Gabe Newell: Valve Still Working on Hardware

Speaking at LinuxCon in New Orleans yesterday, Valve Software front man Gabe Newell said that the Linux operating system is the future of gaming and that the company will use the OS to start building Steam-based hardware. Valve released a Linux client for Steam in February of this year, and highlighted its living room-focused Big Picture mode on the OS. The next step is to build hardware, he says.

"There are sets of issues to making sure whatever platform you have works well in a living room environment," he said. "There are thermal issues and sound issues, but there also a bunch of input issues. So the next step in our contribution to this [the promotion of Linux for gaming] is to release some work we've done on the hardware side.

"None of the proprietary closed platforms are going to be able to provide that grand unification between mobile, the living room and the desktop," he added.

"Next week we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room, and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile."

Later in the day, Newell told the BBC that Valve was working with partners to "nail down how fast we can make it," with a prototype expected by July.

Valve has been quietly working on a hardware solution that utilizes its Steam client in "Big Picture" mode to make it easier to use in the living room just like a console.

Check out the video to your left to see Newell's presentation.

Source: Eurogamer

Daily Telegraph Jumps on the ‘Let’s Blame Video Games’ Bandwagon

Not to be left out of the "let's blame video games for every mass shooting that happens" narrative being pushed by American cable news outlets like MSNBC and Fox News, UK paper The Daily Telegraph offers an article on how Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis was "obsessed with video games." The title of the article? "Aaron Alexis: Washington navy yard gunman 'obsessed with violent video games.'"

Drawing from the same source as other reports this morning, The Daily Telegraph (which is notorious for its anti-video game news stories) claims that "Aaron Alexis played violent video games including Call of Duty for up to 16 hours at a time and friends believe it could have pushed him towards becoming a mass murderer."

Alexis was shot dead on Monday after killing 12 people at Washington's Navy Yard.

The Telegraph claims that Alexis's "addiction to violent video games and guns was at odds with his devout commitment to Buddhism, which saw Alexis spending half the day every Sunday meditating at the Wat Busayadhammvanaram temple in Fort Worth, Texas over a period of several years."

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Oui Suthamtewakul from Fort Worth, Texas described Alexis "playing zombie video games."

The darker side to Alexis's character saw him playing violent "zombie" video games in his room, sometimes from 12.30pm until 4.30am.

Mr Suthamtewakul said: "He could be in the game all day and all night. I think games might be what pushed him that way. He always had this fear people would steal his stuff so that's why he would carry his gun all the time. He would carry it when he was helping out in the restaurant which scared my customers."

It has not been confirmed that Alexis actually played video games, save the account from his one friend in Forth Worth, and there's no proof that he regularly played Call of Duty. But even if he did, given his age it wouldn't be a leap of faith to assume that because that's what normal men his age do. How his playing games factors into him killing 12 people would be like trying to figure out how being a Buddhist or living in Texas factored into the shooting spree.

Source: Daily Telegraph


Mighty No. 9 Coming to PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U

It looks like Mega Man series creator Keiji Inafune's spiritual successor to that popular franchise from Capcom will be coming to the PS3, Xbox 360, and (wait for it) Wii U. The official Kickstarter recently hit a stretch goal of $2.2 million, which promised to bring the game to the aforementioned platforms if it was met. Another stretch goal – $3.3 million, will enable the developers to bring the game to Xbox One and PS4 if it is met.

Due for release sometime in or around April 2015, Mighty No. 9 is a sort-of spiritual sequel to the Mega Man series featuring a familiar protagonist that can fight and collect the power-ups of super powered robotic villains.

The game is also coming to Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems.

As of this writing, the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter has generated $2,236,506 from 38,976 backers with 14 more days to go. Other stretch goals include "Challenge Mode" at $2.4 Million, an extra end stage boss at $2.55 million, Beck and Call Online Coop Challenge mode at $2.75 million and two other stretch goals to be revealed at a later date.

Source: Eurogamer


Take-Two Warns GTA V Video Makers About ‘Spoilers’

Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive told fans in this support forum thread that it is "happy for fans" to upload gameplay footage, but warns them that any videos containing spoilers and other "in-game entertainment" will be flagged for removal via a takedown notice to whatever service they might be using.

