Valve announces Steam Machine hardware, coming 2014

Two steam-machinesdays after announcing a new operating system based on its Steam digital distribution service, Valve has announced the hardware that will run it.

Steam Machines — the official term for the long-rumored ‘SteamBox’ — will start hitting stores next year from multiple partners, Valve said Wednesday. It stopped short of naming the companies it’s working with on the hardware.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Valve taking on your living room with SteamOS

Steam — steamosValve’s popular digital game distribution service — is outgrowing your home office.

The publisher announced plans Monday to launch a Linux-based standalone operating system called SteamOS. Due in 2014, the platform is designed to help further the service’s move into the living room.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Nintendo: Our digital sales are soaring

Last reggie fils-aimeAugust, Nintendo began to more fully embrace digital distribution as a way to get games in people’s hands – a notable shift for a company that had previously stayed an arm’s distance from the online world.

The experiment is paying off. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, says digital downloads are fast becoming a notable contributor to the company’s bottom line – and he expects the trend to continue its rapid rise.


Ubisoft now selling competitors’ games through Uplay expansion

Ubisoft uplayis opening up its closed gate community to other publishers. Effective immediately, Uplay, the company’s digital distribution service, will begin selling games from competing publishers – including Electronic Arts and Warner Bros.

The cooperative deal, which will also see Ubisoft games appear on EA’s Origin distribution service, is meant to broaden the avenues for players to find games and expand points of sale for game makers.

Read more at Gamasutra

GameStop positions itself to survive in a growing digital age

In gamestop longan industry where sales are increasingly going digital, GameStop is at a crossroads.

Traditional brick and mortar isn’t going away anytime soon – and used game sales are still a viable force. But day one digital purchase options are becoming more and more frequent on consoles and DLC is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry.

To adapt, the retailer has been in the process of pivoting for a while now. And Brad Schliesser, director of digital content for GameStop, says the efforts are paying off.

Read more at Gamasutra

Blizzard puts restrictions on new Diablo III players

If you’re just now getting around to Diablo III, you might want to buy a retail copy instead of downloading one.

In its most recent patch of the game, Blizzard Entertainment has capped how far players who purchase a digital copy of the game can advance in the first 72 hours. Despite inevitable protests to the contrary, it doesn’t look like the company is planning to change its mind about the decision.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Rhapsody buys Napster

The long-awaited consolidation in the music streaming space is underway.

Rhapsody has acquired Napster from electronics giant Best Buy for an undisclosed price. The deal will combine two of the largest streaming services in the U.S. and could roughly double the number of Rhapsody subscribers.


Netflix to spin off DVD-by-mail business

Netflix plans to separate its streaming and rental-by-mail businesses into separate divisions in the coming weeks.

The company hopes the new division, dubbed ”Qwikster,” will help it stabilize its subscriber base and revive its share prices. To help revive consumer interest, the company plans to add video games to its rental options as well.

Also in the note, CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings acknowledged the overwhelming negative feedback to recent price changes at the company, saying ”I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.”

Read more at Daily Variety

Analysis: GameStop Keeps Up With The Times

Following GameStop’s mobile device announcements earlier this week, Gamasutra’s Chris Morris discusses the company’s plan to defend itself against the ongoing decline in retail game sales.

It’s no secret that game publishers have spent a lot of time focusing on the growing importance of the mobile space, but things have been a lot quieter on the retail front.

However, GameStop’s pair of announcements Monday sent a clear signal to both gamers and investors that the company was planning to defend itself against the ongoing decline in retail game sales and the changing nature of the gaming market.

Read more at Gamasutra

Activision digital revenues jump 37 percent in two years

The digital transition is going pretty well at Activision-Blizzard.

The video game publisher, in an Analyst Day presentation, notes that its digital revenue over the past 12 months hit $1.7 billion, topping last year’s $1.4 billion and 2009’s $1.2 billion. That’s a 37 percent increase in just 24 months.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog