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No Half-Life 2 on Steam?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 374

Karl the Pagan writes "Following on the heels of a previous Steam-related story, Vivendi Universal may block Half-Life 2 distribution via Steam. Additional motions can be filed until November 18th, but since Sierra/VU have final QA approval on the HL2 gold is it possible they could delay the game until after the court decides on these motions?"

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I hope not (0)

hckrdave (588951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301790)

I hope not, i wanna see some sexy Onos

Onos (2, Informative)

CompSurfer (759218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301832)

For those who aren't familiar with an "Onos", it is a rather large rhinoceros-like creature from the HL1 mod natural selection.

Re:Onos (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301945)

You karma-whoring shitcock.

Re:I hope not (1)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301881)

I hope not, i wanna see some sexy Onos
I wanna KNIFE some sexy onos.

Re:I hope not (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301949)

You can do better, heres an example:

I wanna push my TOOL into some sexy onos.

Zonk? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301791)

Who the hell is Zonk?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301802)

fp

Worth the wait. (0, Troll)

planckscale (579258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301811)

HL2 is worth the wait, no matter all negative press, I believe it will be superior to Doom III. Gives me more time to buy a new vid card...

First post?

Re:Worth the wait. (4, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301859)

Gives me more time to buy a new vid card...
Bit of trivia for you -- when Doom 3 came out, the local Frys (I'm in Austin, TX) completely ran out of video cards of all sorts over $50 within like two days. The shelves were bare, with only a few really old (not even coming close to meeting Doom 3's minimum requirements) video cards left.

Sort of amusing. I wonder if Id's getting a kickback from ATI, Nvidia, etc. :)

Re:Worth the wait. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302164)

the local Frys (I'm in Austin, TX) completely ran out of video cards of all sorts over $50 within like two days.

Ah, I feel sorry for the saps that bought the repackaged cards, thinking they're brand new.

Re:Worth the wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301861)

Screw HL2. I just want the vampire game built on the engine to come out.

Re:Worth the wait. (5, Interesting)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301873)

I think HL2 will be better than Doom 3 as well, if it is released in the next month or so. If we have to wait for the trial (March 2005) and everything to be sorted out and it doesn't get released until fall 2005, its not going to be better, because it will be a year later, when every other FPS has "caught up". Once again, politics and legal are going to cost both companies a lot of money, both in fees and lost revenue from upset fans, and the delay making the game less desirable.

Re:Worth the wait. (4, Insightful)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301900)

Superior to DOOM III ?? Bah, both games were designed with different goals in mind in terms of gameplay, and the engines themselves are more or less equal in capabilities.

Re:Worth the wait. (2, Interesting)

planckscale (579258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302037)

Doom III = shoot, move, shoot, move. The AI sucks and that's the main point. No cooperative play except for a bot that crawls along and follows you sometimes. Also, there's never a moment you can see more than 50' into the distance. No drivable vehicles. The only thing I can think of that might hold a candle to HL2 is the sound effects.

Perhaps once you start playing HL2 (haven't you seen any of the videos?), you'll realize then that even the engine is better. I'm not trying to diss DIII, it has it's place in the scary/pretty game department but I can only shoot so many monsters that jump at me after I open a door before it get monotonous.

Re:Worth the wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302146)

Its a great game but I must agree on the AI being pretty sucky. Just hold down the attack button on the chainsaw. Stand in one spot and turn and face the nearest zombie and they walk into your chainsaw and die. But then again they're mindless zombies......

Re:Worth the wait. (1)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302132)

What remains to be seen is whether HL2 will have realistic shadows like D3.

the shadowing is what makes D3 worthwhile and it is the gift carmack has given to the gaming world.

mad props to him

Re:Worth the wait. (0, Troll)

reynolds_john (242657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302050)

I played the demo of Doom III this weekend, and all I can say is that it was a snooze.

The graphics and sounds were indeed incredible, but the game experience was the same old tired hack-n-slash of old. If you still love the "find keys, bullets, and dodge monsters in dark rooms" from the 90's, you'll like it. Hopefully, this is what the designers wanted. I uninstalled it within a 1/2 hour, just not anything new for me.

Call of Duty United Offensive on the other hand, resurrected my gaming experience with COD, and provided hours of fun single player, and a multiplayer experience that I won't soon get tired of. I'm hoping HL2 will provide the same experience.

