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First Person Shooters (Games) PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Half-Life 2 Already Being Illegally Sold in Russia 85

freidog writes "A short blurb on GamesRadar reports Half-Life 2 is for sale, sort of. It seems the 'leaked' Half-Life 2 source has found itself nicely updated and packaged for sale, in Russia. Some work has certainly gone into this production, as 'Hackers have apparently even gone to the length of translating text in the fully playable code into Russian.' However, one would imagine the game's content would be pretty sparse, and stability and polish lacking on such an early build." Another reader points to a page with more information on the bootleg discs, although only the disc art and packaging is mentioned as being translated.
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Half-Life 2 Already Being Illegally Sold in Russia

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  • Not News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @11:53PM (#7994643) Journal
    A compiled version of the source was on the net about a week after it was downloaded. Where the textures are from I don't know, but the only thing that surprises me is it took so LONG for someone to start selling it.
    • Re:Not News (Score:3, Informative)

      The content was leaked a while after the source was.

      • Re:Not News (Score:2, Insightful)

        I figured that whoever got in took the textures too. Whatever the case, there's a version been on the net for aeons now.

        I have very little sympathy for Valve, and find their fanboys deeply amusing. Running a program that any monkey knows is full of security holes (Outlook) on a system with valuable code on...

        It's like leaving all the doors open at the bank and using the honor system to keep people out of the vault...
        • Re:Not News (Score:2, Insightful)

          by log0n ( 18224 )
          Theft is still a crime.
          • To be theft an item has to be in the sole possession of the criminal. The Valve incident is copyright violation (on a grand scale) NOT theft.

            Regardless, my point still stands. Machines, hooked to the net, with known security problems on it... The guy or gal who did it wasn't exactly facing a Fort Knox level of security.

            Like if you left your car unlocked on purpose and someone stole it, sure, it's still "theft", but I have no sympathy for you because you bought it on yourself.
        • ...not to mention having said system hooked up to the fuckin' INTERNET.
  • by Fortunato_NC ( 736786 ) <> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @11:59PM (#7994717) Homepage Journal
    That people who lived under communism for so long have mastered capitalism so quickly.

    Must we really squash this beautiful flickering light?

    Seriously, has anyone seen screenshots? From what I understand, only source code was stolen - no artwork or textures. Someone went to a lot of trouble to get this into a playable condition, I'd imagine. Of course, since we don't know who someone is, "Half-Life 2" could also be searching our hard drives for credit card numbers and PayPal logins while we amuse ourselves. I don't care how desperate you are to see Half-Life 2 early, I wouldn't take the risk of installing this "demo"

    • by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @12:24AM (#7994894) Homepage Journal
      Step 1: Develop long-anticipated game.

      Step 2: Leak source to said game.

      (Step 1.5: Make deal with Russian hacker types, give them better copy of "leaked" code)

      Step 3: Use back doors in said code / existance of said code to

      a) Royally screw pirates
      b) Steal ccns for extra, secret income
      c) Generate even MORE buzz about your game
      Step 4: Profit!

      (I'm KIDDING!)

      • I know you are joking (you said that yourself), but it's a myth that pirated software is likely to steal your CC numbers.

        In more than a decade of buying pirated software only twice I had an infected disk and never ever had seen or heard about any spyware or malware on a pirated CD (other than Real Player or MS Windows).

        Pirates are normal companies with normal distribution networks - you are just as likely to buy spyware in BestBuy as from pirates. So please, stop spreading misinformation.
        • "So please, stop spreading misinformation."

          Oh? Now I'll make it my mission to distribute pirated software that collects ccns and profit from the lack of competition. ^_^
        • Well thats a stupid statement. Companies that publish software are easily held liable for what they publish. International warez rings are pretty hard to prosecute when you say, "I bought this illegal software and it stole all my credit card numbers." It would be very easy for a company pushing warez out the door to do this. And you don't see or hear about pirated software companies doing this because not very many people will publicly review pirated versions of software. You call it a myth because it
          • Re:Capitalism! Viva! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by danila ( 69889 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @01:13PM (#7999326) Homepage
            First of all, my comment about BestBuy was purely mathematical. To the best of my knowledge, the probability of a random piece of software sold in BestBuy containing spyware, malware or viruses is approximately the same as the probability of a random pirated CD sold in Moscow to contain the same, give or take a few percentage points.

