Choosing a VoIP PBX for business phone system: why FreePBX?

Choosing a VoIP PBX for business phone system: why FreePBX?

In the last set of videos I went over how to set up your voice over IP services provider how to configure everything and why it is I chose the voice over IP services provider that I did I chose voice pulse now that’s set up but now we have to have a PBX at our business so that I can actually make outbound calls to the real world now I chose to go with PBX that was hosted at the business the reason is because as I said in other videos you get increased flexibility you get overall you’re gonna spend less money because you’re the person who chooses whether you’re gonna pay by the extension or not again you can have ten thousand phones at that PBX so you can have one you’re gonna pay the same amount of money to your service provider you’re only gonna pay by the minute and you get access to a lot of features without kind of getting nickeled and dimed at each one so I thought I would show you how to set up your own.

PBX the reason I also lean towards that for this setup is because if I’m gonna do a how-to videos here is on how to set up a phone system it would be kind of silly if I use somebody else’s pre-configured PBX I’d like to show you how to set one up from scratch so I’m gonna be setting up a PBX at the business from scratch and I’m using a system called free PBX there are a few reasons that I’m using that system the first most important reason is that it actually works believe it or not there’s a lot of tech out there that you can pay good money for and it doesn’t work or half of the features work or you know this will work six months from now but it doesn’t work right now or oh you wanted to do this with your phone system yeah ours doesn’t support that I like when.

I get a phone system I like when I buy anything hardware software and it just works the way I expect it to free PBX is never surprised me but some kind of gotcha where it just doesn’t work the way I wanted to which continues to surprise me to this very day second thing I like about free PBX is that it’s open source free PBX being open source means that anybody around the world can look at the source code and contribute to it so if there’s some 13-year old kid in Thailand that says I really don’t like the free PBX has had this bug for two months and nobody’s fixed it rather than wait for developers to fix it he himself if he has the ability to code and he knows how to fix the bug he can actually submit a fix for this bug and it can get put into the development versions which is pretty cool so.

it’s not just like you have a regular little code base of people that are trying to fix problems and development people from all around the world are looking at the software that people from all around the world aren’t proving the soft or improving the code base we which is a really cool thing the third reason I like it is because it’s open source it is also legally free so yes whether you are getting a system with one user two users or twenty thousand users free PBX costs the same amount of money zero dollars I would highly suggest that if you use the software and you make money off of the software or your business uses that software and makes money off of it that you contribute something to it you can always donate to the project and I would highly suggest you do because it’s a good project led by good people third reason.

I like free PBX is that it has all the features that I want so you know again call recording voice mail can I ring this phone but not this phone when this when this number is dialed can I use different caller ID sources so that I can actually grab caller ID information from my ticketing system so the ticketing system that I use in my store my I can actually have the status of a ticket show up on my phone by having the by having free PBX using API from that that’s CRM software so I can see the status of a ticket on my phone it’ll say waiting pickup done or needs approval or just paid bills so when I greet them I can actually greet them as if I know what I’m talking about instead of having to go let me look you up in the ticket system you have a lot of really cool features built in a free PBX the fourth thing I like about it is that it has a really wide user base of people so when you’re using software that may only have a very small user base of people you’re kind of beta testing.

it for them and it hasn’t really been used in a wide variety of scenarios so there’s a very good chance that there’s a feature that you need that’s not built into the software since free PBX is so widely used by so many people they’re constantly getting feedback on what it is they should add or what they should change and since the software is open-source if there’s a feature that somebody or some organization really really needs that’s not built into it they can actually code it they can pay program is to code that part of the software and then implement it into the project so the reason I like free PBX is because there are so many people using it that they’re constantly contributing to it and it’s constantly getting better so again if you run a business with four to seven people and there’s a possibility that all the features that you need already there because other businesses with 10,000 or 30,000 or 70,000 people are using this system and they’ve already if they anything that you need they probably need and have already implemented and anything that you think you’re gonna need when you have 20 or 40 or 100 or 200 users they’ve probably the 70,000 person business probably already implemented back when they were where you are so having a large range of users.

large user base really helps the software and the last thing I like about it and this is this is a really big benefit because it’s usually a con to open-source software is that it is backed and supported by a for-profit company so with open-source software there’s a lot of good open-source software but if you need help with specific aspects of it a lot of open source projects are pretty much take it or leave it so we have a support forum you should post your question if you get an answer great if you don’t get an answer well figure it out yourself and I can’t complain because a lot of this software is free there’s only so much that you can expect for free the great part about free PBX is that the company that purchased all of this named schmooze offers paid support so I am allowed to yell uncle if I get to a point where I’m stuck.

I have no idea what I’m doing and I I you know there’s a feature that I need to implement it as a problem that I’ve run into and I cannot fix it I can go please help and I can give them $150 they will remote into the system they will actually remote into the system fix the problem tell me how they fix the problem and it’ll be fixed so it’s not like you’re stuck just because it’s open source and free if you ever get to a point where there’s something that you need fixed there’s something that you need help with the support with her service they will help you there is that option to pay them and they will help you fix your problem which is great and they also have service and support packages they have service and support plans so if you’re a business that will need regular help a regular assistance you can actually pay them a set amount of money and have a service plan set up with them so overall it’s a great ecosystem there are great forums all over the internet where people are constantly answering questions if you have a question you can always ask there’s a good chance that somebody else already had asked your question somebody else already had your problem so you can search the forum and you can search and you can find an answer if you don’t find an answer you can ask a question and somebody will answer you if nobody wants to answer you you can always fork over 150 bucks open to support incidents the remote into your system they’ll fix the problem I’ve never had a pay she moves to help me with free PBX but again if .