Coming Soon (3, Funny)

fresh27 (736896) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301817)

Half Life 2 - September 30, 2005

Re:Coming Soon (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301937)

I admire your optimism.

Release Schedule (4, Funny)

mj2k (726937) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302108)

The latest release schedule....
.
.
.

Doom V

Duke Nukem Forever

Half Life 2

nope... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301820)

it's a court battle that won't even start before HL2 is released (if it's released soon...)...

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

read here for more:
article on bluesnews.com [bluesnews.com]

Re:nope... (4, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301983)

The question is, will they be able to release with these filings? I imagine Sierra/Vivendi/whoever will try to stop the release until they can decide if Valve can release under steam.

ALREADY nope (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302167)

this would delay the game even more, but they at least have a convincent reason!! this is eXXXtreme v4p0rw4r3!!

it's possible they might delay the release.. (4, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301821)

but if they do delay it, here's the upside.. the first motion may take a month to process, but the next motion will only be 2 weeks, then 1 week on the third, and so on.. it's only a matter of time.

heh

Re:it's possible they might delay the release.. (1)

hyu (763773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301960)

The downside is that after awhile, everything can change in a matter of seconds.

Ok what about (2, Funny)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301831)

Ok since Half Life 2 seems to be soon enough (sooner than last year anyway!), how about Team Fortress 2! Only vapoware more vaporish than that is DNF.

Re:Ok what about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302190)

you should check out starbasedelta.com in the forum area are people still waiting for "stars: supernova genisis" the main website for the makers of the game has been down for months now, the game makers have been found, at a new job. and no one has heard anything about the game from the programmers for a couple of years.

at least DNF has a website.

This is news? (-1, Offtopic)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301836)

So, they are going to delay releasing HL2, and this is news? I have been waiting for TFC2 since it was announced in 1998, and gave up hope in 2001. If they don't get this puppy out by Xmas of this year, they are going to really have some trouble creating a buzz, you know...

Re:This is news? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301930)

Yeah, buzz for HL2 is pretty laxluster... they should probably start running banner ads on slashdot or something....I hadn't even heard of it before this article. hehe

Release Date (4, Funny)

nitetrain3000 (813156) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301837)

They might as well describe the Half-Life 2 release delays in terms of uranium 238s half-life.

Re:Release Date (1)

fresh27 (736896) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301931)

Wow, if that isn't nerdy, I don't know what is. It's quite interesting that Slashdot is the only place where anybody would find that funny. But we are a rare breed.

Re:Release Date (2)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302102)

Actually, it was funny and on-topic. Can't ask for more than that.

Duke Nukem is happy (5, Funny)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301846)

Somewhere, Duke Nukem is cheering, now that he's no longer the standard of perpetually pushed back release dates.

Re:Duke Nukem is happy (4, Funny)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301932)

Somewhere, Duke Nukem is cheering, now that he's no longer the standard of perpetually pushed back release dates.
You think that HL2's delays have come anywhere close to Duke Nukem Forever's delays? Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be shipped in 1997! (I'm not even talking when it was announced -- I'm talking release date!)

Even Half Life (the original) came out *after that* in 1998!

Sorry, but DNF is still king. Shake it, baby!

Re:Duke Nukem is happy (3, Funny)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302034)

DNF is the acronym used in motor racing for Did Not Finish. That and having the word 'Forever' in the title pretty much tells you what's happening there doesn't it? :-)

OTOH, I think HL2 is actually going to ship within the next month.

Re:Duke Nukem is happy (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301976)

duke nukem hasn't had a 'date' in what, 6 years?

hl2 however has been 'just around the corner' and 'almost finished' and 'in the stores by fall' for quite some time.

Re:Duke Nukem is happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302026)

Duke nukem was groovy and all but that was a long time ago, try and get up to date you square.

Whats there to say? (0, Redundant)

Satertek (708058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301848)

Wow......

Re:Whats there to say? (0)

Satertek (708058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301923)

OK, so where has Vivendi been? Seems kind of strange that they would complain about Steam now, 18 months after its realease. Another tatic by VALVe to delay the game?

Great news (4, Interesting)

wigle (676212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301854)

This possibility could be to Valve's advantage. They haven't released anything worthwhile since Team Fortress Classic and no one I know likes Steam at all.

Re:Great news (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302062)

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

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

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

just face facts... (-1, Troll)

steak (145650) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301858)

hl2 is going the way of duke nukem forever your never ever ever going to get to play it. gordon freeman is dead and you'll never get to bash another head crab again.

