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First Person Shooters (Games) PC Games (Games)

Half-Life 2 Retail to Require Steam Activation 265

An anonymous reader writes "In a recent Gamespy interview with Doug Lambardi it was revealed that the retail version of Half-Life 2 will require product activation. This isn't just restricted to multiplayer, you will have to create a Steam account and activate your retail purchase before you can even run single-player. "
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Half-Life 2 Retail to Require Steam Activation

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  • by eviltypeguy ( 521224 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:33PM (#10609118)
    I just love how Valve changed what they originally said about this...

    All hail Valve, our next Microsoft Product Activation-like overlord.
    • Thanx valve (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ramunas ( 771197 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @02:21PM (#10609701) Homepage
      so how am I supposed to play it when it's imposiible for me to use STEAM?!?! I must use a proxy server to connect to the internet, which is also used by many other people, so port-forwarding is not an option. Therefore no steam for my PC. And thus I can't even play the legitimate version of it, oh well I guess I'm just going to need to find a cracked, boot-legged version of it anyway :(
      • by arose ( 644256 )
        We are not sure about your particular setup, please buy a retail package to test it out*. * Opened packages can not be returned. Thanks for your interest in Half Life 2, Valve
    • Agreed. You can get away with a lot more when you're selling a word processor than when you're selling a videogame. Having seen Steam's "performance" over the years, I swore that I would never install it until it became A: minimalist B: stable and C: open to any vendors.

      I'd also been planning on buying Half-Life 2 when it was released. But with Doom 3 out and Halo 2 coming out, I don't see how they can require Steam and feel they can get away with it in the competitive marketplace. It's amazing that in
  • Team Fortress 2? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) * on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:35PM (#10609122)
    "Q. What's the latest status on Team Fortress 2?

    Doug Lombardi: After we announced TF2 on the HL1 tech, we made the decision to move it to the Source engine. It is still in development and we will be announcing more on that title soon."

    Don't bother, no one cares any more. You blew it.
  • Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:36PM (#10609134)
    that they have given me an excuse to not purchase the game. I use my machine for programming, with a bit of light gaming on the side. I'm not interested in Steam (I get my rear end handed to me in multiplay) and if I have to sell my machine's soul to their marketing drones, well they can take their delayed, litigated and now "strings attached" game and shove it.

    Sad really, reviews are high and I loved the first one. I guess I will be more productive next month than I expected.
    • Re:Glad to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sgant ( 178166 )
      Yeah, big pain in the ass. But you know, you could register with Steam giving bogus info then just block steam from accessing the Net.

      But look at Steam this way, it's just a Valve game launcher. It's how you launch Valve games. That's how Valve does it.

      It's minor. A very minor thing and yet people act like Valve is asking for the their first born child! Let's see what happens first next month before we start jumping to conclusions.
      • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:20PM (#10609406) Homepage Journal
        I dunno, I don't think it's that minor. They've done a couple of things here which violate a couple of things I feel are integral to a single-player game. First off, a single player game just shouldn't have to talk to the internet. Suppose I didn't have a connection where I was. Suppose I just moved and my connection's not installed yet. Suppose I have restrictive firewall settings on that I don't want to have to bypass just to play a game against the computer. It's just unacceptable.

        The second, and to me more annoying thnig, is that they've just made it impossible to install and play the game once they go belly-up. As soon as Steam stops becoming available, nobody can play the game on a new installation without hacking it. That's just ridiculous. I still pull out old DOS games from when I was a dorkling in junior high, and I expect them to just install and WORK (well, provided the DOS emulators are up to snuff, anyway). Would they do so if they had to dial up and talk to some server from the 80s that doesn't exist anymore? No, they wouldn't.

        All in all, a horrible decision. I was so excited about this game, too.

