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Half Life 2 Available, Delays Not Valve's Fault 759

Evil Avatar has the word that even Best Buy is selling Half-Life 2 boxes at this point. If you're planning on picking this one up it should be available pretty much anywhere. Voodoo Extreme has news from Steam that in no uncertain terms are the delays in opening the game to customers their fault. From the article: "This is not Valve's choice. Vivendi is insisting that the game has not yet been released, and has threatened that Valve would be in violation of its contract if we activate the Half-Life 2 Steam authentication servers at this time."
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Half Life 2 Available, Delays Not Valve's Fault

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:38AM (#10811417)
    Everquest 2... check
    Doom3... check
    Half-life 2... check
    Duke Nukem Forever... hmmm
  • by Internet Ninja ( 20767 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811424) Homepage
    (and Shacknews [shacknews.com])

    Hey Vivendi...seriously, fuck you.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @05:16AM (#10811919)
      Hey Vivendi...seriously, fuck you.

      Hear hear. I won't buy Half Life 2, not only because VU Games sucks a fat one, but because of the you-must-connect-to-the-server garbage. If I buy a CD, I want to be able to put it in my PC and play the game that I paid for, not screw around poking holes in my firewall to let it phone home and check with mommy to see if I've been naughty or not. Doom3 runs fine totally firewalled, and runs great for LAN games without any connections to the outside world as well. I've probably spent at least $500 on id games since the Commander Keen days, and I'll keep it up since they're not asses about the control mechanisms. HL2 and this Steam business, on the other hand, is utterly annoying. I'm glad VU is being so obnoxious and I hope it costs them a half million dollars in revenue and additional support overhead.
  • Blows my mind (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr_zorg ( 259994 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811425)
    Wow, that blows my mind that a company could be in such a state of denial. How does a situation like this happen? I could see some corporate mixup causing the game to be released early, but to then insist that it wasn't released is pure lunacy...
  • by Elminst ( 53259 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811426) Homepage
    The game has to be activated via STEAM before you can play it. Even for single player.

    ACtivation does not start until Tues. Nov 16th.

    But you can drool over the box and wear your T-shirt until then!!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah your XL only T-shirt, makes me think they hit the nail on the head in consumer research.
    • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:13AM (#10811550)
      The game has to be activated via STEAM before you can play it. Even for single player

      ...and this is why I wouldn't even consider buying the game.

      Besides, just 10 more days until WoW.
      • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:24AM (#10811589)
        "...and this is why I wouldn't even consider buying the game."

        So you wont buy a game that needs to be activated online, but you will pay a monthly fee in addition to around 60$ at the register for a game that can ONLY be played online?

        • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:55AM (#10811875)
          So you wont buy a game that needs to be activated online, but you will pay a monthly fee in addition to around 60$ at the register for a game that can ONLY be played online?

          I'll pay a monthly fee for a service. It costs to run those servers and it is an online game. I'm not too happy about the initial fee.

          I will not ask a company for permission to run a game locally on my own computer after I've already paid for it.
          • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:27PM (#10813162)
            I agree one hundred percent. This isn't a game related comment but does involve how dangerous server-based/controlled applications can be from a user's perspective.

            I've been looking into Windows software packaging applications, in particular Jitit's Thinstall and BitArt's Fusion. Either of these products are impressive and would solve a lot of technical issues that have been plaguing us for some time (among other things I'm responsible for developing installation scripts and generating releases.) But get this: even their downloadable demos require Internet access for activation, and so far as I can tell you can't even use them unless you have permanent Internet access (one of them supposedly has to download program code in order to run, each time you start it!) I was told to evaluate what was out there and recommend one, and I had approval to on-the-spot BUY whatever I came up with. The truth is that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend to my manager that we buy either one of these products. How could I? We're talking about something will become a key part of how we build software distributions, and if the software ever fails to run we (and in particular, I) would be thoroughly screwed. It's amazing how these companies think: they don't trust US to actually BUY their products so they implement ridiculous protection schemes, yet we are supposed to trust that they will always be there to give us permission to use that for which we've already paid! Hell, where I work our Internet connection (powered by SBC, what does that tell you) is a little flaky: I would get upset if I couldn't get my job done because my application couldn't do the ET thing. Just absolutely stupid, and they're losing business ... if I could have even RUN one of their demos I would have picked one and BOUGHT it! I guess these are the kind of business people that lose sleep at night that someone, somewhere, might be using their product without paying for it. Boggles the mind. It's funny, but this kind of thing was used very heavily back in the early eighties (copy protected discs, you know, with the bad sector marks and laser burns and all that crap) but the software industry woke up and realized that they were only hurting their honest customers and themselves. Now it seems like they're taking a step backward and using the Internet for the same thing. I think a lot of it is for the same reason that dogs lick their balls: because they can. You can pull this off if you're a monopoly: when you're in a competitive market it's a risky proposition. In this case, it is driving me to a less sophisticated but safer solution, one that doesn't have any authentication crap.

