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  1. Steam Client March 23 update Valve released a new stable Steam Client update for all supported platforms, including SteamOS, GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows, fixing some nasty issues, but also implementing various improvements. For all platforms, the Steam Client March 23 update addresses a bug that prevented non-Steam game shortcuts from being saved during restarts of the desktop client, as well as a bunch of rare hangs and crashes that users reported after updating to the major Steam Client March 9 release. The star of this new Steam Client update is the In-Home Streaming feature, with received support for hotplugging headphones on the streaming client computer, along with support for the third-party VB-CABLE virtual audio driver to provide users with better 5.1 surround streaming. The Valve developers also managed to reduce the delay and stutter that sometimes occurred when streaming games from a computer equipped with a Gigabit network interface to a PC with a 100Mbit interface. They also fixed a possible frame stutter that took place when attempting to capture video from the host computer. Multiple Xbox controllers now register their input Other than that, it looks like the limiting the video frame rate was improved as well for the In-Home Streaming feature, especially when using the Steam Link device for remote input or to stream audio. The Steam Client March 23 update also fixes a bug to make it possible for multiple Xbox controllers to register their input. This update will be applied automatically the next time you restart your Steam Client, but you can also install it manually on your operating system by going to the Steam menu and selecting the "Check for Steam Client Updates" entry. We always recommend our readers to update their Steam Client regularly for the best gaming experience. Source
  2. Civilization VI Launches for Linux & SteamOS, AMD GPUs Not Officially Supported Users can install the game right now from Steam If you already bought the game and you've been waiting to play it on your Linux box, read no more and fire up Steam right now to install the game. Done? Good, and now we'd like to inform you about the system requirements. According to Aspyr Media, who ported the game to Linux/SteamOS in quite a remarkable time frame, you'll need a PC powered by an Intel Core i3 530 or AMD A8-3870 CPU running at 2.93 GHz or higher, with 6 GB RAM and 15GB free disk space. Of course, the Linux operating system of choice is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) or SteamOS 2.0, and it is recommended to have a Nvidia GeForce 650 or better graphics card with 1 GB VRAM or more. Unfortunately, ATI/AMD Radeon and Intel graphics cards are not officially supported, but Aspyr Media said on Twitter that the game is playable on these GPUs, though users might experience some issues with either AMDGPU-PRO or Mesa graphics drivers. "If you don't meet the above system requirements, that does NOT mean you wont be able to run Civilization VI. If we know anything about the Linux community, its that you all find a way to make something work on your specific distro and comparable hardware sets," said the developers. At the moment, the company has no idea when or if AMD Radeon GPUs will be officially supported for playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, but fingers cross, and don't hesitate to install the Mesa 17 drivers from the Padoka or Oibaf PPA for the best gaming experience. The "Best Strategy Game" is now available on Linux Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the latest installment to the Civilization franchise, developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. In 2016 it won the "Best Strategy Game" award during The Game Awards annual awards ceremony. We invite you to watch the official launch trailer below, and if the game finished downloading, we'll leave you to enjoy every single minute of it, because, after all, it's the best strategy game we've ever played. Have fun! Source
  3. Steam Controller Works Again with Older Udev Rules in Latest Steam Client Beta Upgrade your rules to allow Steam to access /dev/hidraw* The fact of the matter is that there's only once change in today's Steam Client Beta release for the day of December 9, 2016, and it makes the Steam Controller device work again with the older udev rules. To support future functionalities of the Steam Controller, which Valve is known to implement all the time to make it the best gaming controller for Steam users, the company recommends upgrading the rules to allow Steam to access /dev/hidraw*. "The Steam Controller works again with the older udev rules - upgrading your rules to allow Steam access to /dev/hidraw* is recommended for future feature support: http://steamcommunity.com/app/353370/discussions/0/490123197956024380/," reads the announcement. In-Home