Don't expect to see esports in the Olympic Games any time soon. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach believes the video games being played still promote violence and killing too much to be included.
James "2GD" Harding on Dota 2, Diabotical and drama.
Valve's Dota 2 doc humanises eSports stars, but only hints at the real story.
18th August 2018
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1st August 2011
Gabe Newell is the hallowed leader of one of gaming's most powerful companies, Valve, but we don't often see him. He's like some whispered-about deity at the top of a mystical tower.
Overnight, Valve accidentally launched Steam.tv - what looks like a take on Twitch - early. The company pulled the website offline shortly after, but not before people got a chance to play around with it.
Cnet went hands-on with Steam.tv in the hour or so that it was online, and said it was showing The International - the big Dota 2 tournament that's going on right now.
Accessible via Steam.tv is the new Steam Chat friends list and group chats, Cnet reports, and you're able to watch videos with friends. There's voice chat, too.
On 5th August, five expert Dota 2 players sat down to play against a team of bots created by non-profit research lab OpenAI. They lost decisively. Just a few days from now that same team of bots, perhaps with the benefit of a few more weeks of training, will appear on stage at the biggest tournament in Dota 2 - The International - and play against a team of the world's best professional players. Winning there that would be a huge victory, a milestone for both AI and the games industry, and after seeing the bots' performance earlier this month it seems like the most likely outcome. You might be forgiven for feeling like this was the end of an era for game AI as we know it.
Valve has changed the way Dota 2 works for Dutch players so they can see what's in a loot box before they buy it.
Valve has stepped up its anti-cheat measures and issued almost 95,000 bans in the last week alone.
Well, that was Amazon Prime Day 2018. The summer sales festivities are now over - if you managed to grab some bargains, good on you - but if not, fear not - Black Friday 2018 is just around the corner, like it or not. We've already got our guide to the best Black Friday gaming deals up and running, ready to update with all the latest deals and discounts as and when they arrive, so be sure to bookmark that one.
It seems the Netherlands' threat to prosecute video game companies over loot boxes has claimed its first victim: Valve.
The Netherlands has determined some loot boxes are gambling - and warned video game publishers to modify their loot boxes to remove "addiction-sensitive" elements before mid-June.
Capcom has submitted an Amaterasu Courier for use in Dota 2 - and it looks like it will be added to the game.
Was Valve once developing ideas for a four-player, co-operative fantasy adventure game? Artwork by former employee Drew Wolf suggests so.
Valve has introduced features to Dota 2 to make the game more welcoming to new players.
We have a new record for the biggest esports prize pool ever - and it's gone to the previous record holder Dota 2.
Dota 2 will soon feature a four-player, co-op campaign called Siltbreaker, with the first of two parts arriving later this month.
Dota 2 received a big matchmaking update yesterday, requiring players to register a phone number if they want to continue playing ranked games and finally, reintroducing the much-requested solo queue.
Happy New Year! Valve has revealed the top 100 best selling games on Steam in 2016. And given the size and dominance of Steam in the desktop gaming marketplace, the results are worth noting.
Five months ago, Gabe Newell, perhaps the most beloved video game developer on the planet, called James "2GD" Harding an ass on Reddit.
As part of today's HTC Vive launch, Valve has offered the briefest of looks at how Dota 2 fans will benefit from SteamVR, with a new spectator mode designed specifically for virtual reality.
This week Valve launched the Custom Game Pass system for its hugely popular MOBA, Dota 2.
Last year Valve introduced paid mods on Steam when Bethesda allowed its fanbase to sell Skyrim mods. That experiment was short-lived, but Valve is having another crack at it, this time handling things itself through one of its first-party games, Dota 2.
Valve has fired the host of its Dota2 tournament Shanghai Major after only a day and a half.
Dota 2 will receive a Fallout 4 crossover in the form of an Announcer Pack staring three-armed floating service bot Mr. Handy.
Purchasing Fallout 4 on Steam will give players access to the upcoming Announcer Pack, due mid-November.
Publisher Bethesda noted that this bonus is a "limited time offer," but no details are given regarding when it will expire.
Having completed its metamorphosis into Dota 2 Reborn, Valve's hit free-to-play MOBA has become the first game to run completely on the new Source 2 engine.
Dota 2's latest announcer pack brings Adult Swims' Rick and Morty on board as narrators for the popular MOBA.
Priced at Ł5.35 / $7.99 on Dota 2's official site, we get to hear surly scientist Rick and his terrified grandson Morty frantically comment on everything that's happening. Clearly there is a universe where Dota is real and the pair have jobs as commentators, so it all makes sense, you see?
The new add-on contains 47 minutes of audio. If you want to spoil it for yourself, YouTuber Waylaid Wanderer has uploaded a recording of the whole thing.
We're used to mainstream media not quite getting eSports. Most reports revolve around the "OMG people get paid to do this?!" angle and the inevitable "this isn't a real sport" quip.
Valve's ongoing Dota 2 tournament threw up a surprise last night: a 20-player match.
Dota 2's International Championship will contain an $18,004,354 prize pool.
Valve will send actual The International trophies to some of the most hardcore Dota 2 Compendium players.
Former Valve economist Yanis Varoufakis has quit as Greek finance minister just six months after taking the job.
The beta for Dota 2's huge Reborn update is out now and available for everyone to download and play.
Valve's upcoming Dota 2 world championship tournament has the biggest eSports prize pool of all time.
In August gargantuan Dota 2 tournament The International once again kicks into gear, and so this year's Compendium has launched.
Valve just released a huge update to its phenomenally popular multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2, and while players are still digging into the details and discussing their impact, the community has discovered a clear nod to author Terry Pratchett.
Dota 2 now has a new endgame item called the Octarine Core, formed from Mystic Staff and Soul Booster. According to the patch notes, it provides an impressive boost to Intelligence, HP, Mana, HP regeneration and Mana regeneration, and includes a passive reduction of 25 per cent on all cooldowns, as well as a passive Spell Lifesteal. It's pretty powerful for all mage type heroes.
Discworld fans will know octarine as the colour of magic in Pratchett's fantasy universe. The Colour of Magic is the name of the first Discworld novel, released in 1983. Here's a quote from it:
An intrepid modder has turned MOBA Dota 2 into a third-person shooter.
Goat Simulator developer Coffee Stain Studios is trying to add its leading mammal to Dota 2 via Steam Workshop.
The economist who worked at Valve is now the new finance minister of Greece.
Valve has updated Steam Trading to include Captcha in a bid to prevent unauthorised trades.
An intrepid Dota 2 tinkerer has reimagined the game's shopkeeper as Valve boss Gabe Newell himself.
Hardware manufacturer Razer is following in Valve's footstep by producing a documentary about eSports.
Just as Valve made the free-to-watch Dota documentary Free to Play (which our editor Oli Welsh reviewed), Razer is going to follow the trials and tribulations of eSports competitors.
Dubbed Team Razer: Great Games, the documentary will be a three-part series, with each episode focusing on a different game's origin in eSports and its top players.
Game developers would most like to work for Valve, a new survey has found.
The boss of Twitch has moved to calm concern over recent changes to the video game streaming website.
Overnight Valve released the Dota 2 Workshop tools, and some people reckon in doing so the company soft-launched the long-awaited Source 2 game engine.
"Everything in this package is a new game," wrote RoyAwesome on the Dota 2 subReddit.
"It's all the Dota assets and code ported over to Source 2. That's why Hammer is different. That's why the console is different."
Valve has announced the alpha release of Dota 2 Workshop Tools - and modders are already impressed.
Game broadcasting platform Twitch has announced major changes to the way it works ahead of a rumoured $1bn Google buyout.
The largest pot of prize money in eSports history has gone to Chinese Dota 2 team Newbee, which has won The International competition and $5,028,174.
The International Dota 2 tournament is down to the final eight teams who will each battle this weekend for an eye-watering $5m first prize.
If you found Dota 2's competitive team-based dynamics too intimidating and pined for something simpler like a racing game, then you're in luck. Modder and Redditer "bmddota" has customised the popular strategy game to resemble an isometric variant of Mario Kart.
New to the overwhelming world of Dota but fancy watching the upcoming Dota 2 tournament The International? Valve's got your back.
It's launching a new Newcomers' Broadcast, one of three new broadcasts planned for The International, to help people understand the massively popular multiplayer online battle arena game better.
"New to Dota? Or maybe you play Dota but have never gotten interested in the professional side of the game. Welcome to the Newcomers' Broadcast, an English stream happening alongside the main stream, featuring commentary aimed at easing people into understanding the exciting world of BKBs, tri-lanes, and counter-picks," reads the official description.
Sales of the Compendium virtual booklet have boosted the Dota 2 International tournament prize pool over the $10m mark.
The Compendium costs Ł5.99 / $9.99 and lets players of Valve's hugely popular MOBA keep up to date on this year's tournament.
But there's a lot more to it than that. By playing Dota 2 you level up your Compendium, earn rewards for use in the game and collect player cards. In truth the Compendium is a game in of itself.
Valve showed off its virtual reality headset recently at a get-together in Boston and attendees took a few pictures and wrote about how it's shaping up.
The Stanley Parable's lovely, sarcastic narrator is now available to purchase for use in Dota 2.
The most popular games on dominant PC download platform Steam are Valve's, with Dota 2 revelling in an estimated 25.9 million owners, and Team Fortress 2 an estimated 20.3 million owners.
Earlier this year I wrote about a Gran Turismo film produced by Sony, and now we have a movie about the competitive gaming phenomenon Dota 2 made and distributed by its creator, Valve. This is typical of the self-sufficient Seattle outfit, which always prefers to do things its own way; this is the studio that built its own digital distribution network rather than trust anyone else to do it, after all. But it's also part of a wider trend. There's quite a lot of documentary film being made about gaming at the moment, but a troubling amount of it is commissioned and bankrolled by games companies themselves, or by the gaming community on Kickstarter. Most of the projects are well-meaning and made with love, but they can't help but carry an agenda. They come not to examine gaming, but to praise it. As entertaining as these films can be, by default, they aren't real journalism.
In the case of Free to Play, Valve's agenda does at least extend beyond making its game look good (although animated scenes and specially reconstructed game footage make the matches far more attractive and exciting to watch than Dota 2 ever could be, to an uninitiate at least). The film profiles three top Dota players - the Ukrainian Danil "Dendi" Ishutin, the American Clinton "Fear" Loomis and Benedict "hyhy" Lim from Singapore - and follows them through the International tournament Valve hosted in Cologne in 2011. In doing so, it seeks to humanise the players and legitimise the world of eSports, which despite its massive popularity remains an insular and impenetrable demi-monde outside its east Asian heartlands - and which is still dogged by stories of corruption and exploitation.
As far as turning the players into human heroes goes, Free to Play is a big success. The three young men are awkward, charming and vulnerable, and the film fleshes them out with clear-eyed empathy and just the right amount of sentiment. It turns the image of the professional gamer from that of a taciturn, spotty, sporadically aggressive teen into something a lot less alienating to those outside the scene. For Ishutin, gaming is a refuge after a personal tragedy, a private place to rebuild something he's lost. Lim pines for an estranged ex-girlfriend, another Dota player, whom he hopes to win back with success in the tournament, as well as lifting the burden of his family's disappointment in him. Loomis is a classic underdog - "the Rocky Balboa of Dota", according to a friend - playing far from his European team-mates in rural Oregon, his old CRT monitor propped up on books on a desk he salvaged from scrap.
Valve has announced this year's The International Dota 2 tournament.
It will be held on 18th July at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. Tickets go on sale this Friday, 4th April at 3pm Pacific time - that's 11pm in the UK. Four-day tickets cost $99 for general admission, $199 for floor seating and $499 for VIP level.
Can't make it to Seattle? Fear not. The International will be broadcast worldwide free of charge, with commentary in multiple languages.
Valve boss Gabe Newell has concluded his Reddit AMA (conducted to support the fundraising effort Valve is doing for the Seattle Children's Hospital), and in the process has offered a few snippets of information on what the company is up to.
Valve's Dota 2 documentary Free To Play will be released on 19th March for free via Steam.
Sign-ups are no longer required for Dota 2 and the queueing system has been removed.
The best item in Dota 2 is the Force Staff.
Valve will demonstrate its own Virtual Reality hardware early next year, it's announced.
Valve's popular MOBA Dota 2 will be getting The Stanley Parable's narrator as DLC.
Valve has revealed the hotly-anticipated Diretide update for multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2, set to be rolled out from today.
Highlights include the addition of two new heroes, an in-game coaching system, crafting and socketing systems, and the new showcase camera view.
The two new heroes are Earth Spirit and Ember Spirit, both cousins of Storm Spirit.
Someone has bought an in-game Dota 2 item for an eye-watering $38,000.
Alliance have won the Dota 2 world Championship in Seattle, Washington.
Dota 2 is out now on Mac and Linux, Valve has announced.
It's the summer of 2010. Typing to a backdrop of Chatroulette and Chilean Miners, it becomes clear that none of us in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun staff chatroom, where I worked at the time, know how to react to the news that Valve, a company famous for giving gamers what they want before they know they want it, is making the sequel to Defense of the Ancients.
Today, Valve's characteristic accuracy is intact. Dota 2's beta is the most popular game on Steam, boasting a peak of 329,977 simultaneous players. This falls far short of League of Legends, Dota 2's biggest competitor, which was able to boast five million concurrent players earlier in the year, but this month the real race starts. Valve is rolling out access to Dota 2 in successive waves, and while Dota 2 is arriving late, it's doing so with an inarguably more generous free-to-play business model, which only charges for cosmetic upgrades.
Yet for the growing shadow that Dota 2 casts, it remains intimidating, or even bizarre to all of us looking in. Which isn't unfair. Dota 2 is bizarre. It's a game where a cockney porcupine can work together with a god of destruction and a ghost to try to temporarily kill a particularly high-level tree.
Dota 2 has launched properly after two years of beta, Valve has announced.
The company is adding players in waves to maximise game performance. The Starter Packs and Access Passes have been discontinued.
Dota 2 is Valve's free-to-play follow up to the Defense of the Ancients mod for Blizzard's Warcraft 3 real-time strategy game. It is phenomenally popular, and enjoys a monthly user base of more than three million - the largest in Steam's history. Peak concurrent users are over 300,000.
You can now link your Steam account to Twitch and receive item drops as you watch tournaments.
Dota 2 developer Valve has detailed how its new communication ban system is turning its online multiplayer battler into a friendlier place.
You can now add to the already gargantuan amount of money up for grabs at the Dota 2 International tournament by buying a "living" virtual book.
Valve has announced the third DOTA 2: The International championships.
The event runs for five days starting 7th August at the Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle.
The first team invited to The International are Chinese collective Invictus Gaming, who return as champions of last year's event. 12 more teams will be announced over the coming days.
With the emergence of hit video game streaming websites such as Twitch.tv and in-client tournament viewers, eSports is booming. But while hundreds of thousands visit packed venues and millions tune in online to watch their favourite professional StarCraft, League of Legends and Dota players and teams battle it out, eSports is yet to hit the mainstream in the west as it has done in South Korea. Some believe it can. Some believe it can't. Some believe it shouldn't even try.
The Christmas sale on mothership Steam has begun.
League of Legends is bigger.
How do you get a job in the game industry? According to Valve, all you have to do is give yourself one.
DotA 2 now has a spectator client available for Steam users, Valve has announced.
Dota 2 developer Valve will chronicle the journey of several hopeful eSports stars in a new documentary.
Valve has warned Dota 2 players after 25,000 users obtained a community-designed axe that was discovered to have broken intellectual property law.
Last week our Dota 2 noob superteam took on actual humans for the first time. They got taken apart like a bad sandwich, and vowed to get their revenge. Here's what happened next.
The employee handbook that hit the internet earlier this year pulled the curtain back on Valve, suggesting staff float about the company's Seattle offices working at desks made of gold and sitting on chairs made of clouds.
Welcome back! When we left off, our Dota 2 noob superteam was about to have its first game against real humans.
Valve has explained how it's able to make decisions despite being "bossless".
This started in a pub. Of course it did. I remember agreeing to something about Dota 2 between a fourth and fifth pint of foamy lager.
Valve will this week add high end competitive play support to its action RTS Dota 2.
Hello everyone! As you've probably noticed from the massive banner on the homepage and bombardment of announcements lately, we're doing a new event in Brighton next month on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July called Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show.
Obviously we already do the mighty Eurogamer Expo each year, but Rezzed is a new adventure for us and we really want to thank those of you who have supported it. With that in mind, we've teamed up with our friends at Valve to give out a free Dota 2 beta key to every single person who buys a ticket.
Yep, Dota 2 keys will be distributed to everyone who comes to Rezzed. When you check in on the day, our entry system will make a note and you'll be sent a key a few days after the show. If you've bought multiple tickets for friends and relatives, then you'll receive one key for every ticket, which will be handy since Dota 2 is best played with friends.
Dota 2, the eagerly anticipated action strategy game from original developer IceFrog, has been confirmed as a free to play game - though Valve insists that it won't be pay-to-win.
An official Dota Store has launched ahead of the game's release later this year, and offers items crafted by both the developers and by the community. Those in the beta can use it to purchase items, which can then be carried into the release proper - and it's possible to muscle in on the game now by buying the Early Access Bundle.
"With support for the Steam Workshop, the majority of the items made available on day one were created and being sold by members of the community," said IceFrog. "By making the game free to play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how - and how much - they want to invest in the game."
Valve has launched Steam remote downloads.
The feature, which was in beta, enables Steam users to manage their library of games remotely via the internet. If you leave Steam running on your PC or Mac, you can log into the Steam website or mobile access and download pre-loads, new releases and latest purchases, as soon as they're available. When you're home, your new downloads will be installed and ready to play.
You can do this from the Games list on the Steam Community site, which you can access from a web browser or the Steam mobile app. The Games list will reflect the installation state of your library on that machine. Find your game and hit install to trigger remote download.
Blizzard and Valve have settled their disagreement over use of the DOTA name.
Goodbye Kölsch and hello coffee - Valve's moving The International Dota 2 Championships from Cologne, Germany to Seattle, USA.
That's right on Valve's doorstep, which makes sense.
The International debuted last August at huge German gaming expo Gamescom, and offered a glitzy $1 million grand prize.
The Valve Handbook for New Employees has hit the internet.
Forthcoming strategy sequel DOTA 2 will be free to play, but "with a twist", according to Valve boss Gabe Newell.
Upcoming Valve games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will support the Razer Hydra PC motion controller.
Valve has confirmed the inclusion of a LAN mode in Dota 2.
The move is sure to please those who enjoy LAN parties, but will delight the hundreds of thousands of Dota players in China, where the many Defense of the Ancients games are most popular.
"Dota 2 will have LAN mode," project boss Erik Johnson told JoinDOTA.com.
Indirect DOTA co-creator Blizzard has legally opposed the Dota trademark Valve is trying to register for new game Dota 2.
Tom's already offered you a rundown of this year's Actual New Games - the ones that are offering, in their own ways, something unique - and now here's the slightly less glamorous look at the other side of the coin.
They're big business, these blockbuster sequels, and for all that we lament the lack of innovation it's these big-budget series that inevitably garner the most attention and inspire the most devotion from the majority. That's nothing to be scorned - iteration's an important thing in games development and indeed the development of games - and a composite of evolved features designed to fulfil a particular desire, be that the needs of a sports fan or those wanting a fresh shooter fix, can be just as important to the progression of the medium as the advent of a new game mechanic or control concept.
Sequels take many forms and capture our attention for many reasons. Some build their features up year by year, like FIFA and Call of Duty, and will continue to be brilliant when we encounter them later in 2012. Others build on the storytelling or world-building of games a few years past, like Gearbox's brilliant-looking Borderlands 2 or the sure-to-be-spectacular finale to the Shepard's tale in Mass Effect 3. And some are interesting because of their circumstances - Halo 4, for example, is another big-budget sequel on the near horizon, and with a new and as-yet unproven developer filling Bungie's big boots, we're just interested in that out of morbid curiosity as devotion to the series.