        • Sandbox and crack, my friend. This will not be a problem 10 years down the road.
          • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:37PM (#10609505) Homepage Journal
            Right, obviously if you either go to the trouble of hacking it yourself, or just wait a few hours for the inevitable Clever Hacker to do it for you, then you're good to go. The thing is that I shouldn't have to resort to methods which can probably be construed as illegal by our lovely judicial system just to play a game I purchased against my own computer.
            • Its been like that for a long time, and is why I don't purchase games. I'm not going to jump through hoops to get something I paid for working when its infinately easier to download the fully working version. It would be like if buying a cd required you to fill out 5 pages of paperwork (which isnt too far off from what I predict the future will be like) -- If I payed for it, it should JustWork(TM)

              Thats why the only games worth what they charge are made by ID. Even their cdkey auth is more lax allowing much
              • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by thrash242 ( 697169 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @06:02PM (#10610721)
                I don't condone downloading illegal copies of games, but I do agree that anything more than inserting the CD(s) and entering a CD code is too invasive. Particularly for singleplayer.

                Most games I have played aren't bad. At the worst, for some games you have to set up an account, but most games just require a CD code and you're ready to play.

                Singleplayer, however, should not require internet access at all. This is ridiculous, and I may just not get HL2 because of it.

                However, that means I will do without it rather than downloading it. Unlike many people, I learned that you either pay for something or do without. Getting games is not a right.
          • Re:Glad to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

            by accelleron ( 790268 )
            My preference would be that Valve release a patch that makes the game playable without activation and/or steam upon release.

            At this point, though, Valve can go one of two paths:

            1. The "Duke Nukem, meet WinXP" path that will kill their sales (and mods) upon termination of their studio


            2. The patch way. Sadly enough, releasing a patch that disables activation is in their best interests - alternatively someone else will release one that disables activation, along with minor features like CD-Key protection
      • Re:Glad to see... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by igrp ( 732252 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:37PM (#10609508)
        It's minor. A very minor thing and yet people act like Valve is asking for the their first born child!

        It very well may be minor but it's still an annoyance. I can understand their desire to protect their IP, especially after their ridiculous security policies have resulted in several breaches.

        But this will simply not prevent determined people from pirating or leaking the game. It will, however, inconvenience those people who buy a legitimate copy of the game.

        I guess the old "some people don't have Internet/broadband/whatever access" argument doesn't hold a lot of water anymore, especially with regard to the intended HL2 audience. But the fact remains that some people simply don't want to forced to active their software because they're opposed to the idea of having to give out private information in general, or just don't want to be bothered or simply find the whole concept of treating a paying customer like a criminal unless he or she proves otherwise iniquitous.

        Yes, I suppose you could give Valve fake information. But I why am I supposed to give them any personal information in the first place? Compare it to Windows XP. Microsoft's product activation scheme hasn't prevented one determined individual from pirating their software. Sure, it has raised the bar so-to-speak for some "casual, wannabe software pirates" (which was probably what they were trying to do). They also managed to piss off millions of legitimate users in the process.

        I sure hope they put a big fat red warning sticker on the boxes. Hardcore gamers will still want to play HL2, even if they have to give their firstborn to Valve (and that probably goes for a lot of not-so-hardcore gamers, too). But that way, people at least have a choice and don't have to find out the hard way (ie. after installing the game) that they can't play the game they just purchased without Valve's blessing.

      • Re:Glad to see... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:51PM (#10610428)
        Actually it *is* a big deal. I have some games that required activation from a few years ago where the company decided to stop issuing activation codes. Thanks, but no thanks, they can go to hell before I buy another game that requires activation.
    • I gave up playing games on my PC. I bought one of those new PS/2 systems and hooked up to the TV card on my Linux system. The PS/2 display will be in another window in X. Now I can switch between playing games and browsing, etc on one system and I don't need a noisy expensive video card on my PC anymore. Console games are not so expensive anyway if you wait a little while. I see plenty of games under $20 since new stuff comes up on a weekly basis.
  • by Drakino ( 10965 ) <> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:36PM (#10609140) Journal
    Sounds like a move to try and get people to see Steam, and consider not buying the next Valve product in the stores.

    Some ideas of Steam are nice, but I still don't like the idea of buying a product through it. Skipping the publishers is a bad thing, as they fund the new games. Sure, publishers need to treat the developers better, but to try and axe them out of the picture completely is a bad idea.
    • Why is that bad? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:05PM (#10609319) Homepage
      Your logic is, "Skipping the publishers is a bad thing, as they fund the new games."