I wind up setting up some type of system later on where something goes terribly wrong or somebody asked me to implement a feature that I’m not really comfortable implementing like they’re always there and they’re always available for support so that being said let’s go on to how I choose a version of free PBX to download so there are many different versions of it as you see here I’m just gonna go to the screen capture software so I’m googling free PBX download I’m just gonna make the window a little bigger since this is 4k it’s probably hard to see so we’re gonna go to downloads now when we go to the download section you’re gonna see that there’s four different editions there’s a there’s a newer version and then you have over here an older version and you also have 64 and 32-bit versions of both now I’m gonna choose the older version for a few reasons ever since it’s been out for more time more people have had a chance to test it more people have had a chance to find the bugs and therefore fix the bugs and a newer version so keep in mind here this is what I’m gonna be setting up here as a basic phone system meaning I want voicemail I want caller ID I may want call recording I want to make outgoing calls and I want to receive incoming calls nothing here is really nothing it was really super cutting-edge so you know I’m not going to go balls to the wall and get the newest version and risk there being more bugs when I don’t have to the second thing is a 32 versus the 64-bit version the 64-bit version .

has been documented to have some issues there are a lot of different accounts that independent accounts people have had of certain things being in completing their being issues with the 64-bit version that weren’t in a 32-bit version and again when it comes to performance when it comes to 32-bit versus 64-bit I am running a phone system that gets hounded all the time on a computer that right now is almost ten years old it costs $80 and that thing almost never goes over seven percent CPU so I’m not in a rush to get more performance at the potential expense of stability and bugs so what I’m gonna do here is I’m gonna get the full ISO of the 32-bit version and I’m going to choose the older version that’s for the hell of it I’m gonna choose the USB image over here of the 32-bit older version and we’re going to wait for this to download and for some reason the machine decided to crap itself and not downloads from that link so.

I’ll just open a different browser and hope that it doesn’t do anything funny and too late now already opened another browser okay here we go and we’re going to save it let’s check the progress of my download five minutes remaining so that’s gonna be kind of boring five minutes remaining seven minutes remaining with the internet nine minutes okay so I’m gonna stop recording here because there is absolutely no point in you watching a bar

As found on YouTube

Using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

Using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

Are you a Medicare Part A provider, a Federally Qualified Health Center, a Home Health or Hospice provider, or a Medicare part B provider who bills Medicare claims to National Government Services for Jurisdiction 6 or Jurisdiction K? Did you know you that you can get information specific to your patients and general information outside of normal business hours, and without speaking to a representative by calling the National Government Services Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system? The IVR is maintained on a separate line from our customer care representatives and is available beyond the normal contact center hours.

As a result, you have greater access to the information you need, when you need it and at a time that works for you. There are a few things you can do to make using the IVR easier. Remember to speak naturally and use the mute button when you are not speaking. Try using touch-tone if an element is not recognized by your voice. You cannot combine speech and touch-tone when providing a single element. For example, you cannot speak the numbers in a patient’s Medicare number and then enter the suffix via touch-tone. However, you can switch between speech and touch-tone throughout the call. There is no need to wait for a prompt to try touch-tone; it is available throughout the IVR. Once the CMS required authentication elements have been verified, you can obtain answers to numerous inquiries through this self-service option. If you select Option 1 in the IVR, you can obtain Eligibility information including: Part A and Part B effective and termination dates, Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) type, insurer name, effective and termination dates Medicare Advantage Plan number, name, address, telephone number, effective and termination dates Eligibility information is not available if the date of service is greater than one year from the date you are calling the IVR.

In addition, eligibility information is not available for terminated providers. If you select Option 2, the IVR will offer you the option of receiving information about pending, approved to pay and finalized claim count information. You can also receive claim-specific status information. The IVR also provides Appeal status when you select Option 7, General information when you select Option 8 and much more. If you are interested in learning more about what the IVR has to offer, visit the web site, and click the Use the IVR System tab in the middle of the homepage. The next time you have an opportunity, we encourage you to take advantage of the benefits of the IVR.

Stay tuned to the National Government Services YouTube channel for more educational opportunities, designed for you..

Read More: IPPBX Phone System for SMB – Yeastar S-Series VoIP PBX

Automatic IP phones provisioning, IP PBX Setup tutorial video

Automatic IP phones provisioning, IP PBX Setup tutorial video

Hello and welcome in this video, I’m going to show how to set up is open completely, be existent from scratch to working phones and extensions. We’Re going to do three simple steps step one will be to create or bulk import the extensions step two to modify and set up the form templates, if necessary, in step three using the phone scan mobile app, we’re going to assign the phones to the right templates And extensions we have 3 IP phones here, having Yealink Fanvil Xorcom 3 IP phones, 3 vendors, it can be 3 or it can be 300. The process is the same.

It’S quick, easy and simple. Let’S start. First thing we need to do is to configure our extensions. There are two ways to do that. One is manual we can simply go to PBX extensions extensions and set up the extensions manually. Minimum we’ll have to do is to just type the extension number and a name and that’s it.

The other way is to use import extensions in order to do that. We first go to export extensions, will export the template file and we use it to create a file to import with all the extensions and their information. This is a file I prepared with over 270 extensions with all the details, and we will use this file so I’ll just go to import extensions, select the proper file and hit import. Now the system will create all my extensions. I will see a log confirming it and I have to apply ok, so import was completed successfully.