Streaming now supports NvFBC with the latest Nvidia video driver As mentioned before, this is the fourth Steam Client Beta update released this week, and the other three brought some interesting features as well, such as support for the NvFBC capture method with the latest Nvidia graphics driver to the In-Home Streaming feature in the Steam Client Beta update for December 7. SteamVR received attention as well in the December 7 Steam Client Beta update, improving the navigation when using the Steam dashboard with the Oculus Touch controller, and it looks like the December 8 Steam Client Beta update fixed a hang at startup if a controller is connected. Lastly, the Steam Client Beta update for December 5, 2016, improved the Web control functionality to fix a SSL loading failure, addressed various XAudio2 games that failed to create audio devices when launched, and fixed Camera Popping when attempting to mode shift the Camera input on games that are natively supported. Source
  4. Sales of under 500,000 machines so far show an utter lack of market demand. The top of the Alienware Steam Machine is a bit reminiscent of an armored turtle. It's been about seven months now since Valve officially got into the hardware business with its Steam Machines, a line of Linux-powered gaming console/PC hybrids paired with a unique dual touchpad Steam Controller. Today, we're getting our first concrete glimpse of the impact that hardware has had on the wider market for gaming machines—and the numbers don't look too good for Valve. As part of an update on new Steam Controller functions, Valve announced that it has sold over 500,000 Steam Controllers since the early November launch. A Valve representative confirmed to Ars that this number includes the controllers that are packaged with every branded Steam Machine sold through Valve's hardware partners. Put it together, and you find that there have been less than half a million Steam Machines sold over a span of more than half a year. The real number could potentially be much lower when you consider curious Windows gamers who bought a Steam Controller and SteamOS players who bought additional controllers. While the 500,000 number doesn't necessarily include people who decided to download and install SteamOS on their own PCs (or all sales of Valve's $50 Steam Link streaming box), it probably serves as a good ceiling for the wider SteamOS market at this point. Half a million might not sound like a bad sales number for a brand new hardware platform, but it starts to look pretty tepid in the context of the wider gaming market. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sold over a million consoles in their first day on the market in 2013. After just over seven months on store shelves, Microsoft was up to about 5.5 million Xbox One sales and the PS4 had racked up 10.2 million worldwide sales. That's what a successful gaming hardware launch looks like these days. Steam Machine sales don't look any better when compared to the world of PC gaming. Estimates from John Peddie Research suggest that, in 2015, the worldwide market for new "Enthusiast" and "Performance" PC gaming hardware comprised about $18.3 billion. Even if we're extremely generous and assume SteamOS customers averaged a healthy $1,500 spent per Steam Machine (note the hardware goes for under $500 at the low end), that amounts to just $750 million in sales or about four percent of the annual market (a slightly larger share if you amortize over seven months of availability). That's something, but it's not the kind of performance that's going to make a dent in the Windows gaming monolith. It's also not the kind of revenue that's likely to get PC hardware makers excited about continuing to support the Steam Machine effort in the long term. Steam Machines' lack of traction in the marketplace isn't all that surprising. Even years before its launch, the idea looked a bit like a solution in search of a problem, predicated on the belief that Microsoft would start exercising monolithic control of the Windows software marketplace any day now. While SteamOS did a lot to help make the idea of Linux gaming more mainstream, the platform was hurt by a complete lack of system-selling exclusives, a dearth of support from most big-name publishers, and poor technical performance when compared to Windows games on the same hardware. Maybe the entire PC gaming market will suddenly and surprisingly sour on Windows in the near future. Maybe some out-of-nowhere killer app will launch first on SteamOS and lead to a run on Steam Machine hardware. Right now, though, it seems more likely that Valve's first big hardware push will continue to languish in relative market obscurity. Soon, it may end up relegated to the dustbin of gaming business history. The Source
  5. For years, game support on Linux has seriously lagged behind Windows, to the point that the OS was basically a non-option for anyone who wanted to game on a PC. In recent years, that’s begun to change, thanks to increased support for the OS via Valve and SteamOS. From the beginning, Valve claimed that it was possible to boost OpenGL performance over D3D in Windows, and it’s recently put a hefty push behind Vulkan, the Mantle-based API that’s a successor to OpenGL. Two new stories took OpenGL out for a spin compared with Windows 10, on a mixture of Intel and Nvidia hardware. Ars Technica dusted off their Steam machine for a comparison in the most recent version of SteamOS, while Phoronix compared the performance of Intel’s Skylake Core i5-6600K with HD Graphics 530. The results, unfortunately, point in the same direction: SteamOS and Ubuntu simply can’t keep up with Windows 10 in most modern titles. Ars tested multiple titles, but we’ve included the Source-based results here, because these are the games that the industry titan has direct control over. In theory, Valve’s own games should show the clearest signs of any OGL advantage, if one existed. Obviously, it doesn’t — L4D2 shows similar performance on both platforms, but TF2, Portal, and DOTA 2 are all clear advantages for Windows 10. That doesn’t mean Linux gaming hasn’t come a long way in a relatively short period of time. All of these titles return playable frame rates, even at 2560×1600. There’s a huge difference between “Windows 10 is faster than Linux,” and “We can’t compare Linux and Windows 10 because Linux and gaming are a contradiction in terms.” It’s also possible that Valve is throwing most of its weight behind Vulkan and that future games that use that API will be on a much stronger footing against Windows in DX12 titles. The penguinistas at Phoronix also took Windows and Ubuntu out for a spin with Intel’s HD Graphics 530 and a Skylake processor. Again, the results are anything but pretty for Team Penguin — while some titles, like OpenArena, ran nearly identically, most 3D applications showed a significant gain for Windows 10. Again, driver support is a major issue; Intel’s Linux drivers remain limited to OpenGL 3.3, though OpenGL 4.2 support is theoretically forthcoming by the end of the year. Under Windows, OGL 4.4 is supported, which gives that OS a decided advantage in these types of comparisons. A complex situation There are two, equally valid ways of looking at this situation. First, there’s the fact that if you want to game, first-and-foremost, Windows remains a superior OS to Mac or Linux, period, full-stop. There is no Linux distribution or version of Mac OS X that can match the capabilities of Windows for PC gaming across the entire spectrum of titles, devices, and hardware — especially if you care about compatibility with older games, which can be persnickety in the best of times. That conclusion, however, ignores the tremendous progress that we’ve seen in Linux gaming over a relatively short period of time. There are now more than a thousand titles available for Linux via Steam. If you’re primarily a Linux user, you’ve got options that never existed before — and as someone who hates dual-booting between operating systems and refuses to do so save when necessary for articles, I feel the pain of anyone who prefers to game in their own native OS rather than switching back and forth. Furthermore, it’s probably not realistic to expect Valve to close the gap between Windows and Linux gaming. Not only does that assume that Valve can magically control the entire driver stack (and it obviously can’t), it also assumes that Valve does anything within a 1-2 year time frame (it doesn’t). The launch of Vulkan means that Linux users will get feature-parity and very similar capabilities to DX12 gamers on Windows, but Nvidia, AMD, and Intel will need to provide appropriate driver support to enable it. Hopefully, since Vulkan is based on Mantle, AMD will be able to offer support in short order. In short, it’s not surprising to see that Windows still has a strategic and structural advantage over Linux, and we shouldn’t let that fact obscure the tremendous progress we’ve seen in just a handful of years. extremetech.com
  6. We're still some ways off from Steam Machines getting into the hands of consumers, but if you're one of the brave few to get in on the SteamOS beta, the latest update gives the operating system a bit more flexibility. With the update, the OS now allows for "dual-boot and custom partitioning," so that you can install Windows and SteamOS on your machine. While the beta only impacts a small number of users right now, for those who were turned off by the limited nature of SteamOS it's a good sign. Of course, as with the initial beta release, the update should only be installed by those willing to take a risk. "There has been very little testing on this, especially any kind of dual-boot setup," writes Valve engineer John Vert. "So don't install it on any machine you are not prepared to lose." Source