Take-Two says that videos showing the end of the game, pure cutscenes, or any other "big reveals" from the Grand Theft Auto V's story will be flagged for removal. Take-Two said it is OK to show cutscenes as part of a larger playthrough, but isolated cinematics revealing plot will be removed.

In addition, videos featuring in-game entertainment like TV shows or other performances will also be removed.

"We prefer fans to experience these in the context of the game's world," Take-Two said.

The company noted that it has the right to remove any content it finds "objectionable" on a case-by-case basis and to change its policy whenever it wishes. Questions about the policy can be directed at Take-Two via

The game officially launched on PS3 and Xbox 360 today.

Source: GameSpot


Firefall Developer Lays Off 10 Percent of Staff

Firefall developer Red 5 Studios has reduced its staff by around 10 percent, ahead of the launch for its online first-person shooter game. The company said that these layoffs are part of a "reorganization" effort. The majority of the layoffs affected the studio's internet video channel, Stage 5 TV. Red 5 says that the ongoing development of Firefall will be unaffected by these layoffs.

"As Firefall matures, we must transition our priorities and our development strategy to focus on streamlined operations and live product support," said Mark Kern, CEO and founder of Red 5 Studios. As part of the reorganization, Red 5 Studios confirms that it has released about 10 percent of its staff, the majority from Red 5's video internet entertainment channel, Stage 5 TV. Development of Firefall is unaffected by the reorganization and Open Beta Stage 2 is well underway with a major patch scheduled for later this month."

Just how many people have been let go from the studio is unknown, but GII points out that the company recruited staff from laid off BioWare and 38 Studios employees, bringing their ranks up to as high as 100 employees at one point.

Source: GII



John and Brenda Romero Join University of California at Santa Cruz

The University of California at Santa Cruz has hired Brenda and John Romero to lead a new program that inevitably earns students a master's degree in games and playable media at the school's Silicon Valley Center. Brenda Romero was appointed as the school's first game designer in residence at the Center for Games and Playable Media in January 2013.

Beginning today she will serve as program director overseeing curriculum and instructors, teaching and mentoring students, and establish connections with the video games industry. John Romero will serve as creative director of the master's program at UCSC. He will be teaching courses, mentoring students, and helping shape the creative vision for the program.

Both Romero's work at Loot Drop, alongside Tom Hall. John Romero and Tom Hall have worked on such hit franchises as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.

"In creating games, I look for innovative ways to explore spaces and game mechanics, doing things other games have not done," John Romero said. "In working with UCSC, my goal is to push students toward innovation while working on my own new indie projects alongside them."

Source: GameSpot



MSNBC Guest Says in the 1950s, ‘We Blamed Comic Books’ for Societal Ills

While we (rightly) point the finger at Fox News for pushing the narrative that violent video games somehow drive people to shoot people like the Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, the cable news network is certainly not alone.

On multiple shows network MSNBC has been trying to make the connection as well. On a recent episode of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski talked about Grand Theft Auto, but had that narrative interrupted by Yahoo! News columnist Jeff Greenfield, who noted that this is the same old drum beat about violent media we have been hearing about since the 1950s.

"I know this drives liberals and library libertarians crazy," Joe Scarborough said during the show. "I grew up seeing my friends simulate murdering people thousands of times. That has continued through the years, and it’s gotten even worse. Grand Theft Auto 5—my god, after Grand Theft Auto 2, I was like, no, that’s not coming into our house again. Of course, there are millions of people that use video games that don’t do anything. But after Newtown, as I said, I know who this guy is without knowing who the guy was."

But Greenfield pointed out that what Joe was saying was very familiar:

"Sixty years ago under the instruction of a psychologist named Dr. Frederick Wertham, who wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocents, you know what was considered the threat from the part of young people? Comic books," Greenfield said. "They were censored out of existence by the New York Comics Code Authority. Every time there’s a new medium, it is pointed to as the source of horrible behavior. It’s comic books, it’s rock and roll, it’s video games. Back in the days of Pac-Man, even! I guess it was supposed to desensitize people’s brains.”

"I’m gonna sit down with you and I’m gonna show you," retorted Scarborough. "They are a long cry from comic books, brother. Long cry from Spiderman."

