To Yuzzem (who thinks the gov't should waste their time on tracking down video game code thiefs) and other posters who debate whether or not theft should be prosecuted, it should be pointed out that this case is not JUSt about a video game or just about theft for that matter.
Think this is not important outside of the game community or the computer industry or even think it's just a large grand theft case? Wrong.
Half-Life 2 is being developed by Valve and published by Sierra. Sierra is part of VU Games, which itself is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a French company. Vivendi, a former waterworks utility, grew far faster and was managed far worse than it should have been. The company has been gushing red ink for many years and Vivendi was despterately trying to sell off its entertainment assets including VU Games.
Finally, Vivendi did manage to find a buyer for most of it's entertainment parts -- NBC, which is itself a unit of General Electric. NBC, however, did not buy VU Games and Vivendi put it back on the block. The division publishes some truly awful games and if it wasn't for Bilizzard (Diablo II / Starcraft / Warcraft) would not be worrth crap. (Unless you think The Hulk and the latest Jurassic Park games were really good, valuable games...)
But VU Games had one, big glorious selling point: Half-Life 2. That one game was going to rescue Vivendi by either boost its earnings for 4Q03 or giving it a much bigger selling price for the unit than it was really worth.
Then came the break-in.
Vu Games now is worth squat for the foreseeable future, no suiter is going to buy it and people around the world are losting their jobs over it. The parent company's stock continues to lose value and shareholders worldwide take the loss.
From Silicon Valley to Wall Street to Paris, this one little breakin is having a big impact.
Let's not forget we live in a global economy. No hack attack or computer crime is small anymore. It affects everyone, from the game programmer to waterworks repairman in france to the soccer mom whose college IRA takes a hit.
PC Games at up to Half-Off List Pricehttp://www.stores.ebay.com/halfpricesoftware/