      But the whole point of skipping the publishers is to get enough money so the developers can "fund the new games". And when you get to that point, WHY do we, as gamers, or developers, need or want publishers?
      • But the whole point of skipping the publishers is to get enough money so the developers can "fund the new games".

        Who do you think funds a new development studio with no released titles already making money for them?

        Valve's got to the stage where it doesn't need the financial backing of a publisher, but for smaller people, it's a very important source of monetary investment.

        As for the Half-Life 2 requiring product activation - I'm not sure if this is the best route to be going down. Yes, nearly everyone
      • Re:Why is that bad? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Drakino ( 10965 ) <> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:37PM (#10609504) Journal
        Ok, I'm a new developer. How do I fund my game? Pre-sell it through a Steam like program collecting money at the pre-sell, then coming out with it 3 years later? No.

        I go and talk to a game publisher, they loan me money, then when the game does well, the loan is paid off. If it doesn't then thats another story. The publisher also has people to decide if the game idea will do well, by testing it on play testers and such.

        I am not saying existing publishers are great. I'm just mostly trying to say getting rid of them completly to me seems like a very bad idea.

        This is all overly simplistic, but I think it gets the point across.
        • You release something really cool as a mod to get your companys name known, then its easier to get money for further devel. Look at Natural Selection and Flayra's new company, UnderWorldsEntertainment. Had he just started a company from the begining, noone would pay any attention. Now he has a following, people with money like that.

          Greymatter(I think) did the same thing with RTCW:EnemyTerritory.
    • For a company that is already stable enough financially and well known (such as valve), they can figure out how to pay the development costs. If they sell their products only through a Steam like system, they can cut the costs of publishing and the percent they have to give the publishers.
      If most of the sells will be through an online system, cutting off the publishers' share, they can earn much more money from it, easily cover the development costs and have enough money to develop the next game.
      Any surplus
    • Stardock has been releasing games online and offline for a while now, and their method is *much* less draconian than Steam's.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:39PM (#10609151)
    Sorry Valve, but I have no intention of letting Steam ever tough my PC. I will buy your game (if it turns out to be worth it), and I will acquire a crack to enable it.

    Don't fuck over your customers. Things will get much worse.
  • Won't stop piracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This'll barely even slow the warezers down. I bet there'll be a crack out within a week of release, if there isn't one already.
    • This'll barely even slow the warezers down. I bet there'll be a crack out within a week of release, if there isn't one already

      Most piracy is casual, if it is trivially easy for a non-technical person they will do it. Put up the slightest barrier and most will give up and buy the game if they really wanted it. Copy protected CDs, cd-keys, etc are popular because they work. They stop the vast majority of would be pirates. The part of the population that can manage to find a warez site, get a crack that is
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:39PM (#10609153)
    If I'm going to be treated like a copyright infringer, I'll just wait for the crack.
  • by happyhippy ( 526970 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:45PM (#10609179)
    from the average public joe.
    "Hey mister, this game wont work. Can I exchange it?"
  • by thesp ( 307649 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:46PM (#10609191)
    ...I urge others to do the same. If we, the consumers, keep on permitting u-turns by companies, and cheerfully accepting them, it will only encourage this culture of mendacity that is more prevalent each day in this world.
    • I understand if you do not agree with the Steam authentication, but why is it that people want everyone to do the same thing they are doing. It is like people want an excuse to not buy the game. Games are about entertainment and fun, so why are so many people complaining about HL2, a game that hasn't even come out yet. I think people are forgetting the whole point of buying a game. How can you judge a game's quality if you haven't played it yet.

      I'm beginning to think people use the whole HL2 "drama" ju
    • Half-Life 2 is #1 on the Amazon sales list.
  • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:49PM (#10609207) Homepage Journal
    Here we go again!

    (in sarcastic tones)

    HOW DARE THEY! They expect us to have a net connection! What year do they think this is? 2004 or something?!?! Don't they understand that people that have the horsepower in a computer to run the Source engine as in HL2 usually do NOT have any sort of net connection! What do they think we are, NASA?!?!

    Valve is nothing but a bunch of money-grubbing jerks to make us pay for a game...A GAME! They should open source it!