Re:just face facts... (0, Troll)

Wedge1212 (591767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301879)

but...but...but...mommy i want my half-life today!!! Bobby Jones from down the street has one and I need one today!!!!!! *WAAAAAAHAHAHA*

ATI bundle? (5, Interesting)

dinojemr (261460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301863)

What will this mean for people who got the voucher with their ATI card? ATI promised to give them Half Life 2 (through Steam), but then HL2 was delayed so they didn't get it (they instead got the old half-life gams). Would it eventually be released through steam?

Re:ATI bundle? (4, Funny)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302012)

What will this mean for people who got the voucher with their ATI card?

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

Re:ATI bundle? (1)

hiei (104179) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302039)

Wasn't there an option to use the coupon to get a boxed version? I'd have to look at the coupon again.

Impatience and gamergeeks. (3, Insightful)

scowling (215030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301866)

This really shouldn't ever have become an issue. The box-retail distribution model for games is still a viable one. Is it so important for HL fans to play the game as soon as humanly possible? What's wrong with buying it in store on the day of release?

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

IMHO, neither would, in any important way.

Re:Impatience and gamergeeks. (5, Insightful)

keller999 (589112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301977)

The issue is that Valve gets 2.5 times more revenue from each copy of HL2 sold on steam than from boxes on shelves. By circumventing the publisher, they can sell the game at a lower price and make more money. Just the sheer number of people who have pre-loaded HL2 probably scares Vivendi - it's one of the biggest game releases of all time, and it looks like the game creators might actually make more of the pie than the publisher is used to.

Re:Impatience and gamergeeks. (2, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302035)

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

While the actual contract language (probably impenetrable to the layperson, anyway) wasn't in the linked article, the answer to your question is that Valve would be harmed by loss of income. According to the article, Valve renegotiated what turned out to be a bad contract with Sierra (bad because the game turned out to be a huge hit - like musicians signing a contrast for a big front-end payday but a tiny percentage on actual sales where subsequently the album goes platinum) and got the rights to distribute online. That means that - apart from potential future loss in the courts - Valve takes home all the cash from their Steam sales and Sierra/VU doesn't get jack.

The biggest question I come away with is how much, contractually, Valve was permitted to push their online sales. The implication is that the online sales were intended to be a little bonus for Valve since Sierra/VU makes the bulk of the money on retail sales. This would seem to be confirmed by the fact that Gabe Newell downplayed Steam's potential to VU execs and, in fact, claimed that they probably wouldn't profit off the online sales. The truth, of course, is that Steam has the potential to make buckets of cash (especially with a subscription model giving access to multiple games/special mods/etc.) - this is especially true if customers decide that they want Valve to have the money instead of VU.

Re:Impatience and gamergeeks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302085)

Is it so important for HL fans to play the game as soon as humanly possible?
Shouldn't Valve do everything in its power to appease their customers/fans?

What's wrong with buying it in store on the day of release?
Stores can run out of copies, and like Vivendi, are middle-men. Valve probably sees them as added costs or reduced profit margins and seeks to minimize them.

How would Valve be harmed by giving in on this issue?
Steam is Valve's attempt to be their own distributor and cut out the middle-men: Vivendi. I have to wonder if Valve's (apparently) poor relationship with Vivendi was Valve's motivation develop a distribution system in the first place.

Re:Impatience and gamergeeks. (1)

SavedLinuXgeeK (769306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302116)

Well what Steam allows is, once the game is gold to be released immediately, bypassing the production time, and distribution. And if VU has anything to do with it, they could push it back farther than anyone else would want. This has been drawn out long enough, and gamers are definately getting impatient. Valve wouldn't necessarily be harmed, but IMHO VU would benefit from this, relieving some of the stress off of them (negative publicity, if any were to arise from the extended release dates...).

why Steam? (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301870)

Steam is one of the worst programs I've seen in the last few years. Everyone seems to have trouble with it... why would ANYONE use it?

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

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

Re:why Steam? (1)

rolad (815112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302025)

But see, we can't control whether we use Steam or not for games like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. Valve controls this, if we want to play, we have to play by their rules.

I personally like the Steam program. Yes, it was quite buggy when it was first released, but it has been improved a lot since then.

Re:why Steam? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302046)

I'm starting to wonder if any of these people who bitch about steam have even used it past the amazingly bad "beta".

