Steam grows beyond 30 million accounts.

Valve’s digital distribution service Steam has always been at the forefront of video games and digital distribution. Their store stocks the best in AAA games as well as indie surprises with a a discount sale almost every week. In the eight years that it has been operational, Steam has seen phenomenal growth especially in recent times, due partly to the addition of Mac OSX as a platform for many games.

steamlogo

Said Gabe Newell, president of Valve:

Steam is on track to record the biggest year in its six year history. The year has marked major development advances to the platform with the introduction of support for Mac titles, the Steam Wallet and in-game item buying support, and more. We believe the growth in accounts, sales, and player numbers is completely tied to this work and we plan to continue to develop the platform to offer more marketing, sales, and design tools for developers and publishers of games and digital entertainment

To meet the demand of sales, which grew by about 200%, Steam upgraded its infrastructure thoroughly-

Steam sales during the trailing 12 months increased by more than 200%, putting it on track for a sixth straight year of realizing over 100% year-over-year growth in unit sales. To meet this demand, the Steam infrastructure has been increased and now has ability to run at 400Gps, enough bandwidth to ship a digitized version of the Oxford English Dictionary 92.6 times per second.

That is great work, Valve. Kudos!

With Penguspy, Finding Good Linux Games Is Easier Than Ever

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While many claim that gaming on Linux is like playing football in mangroves, the gaming scene for Linux has been changing, the past few years, mostly for good. While many popular games are not available for Linux and GNU based systems, many other open source, free or linux-only games have come up.  So if you’re the gamer guy, it makes sense to keep a tab on a few gaming sites catering to linux exclusively, like Penguspu.

Penguspy is like a gallery of linux games. It has a collection of both free and commercial games which can be easily browsed by category, ratings, views or simply alphabetically.

The website covers various genres like action, arcade, strategy, shooters, sports, FPS, RPGs and MMORPGs. Each game has a page where you can find its rating, description, related video or trailer, a link to it’s homepage from where you can download or buy it, a list of similar games and a comments area.

So if you use Linux and would like to try out some new games, go check out Penguspy

[via DownloadSquad and webupd8]

Games You Can Play Using Google Chrome Extensions

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. As this famous saying goes, sometimes you have to take a break and give yourself some play time. Now, you could load up that Medal of Honor CD or even start playing Call of Duty, but what if you could just play a quick game while you are browsing the web in ?

Super Mario Google Chrome Game

Yes, I am talking about which allow you to play games from within the browser without even leaving the current website you are browsing. You can play these games while you are waiting for a download or waiting for task to finish in the browser and then continue doing what you do. So without further ado, here is another one of Techie Buzz’s featuring Chrome Extensions which you can use to play Games on the browser.

Please note: Though these extensions do not turn the browser into a gaming device and some times they use popups to open the games. That said, the quick access to games is definitely worth it.

BLOONS, The Game! – Alert, this is a very ADDICTIVE game. I remember playing it once and never stopping. With BLOONS, you play the role of a monkey bursting balloons.   Find that easy? Just play some levels and you will see that it isn’t as easy as it seems. And like I said this game can hook you, so make sure you have the time before starting to play this one. They also have a big selection of Tower defense games. If you are more into Tower Defense Games, check out our list of Top 5 Tower Defense Games.

Mario Game – Who hasn’t heard about Mario. Oh yea those new genre gamers. But this classic will keep you hooked for awhile. If you want to play Super Mario, yes there is an extension for that too. Download it here.

Pacman – Another classic arcade game which will keep you busy for awhile. Control your pacman and eat all the dots before the monsters have you for dinner.

Snake Game – The game that probably started the mobile gaming revolution. The snake game has been there and done that, now you can also play it on Chrome.

Chess Game – Show the computer your better brains by challenging it in a Chess game while you wait for something to download or just don’t have anyone else to play Chess with.

Chrome Mini Golf Game

Mini Golf – Have some time before heading to the golf course? Just load up this game and practice your putts. However, don’t expect it to improve your score card at the course Smile.

Chrome MineSweeper – Another classic games I started playing when I had Windows 98. This game has stayed around for a long time and you can continue playing it in Google Chrome now.

Ping Pong 3D – Play Ping Pong against the computer and see if you can win. This is one of the hardest Flash games I have played and winning is not a joke.

Tetris – Another classic Arcade game which can keep you hooked. Go build.

Copter Game – Keep the copter from hitting obstacles while you make sure to not hit the terrain, the more you fly, the tougher it gets.

Boys Vs Girls Tic-Tac-Toe Game – Aha those classics, this games lets you play Tic-Tac-Toe from right within the browser. The only difference is that it replaces the X and O with a boy and girl doodles. If you want to just play the classic game, download this Tic-Tac-Toe game extension.

Games for bored people – Waiting for a slow webpage to load? Then make the balls bounce with this completely USELESS game that will keep you busy for a while.

Game Button – This extension allows you to play tons of games in a new popup window. Just select your genre, choose your game and start playing.

Free Online Games @ Gadget Runner – This Chrome extension provides you with a set of games that can keep you hooked for a while. The Games include Sim Taxi, Mini Pool, Solitaire and Bowling among others.

Phew, that’s quite a few games and it doesn’t make Jack a dull boy anymore. If you have your own favorite games, do share them with us. I will add them to the list.

Also Read:

Medal of Honor Limited Edition on Sale Now

Electronics Arts demoed the new version of Medal of Honor 2010 in December 2009, with the Beta client made available in June 2010. If you are a fan, the game is now on sale in various stores.

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor Limited Edition is now on sale for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows based PCs. Users can buy the limited edition of Medal of Honor for $59.99 on Amazon and other retailers. Click on the links below to make the purchase.

You can also preview the game and watch video trailers at the official site http://www.medalofhonor.com/.

PlayStation Move Lands in India

Earlier this week, Sony quietly launched the PlayStation Move controller in India. The Move is Sony’s attempt at catching up with the casual gaming revolution initiated by the Nintendo Wii. It is a motion sensing game controller that was demoed at the E3 2010.

PlayStation-Move-India

The Move consists of two controllers – the main motion controller has a light bulb at its end, while the navigation controller has a joystick and a d-pad. A camera unit, known as PlayStation Eye, is used for accurately tracking the position of the Move controller. To learn more about the Move, check out our earlier extensive preview of the controller.

According to PCWorld, the Move motion controller is priced at Rs. 2,499, while the navigation controller is available for Rs. 1,899. The starter pack which bundles PlayStation Move motion controller, PlayStation Eye camera and a Starter disc including demos of the titles Sports Champions, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Start the Party!, costs Rs. 3,650.

3 Self-Hosted VoIP Applications You Might Not Have Heard Of…Unless You’re a Gamer

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If you’ve seen the 2008 movie WarGames: The Dead Code, you would probably remember how the protagonist of the movie plays multiplayer games with his friend, while simultaneously talking to him online using something that most of us refer to as voice chat. (Note!: I’m not encouraging you to watch that movie! It was a flop. If you really have to check out the story, watch the original WarGames, released in 1983. Classic!)

So, the point is not about gaming here. It’s about the talk. We’re gonna talk about VoIP.

If you’re an average user, who uses the internet everyday you must have heard of, and even used some of the popular VoIP applications in the market such as Skype, Fring on mobile devices and Google Voice. The thing about most of these services is that they are run by third party companies, they limit the number of people that can talk simultaneously aka voice conference and/or they are slow. Apart from these services, however, there are quite a few VoIP applications that are better, let practically any number of people to talk without any additional cost and provide various quality options albeit at a little cost. Cost of running a server.

Gamers who engage in multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft etc, often play in groups, called clans. These clans coordinate their gameplay through such VoIP applications. To put things in perspective, if you need ammo, you just say, Hey Captain, I need ammoand then captain says Already on it’s way soldier!. These clans host or get someone to host servers for these VoIP applications so that they can continue their action in full throttle.

