Half-Life 2: raising the (crow)bar

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COMMENTARY: Half-Life 2, the most anticipated PC game in recent years has finally been released to the joy of eager gamers across the globe. Despite initial authentication issues, the game looks to be just as successful as the first.

After five years in the making and numerous delays, Half-Life 2 finally became available for play at about 7pm (Sydney/Melbourne time) on Tuesday 16 November. Gamers who had pre-purchased their copies were able to unlock the game via Steam, the online software distribution platform pioneered by Half-Life developer, Valve.

As part of the innovative Steam distribution model, Valve have been pre-loading Half-Life 2 files since August this year, allowing fans to start downloading encrypted portions of the game files (over four gigabytes in total) prior to the release.

Although the online distribution should have alleviated the queuing and waiting associated with obtaining a popular title upon release, some gamers were forced to wait just that much longer as the heavy demand on Steam servers began to cause significant authentication delays. Valve acknowledged the delays with a post on its site www.steampowered.com but was quick to report shortly after that the issues had been resolved.

The wait appears to have been worth it though with the game already scoring high across multiple online games review sites.

The release of Half-Life 2 has seen a number of delayed release dates, the most notable of which was caused by the distribution of source code stolen from Valve last year.

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