also brought in significant revenue throughout that time, but ultimately, the importance we place on understanding our business and our customers has made it totally worthwhile." Walker told Gamasutra that without TF2, Valve's lack of experience in monetization would be "terrifying."

He says the hidden goal for TF2 was to explore ideas that "were potentially a requirement for the long-term survival of the company." When the game first came out, it appeared that MMOs were going to take over the market, so Valve started building persistent items. When the free-to-play market rose, it used TF2 as a test bed for microtransactions. The gambles seem to be paying off, as the game continues to evolve and remain popular.

PC Gamer
Scream Fortress 2


Halloween is one of the few events I forgive for being teased obnoxiously early by halfhearted grocery store decorations and late-night Elvira beer commercials. Similarly, you've probably noticed Team Fortress 2's Steam Workshop page populating with Halloween-themed items already. Valve extended an official call-out yesterday for entries and ratings to the shambling Scream Fortress 2 update.

Crafters have until October 1 to cram the Workshop full of hats, weapons, and...well, more hats celebrating summer's end with ghostly effects and loud wailing noises. "Scariness doesn't just happen, people," Valve chides. "It's serious business."

Established modding communities already jumped to the task - TF2Mods' nearly month-old Night of the Living Update packs almost 60 items so far - but I'm looking forward to individual efforts and killcams of players donning the best Halloween tributes in the best hat simulator around.
...

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