            Now look at Valve. $89.00 for their Gold version of Half Life 2. That's a lot of bread for a game. And I don't like the idea that I might someday be unable to play it because Valve isn't in business anymore, or just decides that they don't want me to for whatever reason. Yes, yes, I'm sure there will be a "no authentication" crack out shortly if it isn't already, but it still pisses me off. I bought it, leave me alone. If you want to charge me a fee for the use of your servers, that's fine, that's a value-added service. I personally believe Half Life 1's phenomenal success as an online game was due to the fact anyone could run a server, join a server, and that the master list was available for free.) If Valve wants a repeat of that success they'd best not be too greedy.
    • If those authentication servers get clogged up on tuesday there will be hell to pay. Hell.
    • But you can drool over the box and wear your T-shirt until then!!

      Does it say I bought Half-Life 2, but all I can do is wear this stinking T-Shirt! ?
  • by shepd ( 155729 ) <slashdot...org@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811431) Homepage Journal
    This will either result in:

    - People downloading a crack
    - People returning the game
    - People deciding not to play the copy protection game

    All three look good to me, and should hopefully promote a more copy-protection free future. As far as blaming Vivendi... Did Vivendi put the authentication in there? No?! Hmmm...

    Whose fault is this really, then?
    • by luvirini ( 753157 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:46AM (#10811457)
      As far as blaming Vivendi... Did Vivendi put the authentication in there? No?! Hmmm...

      No they did not "put" it there. But usually it is the publisher who pushes for the harder copy-protetion schemes.

    • Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gnarled ( 411192 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:47AM (#10811467) Homepage
      You forgot the fourth option.

      They wait two days and then activate the game and enjoy playing it. What's the big deal honestly?
      • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MP3Chuck ( 652277 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:45AM (#10811677) Homepage Journal
        The big deal?

        Go to store ... buy game. Go home, install, and find out ... OOPS! Vivendi says you can't play it yet. Shucks, you'll have to wait a few days...

        Dunno about you, but I'd be pissed.
        • by Da VinMan ( 7669 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:09AM (#10811748)
          I didn't know that HL2 would REFUSE to be run until the 16th no matter what. So, like a good little lemming, I went and bought a copy today when I was at Best Buy. For $80, I thought "what the hell, the higher price will be worth it because I can play it tonight and not have to wait until the 19th to play it".

          "The 19th???" you say? "But the game comes out on the 16th, right?" Yeah, but what person with a real job and family can actually play games on weekdays?! Gimme a break....

          So, in a way, it IS a big deal. Granted, no one is going to die over this, but it is enough to piss me off to the point where I am considering making a complaint to Best Buy about selling the game before I can even play it. THAT is just not cool...

          I already had the HL2 preload. Someone could have saved me around $30 or so by telling me that no matter what I did I wasn't going to get to play the game early.
          • I bet you could make a fortune selling that game on ebay right now and just wait for your preload to kick in.
          • Re: Makes sense... (Score:4, Informative)

            by op51n ( 544058 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @10:29AM (#10812673)
            If Valve unlocked it, people would flock to buy it on Steam, or at least I suspect that is VU's thinking. Only BB are selling it early, and VU want to make as much money as they can, and we know from the litigation that they're not happy with Steam in the first place.
            Maybe if every retailer was selling it early, they'd let Valve unlock it, but at the moment with only one retailer pulling in money for VU, it just doesn't appeal.
      • Re:Missing Option (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NanoGator ( 522640 )
        "They wait two days and then activate the game and enjoy playing it. What's the big deal honestly?"