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

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

So, you're either all stupid as hell (likely), or really unlucky.

Re:why Steam? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302066)

I agree. I think people that pirate also take an anti-Steam position since they might have to actually buy the game and support the devs.

Then there's all of the technical improvements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302109)

The more I think about it, you couldn't pay me to go back to pre-steam Half-Life/Mods.

I can now have the console open and change options at the same time without having to escape through 5 different, clumsy 640x480 menus, only to end up not having my sound working when I go back to the game.

Even if Steam does crash every now and then for you, the alternative wasn't much better.

Re:why Steam? (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302107)

I've tried it again every coule of months and EVERY FUCKING TIME it crashs when it gets to the TFC loading screen. The only FPS game I've wanted to play lately and now WON is gone I can't.

Steam is just a very queer (not insulting, queer as in weird) program. More people seem to have trouble then people who find it work well.

Re:why Steam? (3, Funny)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302121)

why would ANYONE use it?
Valve fans don't want baby Gordon to cry.

Re:why Steam? (1)

StArSkY (128453) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302139)

I love steam now. It is stable, I can alt tab out of games and back in and have NO issues.

And updates download and install themselves...

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

Re:why Steam? (1)

ricotest (807136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302168)

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

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

It gets rid of the pre-ordering / limited copies at shop / queueing at midnight problem too.

Re:why Steam? (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302188)

Yeah anlyze some of that traffic on that damn thing. Pisses me off. Sure it works, but damnit where is all the traffic going!

Steam is handy, I think (4, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301871)

I prefer Steam to other methods of purchasing a game. You don't have to go anywhere or pay shipping costs, you don't have to keep track of a CD, and hopefully, more of the money goes to the people that MADE the game, rather than filling the pockets of marketers and distributors. If I like a game, I want the people that made it to get the money, encouraging patches, new versions, and modifications. You see all this nonsense about Steam being terrible/people hating it/etc. I think they were using an earlier version. I'm a stickler about what I use / let run in the background of a Windows machine, even. I'm all about Firefox, nothing next to the clock, REALUPDATE.exe can die, all superfluous services are disabled. And still, this Steam software works fine and doesn't bother me. That's a bigger achievement than Realplayer can claim.

Re:Steam is handy, I think (1)

Drakino (10965) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301982)

Do you trust your credit card to be stored on Valve servers? The same ones comprimised by a simple e-mail exploiting an Outlook vunerability sent to Gabe?

I don't. I also don't like online constant activation of my programs. People dislike the Windows XP activation, but don't seem to balk at the Counter Strike activation process that has to happen at some time, even for LAN play. And before you say "offline mode", I've seen it fail so many times while running the helpdesk at Quakecon. If it decides it wants to reactivate on the internet, the player is screwed.

Re:Steam is handy, I think (2, Funny)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302021)

I don't play on LANs nor do I go to Quakcon. I play at home, on my PC. I don't care if it activates, I'm online all the time anyway. And I don't care about Valve having my credit card number, anymore than I care about sending it to ebgames.com.

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

Re:Steam is handy, I think (1)

Deadbolt (102078) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302184)

Ignorant.

CC transactions are handled by a secure third party through Steam. The CC transaction is done through a 128-bit SSL encrypted stream, exactly the same as an https:// transaction. At no time does Valve store billing information on their servers. Buying over Steam is no more risky than buying anything else over the internet, and probably less so.

If you'd bothered to read about this on steampowered.com instead of talking out of your ass, you might not have sounded like such an idiot.

Preloading (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301872)

This is a nice gesture to all those dial-up users who spent weeks doing the HL2 preloads..

Re:Preloading (1)

kjones692 (805101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302030)

That gesture being a middle finger from Steam.

valves product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301880)

this is total bs, i dont see how vavle will allow their game to be delayed due to this. If anything they will just release it on steam, after all steam and hl2 are theirs, they made it.

I never imaged.... (1, Redundant)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301882)

We will probably see a resonance cascade before we see the release of HL2.

Geez. (4, Funny)

Sevn (12012) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301884)

It probably would have taken less development time if they'd used coal or oil.

October fucking 8th? (4, Insightful)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301887)

"On Friday, when asked if Valve was still intent on making Half-Life 2 available to gamers via Steam, regardless of what was determined on October 8, Lombardi replied, "Yes.""