I must be going soft, or I must be getting old. Perhaps both. Maybe I've become pulpy and aged, like an over-ripe fruit that's due for the bin, because the Dota 2 beta is punishing me.
It may well be that I've spent far too long amongst the warm comforts of its accommodating and enormously successful peer League of Legends, with that game's gentle tutorials, helpful replays and precisely-tuned player matchmaking. Side by side, a game of LoL now seems like a finely-honed fencing match where opponents parry and riposte, while Dota 2 is an unforgiving broadsword duel in which one false move spells disfigurement or even death.
What's more, while opposing LoL players may give knowing winks as they feint and strike, more than a few Dota 2 players practically spit in each other's faces. Like the original Dota, Valve's Source Engine update has no sense of sympathy. That's not what you play it for. Nor is it what you expect from the remake of a game whose beginner's guide is simply titled "Welcome to Dota. You suck." Highlights include a section on "DISGUSTINGLY COMMON NOOB ITEM MISTAKES," you disgusting new person, you.
Invites to test Valve game Dota 2 will be sent in "increasing volumes" this week.
In a Eurogamer interview at BlizzCon, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime has reiterated the company's opinion that Valve should not trademark the term DOTA.
Valve has revised its plan for the launch of Dota 2 to get it out sooner to fans.
Code possibly belonging to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has been spotted in the leaked beta client for Dota 2.
Gabe Newell sits proudly inside Valve's Gamescom booth knowing his company's latest game, Dota 2, has a fantastic chance of being a huge hit. Outside, hundreds are watching it being played live in a tournament with a huge $1 million grand prize. Online, thousands are poring over every detail. Things are going well.
Ukraine professional eSports team Na'Vi has been crowned the champion of the first Dota 2 tournament, pocketing a whopping $1 million.
Blizzard has vowed not to let Valve's trademark of the name Dota hold up the launch of its own DOTA mod for StarCraft 2.
Blizzard has completely rebooted its StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard DOTA.
"Being honest, I don't know how DOTA got as big as it did, given how hard it is to sit down and play it with your friends," says Erik Johnson, the man charged by Valve boss Gabe Newell with the task of heading up the Dota 2 project.
Fantasy strategy game Dota 2 won't ship until 2012, Valve boss Gabe Newell has revealed.
Blizzard is aiming to release its StarCraft 2 DOTA mod at around the same time as Heart of the Swarm, the developer has revealed.
Speaking at a press conference at Gamescom earlier today, senior game designer Jonny Ebbert said that Blizzard DOTA will be out "near the launch" of the next chapter in the StarCraft 2 saga.
Heart of the Swarm is still without a firm date, though earlier this year a 2011 launch was deemed unlikely.
Sign-up for RTS sequel DOTA 2's open beta has commenced.
Though Valve hasn't confirmed when the test will begin, it's inviting fans to register their interest now through the game's official site.
The follow-up to the beloved 2003 Warcraft III mod makes its first public appearance at Gamescom in Germany this week, with a $1 million tournament featuring 16 of the world's best DOTA teams.
Valve will finally lift the lid on keenly anticipated RTS sequel DOTA 2 during a tournament at Gamescom later this month, with the game due on shelves before the year is out.
As detailed on Steam, the contest, dubbed The International, will see 16 of the best DOTA teams in the world compete for a whopping $1 million first prize during the five-day trade show in Cologne, Gemany.
That's presumably when we'll get our first official look at the sequel to the hugely popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients.
Valve's latest update for digital distribution service Steam notes that "soon, DOTA 2 will be delivered using it".
Evidence is building that Portal 2 maker Valve will unveil DOTA 2, the sequel to the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients, at German show gamescom next month.
Valve is making a free-to-play game, according to a new report.
After a no-show at E3 last week, Portal 2 maker Valve has confirmed it will present at August's show gamescom.
DOTA creator Abdul Ismail (better known as IceFrog) has assured the Defence of the Ancients community that Valve's new sequel won't override and replace the original.
Valve has announced that it's working on a sequel to the hugely popular online RTS title, Defence of the Ancients.