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Steam's got 10 free games waiting to swallow up your weekend

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Steam's got 10 free games waiting to swallow up your weekend

If you are planning a weekend in, trapped in your home with nothing to do, only the glow of your PC monitor to keep you company, then Steam might have you covered. Covered in free games

From now until 1pm PST on Sunday, 10 games in Steam’s gargantuan library are completely free. If you want to play them afterwards, though, you’ll need to dip into your wallet.

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Payday: The Heist will be free on Steam for 24 hours this Thursday

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Payday: The Heist will be free on Steam for 24 hours this Thursday

If a heist takes you 24 hours, you’re doing it wrong. Bank-robbing’s best done in under 24 minutes - in and out before Bob Security’s looked up from his coffee.

Payday, however, is all about doing it wrong - setting off all the alarms and refilling the vaults with piled-high policemen. Overkill have made the game that made their name free for a day - so that you can spend all of Thursday night playing out the best 10 minutes of Heat.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update adds Music Kits to help "establish your identity"

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update adds Music Kits to help "establish your identity"

The latest update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has brought in an interesting addition: Music Kits. These digital MP3 players replace the ambient music in different parts of the game, from in the main menu all the way to planting the bomb. There’s nine unique kits available on the store today from a variety of artists and composers, all tailor made for CS:GO.

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Australian consumer rights regulator sues Valve over Steam refund policy

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Australian consumer rights regulator sues Valve over Steam refund policy

Valve’s refund policy is easily summarised: they don’t do ‘em. And while they have been known to reach into their own pockets to recompense, for instance, Earth: Year 2066 players, the blanket ban has often rubbed consumer watchdogs the wrong way - so that all their watchdoghair stands on end.

Enter the Australian Competition and Consumer Authority, who last week began proceedings in the country’s federal court against Valve. They allege that Valve have made “false or misleading representations" to their Australian customers.

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

Steam Curators now have to tell us if they were paid to recommend a game

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Steam Curators now have to tell us if they were paid to recommend a game

Steam Curators are part of Valve’s plan to help players sift through the gazillion PC games on their service - individuals or groups who’ll recommend games to appear on your front page.

The idea has already yielded results - allow me to surreptitiously slide a link to the PCGamesN Curator page across the desk between us - but early critics worried that the curation system was open to exploitation by unscrupulous developers. That a Curator’s critical judgement might be informed by, say, a crisp £50 note faxed through to their study.

Valve have wised up to that possibility, and now require Curators to disclose conflicts of interest in their recommendations.

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Crusader Kings 2 is free this weekend on Steam to celebrate 1 million copies sold

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Crusader Kings 2 is free this weekend on Steam to celebrate 1 million copies sold

If you had any plans this weekend, you can forget them: Paradox’s feudal strategy game, Crusader Kings II is free to play this weekend on Steam. I’m sure you’ve heard about the mad stories that come from this game - it oozes with anecdotal potential. If you’re still on the fence about Crusader Kings II, you should probably try it.

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It does what it says on the tin: Steam's big update is already helping indies get discovered

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It does what it says on the tin: Steam's big update is already helping indies get discovered

With the constant stream of new releases, Early Access games and Greenlight guff, it’s hard to get noticed on Steam. But for most developers, getting their game on the platform is key. While the Steam Discovery update is still in its infancy, and we’re all still playing around with it, getting our bearings, it’s already having a positive impact for some developers. 

Insurgency, based on the Half-Life mod, has been on Steam for a year, and developer New World Interactive relies on social media and word of mouth to generate interest in the game. According to creative director Andrew Spearin, store page visits have risen significantly, along with sales. 

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So PCGamesN are Steam Curators now - gizza follow for the best PC games of 2014

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So PCGamesN are Steam Curators now - gizza follow for the best PC games of 2014

We all logged into Steam yesterday to be met by its dramatic new Discovery Update. In an effort to push relevant PC games to the top, your front page is now personalised according to past purchases, and voluntary association with shadowy Steam Curators.

We had a look, and it turns out Valve define Curators as individuals / organisations / groups who publish views and recommendations in a public forum. And we thought, cor, that sounds like us. So that’s a thing we’re doing now.

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Steam front page gets personal with launch of new discovery features and Curators

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Steam front page gets personal with launch of new discovery features and Curators

UPDATE: PCGamesN is now a Steam Curator. Join us.

