Recently VALVe made an announcement about the first RC (release client) of the heavily anticipated Half-Life 2 game. The company said that they have submitted a RC to Vivendi Universal (VU) publishing company for review. If the client is approved, then the game will go gold*. Meaning VU will begin the process of reproducing the game and then shipping it out to retail stores. That is great news for everyone.
But there is a catch. VALVe has come up with a new way to distribute their game. They have made the game available for sail through the STEAM client. Thus, skipping the middleman and directly distributing it to the customers. By doing that the middleman, i.e. the publishing company, does not receive any money. Although using new technology is great, the publishing company sees that as a threat to their business.
I personally think that the new system is great. Although I will go out to the store and purchase the retail version of the game, because one of the things I collect is computer software. Games are software, and they are one of the main items I collect. Therefore, I will go out and buy the game from the store, just to have it in my collection, but I love the centralize control of STEAM and the ability to download the game anywhere. Currently STEAM makes life much easier by providing VALVe’s game mods like Day of Defeat and Counter Strike and for Half-Life for direct download from anywhere, at any time. And I would love to have the same flexibility for HL2 just as much.
From this situation arises a problem. Vivendi Universal refuses to release the game to the public, and they can hold it for up to six months, even if it goes gold if VALVe does not disable the HL2 purchasing feature of STEAM. Although VALVe did its job and is pretty much finished with the games and submitted a release client, due to greed on the side of both companies, many, many people will have to suffer for it. Here is a news update: Half-Life 2 held hostage? – PC News at GameSpot.
This situation is very disappointing, because just like millions of fans around the world I have been awaiting, with a positive attitude, for the game since it was announced that is being developed over a year ago. Seeing that it might not be released like it was supposed to sometime in November of this year, I might start playing other games like one of the recent BI releases, and the mods which are already being created for it.
*Gold means that the product is in a good enough state that it is ready to be published and released to the general public.