        Well, they're inconviencing customers, and there's little reason to think this will thwart piracy or make the price of games go down. I can't imagine you'd be a huge fan of purchasing a highly anticipated product and having to wait to enjoy it for a less than good reason.
      • If I buy something (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:52AM (#10811870)
        I have an expectation that I be able to use it then. I do not go buy a hamburger and then wait for permission from Wendy's to be able to eat it, I can devour it while driving away if I like.

        If Vivendi doesn't want the game on the market, they need to take the appropriate steps to prevent it from going there. This crap of selling it but not letting you use it till later is just that: crap.

        Why is it that people seem to think that creators of digital content should have some kind of unlimited rights to their works. If anything the constution allows a more limited set of rights than on physical property. There has been a long standing concept of Doctrine of First Sale. That means once you sell some IP, be it a book, CD, whatever, you lose control over the copy. Peopel can destrouy it, resell it, whatever, they just can't copy or derive works from the content.

        Sorry but Vivendi is just wrong here. If they want to cut the games lose to retailers and allow sales, the damn game better work. Had I bought a copy, I'd be filing a lawsuit on Monday in small claims court (since software companies tell retailers not to take returns on opened merchandise).
    • by Honig the Apothecary ( 515163 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:38AM (#10811647)
      Vivendi did not put the authentication in there. But they are the ones insisting that "the game has not shipped yet" and not letting Valve turn on the authentication servers allowing people to play.

      It is the same old business model as music if you look at it. Valve came up with robust system for distributing a game to users, who could have had the game turned on two weeks or more ago, but there is a traditional publisher saying "No you cannot do that, you will steal our profit".

  • by BinBoy ( 164798 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811432) Homepage
    I want to play as much as anyone, but we've all known for some time that the release date is the 16th. They aren't doing anything wrong.

    • by Chasing Amy ( 450778 ) <asdfijoaisdf@askdfjpasodf.com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:17AM (#10811566) Homepage
      > They aren't doing anything wrong.

      And neither was DiVX (not the codec, the early DVD competitor) when it sold its customers encrypted DVD discs that required the player to have online validation. DiVX Gold or Silver discs weren't conceptually rentals like most DiVX, but were meant to be purchased and unlocked for unlimited viewing.

      Tried playing a Silvered disc lately? Every single DiVX disc became a coaster when the validation servers were shut down, even "unlocked" ones. Sure, refunds were given for "lifetime" purchased discs, but that's hardly the point--when I purchase a game or movie, I expect that a company won't be turning it on and off at the mercy of their whims. Sorry, but selling crippleware that requires online activation even for single-player is as shortsighted and wrong as--well, as DiVX and its crippling of everyone's movies.
    • by nathanh ( 1214 )

      I want to play as much as anyone, but we've all known for some time that the release date is the 16th. They aren't doing anything wrong.

      I disagree. I think it's very wrong. It might be legal. It might even be common industry practise. But it's definitely wrong.

      This isn't activation for network play, or to access their servers. This is activation for the single-player version. What happens when Vivendi goes bankrupt? And they will go bankrupt because this is the gaming industry! Suddenly all of the g

      • by dcam ( 615646 )
        You are right, this is a major issue.

        I bought a phone sync kit for my T720 a while ago and it came with software that could synch with the palm desktop. The catch? The client for the palm desktop was installed from a update from the web (like windows update, except without the catalog).

        Since then the company has morphed into something else and the update servers have been taken down. They also do not offer a product that syncs with the palm desktop.

        That is a problem, and activation makes things even wors
  • Indeed... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcknation ( 217793 ) * <nocarrier@gCURIEmail.com minus physicist> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:40AM (#10811435) Homepage

    I really will laugh when someone cracks the authenticaion for single player play and releases the iso + crack before people who actually *bought* the game can play.
    Valve really needs to find an alternative to Vivendi. /-McK
    • Re:Indeed... (Score:5, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:41AM (#10811662)
      Although this has been posted elsewhere in the comments for this story, it needs to be posted again.

      The retail version of Half Life 2 is effectively a copy of the Steam cache of HL2 on discs. In order to play the game, you have to log in to the Steam authentication servers and activate it. This is being forced, as the game did not ship with the module containing the actual executable code(likely dubbed "half-life 2 client.gcf"), so the Steam authentication will allow buyers to acquire the last piece they need to play the game. Since the game didn't ship with this code however, no one can possibly crack the game ahead of time - the best they can do is work around the auth module and wait until the executable is released on November 16th.

