I didn't even buy the game until this morning. I already had a Steam account, logged in and sent my CC info. Started downloading about 8 AM, hit 100% about 6 PM. No unlocking or anything, I just clicked the game in Steam and I'm at the HL2 main menu.
Now I must resist playing until I've had dinner and have a few uninterruped hours.
It's the land of the brave, and the home of the free, where the less you know the better off you'll be.