I can see all the extensions that were created here and devices from hit refresh or apply, and once it’s done, I will be able to see all the extensions in the system. Ok, the one I created manually and 270, I created by import extensions. The second step will be to create, or edit templates templates define the IP phone parameters and they’re found here under settings. Endpoint manager templates for every supported model. There is already a default template ready, so we can use the default template.

We can edit the default template or we can create a whole new template. So for now, let’s just edit one of the default templates for Yealink phone say we add to be a left keys here and update the template. Now we have basically set up a server side. The next step will be to go to the phones and using the phone scan app to assign the phones to an extension and make them use a certain template in order to start working with phone scan.

We need to allow connection from the PBX side in order to do that, we will go to settings, endpoint manager, phone scan and we’ll get this dialog. If we don’t get it, it’s probably because phone scan is not licensed, you need to get a license and apply it. What we see here now is that phone scam is disabled, let’s enable it and two things are happening. One.

We see the QR code here and we have a timer. Basically, this is countdown until the connection shuts down for security reasons, so that we won’t forget it open and the QR code allows us to connect the phone scan up on our mobile phone to the PBX. If we don’t have enough time, we need more time than those 30 minutes.

We just need to hit reset and we get 30 minutes from that point. A next thing we need to do is to get our mobile phone and using the phone scan app scan the QR code, so we’ll go ahead and open the phone scan mobile app and we’re asked to scan the PBX QR code. So we go ahead and scan it right off the screen and, as you can see, we’re connected to this IP address if the PBX will have a name rather than IP address, we’ll see the name here and we are ready to scan the phone.

So, let’s start with the local phone and find the label with a mac ID and just scan it. Okay, we see it’s right Mac ID we’ll hit. Next, we need to select template. You see it already recognizes. The vendor will choose the right model if I scan another one from the same vendor, it will offer me the same vendor by default. Let’S find the device we’ll search actually for the extension. We can also do that and we see dr

Mike extension, 2000 device names also dr. Mike because it was also generated with that name, and we will assigned it and go ahead to the next phone fondly and we’ll go ahead and scan the Mac ID. It next pick the right template and we’ll assign it. To extension, 2001 sign next phone dialing phone and we will assign this one to another extension.

As you may remember, we set up speed back here or be left keys. Rather here it is, and we’re done you don’t want to assign anymore phones. So we confirmed we just shut down the connection. Now we can go ahead and put out the phone’s connect them to the network.

The phones will find the PBX on the network and get the configuration may take a minute or two to boot up and they may reboot again during the process, but in the end I get the configuration we set up as you can see. Now we have the three phones up and running each got their configuration. We have 2000 2001 2002. We have the BLF keys that we set in the template. We manually set it. So let’s try to go ahead and call dr

Mike okay – and we see these phones ringing, We can see, calls we see caller ID everything is up and running. Now you only need to connect a trunk and we have function on PBX, so that was PBX setup in three simple steps: create extensions, modify templates, assign the extension using the mobile app and we’re done. Thank you very much.

New iPad Pro 2020 – deals, price and where to buy Apple’s latest tablet

New iPad Pro 2020 deals are already starting to emerge this week, despite Apple’s new tablets being barely a month old. More and more retailers are starting to stock these premium tablets, and once more, even start to offer some great price cuts on the older ranges. We’re here to help you navigate the current iPad Pro deals landscape, show you where to buy these latest tablets, and tell you how much you should be paying.

Two brand new Apple iPad Pros for 2020 were launched in mid-March of this year replacing the capable, but venerable 2018 iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9. These new top of the line iPads contain some brand new features and tec, that we’ll briefly go over on this page. Most importantly however, we’ll be comparing them to the last-gen and asking ourselves the question – are these brand new tablets from Apple worth it?

Currently, you can order the all-new iPad Pro online at in the US, UK, and Australia. If you’re not going to buy from the official Apple store then the good news is many retailers are now also beginning to stock these new devices. In the US, BestBuy and Adorama have launched them on their websites, and BHPhoto has even offered some tidy discounts, so definitely consider these options. In the UK, we’ve seen Currys, John Lewis and Amazon all offer the new tablets at launch prices currently, though stock remains an issue at Amazon. Note – Apple is only offering their orders directly from their websites right now, as their physical stores remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. 

Cut to the chase? Here’s where to buy the new Apple iPad Pro 2020

New iPad Pro 2020 price: How much does it cost?

New iPad Pro 2020 price

(Image credit: Apple)

Release date prices for the new iPad Pros are in line with Apple’s previous iPad Pro range – that’s to say premium prices for premium features. Here are the current launch starting prices for each size:

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2020)
  • 128GB – $799 / £769
  • 256GB – $899 / £869
  • 512GB – $1099 / $1069
  • 1TB – $1299 / $1269
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020)
  • 128GB – $999 / £969
  • 256GB – $1099 / £1069
  • 512GB – $1299 / $1269
  • 1TB – $1499 / $1469

It’s worth mentioning that these are just starting prices for the Wi-Fi only models, if you want to include the option for cellular capabilities then you’ll be spending an extra $200 on top of the above asking prices.

If you’re looking for the best new iPad Pro deals specifically, then you might have to wait as we’ve only got release prices right now – make sure you bookmark this page though, as we’ll be sure to update it with any price drops.