      The first people to play the game will be those who buy it, people waiting on the "free" version will likely be waiting at least a day for it to be cracked.
  • by willith ( 218835 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:40AM (#10811436) Homepage
    It does seem rather unfair that even the single-player portion of the game needs to touch the Steam authentication servers in order to become active; there appears to be no concession made to those who have no Internet connection (or are unwilling to allow the program to touch the public network).

    Even Microsoft, with WinXP's activation, has a do-it-yourself option via telephone.

    It's disappointing that a content *delivery* system like Steam is instead being used as a content *regulation* and *denial* system.
    • by tymbow ( 725036 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:51AM (#10811481)
      More interesting is what happens in a few years when you dust off the HL2 box to play it again and find that the activation system is no longer online. What then?
  • News Link from Valve (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRedHorse ( 559375 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:40AM (#10811437)
    Here's the news link direct from valve:

    http://www.steampowered.com/index.php?area=news& id =344
  • Crack fun. (Score:3, Funny)

    by neolithic-au ( 806340 ) <<neolithic> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:48AM (#10811471)
    Eh, the crack will be out faster than you can say 'Vivendi take the wang'. I wouldn't worry.
  • Valve and Vivendi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Floydius ( 811220 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:51AM (#10811483) Homepage
    Well I've been mulling this over so here we go.

    My first reaction was "wow, what a bunch of jerks Vivendi U are for keeping this game out of play any longer. I said to myself: 'I'll never spend any money on them (after HL2, of course) again.' But if I were in their shoes, i might feel differently.

    What I mean is, if I had a deal with Valve that I would produce and distribute hard copies of HL2, then i would not want to be shafted at the last minute. Vivendi invested a lot of money in the raw materials to produce the copies of HL2 that are being sold. I'm sure it was a shock to them (it was to me, but i hated it for other reasons, i'm sure) when Valve came out with steam and started offering their product in a mode that totally bypassed Vivendi. While it is not illegal, it is certainly a dirtbag thing to do. If that was going to be the deal, Valve should have said so up front. perhaps old habits die hard for ex-MS employees.

    In any case, VU would have probably been glad to stop all the legal nonsense and allow Valve to unlock much earlier if they had agreed to share a fair portion from steam purchases (since they're not discounted, apparently) with VU. of course that won't happen. in this case, VU would be shooting themselves in the foot to let any more early releases occur, because what gets sold early is going to be their main profit before the massive remainder of hard copies go to the bargin bin.

    i'm just as disappointed as the next guy that I can't play until monday, and that i still have to use steam, for that matter (although that's improved a lot), but VU is just looking out for their best interests and that of their employees.

    i'll start feeling warm and fuzzy w/ valve again whenever they hire icculus-the-person to do a port. :)

    • Re:Valve and Vivendi (Score:5, Informative)

      by actor_au ( 562694 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:12AM (#10811546) Homepage
      Valve, unlike almost all other developers out there, are financially independent of their publisher. VU have never given them a cent of money for anything they didn't earn.
      HL1 was funded out of the founders own savings and HL2 was funded entirely of HL1's profits.

      VU has only one task and that is to release the game on Valves terms, they don't own anything or anypart of HL except the rights to publish and release it in stores.
      Valve started to get screwed when the old management team from Sierra left and Sierra became VU, they were selling HL licenses to Cyber-Cafe's without cutting Valve in on the action(which is still under legal dispute) and Valve demanded a contract re-negotiation(which they got).

      Thats why Valve are pushing the Steam platform, they want out from dealing with Publishers and Steam is the most direct way to do it.
      By using the most anticipated PC Game outside of Doom 3 to promote Steam they have an excellent chance to show other developers that they don't need a publisher to take a cut from their game to sell it to the public.
    • by James_G ( 71902 ) <james@g[ ]almegacorp.org ['lob' in gap]> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:26AM (#10811596)
      when Valve came out with steam and started offering their product in a mode that totally bypassed Vivendi. While it is not illegal, it is certainly a dirtbag thing to do

      This is analagous to musicians telling the RIAA to get lost and releasing their music over the internet instead. I can't for a second see how this could be considered a "dirtbag thing to do".

      What I mean is, if I had a deal with Valve that I would produce and distribute hard copies of HL2, then i would not want to be shafted at the last minute. Vivendi invested a lot of money in the raw materials to produce the copies of HL2 that are being sold.