"Remember Tales from the Crypt, back in 1950?" Greenfield countered. "With chopped heads off? It wasn’t that far. I’m only saying that the notion that here’s the magic bullet—if you’ll pardon the expression bullet—that is the cause of it, is something we do, but it may not be the answer we think it is."

You can check out the full clip via Mediaite.

London Man Mugged After Purchasing GTA V

A London man who bought a copy of Grand Theft Auto V when it went on sale at midnight was mugged on his way home from the store.

The unnamed 23-year-old man was "hit with a brick, stabbed and stripped of his mobile phone, watch and his copy of the game."

Luckily, he is in stable condition at a local hospital.  Three men were arrested in connection with the crime.

Source: Associated Press (thanks to Trevor M. Franklin for the tip!)

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

Fox & Friends Co-Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck: We Need National Registry for Video Games

The new Fox & Friends host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck (formerly the lone conservative on ABC's The View) suggested during the Tuesday morning show that "the left" was trying to make Monday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard about "gun control." Instead she pointed out that the country doesn't need a national registry for guns, it needs one for to track video game purchases. Raw Story offers some choice quotes from the segment – thanks PHX Corp for the tip.

"You know, certainly, this topic has already taken a turn again, the left’s already making this about gun control," Hasselbeck said.

"Is this about gun control or is this about a guy who has a history of drinking a lot, playing video games a lot and a few shooting incidents?" co-host Brian Kilmeade asked.

"But you talk about this guy’s background, as we look into it," Kilmeade continued. "He’s got a friend, who said, 'Yeah, he had an obsession with video games, shooting video games. In fact, he would come over and he would be playing so long — these video games, these shooting games — we’d have to give him dinner, we’d have to feed him while he continued to stay on them.'"

"Are more people susceptible to playing video games?" Hasselbeck continued. "Is there a link between a certain age group or [demographic] in 20- to 34-year-old men, perhaps, that are playing these video games and their violent actions?"

"What about frequency testing?" she added. "How often has this game been played? I’m not one to get in there and say, monitor everything, but if this, indeed, is a strong link, right, to mass killings then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person? And also, how often they’re playing and maybe they time out after a certain hour."

You can watch the video to your left and draw your own conclusions.

Source: Raw Story

Fox News Highlights Navy Ship Yard Killer’s Video Game ‘Obsession’

In a new report, the conservative news network tries to link video games to gunman Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people before police shot him dead at the Navy Shipyard in Washington where he worked earlier this week. While the report goes into great detail about the gunman's troubled past – including issues with mental illness and multiple run-ins with police, the focus of the Fox story is about his video game habits.

U.S. law enforcement officials said that Alexis had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder, and that he had been treated regularly since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems. His father at one time told detectives in Seattle that his son had "anger management problems" related to post-traumatic stress brought on by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Police also said that he had been "hearing voices."

But instead of focusing on all of these problems Alexis had, Fox News leads with a couple of quotes about Alexis' gaming habits:

A Dallas Morning News report points out that Alexis had faced charges related to guns in both Fort Worth, and Seattle in the past, but this is what Fox News is interested in:

"One of 34-year-old Aaron Alexis’ neighbors told Fort Worth police that he terrified her. Another said that he liked Alexis and that his only flaw was that he often immersed himself in violent video games for hours at a time."

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal report also says that most people who ran into Alexis thought he was polite, and his former roommate describes him in much the same way, adding that he was a "hardcore drinker."

"Mr. Alexis was a 'hardcore drinker,' he said, and was also skilled in videogames, which he would play for marathon sessions that lasted hours. Another friend, Michael Ritrovato, a government worker, said he witnessed Mr. Alexis playing first-person shooting games online. Mr. Suthamtewakul said he and his family would sometimes bring Mr. Alexis plates of food during his videogame binges."

And that is the extent of the talk about video games, but apparently it's enough to warrant the headline, "DC gunman obsessed with violent video games, reports say."

The Fox News report does go into detail about Alexis' troubled past, and how the Navy Reserve's poor judgment may have led to Alexis getting a security clearance he should not have gotten. It's also confusing why a person with ongoing mental health problems and gun-related run-ins with police in Seattle and Fort Worth didn't become apparent during a security check prior to his working at the Washington Navy Ship Yard…

We will have more on this story as it develops.