            Second, most companies explicitly disclaim all liability and while this might not help them in case of malware, it surely protects them in case of spyware and viruses. Even dialers appear to be legal.

            Third, CC numbers theft is illegal and prosecuted everywhere, including Russia. If you were a pirate company selling CDs with malware, you would very soon be paid a visit from the R-department, since it's extremely easy to track a CD. Of course, individual people might attempt to disguise malware as warez, but that can no more turn pirates into criminals, than a burglar masquarading as a plumber can make all plumbers criminals.

            Turning back to the real pirates (not criminals disguising as pirates), there is another reason why they don't do basty stuff. They have a business and they have a reputation. If they print a CD with malware, distributors won't trust them next time. So they will wreck their successful and profitable business for no apparent reason. Microsoft is known to regularly break the law, but that doesn't mean they are completely reckless - they won't murder Linus Torvalds, for instance, even though they are criminals. People usualy break one law - they one they are best at breaking. :) Even drug dealers would not usually murder people left and right.
    • That people who lived under communism for so long have mastered capitalism so quickly.

      Actually the only way to live "normaly" (ie. above poverty line) was to be as big of a capitalist as possible. Otherwise you get to starve while trying to live of off various social programs and low paying government owned jobs.
      • Actually the best way to live "normally" was to live normally. E.g. be a scientist, an engineer, a teacher, a worker, etc. During the 70+ years of socialism in Russia there have been many periods when average quality of life could be favourably compared with Western Europe.

        And now, when we have capitalism and free market in Russia, average real incomes are lower than in 1991, 75% of people have monthly income less than 150$, a nurse in a maternity hospital gets measly 25$/month, the richest 10% in Moscow e
        • You want to talk about equality? In communist russia (errr..I promise, no troll coming =p), those with high-level gov't jobs got -everything- the poor masses didn't. They got beach homes. New shoes (the way to tell a party member from a non-party member was by the shoes). Limos. High-pay. And there was more corruption than you can shake a stick at.

          The only reason their "capitalism" sucks so badly is because they've built it out of a hundred years of poorly done communism.

          Oh, and Russia wasn't communist. I

          • See my answer to GeckoX [] regarding inequality in present Russia. It is absolutely obvious that the situation in USSR was much much better than what we have today. I am very well informed about perks that the nomenclatura received, but you must realise that almost everyone had the perks, although less impressive. Everyone, from the last janitor to the Secretary General had access to beach homes (or resorts and sanatoriums), the difference was only in quantity and quality, but noone could own these beach homes
        • You think that the richest 10% earning 43 times as much as the poorest 10% in Russia is news? Do you really think that that would be much different in the good ole US of A?

          If I were to guess, I'd guess that it's probably closer to 100 times in the US, but I am pulling that out of my arse.

          • Please, Gecko, put the numbers back where you took them from. :)

            From here []
            Earnings Gap: Canada - 3.7, USA - 4.6, Sweden - 2.2. It is defined as the "ratio of the top to bottom 10% (i.e. top of 9th decile to top of 1st decile of earners).

            As I said before, in Moscow it is 43. Russian average is 14.6, but if you exclude Moscow from the statistics, it will probably drop to around 5-8. But 43 is simply not right, especially when you consider that Moscow has 8+ million population...
            • I would assume that if you did the same with New York you would get similar numbers. There are som very rich people in New York City as well as some very destitute people.

              Big cities are where the wealthist live and the poor go to find shelter.

              Moscow is no different than New York, Detroit or Chicago.
    • "Of course, since we don't know who someone is, "Half-Life 2" could also be searching our hard drives for credit card numbers and PayPal logins while we amuse ourselves."

      Damn those fiendish ex-communists. I hear the Reds in China are creating a version of Linux, too

      Roll on the days when we can be sure our computers are safe, secure in the knowledge that root access is only ever used by Microsoft and some nice gentlemen at the DoD...

  • they get to illegally beta test the game...
    whats the problem again?
  • DEMO ONLY (Score:3, Informative)

    by squant0 ( 553256 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @12:34AM (#7994958)
    Did anyone notice:
    "The current version of the game is demo only and the distributor hold no responsibility for the operational capabilities of this product."?

    So regardless of if its not legal, they aren't trying to pass it off as being the ACTUAL game.

