Valve: Are Games Too Expensive?
Games may be too expensive according to Valve's Software President Gabe Newell, he revealed sales data from Steam that suggests games are too expensive. Something we all have been saying for years now.
The reason why few have arrived at this conclusion is because you cannot easily experiment with pricing at retail, says Newell. But you can with Steam, Valve's burgeoning digital distribution platform.
On the PC-only Steam service, a wide range of prices are attached to games, and attractive weekend deals throw more pricing variability into the mix. Although Valve was initially afraid that volatility or variability in pricing would confuse or anger its customers--or even cannibalize retail sales--Newell says that was not all the case.
In fact, it dramatically increased sales. Illustrating his point, Newell showed the results of a Left 4 Dead promotion Valve ran last weekend, which cut the price of the game in half to $25. The discount (and promise of new content for the game) rocketed sales of the game on Steam by 3,000 percent.
"We sold more in revenue this last weekend than we did when we launched the product," says Newell. "We were driving a huge uptick in revenue and attracting new customers." And while people believe that we're "screwing" retail, Newell showed that brick-and-mortar sales were unaffected by the online discount.
This phenomenon is not limited to Valve games. Over the holidays, Steam discounted third-party titles. Sales increased 300 percent and units-sold increased by 600 percent.
Still skeptical? Newell said that a weekend sale of one third-party title drove that game's sales up by 18,000 percent and units-sold increased 36,000 percent. It energized the user base, says Newell. When the sale ended, baseline sales were double what they were prior to the weekend discount.
Discounting games does not only increase unit sales--it increases actual revenues. During the 16-day sale window over the holidays, third-parties were given a choice as to how severely they would discount their games. Those that discounted their games by 10 percent saw a 35% uptick in sales--that's dollars, not units. A 25 percent discount meant a 245 percent increase in sales. Dropping the price by 50 percent meant a sales increase of 320 percent. And a 75 percent decrease in the price point generated a 1,470 percent increase in sales.
The conclusion: The games industry is not pricing its products correctly. It's only through the experimentation that such services as Steam allows will the industry be able to find the golden ratio of price and sales. As Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences President Joseph Olin concluded Wednesday night, this is going to generate a lot of controversy about pricing [via edge-on-line]
Download: RealTemp v3.06 plugin for RivaTuner
Unclewebb (RealTemp developer) updated his RealTemp plugin for RivaTuner.
It works with Intel CPU's which has a digital thermal sensor (DTS). Works with Nehalem, Quad's, Core2Duo's and it's a big step forward from "old" Core2Duo plugin. Unzip and copy the attached files into your RivaTuner/PlugIns/Monitoring directory and the rest should be easy. This plug-in includes Distance to TJMax for each core for those that like to keep an eye on that number.
We have a discussion thread + some screenshots active here in this forums thread.
Download - click here
Daily hardware deals (Feb 20 2009)
It's time for an update on some good deals. Today I'd like to have a look at some great deals on procesessors from both AMD and Intel:
- AMD Phenom X4 9950 Quad-Core Processor at $159.99, a stunning price really.
- AMD Phenom II X4 920 Quad-Core Processor is spotted for $199.50
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Black Edition Dual-Core proecessor, a little gem for just $66.99
A great motherboards to go with these processors are is MSI AMD 790GX DKA790GX, it sells at only $124.99.
- Intel Core i7 I7-920 Quad Core Processor, the best selling Core i7 goes for $299.88
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor, still the top selling entry quad core at $194.99
- Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core Processor at $164.99
As far as Core i7 motherboards go, we noticed that the GigaByte X58 GAEX58UD3R motherboard dropped under 200 USD and is selling at $184.99. That's a grand price for sure.
Zalman CNPS 9900 LED review
Recently Zalman introduced the CNPS 9900 LED fan. An all new heatpipe based cooler with not one, but two heatsinks. The fun part is, it just looks really extraordinary as in-between the two heatsinks, an actual LED lit 120mm ventilator is located.
Yes The cooler has been split down the middle, moved away from each other to make room for that fan integrated into the center of the heatsink.
At 75,- USD you should expect a lot from a CPU cooler though, it's the CNPS 9900 LED living up to majestic Zalman reputation ?
You can read this Guru3D article right here.
8ft Steampunk Frankenstein Computer case mod
That thing is SICK, I love it ! As insane Steampunk PC case mods go, this Frankenstein machine by D. Mattocks will take some beating.
Standing almost eight feet tall, and bristling with copper piping, vintage gauges and glass indicator lights from an old navy ship, it
OCZ shows off Alchemy Illuminati upscale keyboard
PC users are probably more familiar with OCZ performance components inside a PC tower than peripherals like a keyboard, but they do have gaming peripherals lineup named Alchemy, and today they have announced a new upscale keyboard, Alchemy Illuminati that features an adjustable backlit keys with user-selected color choices of blue and red.
Aside from the illuminating keyboards in the dark, the Alchemy Illuminati also features 14 multimedia and Internet hotkeys, and is completely plug-n-play with windows XP and Vista but as usual, it shows no love for OSX.
The board measures 215mm x 495mm x 30mm and weights only 850g. The rubber-coated keys are designed to improve tactile feedback and its durable outfit are said to have reliable life span of 5 millions cycles. Other than that, OCZ has not released pricing or product availability on the Illuminati.
Update: we just confirmed pricing to be 34.99 USD/EUR = bargain :)
Patriot Memory Releases Tri-Channel Signature Series
"With today's economy, 'value' has become even a greater concern for the consumer. Patriot Memory plans on making sure we provide solutions that provide value and the high quality that has made Patriot Memory a leader in the memory industry," says JR Wakabayashi, Marketing Manager for Patriot Memory.
Coming in kits of 3GB (3 x 1GB) and 6GB (3 x 2GB), Patriot's Signature Tri Channel is being offered at 1066MHZ, Cas Latency 7. The Patriot Tri Channel is compatible with all current X58 DDR3 motherboards.
|PSD33G1066K||Patriot Signature 3GB Tri Channel Kit||879699007405|
|PSD33G1066KH||Patriot Signature 3GB Tri Channel Kit w/heat shield||879699007764|
|PSD36G1066K||Patriot Signature 3GB Tri Channel Kit||879699007412|
|PSD36G1066KH||Patriot Signature 6GB Tri Channel Kit w/heat shield||879699007771|
Atom-based QNAP NAS TS-439 Pro surfaces
QNAP is on a roll lately, yet another model of theit NAS devices is palced into the market, this time a 4-bay Intel Atom-based NAS TS-439 Pro.
TS-439 Pro is designed for SMB/Business featuring low power Intel 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB DDRII memory, and stylish industrial design. The TS-439 Pro supports dual Giga LAN, five USB 2.0 ports and two eSATA ports, RAID 0/1/5/6/5+spare configurations, Online RAID Capacity Expansion and Online RAID Level Migration, and offers advanced functions such as iSCSI target service with Thin Provisioning, AES 256-bit volume-based encryption, automatic policy-based IP blocking, instant SMS and email alert, and SSL secure certificate etc.
Powered by Intel 1.6 GHz CPU, 1GB DDRII memory, the TS-439 Pro delivers superior performance for multiple business applications. Advanced RAID configurations, including RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 6/ 5+Spare, JBOD, Online RAID Capacity Expansion, and Online RAID Level Migration are all supported.
The TS-439 Pro supports file sharing across Linux, UNIX, Mac, and Windows platforms. Different applications are supported, e.g. file server, FTP server, printer server, web server, and encrypted remote replication. Also, windows AD (Active Directory) is supported to help create an easy-to-access environment and lower the maintenance cost. SSH login and web page SSL login enable users to transfer, store, and share data securely.
AC Accelero XTREME 4870X2
Especially designed for the ATI Radeon HD4870X2, the Accelero XTREME 4870X2 follows the sophisticated design of the Accelero XTREME series, offering the best cooling solution for this high-end VGA card.
- Extreme cooling performance up to 320 Watts
- 3 ultra quiet 92mm PWM fans with low noise impeller
- Efficient heat dissipation via 8 heatpipes
- Patented fan holder eliminates the buzzing sounds
- RAM and voltage regulator cooling
- Pre-applied MX-2
- Crossfire compatible
Extreme Cooling Performance
Outstanding cooling comes from outstanding components. The Accelero XTREME 4870X2 is equipped with three 92mm PWM fans running from 1,000 to 2,000 RPM, generating 81 CFM airflow which allows the fans to remove the heat from the two GPUs efficiently. The eight-heatpipe design also improves heat dissipation and achieves 320 Watts cooling capacity. The result is significant
Download: Realtek HD Audio 2.16 Driver
The latest download of Realtek's HD audio driver version available for Windows XP and Vista -it supposedly runs under Windows 7 too. Guru3D placed these drivers on their own download servers, for fast downloading.
This download offers both the Windows XP and Vista binaries, the files contain drivers for the 32 Bit and 64 Bit versions. All Realtek HD audio chips, which are common on many motherboards and in notebooks, are supported. The sound specialist still offers the Beta version 0.1 of the 3D Sound Back Utility which preserves or reactivates 3D sound effects such as Surround, reverb and stereoscopic effects of older games under Windows Vista. Since it is a beta version, the use is used at one's own risk only. You should backup your important files before using the software.
Here is an extract from the change log . Unfortunately improvements of performance are rare for new audio drivers. An uninstall problem in Windows 7 has now been fixed.
Driver Package R2.16
Realtek HD Audio Driver support all of Realtek HD Audio Codec in Vista/WinXP/Win2000/Win2003 .
- Vista WHQL Supporting: ALC882, ALC883, ALC885, ALC888, ALC889, ALC861VD, ALC660, ALC662, ALC663,
ALC665, ALC260, ALC262,ALC267, ALC268, ALC269, ALC272, ALC273, ALC887
- Windows 2000/XP WHQL Supporting: ALC880, ALC882, ALC883, ALC885, ALC888, ALC889, ALC861VC,
ALC861VD, ALC660, ALC662, ALC663, ALC665, ALC260, ALC262, ALC267,ALC268, ALC269, ALC272, ALC273, ALC887
- HDMI Device WHQL Support: ATI HDMI Devices
- OS Supporting: Microsoft WindowsXP, Widnows2000, Vista, Windows7 x86/x64
- Pack with Microsoft High Definition Audio UAAV1.0a(5013)
- Add/Fix Driver :
2. Update directsound acceleration engine for XP driver.
Download: click here
MKV hardware acceleration in VMC
I am a member of this community http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/ and smart people here have worked it out.
1. Download MPCVideoDec.ax.
2. Extract MPCVideoDec.ax & put it in to c:\Windows\System32\. Open a command prompt & navigate to c:\Windows\System32\ & run: regsvr32 MPCVideoDec.ax
You then might need to use a filter manager to set the decoding options for MPCVideoDec.ax.
I didn't have to use a filter manager I just disabled CoreAVC and also FFDSHOW for x.264 and Mpeg4 and I am getting the same benefits of MPC-HC but intergrated in VMC.
Inno3D to release i-Chill GTX 260 with Accelero XXX
Set to be released in really small volume we expect, Inno3D is releasing a GeForce GTX 260 with a mammoth cooler from AC. The new card will use Arctic Cooling's Accelero Xtreme VGA cooler that has six copper heatpipes and three 90mm fans that spin from 700 to 2000RPM.
The specs are: 620Mz for the core and 2,100MHz for the memory. There was no mention of the shader domain, so we expect that was left alone again. We are quite sure that this card can do much more and that it has a decent overclocking capability due to the size and the looks of this cooler.
A triple-x rated prodyuct from Inno3D, ooh-lala ...
Download: GPU-Z 0.3.2
GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you all information about your video card and GPU. A new update on GPU-Z is out and it supports the latest catalyst & latest forceware drivers.
Here is the list of changes :
- Clock reading on ATI cards fixed
- GT200b is now detected as 55 nm
- Added detection for GeForce GT 120, GT 130, GT 130M, FX 5200, 9400 GT, 9600 GSO 512, FX 2700M, 9500 GS, Quadro FX 540M, Quadro FX 3700M, 9650M GT, Quadro FX 370M, 9400 IGP, 9300 IGP, 8200M G
- Added support for S3 Chrome 500 Series
- Added new ATI logo
- Fixed screen corruption during screenshot of sensors tab
- Added support to show lowest, highest and average reading on sensors tab (click on sensor value to switch)
- Fixed number of texture units on RV730
- Fixed Catalyst version reading
Download - click here.
AMD shareholders approve spinoff operations
The venture will be called the Foundry Co. and under the deal, another Abu Dhabi investment fund, Mubadala Development Co., will provide about $800 million to the new company. Last week, AMD postponed a scheduled shareholder meeting about the approval because less than 50 percent of the shares were eligible to vote. This time, just over 50 percent were present, at 50.26 percent, though it is not known what changed in just one week's time to cause this.
The deal is expected to close on March 2nd.
Japan wants wireless power by 2015-2020
Communications (MIC) has been working on R&D and standardization of wireless power transmission technologies, which enable noncontact or wireless power supply to home appliances like TVs.
Toshiba Corp made the proposal of the R&D and standardization, which is currently being evaluated by an ad hoc team under the Radio Wave Policy Council, a study group at MIC. They are aiming to commercialize the technologies in between 2015 and 2020 though the schedule may change depending on the difficulty of the technology development, according to the team.
The ad hoc team considers that three types of technologies have to be established.
(1) A technology that utilizes a general electromagnetic induction method and features a transmission range of less than several millimeters, electricity of several hundred watts or less and a frequency less than several hundred kHz
(2) A technology that was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is called resonant induction. Using a frequency ranging from several to several hundred MHz, it is capable of wireless transmission with a transmission range of several tens of centimeters and electricity of several hundred watts.
(3) A technology for receiving radio waves by a highly-efficient receiving circuit and retrieving DC power via a rectifier circuit
The first technology, which has already been adopted for some products on the market, is expected to be standardized by 2015, according to MIC. As for the second and third technologies, "we are about to pinpoint issues, aiming to commercialize the technologies around 2020," according to MIC [via techon]
Intel goes after the money, sues NVIDIA
Intel filed a lawsuit against Nvidia late on Monday, alleging that the two companies' current four-year-old chipset license agreement does not extend to Intel's upcoming CPUs with "integrated" memory controllers.
NVIDIA entered into the agreement in 2004 in order to bring platform innovations to Intel CPU based systems. In return, Intel took a license to NVIDIA's rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents. Since signing the agreement, NVIDIA has offered innovations such as SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA parallel processing. ION, the most recent innovation, integrates a powerful NVIDIA GPU, north bridge and south bridge into one compact die. When combined with a CPU, ION enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel's own solution. In addition, the ION platform offers 10x the performance of Intel's current three chip design.
The industry and consumers now count on innovations from NVIDIA. Microsoft recently endorsed ION because it offers consumers the first truly affordable premium Windows experience. Late last year Apple selected NVIDIA's chipset for its entire new line of notebooks including the MacBook Classic, MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Today, companies like Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Falcon Northwest, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, NEC, and Toshiba all ship exciting innovations created by NVIDIA as a result of its agreement with Intel.
Huang said that, given the broad and growing adoption of NVIDIA's platform innovations, it is not surprising that Intel is now initiating a dispute over a contract signed four years ago. Innovations like ION, SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA threaten Intel's ability to control the PC platform.
New Exploit Targets IE7 Bug
We can;t say this enough, keep pathing up. It's a vicious cyberworld out there.
Cybercriminals are actively exploiting a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 7, which arises from the browser's improper handling of errors when attempting to access deleted objects. This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary codes on a vulnerable machine. The threat starts with a spammed malicious .DOC file detected as XML_DLOADR.A. This file has a very limited distribution script, suggesting it may be a targeted attack. It contains an ActiveX object that automatically accesses a site rigged with a malicious HTML detected by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network as HTML_DLOADER.AS. HTML_DLOADER.AS exploits the CVE-2009-0075 vulnerability, which is already addressed by the MS09-002 security patch released last week. On an unpatched system though, successful exploitation by HTML_DLOADER.AS downloads a backdoor detected as BKDR_AGENT.XZMS. This backdoor further installs a .DLL file that has information stealing capabilities. It sends its stolen information to another URL via port 443.
If you are current on your patches, you are fine. If not...well, you know the drill.
Analysis by Trend Micro researchers reveal that BKDR_AGENT.XZMS takes screenshots of the infected system and sends these screenshots to a remote malicious location. It also creates a hidden Internet Explorer window which connects to a website to listen for commands.
Best Selling PC Games
Here's a new overview for the best selling PC games (US) for the week ending February 7:
- World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Blizzard
- The Sims 2 Double Deluxe - Electronic Arts
- Spore - Electronic Arts
- World of Warcraft Battle Chest - Blizzard
- Fallout 3 - Bethesda Softworks
- World of Warcraft - Blizzard
- Left 4 Dead - Valve/EA
- Call Of Duty: World At War - Activision
- The Sims 2 Apartment Life - Electronic Arts
- The Sims 2 Deluxe - Electronic Arts