The early days of the new con­sole gen­er­a­tion are in dan­ger of be­ing de­fined not by graph­i­cal leaps or new ex­pe­ri­ences, but by mi­cro­trans­ac­tions 1 . The ef­fects of free-to-play con­ven­tions on full­priced games are ex­plored on p10, from the way they com­pro­mise game de­sign to the psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­so­nance they cre­ate. On p14, we crack open Valve’s Steam Ma­chines 2 and ex­plore the new Linux-based op­er­at­ing sys­tem pow­er­ing them. Far from just a PC un­der your TV, Steam Ma­chines rep­re­sent a whole new plat­form in the videogame space, and their dis­rupt­ing ef­fect will ei­ther de­fine 2014 or be an Ouya-sized dis­as­ter for Valve. To Ja­pan on p16, and to Play­ism 3 , the Ja­panese com­pany help­ing western­ers bring their games to Ja­pan, and Ja­pan’s indies send their games west. On p18, de­vel­oper Zoe Quinn dis­cusses the abuse she faced for plac­ing her game, De­pres­sion Quest 4 , on Steam Green­light, and her rea­sons for tack­ling misog­y­nists head-on. Mega Drive de­sign documents are ex­posed on p20, as Read Only Mem­ory’s Dar­ren Wall re­veals the fol­low-up to his Sen­si­ble Soft­ware art book, Mega Drive/Gen­e­sis: Col­lected Works 5 . Plat­inum’s Hideki Kamiya 6 ex­plains why he rarely makes sequels in Sound­bytes on p22, and fi­nally Chron­i­cle di­rec­tor Josh Trank 7 con­sid­ers why Forza 5 might be Skynet in dis­guise in My Favourite Game on p24.

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