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Valve Changes Portal's Ending

Steel yourself for another round of ...whatever it is that Valve's doing with Portal PC, as a second mystery update for the game just arrived via Steam. The only clue note:

# Added valuable asset retrieval

The first mystery update, released Monday, added various radio transmissions to the 2007 game--leading to Morse code, hidden images and even a secret Apeture Science BBS--all the while prompting speculation that a Portal 2 and/or Half-Life 2: Episode Three announcement is imminent.

Update: Gamers are reporting that the ending to the game has been changed.

PC: Most Used System for Online Gaming

Market research firm The NPD Group has revealed the highlights of its recent "Online Gaming 2010" research report, providing a glimpse of the overall online landscape.

Alongside a breakdown of per platform online gaming popularity, the company noted that "an average of 20 percent of all games purchased by online gamers were digitally downloaded - up from 19 percent in the 2009 study and 18 percent in the 2008 study."

Overall, the popularity of online gaming dipped across the past year (54% of those surveyed said they played games online, down from 56% in 2009) but those that did play onl

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 DLC Multiplayer Maps

"Having already revealed that those who buy a new copy of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will be rewarded with free additional content, publisher Electronic Arts and developer DICE have put out a trailer exploring the first two of those additions.

Valve Launches Beta For New Steam UI

http://store.steampowered.com/uiupdate/

A public beta for an all-new user interface for Steam, Valve's digital distribution program, is now available to all users through the beta opt-in setting inside of Steam. If you have Steam installed, click here to opt-in.

In the press release, John Cook, director of Steam development, released the following statement:

We made hundreds of changes to the Steam client as a result of customer feedback on the interface, performance, and functionality. For example, we swapped out the Internet Explorer rendering engine with WebKit, which gives us a bunch of size, stability and performance benefits. This release of Steam leaves us well prepared for another year of strong growth.

A full rundown of the new features in this beta can be found at the Steam website.

OnLive Running Smoothly in Demo at DICE

OnLive, the upcoming cloud-based games-on-demand service that will supposedly allow subscribers to stream and play high-end games on modest PC configurations, was demonstrated at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas today.

According to a report by Dean Takahashi on GamesBeat, OnLive founder Steve Perlman demonstrated the service at DICE with COO Mike McGarvey using a cable modem connection to show how the service handled some unnamed "high-speed shooting games," as well as Unreal Tournament and B

EA Server Shutdowns Announced

A dozen EA games are scheduled to lose online multiplayer support over March and April when their servers are shut down, the video games colossus has revealed, including The Godfather on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and Mercenaries 2 on PC.

EA states that the games on the hitlist "represent less than 0.3% of all peak online players across all EA titles"--no doubt seeking to avoid a repeat of the upset following the last round of shutdowns, which hit Madden NFL 09 and Facebreaker among others.

Alan Wake No Longer Coming to PC

With the Xbox 360 version of Remedy's Alan Wake now sporting a May 18 release date, publisher Microsoft has confirmed that the "pyschological action thriller" will not hit PC.

Alan Wake was originally announced for PC and "next generation consoles" back in 2005.

Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta Begins May3

The Halo: Reach multiplayer beta open to those that bought Halo 3: ODST will launch on May 3, Microsoft revealed today during its X10 celebration of all things Xbox.

Said beta will provide "the opportunity to drive the latest advancements in multiplayer gameplay," according to the company. Among those advancements is the addition of Call of Duty-style perks, with players unlocking new abilities as they gain experience.

"Halo: Reach beta will require a hard drive and Gold membership," noted Microsoft.

Series creator Bungie pulled a similar promotion with Halo 3--offering beta access to those who purchased Crackdown--with Reach, an Xbox 360-exclusive, due this fall.

LEGO Universe Beta Signups Open

Developer NetDevil has opened beta registration for LEGO Universe (PC), providing the opportunity to help test the block-buster MMO before it launches sometime this year.

While some signups are a rather detailed affair, this one is relatively simple--after signing in with a LEGO ID, one simply states if they have no, some, or much experience testing online games.

Just Cause 2 Demonstrates Propane High


Freedom's the magical word of the day in this Just Cause 2 trailer. Freedom to decide where you go. Freedom to choose your own tactics. Freedom to defy the laws of physics. Freedom to cause chaos. And, apparently, the freedom to get high on propane.

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