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

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

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

I've already got it 100% preloaded but... (1)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301891)

I wonder if there's any way just to unlock it ahead of time... =\

Cut out the publishers (3, Insightful)

_Wagz_ (799293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301901)

I for one would love to see the publisher cut out of the end price. New releases are sucking up $50 of my paycheck every time and it can only get worse. That said, Valve really needs to beef up its infrastructure before I'll join the service. I played CS on it and had nothing but problems with the service.

Re:Cut out the publishers (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302063)

New releases are sucking up $50 of my paycheck every time and it can only get worse.

So exercise a little restraint and wait.

Do you really need everything the day or week it comes out? Wait and save 20 or 30 bucks.

well (4, Interesting)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301905)

you deal with someone with no morals like vivendi and seirra and what do you expect.. why would they even have an agreement with them anymore, try to get out of it and just release everything yourself, the publishing company could be completely irrelevant with steam...

make it so that people can burn half life 2 cd's legally, then give them to their friends BUT with the catch that in order to decrypt it they gotta go pay valve directly online for the small program to activate it (they could sell it alot cheaper than normal and still make more money than normal, too)

I think piracy is why Steam takes flak Re:well (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301988)

A lot of people that don't buy games and like to pirate would be irritated with a system like Steam, since it ensures that most people will actually have to purchase the game. That's why you'll see a lot of people say they want a CD... it's like those people that claim they are making "backups" of their discs for personal use, but are really just pirating from friends and online.

Re:well (1)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302126)

Screw encryption. Tie each downloaded copy to a Steam ID, give users an option to transfer it to another one for a fee. I presume the steam servers know which games an ID has, so they can tell if you try and screw with the copy you've burned to CD.

Testing my month long ban (-1, Offtopic)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301906)

Am I still banned?

Delayware (2, Interesting)

nukepapa (683947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301913)

Let me (nukepapa) be the first to label this kind of software as "LateWare" or "DelayWare".

Re:Delayware (1)

Bou (630753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301954)

At this rate, HL2 is going to be the first game ever to be abandonware before it's even released!

its part of teh business model (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302176)

hype hype hype, delay for h4ck3rs (hohoho,i had a friend whose brother works at valve with a full in box copy of the game montths before that happened), hype hype hype, court battle -- more free advertising, hype hype hype

and since when did valve become the good guys? they stopped giving a fuck about their customer base years ago when they turned them into the biggest guinnea pig test bed since the gov't was dumping acid in the water supply in the 50's

Valve may also have unhappy Steam customers (0, Redundant)

Zaphus (132836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301918)

Vivendi/Universal may not be the only people to get angry at Valve for their use of Steam to distribute HalfLife2.

Currently the Halflife2 preloads are optional downloads, but there is no indication of the *size* of these downloads. Outside of the USA many people are charged for excess downloads on Broadband.
As an example, http://www.bigpond.com/ [bigpond.com] (Telstra Bigpond) here in Australia charges AU$0.15 per extra megabyte. One of the recent preloads was approximately 1gb of data. An unsuspecting family which was already at it's download limit would be up for AU$150 in charges for that download alone (which happens in the background, and can continue after a reboot) - close to double the price of the game itself.

When will the first "Customer sues Valve" postings begine ?

Note: Please don't change the topic to "ISPs shouldnt charge for excess" - the point is that some still do.

Re:Valve may also have unhappy Steam customers (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302057)

I'm not sure how the end user not paying attention to their usage is negligant action on Valve's behalf.

If you pay per MB you really should install a tool to help you monitor your usage. I remember them back in the day, so I'm sure there is some really slick stuff available now.

huhuhuh,.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301925)

huhuhu hAHAHHAAHHAHAHAhaHhahHAhhHAhahhahAHAHhahahHAhAHHAh AhHAhAhHAhAhahah!!!

My god!! The world will be flooded with crying gamers! HAHAHAhahaHAHhahAHhahHAhhhahahahahhAhahahahAHahha! !!

Great!

So, in short... (2, Interesting)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301965)

Valve: We're going to eventually cut you guys outta the picture and begin distributing the game via the internet and our own in-house publishing solution instead of signing our games away to you forever.

Sierra: Oh no you don't...

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

Just like the music industry Re:So, in short... (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302175)

That's an excellent point. It's very similar to a music artist hyping up and pre-selling their own album before it releases, directly to fans (downloadable from their web site).

sensationalism at it's best (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10301986)

and I thought only foxnews.com and cbs could make such a big deal out of such a small thing..

HL2 will not be delayed... VU has been dying to get this game on the shelves since last year and they know how much money it's worth to get it out now instead of later. They've been losing money and need to get some profit on the books, delaying HL2 won't help that.

Wrong (4, Interesting)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302083)

Vivendi Universal Games is suing Valve to prevent distribution over Steam. Considering how many people will be downloading or have already downloaded over Steam, it's no surprise. VUG is getting very very little out of this deal with Valve getting almost everything. VUG will do anything it can to prevent Steam distribution, since the dispute is over tens of millions of dollars in potential sales. Gamers are going to buy the game anyways, another 3-6 months or whatever it takes is not going to drastically hurt sales.

Bottom line: HL2 is going to be delayed until this is resolved.

Awesome! (4, Insightful)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302000)

Just the other day I was complaining that there's no innovation in the gaming industry. It's nice to see that Vivendi found yet another new and original way to screw itself and alienate its remaining fans.

DL games is much better (1)

StM.Rawder (813111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302024)

than buying from a store. I already dl my HL2, and while I can understand Sierra getting pissed about undermining their marketing strategy, tough shit. DL games and buying the key online is superior, removes the middle-man-sales-marketing-add-producing vampire and will lower costs for us. No printing fees, no materials cost, limited add campaigns, no shipping fees, etc. and the result for us: get you one NOW and cheaper.

Who gives a rat's ass? (4, Funny)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302041)

At this point, I doubt many people care how Half Life 2 gets to them, just so long as it actually arrives.

I personally recommend a few hundred rar files (and one or two with checksum errors of course) on a few hundred floppies.

Don't tell SCO... (5, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302076)

Don't tell SCO, but I suspect some lines of Halflife 2 code may match theirs.

I saw an endif and a return near each other in the leaked version.

cgna4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302093)

if you move a table everyday...Redefine 3ome Here but noW to decline for own agenda - give

Good news? maybe (2, Insightful)

wigle (676212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302128)

In order to understand how this scenario could work out to the advantage of gamers, first we should look at Valve's history and how Steam/Half-Life 2 fit in with Vivendi.
  1. Half-Life - universally praised for its gameplay and solid (at the time) editing tools. PC Gamer awarded it the highest score ever
  2. Team Fortress Classic - excellent multiplayer add-on that extended the game's life
  3. Counter-Strike - Valve's involvement with CS has been mediocre at best, from 'updating' maps and player models to altering traditional (and fun) parts of its gameplay
  4. Deathmatch Classic - A decent re-make of Quake DM--almost as good as the original--but Valve really should have been working on Half-Life 2 instead of this free and largely unnoticed mod
  5. Steam - a really, really unnecessary system that makes it difficult to run LANs, extract game content for editing, or install custom skins, maps, etc. Plus it still doesn't prevent cheating.
Given the current trend of Valve, I'd say the best thing they can do is drop Steam altogether and release Half-Life 2 just like the original. And maybe 4 or 5 Gold Editions or something.

Here's an Idea (4, Insightful)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302144)

Hey Vivendi Universal:

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

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

This is what you get when crotchety septegenarians managing a confused, out of focus multinational try to sell entertainment "to the kids". Heavy handed, out of touch business practices that alienate more people than they are trying to attract.

Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10302147)

Remember, Vivendi Universal Games is evil [eff.org] .

full text of article (1, Redundant)

master0ne (655374) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302151)

Valve vs. Vivendi Universal dogfight heats up in US District Court
The two-year-old dispute playing out in Federal Court revs up as milestones, court date approach.

Last week, news of Valve finally shipping the Half-Life 2 release candidate to publisher Vivendi Universal Games (VUG) grabbed headlines. However, behind the scenes, the two companies have been involved in a much less upbeat kind of transaction--an ongoing legal battle that has garnered little attention from gamers.

On August 14, 2002, Valve served its then-publisher Sierra On-Line (now Sierra Entertainment, a Vivendi Universal Games brand) with a lawsuit in US District Court of Washington, Western Division, alleging copyright infringement--the result of Sierra placing Valve games in Internet cafes in the US and abroad. "Sierra has in the past and continues to reproduce, use, distribute, and/or license one or more of the Valve Games with regard to 'cyber cafes,'" the complaint read. "Sierra's activities are outside the scope of Sierra's limited license...and therefore constitute copyright infringement in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976."

And so it began.

Since that filing, more than a dozen lawyers have left their stamp on the over 200 documents and exhibits (the most recent filed just last week) that have crossed the desk of the honorable Thomas S. Zilly, the judge mediating the dispute.

Presiding over the claims, counterclaims, motions, answers, declarations, applications, amended complaints, and other minutia of the case, Zilly is in the middle of the legal equivalent of a barroom brawl. In court filings, attorneys for Sierra/VUG allege that Gabe Newell, founder and managing director of Valve, conveyed "misleading half-truth[s]" to them, and that various ensuing conversations between Newell and Sierra/VUG executives were colored with "misrepresentations and concealment." Valve's marketing director Doug Lombardi is also described as having made "false representations" to Sierra/VUG execs.

"Valve sued Vivendi for copyright infringement back in 2002 over their unauthorized distribution of our products to cyber cafes," Lombardi told GameSpot last Friday. "We later had to add breach of contract claims for, among other things, refusing to pay us royalties owed and delaying Condition Zero out of the holiday season."

That lawsuit became more complex when Sierra fought back with a counterclaim. "Almost a year and a half into the lawsuit," Lombardi continued, "Vivendi responded by making a number of claims in an attempt to invalidate our agreement and be awarded the ownership of the Half-Life intellectual property. We expect to prevail in this lawsuit."

Though the density of the legal documents makes for arduous reading, they yield many fascinating nuggets of information. For example, the first Half-Life, which went on to win numerous awards and reap huge profits for both developer and publisher, was delivered to Sierra after an almost laughably meager $800,000 advance--the initial payment was a mere $30,000 when Newell and Sierra On-line reps signed their first software publishing agreement on April 27, 1997.

Currently, the case stands here: After Valve's initial lawsuit alleging that Sierra illegally distributed Half-Life to game cafes, and Sierra/VUG's counterclaim that accuses Valve of circumventing Sierra's retail plans by distributing Valve games via Steam, the two sides have both submitted motions for summary judgment on lesser points.

"Our court date [a jury trial to address the complaint and counterclaim] isn't until March 2005," Lombardi said. "The October 8 motions relate to two legal issues. We expect those issues to be decided in our favor."

For readers not familiar with the case (that is, just about everyone), the overall timeline is referenced in documents filed by VUG attorneys on Wednesday, September 15, 2004. In those documents--a second motion "to compel production of [Half-Life 2] source code"--Sierra/VUG attorneys stated their case in filings as follows:

"In 1997, Valve and Sierra entered into two agreements whereby Valve undertook to develop certain computer games and Sierra undertook to manufacture, market, and distribute the games. Among other benefits, these 1997 agreements granted Sierra intellectual property rights in the games.

"Beginning in 1999, following the success of its first game, Valve began to threaten Sierra that it would halt or slow development of the remaining games it was obligated to develop unless Sierra relinquished certain rights under the 1997 agreements. Sierra eventually capitulated to these demands and, relying on misrepresentations by Valve, entered into a new software publishing agreement (SPA) with Valve in 2001.

"Among other concessions, Sierra agreed to relinquish intellectual property rights and to allow Valve certain rights to the online distribution of games. Valve did not disclose during the negotiations over the 2001 SPA that it was in the process of developing a new technology called Steam that would allow consumers who would normally purchase games from Sierra/VUG at retail to purchase those products online directly from Valve.

"It was not until March 2002, nearly a year after the 2001 SPA was signed, that Valve announced the new Steam technology in a Game Developers' Conference in San Jose. Production of the source code in native, electronic, compliable format will allow Sierra/VUG to analyze the timing of Valve's development of Steam and the relevant Valve games.

"The timing of Valve's development of the source code for Valve games, the Valve source engine and Steam are critical to the development of several of Sierra/VUG's counterclaims, including: Sierra/VUG's promissory fraud claim based on Valve's false promises that it would continuously develop games to completion; Sierra/VUG's fraud claim and claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on Valve's concealment of Steam and its strategically delayed development of the Valve games to coincide with the commercial release of Steam; Sierra/VUG's unilateral mistake claim based on its mistaken belief regarding the status of development of the Valve games upon signing the 2001 SPA; Sierra/VUG's breach of contract claim based on Valve's failure to use diligent efforts to continuously develop the Valve games to completion; and Sierra/VUG's claim for declaratory relief regarding its right to reversion of the Half-Life intellectual property based on Valve's failure to continuously develop the Valve games."

