best gaming moment of 2013

Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.

Rounding out its set of living room-centric announcements this week, Steam Controller has been revealed by Valve, a 16-button, haptic-driven gamepad that Valve says is hackable, includes a touch screen, will feature sharable configurations, and has the ambitious goal of “supporting all games in the Steam catalog.” No price was announced for the controller, and it doesn't appear to feature motion control.
In place of analog sticks, Steam Controller features two circular, clickable trackpads. Valve claims that PC gamers “will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse,” and goes as far to promise that the controller makes games that aren't traditionally suited to playing from the couch--RTSes, 4X games, simulations, and others--controller-friendly.

To compensate for the trackpads’ nature as less-tangible input devices than conventional analog sticks, Steam Controller includes “dual linear resonant actuators” that produce vibration. Valve adds that the controller can serve as a speaker. What seems to distinguish the Steam Controller’s square touch screen from other touch screens is click functionality. “Actions are not invoked by a simple touch, they instead require a click. This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want,” Valve states in the announcement.

Although Valve was vague on how it plans to implement this policy, it emphasized the openness of the device. "We plan to make tools available that will enable users to participate in all aspects of the experience, from industrial design to electrical engineering. We can’t wait to see what you come up with," Valve says.

We'll await details on price, materials, and an opportunity to try Steam Controller ourselves soon. Snuck into the very end of the announcement is a mention of Steam Machines and SteamOS, the prototype of which Valve says it will share "detailed specs" of next week.

In the meantime, you can become eligible to beta test Steam Controller by following the same steps outlined for the Steam Machines beta.

The Arms Deal Update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is live, adding in a Team Fortress 2-style system of random drops, over 100 new weapon skins, two new stock weapons, and a purchasable item that helps fund competitive play.

The new weapon skins will drop randomly while you play CS:GO, much like new items in Team Fortress 2. Unlike TF2, all of the modifications are purely cosmetic. You will also occasionally find weapon cases, similar to TF2's crates, which must be opened by a key. These come in two styles: standard variety, and a special eSports case. The proceeds from eSports case keys will go towards larger prize pools and greater visibility for competitive CS:GO.

It's not all just paint jobs and microtransactions, though. We're also seeing the return of the silenced variants for the M4A1 and the USP, which feature a smaller price tag and magazine size than their louder brethren.

Arms Deal is available now, and you can read more about it on the official announcement page.
operation payout

Operation Payback has paid out for Counter-Strike: GO's top mapmakers, who have earned a fantastic $150,000 between them. Payback, you'll remember, is Valve's attempt to 'pay back' the game's dedicated community by offering unlimited access to seven of its best user maps, and dedicated servers on which to play them, for a flat $5.99 fee. Considering the creators of those seven maps now have around $150,000 to share between them, I'd say it's proved rather successful.

The operation ends July 31st, but I hope it's an initiative Valve will return to in the future, especially considering how successful it's been. They did something similar with TF2 with the Robotic Boogaloo pack, which raised nearly $250,000 for 66 item creators. It's an increasingly lucrative business, this modding lark - and richly deserved, considering how much talent and effort the top creators put in.
The best shooters of all time
There will be Negevs.
We recently set up a ridiculous number of servers for the latest and greatest games—plus a few classics. To celebrate, we want you to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with us tonight!
The festivities will kick off on our new Arms Race server that features some of the coolest Arms Race-compatible maps on the Steam Workshop.
We’ve also got plans for Community Fridays that’ll take place every single Friday here at PC Gamer. The game will change each week, but the time will always stay the same—5 PM PDT / 8 PM EDT.

