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Valve changes Steam's auto-update system to help relieve the pressure

 

Steam's concurrent player count keeps rising.

The coronavirus outbreak has, understandably, put considerable pressure on the online services we use to keep ourselves amused while we're stuck at home. NetflixYouTube, and Amazon have all made changes to their services to help keep the data flowing smoothly, and starting this week Valve will adjust Steam's auto-update feature to help better manage its bandwidth usage.

Steam already schedules updates for games that haven't been played recently for local off-peak hours, but those updates will be now spread out over several more days. 

"Only games played within the last 3 days will be updated immediately. As always, the game will begin updating immediately if you request to play it, and you can always initiate an update (or pause it indefinitely) through the Download Manager," Valve said. "We’re also looking into additional solutions to help on our side."

The update also makes notes of user-controllable options that can help cut back on data usage:

  • Schedule auto-update windows! This will ensure that Steam doesn’t start updating a game while you’re in the middle of your work day.
  • If you don’t play a game in your library often, you can keep it installed but choose to no longer download automatic updates.
  • You can self-throttle your own connection to Steam. This might ease the load on your network connection, and may help ease bandwidth loads if network traffic in your area needs to be reduced.
  • Take advantage of Library Folders settings, so you can move infrequently-played games from an SSD to a storage HDD. This is usually better for you (and your bandwidth) rather than uninstalling the game and needing to re-download it later.

It sounds like a relatively minor change, more akin to YouTube's standard-def video default than the across-the-board bandwidth cut imposed by Netflix in the EU. It could be an impactful change anyway, though, given Steam's skyrocketing player numbers: After being roadblocked at a little under 19 million concurrent players for a couple of years, it surpassed 20 million in mid-March, broke 22 million a week later, and peaked out at 23.5 million earlier today. It's hard to say where the ceiling is at this point, and so it's not surprising that Valve is doing what it can to relieve some of that pressure.

E3 2020 Canceled Due To Coronavirus Concerns

After sources suggested as much, the ESA has officially canceled this year's E3 due to the coronavirus.

E3 2020 has officially been canceled and will not take place this June as previously scheduled. The ESA, which is responsible for putting on the annual convention, shared the news today following several reports, including GameSpot's, that such an announcement was imminent. In its place, companies like Xbox and Ubisoft are already making plans to hold digital events, although details and dates are still sparse.

"After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry--our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners--we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles," the ESA said in a statement.

"Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today."

The ESA went on to say it would be in touch with both exhibitors and attendees regarding "full refunds." Additionally, it says it is "exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020." No further details have been shared on that front as of yet, but it did also confirm that plans for E3 2021 will move ahead "as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry."

XboxUbisoft, and Limited Run Games have confirmed plans to either explore or host their own digital events. Limited Run will still host a press conference on June 8 as previously scheduled, while Nintendo has responded but not confirmed any specific plans. We'll be rounding up companies' reactions to E3's cancelation and what they intend to do as more information is shared.

Original Story: E3 2020 will no longer go ahead, multiple sources have told GameSpot. Rumors swirled today that the consumer and trade show would soon be officially canceled amidst dwindling support from video game publishers and platform holders, as well as ongoing safety concerns due to coronavirus. Several sources have confirmed the news to GameSpot, but the ESA has still not officially announced the cancellation.

The first rumblings came from a tweet made by publisher Devolver Digital that encouraged people to cancel their E3 plans, flights, and accommodation. Since then, Ars Technica also published a report stating the cancellation is imminent. Speaking to GameSpot, multiple sources with knowledge on the matter have also indicated this to be the case.

This would mark the first time the annual event skipped a year. GameSpot has reached out to the ESA for an official statement.

This is the latest in a long line of major global events cancelled over concerns relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus). GDC 2020 was postponed, while other cancelled events include SXSW and Emerald City Comic Con. As of March 6, there were still plans to continue with E3 2020, but that has since changed.

Even before it became clear that the coronavirus was likely to lead to the event's cancellation, E3 2020 looked to be in bad shape. PlayStation was not planning on attending, Geoff Keighley had dropped out of hosting the E3 Colosseum, and iam8bit had stepped away from its creative director position.

Here are lists of every publisher that was attending E3 2020. The cancellation of E3 2020 will have a major impact on how these companies announce and market their games.

We'll continue to update with more details--including how announcements scheduled for E3 will be delivered--as they become available.

Epic Announces Weekly Free Games Will Continue Through 2020

Over 70 free games were given away last year.

Launched in December 2018, the Epic Games Store just wrapped up its first full year as a PC games website and launcher. To celebrate its first year in business, Epic promised it would give away a new free game every two weeks on its storefront, and about halfway through 2019, that turned into one or two free games every single week. While the program was meant to end in December, Epic announced on Tuesday it will continue its weekly free game program through 2020.

In case you're unfamiliar: Epic's free games are available to anyone with an Epic Store account (which is also free to create). After you add them to your library, they're yours to keep forever. Epic gives away one or two free games every week, with new games rotating in on Thursdays at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET. The quantity depends on a game's rating--if a game rated M or PEGI-18 is included, Epic will offer a second game that's more accessible to younger users.

Epic has given away 73 games since the program began in late 2018. It's been an impressive group of giveaways so far, including SubnauticaWhat Remains of Edith FinchThe WitnessAlan WakeCelesteSuperhot, and many more. Even if you've never bought a game from Epic, you could easily have dozens of free games in your library right now if you've been claiming the store's freebies over the past year. According to Epic, the games given away over the past year have totaled $1,455 in total value.

Sundered: Eldritch Edition, a chaotic Metroidvania, is the current free game on Epic. It's available to claim until Thursday, when it will be replaced by the next giveaway, platforming adventure Horace.

PC users turn to must-have Windows 10 upgrade as Windows 7 as end of life nears

MICROSOFT fans are turning their back on Windows 7 as the End Of Life (EOL) deadline approaches, with most opting to upgrade their PC to Windows 10 to get the latest security and feature updates.

Windows 7 End Of Life 1224189

Windows 7 users are turning their backs on the trusted desktop operating system as the deadline for support from Microsoft looms in a matter of weeks. For those who don’t know, Windows 7 end of life lands on January 14, 2020. After that date, PC owners running the desktop operating system will find themselves at an increased risk of being hit with malware.

That’s because Microsoft will no longer be actively rolling-out updates or patches for Windows 7. So, any glitches that are causing problems with your PC, incompatibility issues with other hardware in your home, or dangerous malware released by cybercriminals to steal your credit card details will not be fixed by the Redmond-based company. To ensure your machine is getting the latest security and software patches from Microsoft, you’ll need to be running an operating system that’s still supported by the company – namely, Windows 10.

 

Microsoft has been actively warning users about the perils of persisting with Windows 7 in the coming months. And it seems the warning is having an impact on PC owners.

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