    • the product has most definitely not been released. Yet ,it's being sold. Doesn't this mean that any store selling it should be shut down for blatant illegal acts? Or is that not something that non-US govt/law won't care about?? Maybe it's only some 'in secret' pirates selling, but it seems like a reasonably good opportunity to go after them, as clearly they have no leg (well...maybe a peg leg) to stand on. Aarrr!
      • To quote the article:
        Unlike Russia that has flooded all sources of media with advertisements stating that piracy is persecuted by law and tries very hard to fight with the sellers, the Ukraine is a haven for the illegal media industry. Here you will find stands selling all sorts of programs, music, movies, games at any subway station, along with massive markets devoted only to this industry.
  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @12:34AM (#7994962)
    You gotta pity the Russians to buy/bought copies of those copies. Its fairly common knowledge on the internet (at the very least for gaming readers) that there was a leak and a delay. For the uninformed masses, they're buying a broken, beta that might not even run on their computer.
    • Happen to see the prices though? Less then 5 dollars. I bet Gabe Newell is still recovering from the coughing fit he surely had when he found his source on the Internet.

      I for one welcome our new incomplete code-publishing overlords.
    • by danila ( 69889 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @09:14AM (#7997052) Homepage
      Nobody is passing the game for the final version. Most of the salesmen would tell you outright that this is a demo/alpha/beta/not a final product, and even those who would not tell you (because they assume you already know that) would answer the direct question. And, BTW, most would also be happy to exchange the disks for anything else for a small 1$/CD fee (applies to almost all disks).
      • 'If you play through this demo version [...]'

        I'm sorry, DEMO version? Last time I checked it was a leaked version of the game containing some of the source code. When did anyone say a thing about the leak being a DEMO? Even if salesmen outright told them the truth, consumers would raise an eyebrow when they notice what the truthful salesman and the back of the jewel case don't say the same thing.

        You're right, they're not passing it off as the final version. However, they are trying to pass it off as a near

    • pity? ya, i bought my copy for 80 roubles, that's about $2.50

      you don't need to pity me, it was chump change.
  • Anyone know when the release of HL2 is going to be?
    • First ill give you the classical game developer answer of........WHEN ITS DONE.....sorry couldnt pass that one up. Seriously now from what i have read the current theory(unless it has changed in the last 5 days) is that it will be relesed in april. although many sites say it is april 1st so who knows if it is real or not.
  • This is where piracy kills your sales, not in little susie who downloaded 2GB for her own music collection.

    It's those in foreign countries that are actually reselling it.
    • You are nuts! Tell me, how piracy of a leaked demo in Russia is killing sales of music labels in the US???

      1) this is no more a replacement for the full game than a demo, people will still buy the final product
      2) this is Russia, where 75% of the population earns less than 150$/month
      3) this is a game, not music
  • I've also seen a CS1.6 client that doesn't require a steam connection to connect to a LAN server that may have been built from the HL2 source code (or information therein).
    Here's [] the link I have, again it's russian.
    Disclaimer; I haven't tried it or downloaded it or anything or even checked if the file is still there.
    • I got a copy of that off of a few weeks back. It played just fine. The copy I got did not have a serial in-place, so you still needed a serial. Then agian, that could have been a trojan to swipe good serialz. I used a keygen, so the joke's on them. NortonAV did not pick up anything out of the ordinary; nor did AdAware.

      All in all, Steam has guarenteed that I'll never play another Valve game least not one I pay for. I love LAN parties. Even though my local gaming group has a T-
  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Friday January 16, 2004 @08:57AM (#7996974) Homepage
    There is plenty of misinformation and hearsay in regards to the sales of HL2 in Russia. The best weapon to combat the rumours are the facts, and here they are.

    1) The authors of the article on GamesRadar is stupid. The game was on sale in Russia basically since October, when it was leaked. And it wasn't sold in Novosibirsk only, but pretty much everywhere.

    2) The author of the page about Ukraine is a complete idiot. I don't even want to comment on all the stupidity he wrote there.

    3) The game has a couple of playable levels, including textures, models, AI, everything. Of course, it doesn't yet form a coherent story, but as far as I know, it includes all demoed levels, among others.

