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Valve versus Sierra

Valve vs. Vivendi Universal dogfight heats up in US District Court on GameSpot (thanks Democritus) reveals some details of a behind-the-scenes legal battle between Valve and Sierra (now part of VU Games) over Half-Life and Half-Life 2 that's been brewing for several years now. The article picks through details of a recent court filing by Valve that reveals the current state of the litigation, which has its next court date on October 8, though an actual trial is not scheduled until March 21, 2005. Included are disputes over what role Steam is to take in the game's distribution and who actually holds rights to the Half-Life intellectual property. Here's a segment that summarizes some of this:

In court filings, Sierra/VUG says that the current distribution of Half-Life 2 via Steam exceeds the scope of the current software publishing agreement between the two parties. It is apparently seeking the court's assistance in compelling Valve not to use Steam as an avenue of distribution.

On Friday, when asked if Valve was remained intent on making Half-Life 2 available to gamers via Steam, regardless of what was determined on October 8, Lombardi replied, "Yes."

Interestingly, and in spite of the ongoing legal dispute, Sierra/VUG still wants to work with Valve in the future and is asking the court via filings to force Valve to work with it on whatever is next in the development pipeline. It asks the court, in filings, "for a declaration that Sierra and VUG have the right to a fourth engine license pursuant to the terms of...the 2001 Agreement."

According to Lombardi, "We're going to meet the obligations of our current agreement."

157 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 1.
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157. No subject Sep 26, 2004, 01:45 Tanto Edge
The right hacker can hack anything.
To say they can't based on one event?

Steam is shit. Too slow, too autonomous. I dunno about bug-ridden. It's never crashed.

I don't agree with a required install of any secondary software. You want to check for CD, fine. CD Key, fine. But I don't register, I don't auto-download, and I certainly do not install secondary software to install a game. That's too Macintosh. And this is not iValve.

If I use Steam to purchase software, I'll firstly need a credit card. Secondly the will, or want to use that card. And Thirdly the assurance that I will always have broadband internet near my computer.


I'll stick with cash. If I was to download anything from purchase, I had better be able to burn it to a disc or three, thusly I will retain a hardcopy for bad times.
That would make me consider online autonomous download purchase service (someone give this shit a buzzword!).

Avatar 13202
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156. Dear Rilus Sep 24, 2004, 17:50 Kevlar
Not to continue the flames, but I read Beaver making some very informative posts.

And someone coming in and screaming troll while pointing fingers all around (and raising his postcount to 13 no less) does not bode well for his/her stance, oddly enough.

Yeah, I bet I'll be using Steam to play HL2 you damn fanboy... Probably because Valve will force me to install it. Doesn't mean I WANT to, or LIKE the idea. Call me crazy but I take issue to a company forcing auto-downloading software addled with crap and bugs onto my system when they can't even protect their own network from hacks - and that's a network containing millions of dollars in IP. Who's to say they'll even care about or know how to protect our security being on Steam?

I remember PowerPlay. One does not simply get a free pass from having a great game released under one's belt to start controlling what I download, when I download it, and how my computer operates.

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155. Keep up the delays Valve Sep 22, 2004, 10:27 Tumbler
I'm of the mind set that all the delays and missed released dates for this game revolve around that little program called steam. With that in mind I love the delays, because every day it's delayed that makes it a little easier to cope with not playing this game until it drops in price. The graphics are already looking a bit below par, if they hold this till 2005 I won't have much trouble putting off picking this one up till it's in the bargain bin, or better yet, via Thailand thanx to ebay.

A big FU to all the folks at Valve. Thanx for wasting all our time.

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154. DP Sep 22, 2004, 10:26 Tumbler
Double Post
This comment was edited on Sep 22, 10:27.
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153. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 22, 2004, 09:55 Duc
I would like to see a cut down client that esentially did the 'won stuff', that could be launched quickly or integrated into the game shell and didn't have a gui or any of the auto update stuff so 3rd party browsers like ASE could fire up steam games instantly. Ok it wouldn't have buddy lists but it would make alot of people feel better.

When we wanted to we could load the main program and manage installed games, check for updates buy new products etc.. that would be a sensible compromise and also reduce the number of running processes if world + dog decides to all launch their own steams.

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152. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 17:09 Dante_uk
If steam is so safe, secure and wonderful then they should make it open source. Then people might actually trust it.
Personally I don't trust any program that has the power to connect to the internet and install programs/files on my machine.
Including IE. yes I hate microsoft but that's because I have to use and sometimes support their software when I know there are better alternatives, like in the case IE, I use Firefox.

As a tweaker I spend time removing programs/services that can eat any amount of processor/bandwidth, that I don't really truely need.

I use ASE to launch games, I don't currently have any valve games(game, did they actually write anything other than HL?)
HL2 looks like it might an okay time waster and may condiser buying it ( on CD ). I don't what to subscript to anything, I don't want the crap and hassle of another user/password to remember ( most people including me use the same user/pass for lots of things which is frankly stupid and anyone doing that deserves what they get. NOTE TO SELF: I must think of new password for this site) just to play a bloody game.

It's that simple remove the need for steam and I'll be happy to lay down my cash.