      Oh please, producing the copies to sell is a trivial cost. Who put the money in to the development of HL2 for 4 years? Valve did.. Gabe Newell personally put his money into it.. and Vivendi knew about Steam in enough time to launch a lawsuit about it 2 years ago. It can hardly be considered "shafted at the last minute".

      Personally, I hope we see more of this sort of thing; Game studios telling publishers where to go and finding their own distribution methods. As I said before, it's the same as musicians releasing music over the net - the publisher model is outdated and while I'm not naive enough to think it will die any time soon, I think it will need to adapt to survive.

      • Re:Valve and Vivendi (Score:4, Informative)

        by Edgewize ( 262271 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @06:25AM (#10812080)
        You are misinformed, unfortunately.

        This round of lawsuits started several years ago; contractual disputes between Vivendi and Valve go back as far as the commercial release of Counter-Strike.

        Gabe Newell did NOT finance Half Life 2 out of his own pocket. Valve took quite a bit of Vivendi's money in exchange for distribution rights.

        Retail distribution costs are VERY HIGH; manufacturing, distribution, advertisement, retail promotion, shelf-space agreements, and other overhead add up to a significant portion of a game's budget. Stamping out CDs is cheap; getting them into the public eye (and the public's hands) is an entirely different story.

        Valve negotiated their contract with Vivendi while downplaying the usage of Steam as a retail channel. They represented the sales environment as being primarily driven by retail and mail-order. Yet while they were performing these negotiations, they were secretly working on plans to aggressively push Steam and cut down Vivendi's retail distribution. This kind of two-faced policy is definately a "dirtbag thing to do".

        It is also a potential source of liability in court. I don't know what the precise contract states, and I don't know who is technically in the right and who is in the wrong. But I do know that neither Valve nor Vivendi is going to come out smelling like roses, because both sides have been extremely shady about their dealings with each other.
      • by justins ( 80659 )

        when Valve came out with steam and started offering their product in a mode that totally bypassed Vivendi. While it is not illegal, it is certainly a dirtbag thing to do

        This is analagous to musicians telling the RIAA to get lost and releasing their music over the internet instead. I can't for a second see how this could be considered a "dirtbag thing to do".

        Good analogy, since production of albums and games is sort of similar, in the way they're funded at least. A lot of times the publisher fronts the

  • not their choice (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:52AM (#10811486)
    due to the contract from HL1 it made it so they had to use VU for HL2
  • Distributers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by architimmy ( 727047 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:56AM (#10811496) Homepage
    I've never quite understood exactly why a distributer is necessary. Well... I get it, but I actually think that they cause enough harm and problems that it offsets any reason for using one. But it seems to be standard practice. Really, making your money selling something someone else worked to produce... and making more money that that person or entity is just unethical. I think we need a new distribution system... one that operates the same way perhaps that open source does. One that provides clear legal protection for property rights and profit margins while cutting out all the fat-catting and middleman bloat of the current system. Imagine it... a world without the RIAA...
    • Re:Distributers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by realmolo ( 574068 ) *
      Distributors are a necessary evil. It's HARD to ship boxes of a product all over the world, and even harder to get your foot in the door with the big retailers. A small company might be able to distribute their own product on a small scale, but they could never do it big enough to sell TONS of product, which, obviously, is a goal of every company.

    • Two big reasons (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )
      1) Producing and shipping lots of CDs and boxes, while not all that expensive, isn't something you can just run out and do. Takes lots of machinery and setup. It isn't really cost effective for a game developer to get all that, a much better idea to outsource it to a publisher. They go and handle all the physical end of it, since they are good at it.

      2) The distribution bussiness, like most things, it's all above board. You'll find if you are a nobody in the bussiness you just can't get big chains to sell y
  • Audio (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shaklee39 ( 694496 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:01AM (#10811513)
    Audio of someone calling Gabe from valve: http://www.users.qwest.net/~amerrill/nirv-gabe_new ell.wav
  • by Karma Sucks ( 127136 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:03AM (#10811518)
    This is amazing.

    Valve built some kind of retarded copy-protection scheme into Half-Life 2. Now people who have bought the game cannot play it. They are blaming this on Vivendi.