Today, I’m gonna talk about three applications that you can use for this purpose and much more. Their basic idea is that you first install the software on your server, then anyone who needs to join the talk can download the desktop client and connect to the server. On the desktop client, the experience is like IRC, or any other group chat where you can text and speak.

TeamSpeak

screen_ts3_main_macTeamSpeak is one of the oldest contestants in this category. Available at teamspeak.com, Teamspeak is multiplatform for both the server and desktop clients. VoIP applications when compared, are graded on the base of quality of sound, codecs used, inbuilt noise cancellation capabilities and latency (the time taken for voice to travel through the interwebs to the desired listeners lower is better). The latest TeamSpeak, version 3, improves on all of these and more. In case of TeamSpeak, the codec used is Speex A free, patent/free audio codec. Also, on TeamSpeak 3, is the ability to join more than one servers using tabs something like IRC.

However, TeamSpeak itself isn’t open source. It’s proprietary and comes with a license and licensing cost.

If you’re going to use it for a not-for-profit activity, Teamspeak is free and allows 32 people (or slots) on it. If you register the application and apply for a license (which is also free, as long as you’re doing not-for-profit), the server can house 512 people at a time. The other licenses, such as those for Commercial organizations, need to be registered and the license cost can be anywhere from $25 to $500 yearly depending on how many people are going to use it.

So, if you just need it for talking to a group at college or school, you’re gonna get it free. But then you’d have to host it on some server, either yours or some one else’s. If you can’t or don’t want to set up your own server for it, you can buy specific TeamSpeak hosting from various service providers such as InstantTeamSpeak, TeamSpeakHost and GameServers which begin at around $3 monthly.

Ventrilo

ssmac300_1Ventrilo is another old-school application for gamers, launched about 8 years ago. Commonly referred to as Vent, it is known for its low latency and low cpu usage. Also, Ventrilo uses not one but several codecs such as Speex and GSM and you can customize what quality sound you want in and out, depending on your connection speed.

The server software for Ventrilo is cross platform, however, no Linux client is current available for the desktop.

Like TeamSpeak, Ventrilo is proprietary software. It provides two licenses. Public and Pro. The Public license is free, however, I can’t confirm if there’s a limit to the number of people that can connect to a server when it runs on a public license, but some sources say it’s 8 users.

Also, most people around it’s community say that acquiring a Pro license is very difficult, not because it has requirements such as a minimum 1000 slot count, which should continuously increase, but because Ventrilo is just not giving Pro licenses. So the only option left is setting up our own server with the Public version which is free, or buying hosting with a reseller that already has a license.

Popular resellers include GameServers, NationVoice and InstantVentrilo, the cost for which goes around $3 monthly.

Mumble

Mumble is the last of this list, and arguably my favorite of all. Point one: It’s open source. Point two: It’s free. Point three: No licensing cost. Point four: No limitation on number of users who can connect. Point five: Very low latency. greenshot_2010-10-09_01-33-51

Mumble uses the Speex codec and the audio quality sounded heaps better than Skype. Also, there is no echo, and Mumble does noise cancellation on the fly. The latency is so low, it’s almost telephone-like. It’s like you’re talking to someone in the same room as you.

Since there are no licensing cost and the application for both server and desktop is free as is, hosting Mumble on your own server won’t cost you anything in the form of licensing, even if you host for your entire school or college. However, the limitations come down to how powerful your server is. Similarly, if you plan to buy hosting for Mumble from a third-party, the cost of it will be considerably lower than the other two counterparts mentioned above, but you’ll be limited by the number of slots or connections. You can choose your hosting plan accordingly.

Another plus point for Mumble is that it can be used for podcasting and general interviews. The upcoming (currently in beta) version of Mumble’s server side app (it’s actually called Murmur the server app, but I prefer to keep it simple) will support recording. Although recording   has nothing to do with the server, it’s the desktop client’s capability, but the developers of Mumble are designing the record feature in such a way that whenever someone starts to record, all the participants of the talk are alerted. This needs the server’s connection. So podcasters, wait a few weeks until Mumble desktop/client 1.2.3 is   released, and then you’d have the option of selecting a competent alternative to Skype that gives better quality recordings!

