Half-Life 2 Preloading Via Steam

Valve have released Half-Life 2 to their distribution technology, Steam. Gamers can download the title now, but it will remain encrypted on their hard drives until the release date. No date has been given yet, but it can’t be too long. Poor, Half-Life starved gamers have had to endure a delay of a year due to a hacking incident last year when source code was stolen.

Steam’s distribution method is simple – games can be downloaded to PCs for pre-installation without charge. Gamers only pay for the game when it is unlocked via a variety of payment options – then the title is available immediately.

Distribution in this way means that publishers have complete control over the way that the game is installed, ensuring version control, simplifying updates, and reducing piracy and cheating. Steam customers can also enjoy their Steam applications on any PC.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?

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