"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."
So you blame the break in for that?
Wrap your head around this. What if Valve hadn't USED the break in as an excuse to get a much needed six more months of development time, and instead had kept COMPLETELY QUIET ABOUT IT.
I'll tell you what if.
Valve could have quietly dealt with the breakin. They could have fixed up the Steam code in a couple days so that hacked keys would not work, and so that the values in the netcode were mixed up from what was expected, and still pushed the game out on time. Simple.
As a result of BEING QUIET, they would NOT have had the story on every news website on the planet instantly, and far fewer people would know about the code being out there as a result. With this FBI thing, a ton more people now know that the code is out there.
And the stock price of VU would not have plummeted. Because the game would have gone out on time.
I DARE Valve to offer a detailed explanation of what they had to change in the code base and how this translated to a six month delay. There is just NO DAMN WAY that they needed SIX MONTHS to change the netplay and steam code so that it was incompatable with the hacked version. Do you know how much code a team of programmers can write in six months? The game High Octane was made in SIX WEEKS. There's just no way that moving some data around took them six months. They are blatantly lying just to get themselves more time they needed because they were behind schedule and could not meet their contractual obligations.