    Here is a list of demands for Valve:

    1. Stop lying to us! We trusted't know with what, but lots of people are saying you let us stop it!

    2. I don't want you spying on me 24/7. I know Valve is out there, looking through my window, looking through my mailbox, now you want to invade my machine and spread all your viruses and spyware to watch everything I do so you can sell it to the Iraqis for some oil-for-games program you have going! YOU'RE EVIL!

    3. I want every game and every map and every mod ever made for HL/CS/DoD etc etc to be converted to the Source engine AND be included on the HL2 CD. AND I want everything on one CD.

    4. I want Source to run 150fps on my Pentium 90 with Stock VGA graphics...using DX9.0c. Anything more than that and you guys just don't know how to program.

    5. I don't want any bugs, none. If one bug shows up I'll sue you!

    6. I don't want any type of security on these games. I should be able to install on any number of computers. I have 150 friends that all would like to "try out" this game so I want to burn 150 CD's with a copy on it so I can let them have it for a low price of $20 (that covers the cost of the CD).

    Do these things and perhaps maybe I'll play the game...but only maybe.
    • That's amusing, but disingenuous.

      No one should have to cede control over his machine and agree to a Draconian agreeement that indemnifies Valve in the event of any screwups to play a game he legitimately purchased. This is about control, not about copyright infringement. The crackers will have this one on Usenet inside of a week--the only ones inconvenienced will be those who purchased a game that has to call home to use single player mode, and a company that's going to collect and sell Bob-knows-what info

      • Of course I was trying to be amusing, certainly not a troll.

        But I really don't see what the big deal is. I use Steam now. I have been since day one. It has been nothing more than a way to launch the game. It doesn't take info from my computer like my bank account or keep track of what websites I go to. It's NOT SPYWARE.

        Why does everyone jump over this, yet not any antivirus software that has to connect all the time to the net to get updates? What about iTunes checking for updates? Real player? Photoshop?
    • dude.. fuck you.

      it's entirely understandable to bitch about it _NEEDING_ a net connection.

      and you know what it leads to? using cracks.
      and you know what? in 8+ years when valve has gone belly under.. YOU CAN'T INSTALL AND PLAY IT ANYMORE(without cracks)!

      and they've lied to their fans over and over again(dates and even what they're up to doing, in what state it is).. but fans don't care, because they're fanboys.
      • Thanks...but it was ment to be funny, not I even started off with a sarcastic tone.

        I of course don't see them doing any of the things I listed.

        But then again, no one bitches about NEEDING a connection to play like Everquest or SWG or other online games. Ok, you may say bad example because it's listed on the box before you buy that you need a connection to play. Well, it also lists on the box that you need a connection with HL.

        But anyway, 8+ years from now I'll be playing something else. Ther
        • But then again, no one bitches about NEEDING a connection to play like Everquest or SWG or other online games.

          Actually, some people do bitch about this. Granted, most people understand the need immediately, but not everybody. Even Grandma might want to play the Sims Online, but not understand why she needs to be dialed up while doing so.

          But for a single player game, it makes no sense, beyond marketing and copy protection, things we hate (newsflash: even people who paid for their game hate copy pro

        • hl2 isn't an online game.

          to quote the interview "Doug Lombardi: During installation the user will be prompted to authenticate the copy and create a Steam account. After that is complete, the single-player and LAN games do not require an Internet connection."

          so.. to play the _single_player game you need to authenticate during the installation.
        • I'm not the parent, but I can still say that I play Die By the Sword - at least 3 times a week - it's only SIX years old, but Treyarch and Interplay have long stopped caring about or supporting the game.

          And the big issue here with HL2 is that it's a single player game, there's no need for anyone to have to log online, yet they're making it mandatory anyway. It's something I and many others are becoming increasingly fed up with, because they make you go through increasing circles of bullshit in order to p

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe you should try seeing the other sides point of view.

      For example, my current machine can not run HL2, and I will not be getting one that can for quite a while. I will be picking up the collector's edition when it is released because I like collecting them and want to secure a copy.