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Valve announced that it had delivered a Half-Life 2 release candidate to VUG the day after this motion was filed with the court. Whether that release candidate qualifies as the "source code" VUG attorneys sought is unclear, although Lombardi indicated to GameSpot the source code at issue and the release candidate are not the same.

One especially significant subplot contained in Sierra's 54-page counterclaim to Valve's initial copyright infringement lawsuit revolves around the lengths Newell and others at Valve, according to Sierra/VUG filings, went to to downplay the capabilities of Steam, the Valve-developed digital distribution system now being tapped as a distribution mechanism for Half-Life 2.

"During the parties' negotiations...Counterclaim Defendants [Valve] repeatedly and falsely assured Sierra and VUG that retail sales would remain "the key to [their] strategy." In September 2000, for example, Newell told Hubert Joly, then VUG's CEO, that "online is a way to nurture the retail business" and that he "could not understand how one can make money online today."

"Sierra and VUG would later learn that these statements were flatly false...Incredibly, Counterclaim Defendant Newell also stated that he "could not understand how one can make money online today," plainly with the intention to falsely imply that Valve had no present or future strategy to engage in widespread online distribution of the games. This misleading half-truth was Newell's deliberate concealment of the extent to which Valve intended through the parties' negotiations to appropriate the substantial value of the distribution rights to Valve, rather than to Sierra and VUG."

In court filings, Sierra/VUG says that the current distribution of Half-Life 2 via Steam exceeds the scope of the current software publishing agreement between the two parties. It is apparently seeking the court's assistance in compelling Valve not to use Steam as an avenue of distribution.

On Friday, when asked if Valve was still intent on making Half-Life 2 available to gamers via Steam, regardless of what was determined on October 8, Lombardi replied, "Yes."

Interestingly, and in spite of the ongoing legal dispute, Sierra/VUG still wants to work with Valve in the future and is asking the court via filings to force Valve to work with it on whatever is next in the development pipeline. It asks the court, in filings, "for a declaration that Sierra and VUG have the right to a fourth engine license pursuant to the terms of...the 2001 Agreement."

According to Lombardi, "We're going to meet the obligations of our current agreement."

So what does the future hold for the two parties? They are now in a dash to present to the court all relevant materials to support their cross-motions for summary judgment regarding "cyber-cafe rights and available damages" (according to Sierra/VUG filings).

Additionally, the following milestones remain upcoming for the two parties, according to the deputy clerk to Judge Zilly:

* All motions related to discovery must be filed by October 22, 2004
* Disclosure of expert testimony [by] November 5, 2004
* Discovery completed by November 18, 2004
* All dispositive motions must be filed by...November 18, 2004
* Settlement conference no later than January 20, 2005
* Mediation held no later than February 19, 2005
* All motions in limine must be filed by February 21, 2005
* Agreed pretrial order due March 9, 2005
* Pretrial conference to be held at 4:00 pm on March 11, 2005
* Trial briefs, proposed voir dire questions, jury instructions, and findings of fact and conclusions of law...March 16, 2005
* Trial date: March 21, 2005

With the next hearing date set by the court of October 8, 2004 (to hear the cross-motions of summary judgment), you can be sure the parties will have little time to check out the run-and-gun fun of Half-Life 2, but that doesn't mean they don't have their legal weapons drawn, fingers on the triggers.

A VUG spokesperson declined to offer any comment for this article, saying the company was "not able to comment on pending litigation."

GameSpot will keep readers posted on further developments.

By Curt Feldman -- GameSpot

Steam sucks (-1, Troll)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302155)

Personally, I think it's great that Steam is (possibly) getting a good solid kick to the groin. I've had nothing but trouble with it. Plus, despite Valve's effort to paint Steam as a user feature, it's really nothing more than brute force DRM. It offers nothing in the way of user features that wasn't available to gamers already -- with the possible exception of getting patched automagically.

I suspect that VU is going to do their best to keep Steam from distributing HL2 since it's a significant revenue threat to VU and their retail distribution channels.

As far as I am concerned (0, Troll)

The MESMERIC (766636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302172)

... Valve can eat shit and die. [curmudgeongamer.com]

Dear Vivendi/Valve (0, Offtopic)

TheOnlyJuztyn (813918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302185)

Every time you delay HL2, God kills a kitten.
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