    Amazing. Just amazing.
    • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:15AM (#10811557)
      as far as copy protection methods go it's actually very good.

      no limit on number of computers you can install, no need for CD in drive. in fact, no need for CDs at all - if you were away from home and on a computer with a decent internet connection, you could log into your account and play it there.

      so it's good because whereas all other copy protections are just about making things shit, this one actually has some benefits for the legitimate user.

      the only problem with it is that Vivendi are a bunch of twats (like all distributers are) and will piss of customers and sue their clients before accepting the fact they don't deserve profits from a game they didn't make sold via a method they weren't involved with.
    • Mod parent up!

      Valve keeps screwing up time and time again and they want to be viewed as victims?

      I remember them lying and misleading about the september 30th release date which they knew would be impossible since at least july of that year.

      I remember them extorting licenses from cybercafes who BOUGHT LEGIT copies of CS and who made the game popular in the first place.

      I remember them requiring people who wanted to play on a LAN to have each steam client connect to the internet.

      And now, they requir
    • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:05AM (#10811736)
      Actually, I look at it rather differently.

      Valve built a very clever content distribution and protection scheme into HL2 that will activate on Nov 16th. Everyone buying online with Steam knows this and has accepted it.

      Stores decide to jump the gun and sell early. They know the street date is on Tuesday, but they release anyway because "everyone else is doing it". Customers get home and find that they can't activate and start whining up a storm. This wouldn't have happened if stores stuck to the dates they were told.

      Vivendi is pleased.

      They know Valve can't release the game early or break the contract, but stores CAN release the game early and they know that the stupider section of the population is going to be mad at Valve and be all bent out of shape about how their "RIGHTS" are being violated, and how unfair it is that they might actually have to wait until the real "street date" in order to play.

      Vivendi WANTS this uneducated reaction because they DON'T want people to accept Steam.

      They want people complaining about "some kind of retarded copy-protection scheme" to try and frighten people away from online distribution that will cut them out of the equation. Just like the RIAA and MPAA don't want people buying media online but make a few lame attempts to do something (ie: new napster) to pretend they're not the bad guys.

      Stores also don't like the idea of Steam. They like selling products to their customers, retail markups, etc. If more game designers sell direct to customers in the future, that's less money in the bank for them.

      So get a clue folks... get a clue.

  • by poincaraux ( 114797 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:07AM (#10811531)
    Voodoo Extreme has news from Steam that in no uncertain terms are the delays in opening the game to customers their fault.

    Eh? That makes my brain hurt. What did they say "in no uncertain terms?"

    The image of them standing around and yelling "are the delays in opening the game to the customers their fault" is funny, though.

    I'm guessing this meant to say "Voodoo Extreme has news from Steam that says, in no uncertain terms, that the delays are not Steam's fault."

    Note: my comment has no useful content. I'm just tired and cranky.
  • Angry about this? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:10AM (#10811539) Homepage Journal
    If you're angry that VU is being a pain in the ass about this, the best thing you can do is cut them out of the profit stream by buying the game online as opposed to the boxed copy.
  • Hey - Vivendi! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:44AM (#10811673) Homepage
    Hey - Vivendi!

    I was going to buy the hard copy of Half Life 2 - however I just fired up steam. I don't care if it takes longer (which it probably won't) to get to play it. I am not giving you my money.

    Especially after reading This article about Valve and Half Life 2 [gamespot.com]. I now sympathize with Gabe and the delays the game had. I don't really fault him - people make mistakes.

    Granted I understand Vivendi's side - but if a publisher only gets $7.00 from a retail game, you start to remind me of the RIAA Vivendi... Download here I come.

    To quote George Broussard:

    Fuck you.
    • Re:Hey - Vivendi! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PyroMosh ( 287149 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:45AM (#10811852) Homepage
      Ditto to that. I like Valve. And I've been anticipating this game since the E3 they showed it at initially.

      Valve got my $90 for the "Gold" edition of HL2. And Vevendi will get nothing from me.

      I was basicly sold on the idea of Steam when my prchased in 1998 HL1 CD was scratched and wouldn't install any more. The next week, Steam went live. I entered my old key and in minutes was able to play HL1 again. It even let me download games I had never purchased (such as CS, which I still have no interest in playing).

      I'm a believer.
  • by MunchMunch ( 670504 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:56AM (#10811706) Homepage
    So who exactly decided to force people to activate it over the Steam network anyways? Vivendi sounds like a pretty bad guy, but really, come on now--we flipped out when TurboTax, Adobe, and MS all started activation, but what? Now it's just an accepted part of using software to the point where Valve takes no blame even though they made the decision to exert total control over even the single player HL2 installations?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:18AM (#10811771) Homepage
    Unless the vendor anticipated this situation in their EULA, they could be open to fraud charges for knowingly, willfully, and maliciously selling a product that cannot work.

    The "release date" issue is strictly between the retailer and the manufacturer, who have a contractual relationship. The end user isn't a party to any "release date" restrictions and isn't bound by them.

    Live by the EULA, die by the EULA.

  • Escrow? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @05:08AM (#10811902)
    It's going to be fascinating to see if and how long it takes the folks who must be lined up right now to crack it when they can see the traffic to the auth servers.

    Regardless of that, the question about what happens if Valve go tits-up is a very good one and actually should apply to any vendor selling protected software. The fact it's $40 instead of $400,000 is irrelevant - there are 400,000 customers potentially losing what they've bought. Unless, that is, the EULA says different.... Has anyone out there with a box actually ready the EULA?

    When I worked for a vendor (UK based), we always had to lodge the source code with the NCC (kind of governmental computing standards org) who held it in case we went TU. If we did, the authenticated purchasers had access to the code. Pretty fair solution all round.

    Seems like this is something consumer groups and EFF could pick up.

    Mike Bakke (not anon but too lazy to reg)
  • by bravni ( 133601 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @05:17AM (#10811922)

    HL2 boxes unplayable

    segregrated World of Warcraft servers because they cannot handle a world release. Importing is being made impossible so that English speakers in the EU will have to wait for the French/German translation to be ready... Unless they go and play EQ2 of course...

    I sincerely hope that Vivendi goes under in the near future.

  • by Biomechanical ( 829805 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:27AM (#10812210) Homepage

    Putting aside the CD key problem for a moment, this seriously begs the question,

    `Why shouldn't we, as consumers, pirate the games and send money orders of the retail purchase price directly to the game creators?'

    Seriously, does anyone know how much money Vivendi Universal get per unit as the of HL2 publishers (in percentages)?

    I would really like to play HL2. I've been waiting very patiently for it since seeing some demonstration movies, and now it's available, I'd like to purchase it, but I have a real problem with Vivendi Universal.

    I wonder what the response (official and unofficial) from Valve would be if I emailed them and asked,

    `Would you mind if I downloaded illegal copies of your games and sent you guys money orders for the retail purchase price?'

    VU? FU!

  • by citizenc ( 60589 ) <cary&glidedesign,ca> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @10:11AM (#10812616) Journal
    Question. What about people who purchase Half-Life 2 retail, but simply do not have access to an Internet connection? (IE, they can't authenticate via Steam.)

    When do they get to play HL2? CAN they at all?
  • by Ricx ( 724640 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @10:30AM (#10812677)
    Ok so to start of I've pre-ordered my copy of HL2 from amazon. Hopefully I'll get it on Tues 16th, possibly the 17th. I have nightmares about going to authenticate with Steam and it's be so overloaded I'll have to wait even longer, but seriously take these points into account:

    - HL2 is easily the biggest release this year. Here we are 2 days before the release date, and there is no leak. As of yet no cracked versions floating around on suprnova, even though you can pre-load it & the SDK is out. That is unheard of! What was the last game to come out that didn't leak onto torrent sites way before the official release date? Far Cry? nope. Doom 3? nope. Total War? nope. You can even go get a legit copy from shops (in the US I read anyway) and you STILL cannot play before the release date that has been set. That is a success on all fronts. The fact that you've been allowed to purcahse a copy is purely the fault of the shop - the date is the 16th and has been for a while now.

    - You don't have to constantly authenticate with steam to play. Once per install is whats needed. Obviously if you don't have a net connection that sucks, or if you're stuck behind a firewall or NAT'ed somehow so steam won't work. Sorry but that's just the way it is. What about people with old machines? They can't play. What about people with very old gFX cards? They can't play. What about linux users? They currently can't play. Non-net users aren't the only ones unable to enjoy it, but the majority of people will be okay. And about the installing in 20 years time question - yeah that may be an issue, but really how many games do you play from 20 years ago?

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.