New iPad Pro 2020: Specs and features

These iPads come with a selection of storage sizes (128, 256, 512GB, and 1TB) and in two colors (Silver, Space Gray). All variations and sizes feature the brand new Liquid retina display and A12Z Bionic chip – which the company claims is excellent for “editing 4K video or designing 3D models”.

If you go for the 11-inch screen, you’ll get yourself a 2388 x 1668 resolution, while the bigger 12.9-inch model has 2732 x 2048 standard. Both screen sizes offer 264 pixels per inch and a rapid 120HZ refresh rate, which should provide a smoother viewing experience when scrolling or watching over the normal 90HZ rate.

These iPads are also the first to feature two rear cameras and the new LiDAR Scanner – which aim to improve depth-sensing capabilities for portraiture and improved augmented reality app support. The cameras will also handle 4K – if you want to shoot footage directly from the iPad itself for ease of use.

Software-wise these new 2020 iPad Pros come with the latest iPadOS 13.4 and can, of course, be expected to be supported with the latest upgrades from Apple for many years to come. iPadOS 13.4 specifically comes with trackpad-like support, which Apple claims will enable more fluid switching between apps.

What about older Apple iPad Pro prices?

A new iPad launch is also great news if you’re looking for something a little older – specifically the last generation models, which are sure to have some nice little price drops to make way for the newer, shinier offerings.

When looking at iPad Pros, you should definitely consider the 2018 iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9. At their current price, you can hope to save around $50 / £50, depending on your country and which retailer you go for. These iPads are still great buys, despite being a little older, as they still retain top of the line specs and components under the hood.

Looking for something other than an iPad Pro? check out our full range of the best cheap iPad deals in March 2020


The best Steam games 2020

Narrowing down the best Steam games of 2020 is practically backbreaking work, mostly because you’ll spend hours hunching over your computer doing so. There are over 23,000 titles on the popular online gaming platform, after all, and new exciting titles are popping up every day.

It’s not just the vast catalog. The best Steam games also encompass a wide variety of game genres, from the best open world games and best MMO games to the best co-op PC games you can enjoy with friends. And, while part of the fun is browsing and discovering all these games, many of which you’ve never heard of before, your time is perhaps best spent on immersing yourself in the games instead of the hunt.

That’s why we dug deep and did the work for you. We scoured Steam ourselves and found the best Steam games of 2020, some of which are among the best PC games we’ve ever played. Whether you want something brand new, a recent hit or a classic, you can’t go wrong with any of these titles on our list.


You’re going to get hours upon hours upon hours of gameplay out of Kenshi. (Image credit: Lo-Fi Games)


Some of the best Steam games 2020 has are those that cannot really exist anywhere else. Complicated RPGs and strategy games require the unique features of a gaming PC to thrive, and Kenshi is a perfect example. 

Taking cues from the old Mount & Blade games, Kenshi is a sandbox, squad-based RPG where you’re in charge of your own story. You’re dropped in the midst of a massive world – think Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall huge – and you’re not limited by any of the gameplay systems. You can simply build a home for yourself, or set off on a grand adventure. 

You’re going to get hours upon hours upon hours of gameplay out of Kenshi, because the world is the game, not just its setting.

What Remains of Edith Finch

If you’ve played and loved Firewatch, you’ll definitely enjoy What Remains of Edith Finch. (Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

What Remains of Edith Finch

One of the best Steam games is actually this indie smash from 2017. However, since it’s won a ‘best game’ BAFTA award, it’s time to give it another go. What Remains of Edith Finch, easily one of the first best Steam games on our list, is a narrative-led adventure in which you walk, first-person style, around as Edith Finch, exploring the house in which you grew up.

You look over the preserved relics of dead family members and are sucked into vignettes that tell the stories of how various Finches died. We get it, it sounds grim. However, its appealing style and magical realism make What Remains of Edith Finch touching and profound rather than depressing. 

It plays out a little like an interactive movie. You can’t fail as such, aside from getting lost, and the entire experience lasts 2-3 hours rather than 20. 

Don’t buy this if you’re going to feel short-changed by its length, but if you’ve played and loved Firewatch, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture or Gone Home, you’ll definitely find What Remains of Edith Finch to be one of the best Steam games 2020 has.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdon

There’s plenty of fantasy fuel in Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdon, and it’s more immersive than your average game. (Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdon

While the first Ni No Kuni game was a collaboration with Japanese animation masters Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni II is not. It does, however, hold onto the same delightful art style. 

It also switches up the fighting mechanics. As opposed to training up avatars to fight for you, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has a fun real-time battle system. You control three fighters with fast, slow and magic attacks, and the ability to dodge. And, the sequel is a bit more action-packed than the first one. 

It’s not all about action, though. While Ni No Kuni II is an action-adventure RPG, you also build up a kingdom, which lets you bonuses for your characters. This part is unexpectedly addicting.

The story is more conventional than that of the first game, which might be down to Studio Ghibli’s limited involvement. However, there’s plenty of fantasy fuel, and it’s more immersive than your average game, deservedly earning it a spot among the best steam games 2020 brings to the table.

Into the Breach

Into the Breach is moreish, smart and deceivingly deep. (Image credit: Subset Games)

Into the Breach

Not every top Steam game is an epic open world title that will set you back $60 on PS4 and Xbox One. Into the Breach is a sophisticated sci-fi strategy blast that you can play on your lunch break at work. 

It is made by the team behind Faster than Light, still one of our favourite PC games of the last decade. And for the handheld gaming veterans out there, there are shades of Advance Wars to it too.