How to join

Join the PC Gamer Steam Group to be notified of events
Subscribe to our CS:GO Steam Workshop Classic map collection and Arms Race map collection (this will auto-download and auto-update the maps we run on our server through Steam—MAXIMUM CONVENIENCE!)
Join the server (“ | Custom Map Arms Race IP: around 5 PM PDT / 8 PM EDT
Have fun; be the kind of person you’d like to play games with

Thanks to GameServers for hosting all of our amazing servers. Think we’re missing an amazing map, mod, or config? Shoot an email to or
If you’re not a fan of CS:GO, jump into some of our other game servers or join us this Friday for the first ever Community Friday.
de_mirage overhead

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is quickly becoming the go-to source for round-based shooting action—replacing both Source and 1.6. This might be because of the growing tournament scene associated with CS:GO, but it could also be because of the ample developer support.
The latest patch for the game has brought de_mirage into the map pool, added an “sv_grenade_trajectory” console command and fiddled with Overwatch and the UI. Operation Payback Passes are also on sale for $0.99 until Monday.
Like the other classic maps that have been added to CS:GO, de_mirage is coming back to the game with a few changes. Valve explains the overarching vision was "to improve the readability and graphics of Mirage without losing any of the gameplay, jumps, corners, timings and balance that has made it so incredibly playable for three generations of Counter-Strike players."

Valve has also added visual arcs for grenade throws that are only available in servers that have cheats enabled. Put “sv_grenade_trajectory 1” into the console on a server that has “sv_cheat 1” enabled and you’ll see indicators that should help you learn to bank grenades for maximum effect.
One particularly noteworthy change is the restoration of the “retry” console command. I've personally felt the pain of not having an easy way to reconnect to a server that you've just disconnected from. Typing “retry” into the console will zap you back into the last server that you were connected to and has been a staple of both Source and 1.6.
The full patch notes are below.

Added de_mirage.
Added console command to help players plan strategic grenades. Set sv_grenade_trajectory 1 (cheat convar) to see a visual arc in-game.


Overwatch Investigators are now required to submit more detailed verdict reports after reviewing evidence.
Fixed interpolation issues during GOTV and Overwatch demo playback which caused the weapon of a shooting player to visually appear several ticks behind the moment a victim was hit.
Overwatch FAQ updated.

Operation Payback

Operation Payback Pass on sale for $0.99 until Monday 6/17.


Added links to top streams on the main menu.
Added an audio option to reduce game music volume when Steam Overlay is activated.


Restored the "retry" console command.
Players can only submit griefing reports for teammates.

Thanks, PCGamesN.

The team known as "Ninjas in Pyjamas" has a made a documentary showing off its bomb-planting tactics in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at Copenhagen Games 2013. Well, it's not so much a documentary as it is a well-produced video of pro players laying down the heat against other teams, but it's still a pretty good way to spend 18 minutes.

If defusing bombs isn't your thing, Copenhagen Games also offers tournaments for StarCraft II, League of Legends, and other competitive multiplayer games. It's always fun to see how people who train for a certain game play compared to casual players, and then quietly sob in a corner after being awed by their skills.

If you said "They aren't that good," while watching the video, Copenhagen Games will return next year between April 16-20. All you need are some decent teammates, sponsors, and ruthless tenacity.
Counter-Strike thumb

Valve are beta testing a community-run self-regulation system for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It will allow certain experienced players to review reports of "disruptive behaviour", watch replays, and issue temporary bans where necessary. Naturally, Valve have called this program "Overwatch", which was also the title of the transhuman Combine soldiers of Half-Life 2. Not that there are any parallels. This is just an enforcement squad, working under a larger body that has ultimate power over... Oh...

Valve explain how the Overwatch will function in a post about the now-live beta. "Prospective Overwatch Investigators are presented with an active Overwatch button in the main menu, which indicates that there is a pending case for them to evaluate. The investigators can then choose to participate by watching a replay (eight rounds’ worth or roughly 10 minutes) and selecting a verdict.

"If the investigators collectively agree that an offense has occurred, a ban will be issued. The ban duration will depend on the severity of the offense and the suspect’s history of convictions, if any."

Investigators are selected around a variety of conditions, including account age, game time, and a low report history. And the more an Overwatch member participates, and the higher their resulting accuracy, the more weight their decisions will carry in the future.

For now, though, the scheme is just being trialled. Overwatch cases will be reviewed and analysed before any bans are enforced, giving Valve the chance to ensure they aren't creating a force of power-mad storm troopers.

You can read the full details of the Overwatch program here.
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