Last week, 15 new games were added to Steam. That’s more than you can hold in your head at once, let alone play - and beneath them are buried the 15 from the week before, and the 15 from the week before that.

“We know you can’t play them all," say Valve. “So we’ve updated Steam with new features and functionality to help you discover the best new releases, the classics, and the unique indie gems you might be interested in."

That all begins with the Steam home page. No longer a universal overview of what’s happening in PC games, the default tab now displays personalised recommendations based on what you’ve played and the opinions of your favourite Curators - self-appointed arbiters of what’s good in gaming.

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Steam active userbase doubles in two years to 100 million

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Steam active userbase doubles in two years to 100 million

It’s hard to imagine that somebody could collect 100 million anything and not win the grudging respect of enthusiasts everywhere.

Through persistence and patience, Steam has collated 100 million players - slowly at first, and then in a cascading rush - and gently pressed them into its charcoal book of PC games.

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Love Loadout? You can play the campaign beta on Steam for free

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Love Loadout? You can play the campaign beta on Steam for free

We loved it in our Loadout review, so we’re super excited to try out the new co-op campaign mode that’s just hit Steam. You’ll battle a menace known as the Kroad - vile aliens that pastimes include that of wiping out humanity and constructing robotic minions to do more of the same.

With a new progression system, new modes and revamped inventory management, there’s a boatload more to do in Loadout.

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Australians can download the uncensored Left 4 Dead 2 today via DLC

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Australians can download the uncensored Left 4 Dead 2 today via DLC

The time has finally come for our fellow Australians to enjoy Left 4 Dead 2 the way it was meant to be played. Following the 180 reclassification from the Australian Classification Board a couple of weeks ago, Left 4 Dead 2 is now classed as R18+ to suit its “high impact violence, blood and gore".

Now Valve have released a piece of DLC to the Australian Steam store to bring the game in line with everyone else in the apocalyptic world, and you can grab it right now.

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Crytek release Ryse: Son of Rome PC system requirements, again

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Crytek release Ryse: Son of Rome PC system requirements, again

Although it was good news that Ryse: Son of Rome was heading its way to PC, the system requirements detailed by Crytek on the Steam store page left a lot to be desired. Vague at best, the details resulted in a lot of people wondering if they could run the game at all, which Crytek have said will even support 4K resolutions.

Don’t worry though. Crytek have posted on the games Steam forums with much more detailed system requirements, so you can see how it’ll shape up to your PC.

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Dino Crisis: The Stomping Land removed from Steam

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Dino Crisis: The Stomping Land removed from Steam

When The Stomping Land was Kickstarted a year ago, its prehistoric survival pitch garnered enough goodwill to fund nearly six times its target. But that goodwill has since dissipated in Early Access. Initial plans for weekly updates gave way to radio silence, and eventually the news that the game was moving to a new engine.

Despite that recent reassurance, The Stomping Land has now been removed from sale.

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Valve's going up against an Australian watchdog in court over its refund policy

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Valve's going up against an Australian watchdog in court over its refund policy

Australia and video games don’t have the most ammicable of relationships. Actually, that’s probably a bit unfair. I mean, I doubt Ayers Rock has an issue with games, and I suspect that most people don’t consider them dangerous. But some people of influence do, which is why developers sometimes end up jumping through hoops so they can sell their games over there. 

Now an Australian consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has Valve in its sights. The group is suing Valve over its refund policy, which it claims breaks the country’s consumer laws.

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Not going to PAX Prime? There are bundles for that

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Not going to PAX Prime? There are bundles for that

If you can’t make it to PAX, which you will no doubt know is opening its doors tomorrow, then you might as well stay at home and play some games. To assist in this noble endeavour, two bundles have been released - one on Steam and the other on Humble Bundle - filled to the brim will indie treats. 

Hopefully, your weekend is looking less gloomy. 

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Sekai Project licenses Clannad visual novel for Steam release

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Sekai Project licenses Clannad visual novel for Steam release

At the Japan Expo USA 2014, Sekai Project and Key Visual-Arts announced that they will be localising the cult classic visual novel, Clannad, for western release. What’s more is that the visual novel will be releasing on Steam. The version being localised will be the “full voice edition" of the game, and a release date is still yet to be determined.

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