Earth has been attacked – and almost occupied – by aliens. In Into the Breach, you control groups of mechs sent from the future to reverse this fate. That may sound like a mind-bending premise, but it actually proves that the plot doesn’t matter too much sometimes. We know Earth will come out tops, it’s just a matter of how.

Each encounter takes in an 8×8 block grid, your battlefield. Play unfolds in turns, and your mechs have to stop aliens from obliterating too many of the field’s buildings and outposts. It has the tactical purity of chess. As you play, you can upgrade your mechs to improve your chances. 

Like FTL, Into the Breach is moreish, smart and deceivingly deep. 

Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars’ survivalist approach to “city” building is absorbing. (Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Surviving Mars

Some screenshots make Surviving Mars look like The Sims: Red Planet edition. However, this best steam game is, in fact, more like Sim City meets The Martian. You build an outpost on a barren patch of Mars, and have to keep it running to avoid your colonists from dying on the planet’s harsh surface. And, it’s harder than it sounds. 

That is, while mismanaging resources in Sim City or Civilization may make your inhabitants angry or lower your income, in Surviving Mars it can cause a chain reaction that sees life support systems fail. You’ll hear “a colonist has died”, and be left scrambling to fix the problem before other inhabitants start dying like bubbles popping as they touch the ground. 

Surviving Mars’s interface leaves something to be desired, but its survivalist approach to “city” building is absorbing.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is somewhat different from the FF games of old. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XV

After the massive multiplayer Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix finally got back to their series’ single player roots with Final Fantasy XV. It came to PS4 in late 2016, but was only ported to PC in March 2018. However, you do get all the DLC released on the consoles and, if your PC is beefy enough, you’ll experience better frame rates.

Final Fantasy XV is somewhat different from the FF games of old. You travel around an open world, often by car, packed with Americana-style buildings, all your companions are human and the combat plays out in real time, not as turns. Still, you can tell this is a Final Fantasy game just by catching a 15-second clip of it in action.


A mix of mobile game style and merciless old-school progression mechanics gives Descenders a fresh feel. (Image credit: No More Robots)


The PC tends to get linked with the kind of games that sit you down – for hours on end until your eyes are red and part of you start to regret your life choices. However, it isn’t always that way. 

With Descenders, you can play in quick blasts. If you can drag yourself away from its moreish-ness, anyway. You’re a downhill free rider who has to get down procedurally generated courses with as much style as possible, preferably using a gamepad. It might remind you of the heyday of Tony Hawk games, or snowboard console classic SSX. 

The use of generated “tracks” means you can’t master courses, which means that it’s the mastery of the bike’s physics you need to be shooting for. A career mode pits you against a series of courses in the same style of environment, each with objectives. Finish the “boss course,” and you unlock a new terrain. But you have limited lives for the whole run. A mix of mobile game style and merciless old-school progression mechanics gives Descenders a fresh feel, just one of the many reasons why it’s made our best steam game list.

American Truck Simulator

There’s a business side to American Truck Simulator that gives it depth. (Image credit: SCS Software)

American Truck Simulator

Not every game has to be about destroying aliens or gunning down unnamed soldiers. For instance, American Truck Simulator, one of the best steam games to play in 2019, feels like mindfulness meditation next to those games.

You drive a big 18-wheeler-style truck over the long highways of the US, transporting cargo from A to B. Breaking the traffic codes doesn’t end in a GTA-style police chase, just a fine. This is the sort of game you can put on like cozy slippers after a long day at work. 

Yet there’s also a business side to it, giving it depth. You start as a lowly contractor, but can earn enough money to build your own shipping empire.

Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity is a challenging, slightly retro-flavoured RPG. (Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Pillars of Eternity

PC gamers who have been playing since the ‘90s might remember all the fuss surrounding the Baldur’s Gate titles. In fact, some of their most loyal fans still get teary-eyed reminiscing about their favorite side characters. 

Isometric role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate don’t cut it in the AAA world anymore. However, Pillars of Eternity brings back the spirit of those games to the Steam crowd. This is a challenging, slightly retro-flavoured RPG in which you control a band of classic fantasy-style adventurers. It’s made by Obsidian, the team behind Fallout: New Vegas. Pillars of Eternity II is on the horizon too. 

If you like your RPGs fantasy-themed, also consider Torment: Tides of Numenera.

Legend of Grimrock II

Legend of Grimrock II is a dungeon crawler where you move in blocks. (Image credit: Almost Human)

Legend of Grimrock II

Another throwback to a style of game that has all but disappeared, Legend of Grimrock 2 is a dungeon crawler where you move in blocks, as opposed to freely. Why would you want that? It changes your relationship with the environment, making it feel more like an intricate puzzle instead of an open world a texture artist had been let loose on. 

There are an awful lot of actual puzzles involved here too, in-between the bouts of classic “Dungeons & Dragons” style combat encounters. Plus, as retro as the play style is, Legend of Grimrock 2 looks incredible, with many outdoors areas to prevent you from getting bogged down in dimly-lit dungeons.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PUBG remains one of the most fun shooters on the market in 2019. (Image credit: PUBG Corporation)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

When it comes to in-vogue games, few titles continue to capture the zeitgeist (and fill it full of bullet holes) the way PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds does. It may have one of the worst acronyms ever, but that hasn’t stopped PUBG from putting the ‘battle royale’ subgenre on the map and turning itself into a phenomenon in the process. Sure, there’s a lot of hype still surrounding it, but the game behind all the coverage and Twitch fascination is still one of the most addictive on Steam, as well as one of the best steam games this 2019.

That simple premise – parachute into a map with no gear, scavenge for weapons and armour, and fight for survival with a single life in a continually shrinking map – is still engrossing, even if it has a few too many bugs. Whether you’re teaming up with friends or braving its maps by your lonesome, PUBG remains one of the most fun shooters on the market in 2019.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of the latest releases on our best Steam games list. (Image credit: Deep Silver)

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

One of the latest releases on our best Steam games list, Kingdom Come: Deliverance boasts an experience that’s both reassuringly familiar and deeply alien. Set in a fictional Medieval Europe, it’s a first-person RPG where dialogue choices mold your world as much as your ability to problem solve and your skills in melee combat. It’s a game of unbelievable freedom, allowing you to carve a path through the Dark Ages however you see fit.

You might get off your face on schnapps and get in a fight with the town drunk. You may start filling your pockets with the gold of unsuspecting townsfolk, Thief-style, or stain your blade with blood in the battlefield. Part Elder Scrolls, part Dark Souls, part something else entirely, it’s an action-RPG that punishes as much as it empowers. It also runs best on PC (with the right specs, obviously) so get it on the download pronto.

Rainbow Six: Siege

Rainbow Six: Siege is one of those success stories that keeps on succeeding. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Rainbow Six: Siege

Who knew, way back in 2015, that a Tom Clancy game would become one of the industry’s biggest success stories. But here we are, four years later, with a game that has over 25 million registered players and in its fourth year of consecutive content updates as well as premium bells and whistles. Rainbow Six: Siege is one of those success stories that keeps on succeeding, and for one very important yet simple reason: it’s fun as hell to play.

Paring back the Rainbow Six formula to its roots – two teams fight in the same map, one protecting an objective while the other attacking and fighting their way in – no two matches in Siege are ever the same. You’ll be barricading doors, breaching through walls, blasting through ceilings and building an operator that’s attuned to your playstyle. It might not be groundbreaking. However, add in the limited time Outbreak mode (think Siege plus zombies), and you’ve got one of Steam’s most complete packages.


Celeste is one of the most unforgettable games we’ve come across in many years. (Image credit: Matt Makes Games)


From the indie team that gave us TowerFall and TowerFall Ascension comes one of the most rewarding pixel platformers in years. As you climb the titular mountain, flame-haired heroine Madeline battles her innermost demons just as much as the harsh and dangerous conditions around her. In its simplest form, Celeste is a tight, 2D, twitch-style platformer, but in reality it’s one of the most unforgettable games we’ve come across in many years.

As poignant in narrative as it is unforgiving in gameplay, Celeste has over 700 ‘scenes’ to traverse, a myriad of secrets to uncover and a story that will grip you as much as the muscle-memory building formula of its platforming. For a game built around the simple mechanics of jump, air-dash and climb, there’s an incredible amount of depth to be found as you claw your way to the summit in more ways than one, which is why it warrants a spot on our best steam games list.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2’s secret sauce is the complexity of its combat. (Image credit: Larian Studios)

Divinity: Original Sin 2

When Divinity: Original Sin 2 was released in 2017, it had quite the legacy to live up to, that of its predecessor, which incidentally happens to be one of the most accomplished RPGs of all time. Then what does developer Larian Studios do? It only goes and follows it up with one of the most important additions to the genre in years. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an enthralling fantasy world with a deep and complex combat model and one of the most riveting stories you’ll experience outside of a 1,000 page tome.

The big selling point, and the main ingredient of Divinity: Original Sin 2’s secret sauce, is the complexity of its combat. You control a party of characters together with your own custom avatar, and utilize each one individually in battle. With countless skills and attributes to mix and match, the breadth of tactics available makes this a daunting yet deeply rewarding way to test your RPG abilities.


There’s a wealth of sci-fi lore and mechanics to delve into with Stellaris. (Image credit: Paradox Interactive)


The grand and operatic strategy genre has given us some true classics on PC, experiences that consoles have consistently failed to duplicate. From Crusader Kings to Europa Universalis, these are games with bucket loads of tactics and guile. 

Well, it just so happens the developer of those very games has taken that deeply immersive concept and put it in the dark ocean of space. Enter Stellaris, an evolution of the genre that takes the space exploration of EVE Online and Mass Effect and hits the hyperdrive button.

You’ll traverse through countless of procedural galaxies, filled with thousands of planets and a myriad of alien species, each one possessing unique traits, economies and social strata. Whether it’s the power (and consistent balancing act) of interstellar diplomacy or the deep customisation of starship designs, there’s a wealth of sci-fi lore and mechanics to delve into with Stellaris.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is still one of the most addictive titles on Steam. (Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Dota 2

By far one of the oldest games on the list – well, that is if you consider 2013 old – Valve’s MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), Dota 2, is still one of the most addictive titles on Steam. It’s also the only game on this list that’s free-to-play, so you don’t even need to have a healthy bank balance to enjoy its addictive battles. Age aside, Valve has been constantly updating and overhauling the game since launch, making it one of the most evolved MOBAs on the market.

If you’ve never played it before, it’s a simple yet intoxicating setup: two teams of five players face off in a large map. Each one is defending a base with an ‘Ancient’ inside that must be protected at all costs. Find your opponent’s base and raze it to the ground to win. Anticipate to experience brilliant hero v hero showdowns, brutal ambushes, tactical plays and nonstop action.


Brutal and beautiful in equal measure, Cuphead is a must have Steam title. (Image credit: StudioMDHR)


Run and gun platformers have carved a niche out for themselves on mobile, but they’re few and far between on PC. Luckily, this one was built to be a Microsoft exclusive with Xbox One in mind and the result is one of the most unique gaming experiences you’ll ever come across. Intended to capture the look and atmosphere of 1930s cartoons, Cuphead places you in the shoes of the titular hero and tasks you with battling across three distinct worlds and bosses that will capture your imagination with their ingenuity that crush your resolve with their difficulty.

Recommending a notoriously tough game might sound counter-intuitive, but the steep difficulty curve is part of its appeal. With a distinctive soundtrack and those standout visuals at your side, you’ll earn every stage clearance like a piece of territory in a war, each victory feeling that much more satisfying. Brutal and beautiful in equal measure, Cuphead is a must have Steam title.


Subnautica is a survival game set deep in the ocean on an alien world. (Image credit: Unknown World Entertainment)


Another somewhat fresh release on this list, Subnautica has already made waves (pardon the pun) despite having only dropped in January of this year. A survival game set deep in the ocean on an alien world, its unique twist on the classic template makes for a game that’s both entrancing to watch and challenging in its many interconnected mechanics. You’ll explore shallow reefs, dangerous trenches on the seabed and everything in between, all the while managing your precious oxygen supply.

Oh, and there’s an entire ecosystem of alien marine life to contend with. Plenty of these fishy and mammalian critters want to add you to their menu, so you’ll need to outsmart and avoid them while scavenging for resources to build new equipment and tools. Like all the best survival games, the very best materials lie in the most dangerous of places. Do you dare swim deep enough to find them?

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus dials up the violence and the depth of storytelling. (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

With so many multiplayer shooters sharing the spolight in this feature, it seemed high time to pay homage to one of the best single-player FPS games ever made.

MachineGames gave Wolfenstein a bloody, alt-history revival in the form of 2014’s The New Order, so it had its work cut out for it when it came to bettering all that visceral Nazi slaying. Then along comes 2017’s The New Colossus, dialing up the violence and the depth of storytelling that it would make most Call Of Duty titles look at the floor in humiliation.

What makes The New Colossus so vital is how it doesn’t stray from its formula, but polishes and expands on it in almost every way. Bigger and more challenging bosses; intense set-pieces; myriad weapons that spit glorious death; a story that asks far more questions and presents some bold answers. It’s also rock hard, and consistently unforgiving, so lock and load at your peril…

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

You’d be crazy not to add Resident Evil 7: Biohazard to your Steam library. (Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard 

It’s not often that a franchise as significant as Resident Evil gets a new lease of life – especially when you consider the zombie-loving license had fallen into a lifeless parody over the past decade – but here we are with a truly terrifying horror game with the words ‘Resident Evil’ in the title. What a world, eh?

While us PC folk aren’t allowed to scare ourselves half to death in VR yet (RE7 is a PSVR at the moment), that doesn’t mean it’s any less frightening. Dropping the third-person perspective that’s felt tired and rote for awhile now, RE7 embraces the first-person view that’s helped Outlast and company re-energize the horror genre, and boy does it make for one chilling 8-10 hour scare fest.

With Capcom’s big budget, a creepy swamp setting (honestly, just go with it) and a storyline that feeds back into the series’ winding mythology, you’d be crazy not to add this to your Steam library.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Civilization VI gives you more freedom and control than ever. (Image credit: 2K Games)

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

How could we make this list of games to play on Steam and not include the most recent offering from the master of turn-based strategy and tactical simulation? The Civilization series has gone through many forms over the years, but the sixth entry takes all the best bits from those earlier incarnations, smooths off the edges and serves up one of the most rewarding turn-based video games ever made.

There’s nothing quite like building a nation from a fledgling settlement and nurturing it into a worldwide powerhouse, and Civilization VI gives you more freedom and control than ever. Eliminating the pre-set paths that hampered the still stellar Civ V, Civ VI transforms into a landscape that rewards intrepid explorers and self-assured conquerors with the opportunity to expand their budding society with new technologies and alliances. Sid Meier’s name alone is part of PC gaming’s lofty heritage, so owning this little doozy is a no-brainer.


Undertale weaves all the best elements from the ever-evolving RPG genre into world built on choice, consequence and compassion. (Image credit: Toby Fox)


Undertale is one of those games that stays with you. A work of digital art whose charm and creativity never fails to keep its edge, no matter of how many times you play it through. And considering just how many innocuous JRPGs are out there right now, that’s a pretty extraordinary feat in unto itself.

So why is Undertale so superb? It takes all the best elements from the ever-evolving RPG genre and weaves a world built on choice, consequence and compassion. As a child dropped into an underground world filled with terrors, you’ll have to face a whole host of monsters to make it home. How you face them and what choices you make, define your journey. 

And its Telltale-esque consequence system doesn’t just extend to dialogue choices – you can spare monsters after a fight, forging possible crucial alliances for later in the game. You can even end fights by telling your opponent jokes. It’s a game of such warm and pleasant quality you’d almost believe it was a JRPG from the earliest heyday of the genre.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

There are just so many virtues The Witcher 3 has to its name. (Image credit: CD Projekt)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

For years, one game sat atop the dark and misty mountain of action-RPGs. Skyrim was its name, and no other franchise, be it Dragon Age or Dark Souls, could even come close to breaking its iron-clad grip upon the genre. Then along came Geralt of Rivia, riding atop The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with a confident swagger, ready to give The Elder Scrolls a good thrashing.

If you’re looking for a game that strikes a perfect balance between length of play (you could easily spend 100+ hours across its unbelievably diverse map – one that’s a good 20% bigger than poor old Skyrim) and sheer quality, then The Witcher 3 is a must. There are just so many virtues The Witcher 3 has to its name. Brilliant writing, memorable quests, truly challenging beasts and a pair of DLC expansions (Hearts of Stone, and Blood and Wine) make this one of the best games of this or any other generation.


There’s a reason Inside won many a GOTY award in 2016. (Image credit: Playdead)


Inside will break your heart. Fair warning. If you’re not off-putted by that, then see it rather as a mystery to be solved scene by heart-wrenching scene. Created by the same studio that made the wonderful 2.5D platformer Limbo – you know, the one about a little boy stuck in a nightmare world where a giant spider chases him endlessly – it should come as a huge shock to learn that Inside will leave you just as tearful as its predecessor.

Thing is, Inside is a brilliant piece of art. Without a scrap of dialogue, you’ll explore a world in a similar platforming vein as Limbo, overcoming various ingenious environmental puzzles and evading both the flashlights of an oppressive government and the shadow of a conspiracy that’s clearly not going to end well.

But it’s worth every second. There’s a reason it won many a GOTY award in 2016, so you’d be a fool not to add this to your Steam library. Just remember to pack a few tissues.

Rocket League

Rocket League boasts fine-tuned physics and a larger focus on multiplayer. (Image credit: Psyonix)

Rocket League

Once upon a time there was a little game on PlayStation 3 called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. It was all about using remote control-esque cars to knock a giant football around a makeshift pitch. Thing is, no one played it and the game slowly faded into obscurity.

Then Rocket League came along, which was fundamentally the same thing, albeit with fine-tuned physics and a larger focus on multiplayer. One trip into PlayStation 4’s PS Plus lineup later and the game went supernova.

And with good reason, too. It’s a modest concept but it just works – it’s a place where skill shines through as you boost your little RC car and hit the motorized equivalent of a bicycle kick. It’s magnificent, offering one of the best ways to play online (whether with friends or a bunch of strangers). Come on, who doesn’t want to spend their evening chasing a football with a car? FIFA? Pfft.

Portal 2

Portal 2 manages to take a brilliant recipe and somehow make it even more delicious. (Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Portal 2

Portal, back in its day, was groundbreaking. Sure, it sounds like we’re filling out boots with hyperbole, but back in 2007 all those portals, companion cubes and sociopathic AIs were blowing our minds over and over. Then Portal 2 came along and made the original look like a crossword puzzle in The Sun.

Okay, the first Portal is still remarkable, but Portal 2 took a truly revolutionary concept and twisted it into something new. Everything in this game works without a hitch – the ebb and flow of its story, the growing difficulty of the puzzles and the new ways you’re forced to make your mind think with portals. It’s even got Stephen Merchant and JK Simmons in it!

Portal 2 manages to take a brilliant recipe and somehow make it even more delicious, sprinkling in all new depths of platforming and puzzle flavour. If you haven’t played it, buy it now. If you have, play it again.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley’s pixelated retro graphics, unique soundtrack and kooky characters make for a relaxed and fun game. (Image credit: Chucklefish / ConcernedApe)

Stardew Valley

The incredibly charming Stardew Valley is an indie farming RPG which sees you moving from the bustling city to your grandfather’s old, run-down farm near sleepy Pelican Town. You’ll get to uncover the secrets of the mysterious town while growing a thriving farming empire.

Stardew Valley’s pixelated retro graphics, unique soundtrack and kooky characters make for a relaxed and fun game which combines elements such as farming simulation, adventure, dating simulation and crafting.

Get ready to become emotionally attached because once you step foot in Pelican Town, it’s hard to ever leave.


Google’s Covid-19 tracker will be delivered to your Android phone via Google Play

There have been some unexpected side-effects to the coronavirus pandemic, including the teaming up of Google and Apple to provide information to the public about the spread of the disease.

But while we’ve known for a few days about the two companies working together to keep mobile users informed about infected people nearby, there was something of a question about just how updates were going to be pushed out to users.

Now the company has shed some light on how the process will work, saying that it will used the established Google Play Services infrastructure to ensure that as many people as possible get the updates.

The benefit of using Google Play Services to update Android users with the latest information about Covid-19 tracing is that it means updates can be pushed to all handsets running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above.

As well as maximizing the number of people that can be reached with individual updates, opting to using the Google Play Services infrastructure means that updates can also be spread much more quickly.

There had been fears, for instance, that operating system updates – of the style used to issued monthly security updates to Android – would not only mean people with older handsets would miss out, but also that the rollout of important informative updates would be much slower due to the involvement of handset makers.

Keep informed, keep safe

As reported by the The Verge, there will be two phases to the opt-in Bluetooth contact tracing framework which will enabled people to anonymously broadcast the fact they have tested positive for coronavirus. Both phases will be reliant on Google Play Services for updates, starting with the initial API rollout next month. Following on from this, “in coming months” we can expect to see APIs that are built into Android directly.

There will be a different system in place for Huawei phones that are not able to use key Google services. For these handsets, Google intends to produce a special framework for devices from Huawei, Xiaomi and other Chinese manufacturers, which they will have the option of using.

Via The Verge