      Cracks aside, what guarantee do I have that I will be able to play the single player HL2 and HL: Source game when I do have the machine to run it? What about 5 years from now when I want to play through HL2 and HL: Source
  • by gothfox ( 659941 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:02PM (#10609292) Homepage
    After all, product activation did a miracle for Microsoft. Stopped those evil software pirates completely, yessir.
  • OK, so... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Snowspinner ( 627098 ) *
    What is an acceptable way for companies to deal with piracy then? I mean, come on. We really damage our credibility if we bitch at every attempt to curb piracy. But we complain about Microsoft barring modded XBoxes from their servers, about copy protection like this, we complain when companies sue file sharers...

    Are people really arguing that there should be no way to prevent piracy? Because based on the aggregate outrage of the /. populace, that's increasingly what we're looking like. And down that road l
    • Re:OK, so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dougmc ( 70836 ) <> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:46PM (#10609554) Homepage
      What is an acceptable way for companies to deal with piracy then?
      You need a list? Ok then ...

      Acceptable forms of copy protection :

      Ignore it. That's certainly acceptable, and works well for many game developers and publishers.

      Add extras in the box that add value. Cloth maps, figurines, trading cards, etc.

      Make a complex game that requires lots of documentation, and include it in a printed book.

      Make an awesome multi-user component that requires logging into a server with a unique CD key to play online. It must be something that needs to use the Internet already, however (like a multi-user component would.)

      Include the phrase: Please don't copy this game illegally.

      Barely acceptable methods include :

      Require use of that CD key to download patches and updates.

      Having a unique CD key for each copy of the game.

      Include copy protection methods that make it hard to copy, or make copies not work -- Safedisk, bad sectors, etc. These aren't very effective, but as long as they don't cause problems for legitimate users, they're acceptible -- barely.

      Require that the CD be in the drive while playing the game. We don't like this, but we generally tolerate it if there's no other problems.

      Hidden registry keys to keep track of previous installations and such.

      Utterly unaccecptable forms of copy protection for a game :

      Contacting the Internet (or requiring that you call up a phone number to get a code) for a single player game

      Dongles (and other hardware keys.)

      `Please enter the third word of page 25 now.' (or other sorts of code wheels, books, etc.)

      Writing to the boot sector or other `off limits' part of the disk. (Turbo Tax did this recently.)

      Installing Spyware that reports back to the publisher.

      Programs that look for `cheating' or `cracking' programs on your disk and either refuse to run the game if found, or (worse) remove/break the offending programs. (EQ has done this, as and several programs refuse to work if programs like Daemon Tools or even Nero are even installed.)

      Protections that damage the system if they feel they're being messed with (recent example: program that deleted your home directory if it detected a `pirated' CD key.)

      Special device drivers that must be installed just to run the game -- like a special CD rom driver.

      Unmovable files (if you put a file down, we should be able to defrag it!)

      I'm sure I've missed a few in each category, but this should get you started. Game developers, you listening?

      • Personally, I consider requiring the CD in the drive unacceptable. I own lots of games, and the first thing I do with any new game I buy is make a CD image of it. It is far easier to mount an image with Daemon Tools than to rummage around for the CD.
      • The listing seems to be fairly accurrate for the needs of the average player.

        Make a complex game that requires lots of documentation, and include it in a printed book.

        The trick is to keep it fairly simple... For example, Wizball required shaking the joystick to activate a powerup (information which was not visible in some pirated versions of that game.) It collapeses as soon as the player asks a helpful friend with a manual, but is effective in most cases.

        No need for complexity at all - just noncha

      • Dongles (and other hardware keys.)

        Hypothetical variant of a dongle that I'd like to see if people consider it acceptable:

        Suppose they made a USB device, something like a memory stick, except with a proprietary, hidden chip on it. The game loader is visible on the stick as if it were any USB mass storage device, but the rest of the game - levels, bitmaps, sounds, etc. - is accessible only through code in the game, and that code communicates with the chip through public-key encryption. Cracking that would
        • Please don't copy this game illegally.

          I hope you're joking. That phrase is "acceptable" to everyone but the publisher; people who want to copy the game won't give a ham whether they're asked not to copy.

          I was not joking at all.

          Microsoft puts something like `Please do not make illegal copies of this software' on their CDs. If it makes even one person realize that making a copy of this might be illegal (under certain conditions anyways) and decide against it, then it's a somewhat effective copy prot

    • Re:OK, so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fwitness ( 195565 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:55PM (#10609595)
      Umm, no. Product activation is something that has been tried a bunch of times, to no avail. While piracy is a problem, it doesn't mean it's an insurmountable one. For one thing, people *lose* money through piracy, and that sucks. That doesn't mean they make *no money* or even a drastically reduced amount. I think we all know the windows piracy problem helped establish it's market dominance.

      Also on the "no longer being considered worth pandering to" note, I don't think I've ever seen any demographic ever cease to be marketed to due to piracy. Cable TV, lot's of pirates, still makes money. Dish TV, same. Windows, same. Any popular pc Game, same.

      People keep thinking of piracy as something that can be eliminated, like polio. It's not some disease that threatens humanity. It's an aspect of human nature that has been around for quite some time (like, uh, pirates? You know, the swashbuckling kind?). There is a reason banks and large commercial retailers have insurance. Nobody has ever said "lets start a campain to stop bank robbery!" People are going to still rob banks, despite having 50 cameras and untold security. Some will succeed. If your business model relies on not having anyone *ever* steal from you, I suspect you have bigger problems. Does anyone have theft insurance? Why is that? Theft has been around a long time, why haven't we started 'The War On Theft'?

      Now, making me give you my personal info to buy your product, that's fine, but don't expect me to do so. There are plenty of other games out there. Keep in mind this is the *single* player version that also requires activation. Would you buy console games this way? Oh yeah, that next Zelda is so cool, I'll just tell the Nintendo people my personal details, because I *know* they won't share them with anyone.


      If you feel it's fine, you go right ahead, but in my mind at least, this is not a bright idea.
  • Requiring you to register online.

    Anyone would think they didn't trust you to pay for it.
  • Need more DETAILS... (Score:4, Informative)

    by meanfriend ( 704312 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:12PM (#10609360)
    About how this authentication is going to affect future installations. Will Steam keep track of some unique product id (like a CDKey) and tie it to a specific install?

    ie. You install HL2 and the next day some hardware/OS failure requires you to reformat/reinstall. Will you be able to re-authenticate on the same CDKey? What about if you delete an old install and want to re-install on a new PC?

    What if you trade in your HL2 at EB for some reason (runs too slow, too buggy, you plain dont like it), will the next person who buys it even be able to authenticate and play it? This could effectively destroy the pre-owned market (at least for this game). Which would be total BS; if I want to sell my game, I should be able to. Is that not my right as a consumer?

    Go look at the Steam website faq. They specifically state that CDkeys cannot be transferred between Steam accounts. Without a doubt, Valve (and probably every publisher out there) would love nothing better than to ensure that everyone who plays their game has to always buy a full priced new copy. There is just too much potential for abuse here...

    Maybe I'm way off base, and I'd love nothing better than Valve to prove me wrong. I was on the fence about buying HL2, now I'd say my mind is made up...

    • no, it isn't tied to your hardware. In fact, you can install it on 100 machines if you have 100 machines...yet you can only play it on one at a time.

      I've reformated my HD and even upgraded quite a bit of hardware...Steam loads right in and I install up my games. Hell, I don't even know where my original HL CD is anymore...lost in so many moves...yet my account is right there and I loaded it up and off I was playing again.

      But again, no. It's NOT TIED to your hardware.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )
      ***What if you trade in your HL2 at EB for some reason (runs too slow, too buggy, you plain dont like it), will the next person who buys it even be able to authenticate and play it? This could effectively destroy the pre-owned market (at least for this game). Which would be total BS; if I want to sell my game, I should be able to. Is that not my right as a consumer?***

      well, that's where you're onto them.

      (besides.. the hl1-key state is horrid.. you can't really buy hl1 in shrink wraps and be sure that it h
  • by david.given ( 6740 ) <> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:13PM (#10609365) Homepage Journal
    Because there still are some, here and there. 'Net access isn't as ubiquitous as you think it is.
    • What about people without 3D cards? What about people without CD-ROMs? What about people without computers at all? What about people with Macs? What about people running Amiga's?

      I could go on...but I'm not.
      • **What about people without 3D cards? What about people without CD-ROMs? What about people without computers at all?**

        Idiot. you _need_ those things to play the game.

        net connection is just an artificial requirement to the single player game(to make tie the purchase you made to just you... more theoretical profits as you can't loan it to your friend after you played it through. would you buy a dvd you wouldn't be able to loan to your friends?).
      • A constant internet connection is something the majority of us don't have, unlike 3D cards and CD-ROMs. That's simplifying it a bit much.

        What if I install it on a laptop and want to play it on a plane or a hotel or anywhere without a connection?
    • To those who didn't understand your message, an example: not everybody gives internet access to their kids. So how do you activate HL2 on your kid's computer when said does not have internet access?
  • My understanding is that you were going to need Steam for offline play of HL2 since it was announced. This is about as news-worthy as the sun rising in the morning or Bill Gates having an assload of money.

    While I can fully understand not liking the idea of Steam (hell, I still think it's a buggy piece of garbage, and it's gotten much better than the old versions), it's not that big a deal. Once you register your CD-Key with Valve through Steam, you can play the game, get updates quickly, and run the game o
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:43PM (#10609546) Homepage Journal
      * My understanding is that you were going to need Steam for offline play of HL2 since it was announced.*

      that is not true. they said you would need steam for updates and online play, but if you wanted to just play the single player game out of the box then you wouldn't need a net connection(this would be the sensible thing, as some don't have net even).

      among other things this makes it basically impossible for there to be a 2nd hand market for these as well(_this_ is what they're after.. making it impossible for even legally to buy it cheaper than store from someone who already played through it).
      • that is not true. they said you would need steam for updates and online play, but if you wanted to just play the single player game out of the box then you wouldn't need a net connection(this would be the sensible thing, as some don't have net even).

        Which is logical, i might add: if you're not interested in online play, it probable your system won't even have an internet connection - my first thought were laptops. Asking for online activation on what's mainly a single player game is retarded.
  • []
    75% of americans are connected to the internet. Is Valve really making it so that 25% of the population cannot play HL2? There's got to be more to the story. I wonder if they'll have a way for people to telephone in activation somehow.
    • You're over-simplifying. I highly doubt that the 25% that don't have internet access all have computers. I'm sure that, by now, anywhere from 5 to 10% of people who have computers don't have internet access, and they don't play games anyway. Except for Solitaire and Minesweeper.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:55PM (#10609594)
    The whole point of getting a box is you can install the CDs even if Valve goes under and stops running activation servers. Welp, no more. It's pretty annoying actually. I think I can expect Microsoft to be running Activation servers 10 years from now (if only out of fear of a 250 million+ class action lawsuit), but a game company? It's like divx all over again....
  • by Fallen Andy ( 795676 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @02:15PM (#10609677)
    Oh no not again (crashing bowl of petunias time).
    I'm going to ROTFL because the innocent notion of
    requiring "Product Activation" has not so innocent

    Here goes:
    Once upon a time there was a Greek company (yes, I'm the dumb programmer who had to do it) who thought that having a product *locked* to a machine was a good idea. They thought about Dongles (yuck) and other stuff, and eventually came up with a relatively innocous scheme.

    So, they *required* product activation. Here's the bad news. Customers machines *break* and hence they trouble your support lines in lemming like droves. So, the more product you sell - the *LESS*
    money you make because you have to hire more zombies for the support dept. (So, in our case a
    $20 product ended up losing us $21... - or something like that).


    One activation code - yes, and then forever more you allow *reactivation* on other machines. OK, that doesn't kill piracy, but you have to take the
    rough with the smooth here...

    (and remember you don't know how much information
    is going back over the wire about your machine + environment. Get seriously FUDDED). Hell, just buy
    from another company. (Like the Coca Cola classic
    fiasco, if they want to sell it they'll have to listen).

  • I am already entitled to a copy of Half-Life 2. I have purchased an ATI video card what seems to me now like ages ago. Had I not, I would have thought about buying Half-Life 2. I know many who might have been interested in purchasing it as well. After this, no one I know or I would ever consider buying the product, would it be only out of spite. This new security measure is ludicrous.