    4) Here is one of several reviews of Half-Life 2 alpha version: []. It's in Russian, but you can look at screenshots, or use the fish []. Among other things, the reviewer says that the graphics are not revolutionary, despite the hype and cool videos. There is no per-pixel lightning and no realistic destruction physics (like in Silent Storm), e.g. indestructable boxes, etc. Water is pretty cool, though. On Athlon 2500+ with GeForce Ti4200 the game runs at 22-35FPS in 1024x768x32 with average details and 4xAA. Overall the reviewer thinks that the final version would be good, but not as good as we were led to believe.

    5) The game doesn't collect your CC numbers, Mr. Fortunato. Despite what one may think, pirates are not criminals.

    6) Doom3 alpha also was/is on sale pretty much everywhere in Russia. Still, nobody risks buying it believing it's a real deal, because the most sellers would always specifically warn you that it is just an alpha and everyone would say that when asked.
    • Despite what one may think, pirates are not criminals.

      How about another FACT ...

      "Pirate" == copyright infringer == thief == criminal

      I'm not sure how you can justify otherwise.
    • 5) The game doesn't collect your CC numbers, Mr. Fortunato. Despite what one may think, pirates are not criminals.

      Uh uh. So they:
      1) Use viruses to plant keystroke loggers at Valve.
      2) Use stolen passwords to crack Valve's systems to steal source code & other assets.
      3) Resell the stolen property in another country.

      This makes them not What would they have to do, in your view, to be actual criminals? Would they have had to burst into Valve's offices waving guns, beat and tie up the s

      • First, nobody stole Valve's property, even though their PR guys jumped out of their pants to prove otherwise. Repeat after me: the delay of HL2 release is not caused by someone depriving Valve of its source code. I.e. that was not stealing. It was unauthorised access to data/information/software. And yes, hacking into someone's system is a crime in most places, so those guys probably were criminals.

        But pirates are not hackers, and the hacker didn't do that to make money on stolen code. So pirates do not do
        • Ha ha! Delusional, arent we? Let me spell it out for you. Pirates Are Criminals. Breaking the criminal. Thank you, thus ends today's lesson.
          • Sorry to burst the bubble for you, but

            Crimes, in the English common law, are grave offenses which were originally capitally punished (murder, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, and larceny), as distinguished from misdemeanors, which are offenses of a lighter grade.

            If you want to call pirates criminals, fine, English language allows you to do it, but only if you admit you are a criminal yourself for parking in the wrong place, exceeding the speed limit by 1 km/h or by crossing the street in the wrong place.
    • Overall the reviewer thinks that the final version would be good, but not as good as we were led to believe.

      You've got to be kidding. How can you take a review seriously of a STOLEN/INCOMPLETE/APLHA version of a game? It was probably optimized for a specific system and video card, it's missing huge chunks of the game, and it's NOT FINISHED!

      I think I'll wait until the final version of the game is released before I pass judgement.
      • I wasn't very much optimised for any system (it was Doom3 alpha that was optimised for ATI Radeon 9700). Yes, ATI cards currently run HL2 better than NVidia, but if you read my post, you would knew that even GeForce Ti4200 ran the game at 25+ FPS with 4xAA and medium-details.

        Huge chunks were missing, all right, but he could see how well the very much hyped features pan out. He thought that the hype was not warranted. Please also note that the delay of the game increases our expectations. Since May 2003, wh
    • 4) Here is one of several reviews of Half-Life 2 alpha version: It's in Russian, but you can look at screenshots, or use the fish.

      Haha. "Half-bodice". Silly babelfish.


  • lets hop on a boat to russia then :P
  • I wonder if the famous hl2 "leak" was somehow a way to make it "open source" so the active and large fan community could help solve the thousands of problems that valve ran into while making this extremely ambitious game?...

    After all, once the code is back in the product nobody will be able to claim property but valve (since it was modified ilegally) the community couldnt even watch the actual code again (unless they buy it at several thousands of dollars)...

    I dont know is too thin yes, but suspiciou
  • How does Valve explain that code from "doom3", ,"doom nukem forever","halo2" and even "counterstrike zero" (which is also produced by sierra) which are games with similar (or even bigger) hype, are known for having a very large fan base including modding and hacker communities (specially on counterstrike) and are made by american based companies using similar protection techniques. Have never suffered *"leaks" or "security attacks" like the ones they described when their code was "stolen" from them?

    • Siera is just the distributor for Half-Life2, Valve has its own offices, network, security (or lack of) etc. Valve would have no access to any other of Sierra's product line.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama