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No Half-Life 2 on Steam? 374

Posted by Zonk
from the think-of-the-children dept.
Karl the Pagan writes "Following on the heels of a previous Steam-related story, Vivendi Universal may block Half-Life 2 distribution via Steam. Additional motions can be filed until November 18th, but since Sierra/VU have final QA approval on the HL2 gold is it possible they could delay the game until after the court decides on these motions?"
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No Half-Life 2 on Steam?

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  • Coming Soon (Score:3, Funny)

    by fresh27 (736896) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:32PM (#10301817) Homepage
    Half Life 2 - September 30, 2005
  • nope... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:32PM (#10301820)
    it's a court battle that won't even start before HL2 is released (if it's released soon...)...

    Also, they've already said they are releasing it on Steam regardless of this case.

    read here for more:
    article on bluesnews.com [bluesnews.com]
    • Re:nope... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609) <andrew AT thekerrs DOT ca> on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:45PM (#10301983) Homepage
      The question is, will they be able to release with these filings? I imagine Sierra/Vivendi/whoever will try to stop the release until they can decide if Valve can release under steam.
  • by peculiarmethod (301094) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:33PM (#10301821) Journal
    but if they do delay it, here's the upside.. the first motion may take a month to process, but the next motion will only be 2 weeks, then 1 week on the third, and so on.. it's only a matter of time.

    heh
  • Ok since Half Life 2 seems to be soon enough (sooner than last year anyway!), how about Team Fortress 2! Only vapoware more vaporish than that is DNF.
  • by nitetrain3000 (813156) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:34PM (#10301837)
    They might as well describe the Half-Life 2 release delays in terms of uranium 238s half-life.
  • by MagicDude (727944) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:35PM (#10301846)
    Somewhere, Duke Nukem is cheering, now that he's no longer the standard of perpetually pushed back release dates.
  • Great news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wigle (676212) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:35PM (#10301854)
    This possibility could be to Valve's advantage. They haven't released anything worthwhile since Team Fortress Classic and no one I know likes Steam at all.
    • Re:Great news (Score:3, Informative)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      the point in steam would be that they would be getting all the money, and not having to give VU a cut. that's what why VU would block it if it can.

      valve's been piss poor to deliver anything and lusting over the collecting the fees from the cybercafes.

      they're pissing on their feet though, with the hl key system horribly sucking too(it's not really that uncommon that you lose your key to someone running some keygen, leading into some major suckery to get it back, in some cases people have bought the game st
      • Re:Great news (Score:5, Informative)

        by snillfisk (111062) <mats@lin d h .no> on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#10302649) Homepage

        they're pissing on their feet though, with the hl key system horribly sucking too(it's not really that uncommon that you lose your key to someone running some keygen, leading into some major suckery to get it back, in some cases people have bought the game still in wrappers and went home for some cs and noticed that the key was already in use).


        The serial code for Half-Life is 14 digits, meaning a total of 289.254.654.976 possible combinations.. giving that the game has sold something like 20 million copies, that would turn out to try at least 20.000 keys before hitting one successful.. and as far as i know, no key generators checked with the WON network, so you'd just have to try (and that takes at least 15 seconds)..

        No, most keys that people experienced that already were in use, were because of a handful of different things:

        1. sloppy caretaking of covers etc on local LANs
        2. getting their computers exploited (there were several worms afaik that stole cdkeys)
        3. people writing down serial keys in stores (many stores used to have such things on display)
        4. employees at mentioned stores, also writing down and supplying keys to friends
        5. etc etc etc

        The keygens were useless.

        And Steam is the best thing to happen to Valve since Counter-Strike.
  • ATI bundle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dinojemr (261460) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:36PM (#10301863) Journal
    What will this mean for people who got the voucher with their ATI card? ATI promised to give them Half Life 2 (through Steam), but then HL2 was delayed so they didn't get it (they instead got the old half-life gams). Would it eventually be released through steam?
    • by Tim Browse (9263) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:48PM (#10302012)
      What will this mean for people who got the voucher with their ATI card?

      Shit! You mean some of those guys are still alive?!

      • Yes, and I'm one of them. I've had the voucher for about 10 months, and I still havn't gotten to play the game that made me buy the video card. If Valve doesn't release it on Steam, they better not force me to pay for shipping for the CD version.
    • What will this mean for people who got the voucher with their ATI card? ATI promised to give them Half Life 2 (through Steam), ...

      Also valid to get a retail-box of HL2 instead. If you pay shipping fees and allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. I wonder how expensive that is going to be.

      Incidentially the graphics card I got the voucher with boke down over the weekend (noisy fan).
  • by scowling (215030) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:36PM (#10301866) Homepage
    This really shouldn't ever have become an issue. The box-retail distribution model for games is still a viable one. Is it so important for HL fans to play the game as soon as humanly possible? What's wrong with buying it in store on the day of release?

    How would Valve be harmed by giving in on this issue? How would the consumers be harmed?

    IMHO, neither would, in any important way.
    • by keller999 (589112) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:45PM (#10301977)
      The issue is that Valve gets 2.5 times more revenue from each copy of HL2 sold on steam than from boxes on shelves. By circumventing the publisher, they can sell the game at a lower price and make more money. Just the sheer number of people who have pre-loaded HL2 probably scares Vivendi - it's one of the biggest game releases of all time, and it looks like the game creators might actually make more of the pie than the publisher is used to.
    • How would Valve be harmed by giving in on this issue? How would the consumers be harmed?

      While the actual contract language (probably impenetrable to the layperson, anyway) wasn't in the linked article, the answer to your question is that Valve would be harmed by loss of income. According to the article, Valve renegotiated what turned out to be a bad contract with Sierra (bad because the game turned out to be a huge hit - like musicians signing a contrast for a big front-end payday but a tiny percentage o

    • How would Valve be harmed by giving in on this issue? How would the consumers be harmed?

      Consumers? No harm (mostly benefits, actually). Valve? All the difference in the world.

      Steam is, if you haven't noticed, Valve's way of getting rid of publishers/distributors altogether. If they can release the game simply by p2p-ing it to the buyers there is no need for deals with publishers. And publishers take in _most_ of the money you plunk down besides the cash register in the 'brick and mortar' store. So, their
      • I am normally all in favor of industries cutting out the middleman. It tends to be the best way to keep prices low.

        However, in this case my perspective is that of a Mac gamer. Since the chances of Steam working with the Mac are virtually nil, the more incentive Valve has to steer everything through Steam, the less chance there is that HL2 will ever be available for the Mac.

        Not like I ever expected that it would be, given the history with the original Half-Life.

    • ***What's wrong with buying it in store on the day of release?***

      it is an issue for VALVE, because they would like to take 100% of the profit made(like with cybercafes and stuff why this lawsuit is going on).

    • How would Valve be harmed by giving in on this issue? How would the consumers be harmed?

      Use your same logic against the music industry. Valve would be artists and VUG would be the 'evil people that take your money like the RIAA'. So sure, when it comes to music RIAA is evil! But with games, the 'artist' should bend over backwards and take it in the ass.
    • Aha. I get it now. Now it all makes sense; I didn't quite understand the driving purpose behind Steam.

      Cutting out the middleman is always good for the manufacturer. Not so good for the traditional distribution models, tho.

      Gotta say that I kinda like the fact that EB employs about thirty people here in town who would otherwise probably not be able to get jobs. So, in the final analysis, I'm going to have to side *against* Valve on this one.
  • why Steam? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:36PM (#10301870) Journal
    Steam is one of the worst programs I've seen in the last few years. Everyone seems to have trouble with it... why would ANYONE use it?

    I'd much rather have a nice CD/DVD in my hand with the install on then a little code (which I could lose) to let me spend hours downloading it.

    I'm trying not to sound like a troll but I really see no sane reason to download HL2 through steam and not just buy the damn CD. Preloading makes sense (install it faster) but why not get a nice shiney CD?
    • Re:why Steam? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:50PM (#10302046)
      I'm starting to wonder if any of these people who bitch about steam have even used it past the amazingly bad "beta".

      Steam has given me absolutely ZERO problems for months. It hasn't crashed, locked up, anything.

      I feel the same way about the typical Slashdot BSOD jokes. I run a 2 year-old Win2k install that hasn't needed any real maintenence. I haven't gotten a mystery reboot or BSOD *once*, yet all I hear whenever the discussion about Windows comes up is how X Slashdotter can't even get the thing to boot.

      So, you're either all stupid as hell (likely), or really unlucky.
      • I agree. I think people that pirate also take an anti-Steam position since they might have to actually buy the game and support the devs.
      • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:04PM (#10302194) Homepage
        Bugs or no bugs, Steam is unacceptable IMHO. When I buy a game on physical media, I have a tangible thing that belongs to me. I can install it on a new machine, I can lend it to a friend, I can sell it on eBay, I can keep playing it as long as I want, even after the publisher goes out of business. Steam allows none of that.

        If Sierra goes belly up next week, how long do you think the Steam master server is going to be around? Probably not long. How can you sell a game you don't play anymore if it's on Steam? You can't! You don't actually have anything to sell, you've just been paying for access to someone else's game.
        • If Sierra goes belly up next week, how long do you think the Steam master server is going to be around?

          Probably about as long as the verification servers that check your CD-Key and allow you to play any Half Life based game online. Which means your tangible property becomes a shiny coaster.

        • Bugs or no bugs, Steam is unacceptable IMHO. When I buy a game on physical media, I have a tangible thing that belongs to me. I can install it on a new machine, I can lend it to a friend, I can sell it on eBay, I can keep playing it as long as I want, even after the publisher goes out of business. Steam allows none of that.

          Why? Steam supports offline play, so there's no issue there. Can you go to any computer, merely log in, and suddenly have access to every Valve product you've ever bought when you buy
    • by arose (644256) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:58PM (#10302121)
      why would ANYONE use it?
      Valve fans don't want baby Gordon to cry.
    • I love steam now. It is stable, I can alt tab out of games and back in and have NO issues.

      And updates download and install themselves...

      I consider my self a fair tech head (I have 3 pc's in my room that I built, and a cupboard full of spare parts)... and most tech heads I know hate steam.. but I love it.

    • Because all your silly arguments about CDs eroding or getting scratched or being lost and you needing to install no-cd cracks and use 'backup' copies collapse when Steam enters the picture.

      Lose your copy? Just redownload it. You can start playing as soon as the first level is downloaded, and on increasingly fast connections the download time won't be an issue. For 56kers, you can always get the CD. But as a Cable user I find Steam easier.

      It gets rid of the pre-ordering / limited copies at shop / queueing

      • Lose your copy? Just redownload it. You can start playing as soon as the first level is downloaded, and on increasingly fast connections the download time won't be an issue. For 56kers, you can always get the CD. But as a Cable user I find Steam easier.


        What happens if Valve goes out of business, or just doesn't feel like paying for the infrastructure to support steam anymore?
    • Yeah anlyze some of that traffic on that damn thing. Pisses me off. Sure it works, but damnit where is all the traffic going!
    • Re:why Steam? (Score:2, Redundant)

      • No packaging + printing costs.
      • No leaking to warez-groups by distributors.
      • No chance of installation source getting on the net as warez. ( 'tis encrypted after all )
      • Sidestepping an expensive publisher.
      • Promoting Steam itself as a distribution method.

      Oh I'm sorry, you meant good reasons for us, the customers? Well, tough luck, because apart from being able to install directly after paying for it online, there aint none

  • by dj42 (765300) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:37PM (#10301871) Journal
    I prefer Steam to other methods of purchasing a game. You don't have to go anywhere or pay shipping costs, you don't have to keep track of a CD, and hopefully, more of the money goes to the people that MADE the game, rather than filling the pockets of marketers and distributors. If I like a game, I want the people that made it to get the money, encouraging patches, new versions, and modifications. You see all this nonsense about Steam being terrible/people hating it/etc. I think they were using an earlier version. I'm a stickler about what I use / let run in the background of a Windows machine, even. I'm all about Firefox, nothing next to the clock, REALUPDATE.exe can die, all superfluous services are disabled. And still, this Steam software works fine and doesn't bother me. That's a bigger achievement than Realplayer can claim.
    • Do you trust your credit card to be stored on Valve servers? The same ones comprimised by a simple e-mail exploiting an Outlook vunerability sent to Gabe?

      I don't. I also don't like online constant activation of my programs. People dislike the Windows XP activation, but don't seem to balk at the Counter Strike activation process that has to happen at some time, even for LAN play. And before you say "offline mode", I've seen it fail so many times while running the helpdesk at Quakecon. If it decides it
      • I don't play on LANs nor do I go to Quakcon. I play at home, on my PC. I don't care if it activates, I'm online all the time anyway. And I don't care about Valve having my credit card number, anymore than I care about sending it to ebgames.com.

        Just think of all the script-kiddy wanna-be "hackers" that directed attention at HL2 when it was delayed. Can you really blame them for having their MS software exploited? That's like hanging a piece of steak from your crotch and running into a dog kennel with the
        • by Tim C (15259)
          Can you really blame them for having their MS software exploited?

          Yes, yes I can. The guy got exploited on a machine that had access to their single most valuable resource - the HL2 source repository.

          Why was something that precious, and that big a target, on a machine that was net-accessible? Why was he running a known vulnerable piece of software on it?

          Sure, I take the odd chance with my machine too - but I'm not given access to that sort of stuff. If I was, I hope I'd be a little more careful.
      • Do you trust your credit card to be stored on Valve servers? The same ones comprimised by a simple e-mail exploiting an Outlook vunerability sent to Gabe?

        Do you trust handing your credit card to someone at a restaurant, store, etc. who is making minimum wage? At any rate, who cares? If your credit card gets stolen, you are liable for at most $50 and usually $0. It is the merchant who takes the stolen credit card who loses big time.
    • by dzym (544085)

      you don't have to keep track of a CD

      Nope, you just have to keep track of your account name and password. One of my friends has already been burned for having tied his old HL key to a Steam account that he no longer has access to, which is registered to an e-mail address he no longer has access to. Basically, he has no way of recovering that key for a Steam account unless and until he sends back the entire HL jewelcase (on which the original key is printed) to Valve, and he's not going to get another jewe

  • Preloading (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:37PM (#10301872)
    This is a nice gesture to all those dial-up users who spent weeks doing the HL2 preloads..
  • by freeze128 (544774)
    We will probably see a resonance cascade before we see the release of HL2.
  • Geez. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sevn (12012) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:37PM (#10301884) Homepage Journal
    It probably would have taken less development time if they'd used coal or oil.
  • by AndyChrist (161262) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .tsirhc_ydna.> on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:37PM (#10301887) Homepage
    "On Friday, when asked if Valve was still intent on making Half-Life 2 available to gamers via Steam, regardless of what was determined on October 8, Lombardi replied, "Yes.""

    So this means it's not coming out till at least October? WTF! I had my hopes up with this release candidate news, now this bullshit! Dammit, I'm going to be out of the country by the time it comes out! I may not be able to get it in any timely manner BUT via Steam.

    Fer fucksake, games are perishible. Hype even moreso. The more they delay this thing, the less they're going to make off of it. The hype is at it's peak now, without ever having boiled over to the point of insanity (Phantom Menace, FF7). If they don't release this thing soon, they're gonna have another Daikatana on their hands.

    Start selling the goddamn game, and settle out who gets how much in court!

  • by _Wagz_ (799293) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:38PM (#10301901)
    I for one would love to see the publisher cut out of the end price. New releases are sucking up $50 of my paycheck every time and it can only get worse. That said, Valve really needs to beef up its infrastructure before I'll join the service. I played CS on it and had nothing but problems with the service.
  • well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by extra the woos (601736) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:39PM (#10301905)
    you deal with someone with no morals like vivendi and seirra and what do you expect.. why would they even have an agreement with them anymore, try to get out of it and just release everything yourself, the publishing company could be completely irrelevant with steam...

    make it so that people can burn half life 2 cd's legally, then give them to their friends BUT with the catch that in order to decrypt it they gotta go pay valve directly online for the small program to activate it (they could sell it alot cheaper than normal and still make more money than normal, too)
    • A lot of people that don't buy games and like to pirate would be irritated with a system like Steam, since it ensures that most people will actually have to purchase the game. That's why you'll see a lot of people say they want a CD... it's like those people that claim they are making "backups" of their discs for personal use, but are really just pirating from friends and online.
    • Screw encryption. Tie each downloaded copy to a Steam ID, give users an option to transfer it to another one for a fee. I presume the steam servers know which games an ID has, so they can tell if you try and screw with the copy you've burned to CD.

  • Delayware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nukepapa (683947)
    Let me (nukepapa) be the first to label this kind of software as "LateWare" or "DelayWare".
    • hype hype hype, delay for h4ck3rs (hohoho,i had a friend whose brother works at valve with a full in box copy of the game montths before that happened), hype hype hype, court battle -- more free advertising, hype hype hype

      and since when did valve become the good guys? they stopped giving a fuck about their customer base years ago when they turned them into the biggest guinnea pig test bed since the gov't was dumping acid in the water supply in the 50's
  • So, in short... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TyrranzzX (617713) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:44PM (#10301965) Journal
    Valve: We're going to eventually cut you guys outta the picture and begin distributing the game via the internet and our own in-house publishing solution instead of signing our games away to you forever.

    Sierra: Oh no you don't...

    I hope valve wins, it'd be nice to see these large game publishers dissapear.
    • That's an excellent point. It's very similar to a music artist hyping up and pre-selling their own album before it releases, directly to fans (downloadable from their web site).
    • Valve: We're going to eventually cut you guys outta the picture and begin distributing the game via the internet and our own in-house publishing solution instead of signing our games away to you forever.

      Sierra: Oh no you don't...

      I hope valve wins, it'd be nice to see these large game publishers dissapear.


      You missed the part where Valve signed a large contract with Sierra, and have been paid millions since 1999 to develop Half Life 2 for Siera... and are now trying to breach that contract.

      But hey, stick
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetDanzr (619387) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:46PM (#10302000)
    Just the other day I was complaining that there's no innovation in the gaming industry. It's nice to see that Vivendi found yet another new and original way to screw itself and alienate its remaining fans.
  • by Telastyn (206146) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:50PM (#10302041)
    At this point, I doubt many people care how Half Life 2 gets to them, just so long as it actually arrives.

    I personally recommend a few hundred rar files (and one or two with checksum errors of course) on a few hundred floppies.
  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:53PM (#10302076) Homepage Journal
    Don't tell SCO, but I suspect some lines of Halflife 2 code may match theirs.

    I saw an endif and a return near each other in the leaked version.
  • Good news? maybe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wigle (676212)
    In order to understand how this scenario could work out to the advantage of gamers, first we should look at Valve's history and how Steam/Half-Life 2 fit in with Vivendi.
    1. Half-Life - universally praised for its gameplay and solid (at the time) editing tools. PC Gamer awarded it the highest score ever
    2. Team Fortress Classic - excellent multiplayer add-on that extended the game's life
    3. Counter-Strike - Valve's involvement with CS has been mediocre at best, from 'updating' maps and player models to alteri
  • Here's an Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:00PM (#10302144) Homepage
    Hey Vivendi Universal:

    License the Steam technology and platform from Valve and use it to distribute the other games in your library. That way you gain the benefits of an electronic distribution channel without having to do the blood and sweat part yourself and you reward one of your forward-thinking business partners.

    Or you can sue said customer and make yourself look like the idiotic, money grubbing, fear-mongering institutions of the MPAA and RIAA, which are locked in the past despite all signs customer preferences are pointing the other way. Oh, that's right. Universal is a RIAA member. No wonder.

    This is what you get when crotchety septegenarians managing a confused, out of focus multinational try to sell entertainment "to the kids". Heavy handed, out of touch business practices that alienate more people than they are trying to attract.
  • n/t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:10PM (#10302252)
    ... for not doing a Mac port.

    Yes, God is a Mac Gamer. And He is pissed.

  • I'll just torre^H^H^H^H^Hwait a while to buy it.

  • "Vivendi responded by making a number of claims in an attempt to invalidate our agreement and be awarded the ownership of the Half-Life intellectual property. We expect to prevail in this lawsuit."

    Maybe that's just a high bid and they expect to be talked down between legal proceedings, but that's seriously scary.

    It sounds like Valve intended to use Steam as its own little online marketplace. It didn't tell Sierra about this until a year after an agreement was filed because that would like scare them out
  • by Zenmonkeycat (749580) on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:41PM (#10302531)
    We know that Valve must be in the wrong here. After all, Vivendi has a long history of keeping the developer's/creative's best interests in mind. Anyone remember Vivendi's excellent (and forward-thinking) handling of mp3.com? (VU sold the domain, but not the music itself, to CNet, presumably for One Hundred Billion Dollars, as well as some sexual favors and two FREE Igia nail clippers.)

    I mean, who wanted all those free MP3s anyway? Most of them were made by artists who would never sell albums anyway! VU was actually being polite, by helping those musicians who never would have 'made it' to get a real job, like making the Fajita Sandwich Wrap Melts that Vivendi executives get at Wendys.

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