    I anticipate more than usual will now be downloading it from an alternative source (no pun intended) more simply than Steam
  • First of all, I want to say this is totally uncalled for. I dunno why they can't just go Blizzard's route and make only one CD-key run at once online. You can't really get an online key for Starcraft without buying it, and it's been out for years.

    Also, I want to know how this will affect reselling of the game. Let's say in a few months I'm tired of HL2 and decide to sell it to a friend or something. Will he be unable to make a steam ID? Will he have to use mine? Because that would suck a bit.

    It just
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 came out with a patch so that you do not need to even have the CD in the drive to run the game.

    So instead of limiting the use of thier product, they listen to their customers and make the product better. (not too mention their support of mods is the best in the industry).
    • You know I have been toying with how to waste my time, looking at different games.

      I brought HL way back in the day, now I'm pretty pissed at Steam, I've played it quite a bit, but the more I do the more I hate it. All I play now days is Sven on 1.6 and luckily there are still a tone of 1.5 CS servers near me. I don't think they will be upgrading any time soon.

      Some things to bitch about steam:

      * Not everyone has a 10MBit pipe!
      * Releasing patches every couple of days is not fun, I want to play now not downl
  • by Malor ( 3658 ) * on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:55PM (#10610449) Journal
    They may have a point.

    There was a bug in Cstrike recently where if someone changed their name to include a " %n ", it would immediately crash the server and all the clients. They rolled out the fix sometime Monday, I think.

    About Wednesday, one of the players on the server I was on changed his name to include a %n. This blew away about half the people on the server. Why? Because the pirates didn't have the fixed version yet.

    As long as he sat there with the %n, nobody with a pirated game could logon, and the 40-person server was unable to climb above about 24 people. Normally, it's at 40 players 95% of the time.

    Pirated Counterstrike, in other words, is extremely, extremely common. I don't know if it's deliberate on Valve's part, but they don't seem to be doing a good job AT ALL of shutting out the thieves. One thought that comes to mind is that maybe they're trying to get online 'buzz' early on, by making sure there are lots of Cstrike players. Perhaps they'll get more aggressive about shutting down pirates once the game hits store shelves.

    But, it is also possible that they CAN'T for some reason... which, if true, doesn't encourage me that they'll get CS:S terribly cheat-free.

    Looked like about 50-60% pirated copies on the server I was on. Real shame.
  • "Forget freeman, im out of here!!"
  • When I buy something, I don't expect to have to call the manufacter just to be able to use it.

    I think I'll just wait for a pirate hack and not give any of my money to Valve after all now.
  • For those that don't have internet connections, I bet signup is just like XP. They will have a toll-free number to call, and you will get a registration key after giving them a key on the box. This key will probably be able to be used on all the local copies you instal, just like XP. If this is not the case...well, it HAS to be the case.
  • by (SM) Spacemonkey ( 812689 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @01:14AM (#10612635)
    I don't mind. From a technical standpoint, I actually am quite fond of steam. As far as activation goes, I am comfortable with the internet, and already have a steam account. But that is just *me*

    Beyond *me* why cannot Valve's sell a product in any manner they wish. If they want to put "internet required" on the the box, and only sell it to people who can activate via the internet. Well what is wrong with that? Where exactally is Valve's obligation to make and sell Half Life 2 to you, exactally as you would like it?

    I am not sure I understand all the indignation surrounding this story. If you do not like the manner in which Valve sells its product, then do not spend your money on it. An aggregate approximation of your choice will be clear in the market. However, somehow I do not think the market will side with you, and Half Life 2 will be successful. Discussion welcome.
    • Beyond *me* why cannot Valve's sell a product in any manner they wish. If they want to put "internet required" on the the box, and only sell it to people who can activate via the internet. Well what is wrong with that? Where exactally is Valve's obligation to make and sell Half Life 2 to you, exactally as you would like it?

      I get so tired of comments like these. Look Spacemonkey no one is saying Valve can't sell their game with restrictions. What you're seeing is Valve's market responding negatively to the

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