Hosting your own Mumble presents no limits, however, third-party hosts such as MumbleSlots, VoipServers, GameServers and Sabrienix will limit your usage by slots, that is, they will limit how many people can talk at a time. For example, I got a 10 slot package from Mumbleslots. It usually costs $15 yearly. But they had this offer going on which gave me a flat 50% discount (the offer is still on). So in short, I got an account where 10 people can simultaneously voice chat, for $7 a year and the quality is badass! Literally. Nevertheless, I got it because I wanted the record feature. Native record feature for Interviews for the win!

If you’re interested in trying Mumble out, you can connect to my server and chat up with whoever is there (I may not be present at all times). Just install Mumble and then click this link: Connect to Keshav’s Mumble server Login using a username of your choice.

All these applications were inherently developed for gamers, however, these are just software and technology that you can use with anything you find it suitable for. For example, organizations can host these on their intranet and then everybody in the office building can talk in different channels or rooms for different departments. And yes, these applications support password protected channels, so nobody will be able to peek into the conversations of the HR department!

Happy talking.

Image Credit: jayraz

Buy/Pre-Order Microsoft Kinect For $149

Microsoft will be shipping their gaming accessory called Microsoft Kinect on November 2. Microsoft Kinect is a new XBox add-on which will bring motion sensor gaming to Microsoft’s gaming device.

Microsoft-Kinect

If you are keen to know more about Microsoft Kinect, read our earlier post about What Microsoft Kinect is, Details and more. However, if you have already and are looking to get your hands on the device,   you will have to wait until November 2nd. However, you can start pre-ordering the Kinect bundle for Xbox or also pre-order the Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle.

Amazon is selling both the standalone Kinect bundle and Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle on their site, you can use the links below to pre-order your choice of Microsoft Kinect.

Amazon is also selling several Kinect Games which are available for pre-orders on the site. You can also purchase or pre-order Microsoft Kinect from the Microsoft Store by visiting store.microsoft.com.

Download FIFA 11 Demo for PC

EA has come out with FIFA 11, the next version of the most popular football/soccer game available out there. The 1.2GB demo download is now officially available at the EA website.

FIFA 11 Demo

FIFA 11 has several new features including new personalization options for players and goalkeepers. In addition to that you can also customize the audience chanting and more. FIFA 11 has over 500 teams and 15,000 players.

FIFA 11 also bring in 360 ° dribble which provides users with more delicate dribbling control. You can watch the  demo video of the FIFA 2011 game from EA below. From the looks of it, it is pretty awesome.

Oh yes, if you loved the video, head over to this site to download the FIFA 11 demo for PC.

(h/t @weemundo)

New TellTale Game with the Heavy in Tow?

TellTale games are renowned for their episodic and funny games. By funny I mean can’t-stop-guffawing-jaws-bleedingkind of funny. They have released gems such as the Sam & Max series as well as Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. So what happens when they release a cryptic-message filled video that teases at a new game in the making?

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As you can see from the image above, it seems that the new game will have Tycho from the Penny Arcade Adventures series, Max from Sam & Max, the Heavy from Team Fortress 2 and Strong Bad from Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People.

These guys, in order:-

tycho

max

heavy

strongbad

While Tycho, Max and Strong Bad are TellTale Games’ staples, the inclusion of the Heavy from Valve’s team based shooter Team Fortress 2 adds to the general confusion around the gaming world. What could this Really Strange But Probably Hilarious Game be?

Here’s the trailer to the new game:-

Time-lapse Video Of Making Of A Video Game

Playing games is one of the most addicting things I have ever done, however, when we play games we do not really bother to know how those wonderful graphics were created or how the gameplay was done.

If you are curious to know what a programmer does to create a game, here is your chance. A game programmer called Markus Persson has uploaded a time-lapse video of him making a game named Metagun, which can be played here.

Though the game is definitely not a graphical delight, it is definitely worth to watch how much work and effort went into creating the game. Check it out in the embedded video below.

(h/t to our resident gaming expert @SathyaBhat)