If steam is so great and wonderful and has all these advantages they why haven't other publishers/developers jumped on the band wagon and created their own versions. Maybe because they read forums and see what a large percentage of people hate it. Maybe if valve had done a better job of it other companies would have followed. All I can say is thank christ they didn't.
Can you imagine if the idea took of, you'd look down at your system tray and 20-30 icons down there, valve, id, activision etc etc.
I just have the clock on my systray and lots of free memory/cpu cycles/bandwidth. What do you have?

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151. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 14:21 jm0ris0n
Rilus: You are correct about sierra not giving valve a penny to develop the game, but sierra is fitting the bills of promoting/manufacturing the game.

Promotion of a game as big as half-life 2 is not cheap. They were stupid to agree to let valve independently distribute games independent of the publisher in the first place.

Because if vivendi spends 2 million on advertising and valve spends zero, valve is freeloading of sierra's advertising and valve and sierra become competing intrests. (IE with one cmpany having online distribution rights and the other only physical distribution rights.. things can get nasty...).

This one will be iteresting. Steam is fine and all, but it should be handled by the distributer, (steam's main purpose is the 'distribute' the game), and not the developer.

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150. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 13:04 anon@24.76
Rilus, I think YOU are more of an example of fanboyism, then Beaver is of "trolling" Just read his recent comments, he responded to specific answers about some of his specific critisms.

"HL2 in Steam just like everybody else." Is also BS. I for one am not going to use it. I bet there will probably be a steam-free version released on the net before most people finish getting it through steam.

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149. Passion Sep 21, 2004, 10:51 Gentle Nova
I find it funny that people are getting so heated and vehement about their sides when in actually reality they are passionate about the same thing, the game. Both sides appear to love the game a lot. One side likes it the way it is and have no complaints, thus they defend the product as it is. The other side have issues with elements that effect the gaming experience (but are strangely enough outside of the gaming itself) and thus want to see some changes to allow them a better gaming experience. In my opinion both sides can be achieved via customization in the software. Hell isn't that what keyboard configurations are about? I find it hilarious that people are yelling at other people to like it the way it is or get lost. Why? Especially when through customization both sides could be happy.

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148. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 10:38 Gentle Nova
Rilus, it's called giving people a "choice" and that is even more of an important part of the anti-corporation, anti-RIAA fight. Valve doesn't give people a choice in the matter whereas before they did. If they are not going to give them a choice then they better start listening to those people who dislike Steam and finding alternative ways that they can offer the games to them. If anything they are losing customers because of it. All we are saying when we say "it worked before, let's go back" is that we know it technically feasible, so why not offer an alternative way for those who dislike using Steam? As I said before, I'm no game developer, but I believe they could achieve functionality for Steam that would make both sides happy.

As for those who are saying you can use ASE to launch games, yes that's correct but you still have to have Steam started first to do so, don't you? Correct me if I'm wrong with this. That's part of the problem since people prefer not running Steam in the first place. As far as I'm aware, there is no way to launch a game without having Steam running. Once again, correct me if I'm wrong on this.

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147. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 10:35 Rilus
Listen, Beaver... Just ike you say I'm a Valve fanboy, you're one of those trolls with no substantial comments who hate things just because the rest of his hacker, rebel, anti-establishment buddies hate them. It reminds me of the mob mentality of Slashdot and other sites like this one. They hate Windows and Microsoft just for the sake of hating it. Any little thing Microsoft does wrong or differently and people, in Slashdot, will dissect it to death. Anyone supporting anything Microsoft does is a dupe. It's the same here in Blue's. I won't argue with you, anymore. I know that in the end, you'll be playing HL2 in Steam just like everybody else.

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146. 3D Realms weighs in... Sep 21, 2004, 04:52 Hump
Big Geroge made an informative post over at The Shack regarding devs vs pubs.

3DR retains the rights to sell direct. In both Shadow Warrior's and Max Payne's case, we had a simple $5 discount for buyng direct. In both cases retailers like EB, CompUSA and more, called the publisher and said "They should not be selling the game cheaper than us. Fix it, or we're removing the games from shelves". So at least at launch, there is a pretty good reason the game can't be cheaper. The retailers.

Also, there is nothing wrong with developers making more money. Most get a very small piece of the royalty pie, and in fact lots of developers never even make any money on a game and live game to game. The system is very skewed in favor publishers making money from sale #1 (their cut), while developers have to recoup costs 100% from their cut. Ok, a game costs $8m to make. Why can't the costs be split 50/50 with a publisher and shared? Why must a developer pay back 100% of that money from their already small royalty cut?

Oh yeah...the publisher takes on so much risk. Well, it's really not that much risk most of the time.

What Would Fred Do?
Avatar 10137
"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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145. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 04:11 Muscular Beaver
Ill try it out, but I doubt its much of an improvement. Still thanks.
Yeah, the spectator bug is old as dirt. At least they fixed the useable bugs first like the silent ladder bug...

I don't like arguing. Why can't we all just get along instead of fighting and arguing?
Avatar 12928
Waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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144. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 03:57 Duc
Steam still has to be loaded, but it will launch steam if its not running - you just use the auto detection stuff as always or manually browse for the exe its under options somewhere. Oh and the cpu usage issue is related to an unfixed memory bug - something to do with it loading all the steam pages into memory at the start, if you open and close each page the memory used drops rapidly... Actually valves bug fixing rate is one thing I have a huge issue with, for example the duck spectator bug is still there.

This comment was edited on Sep 21, 04:00.
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143. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 03:34 Muscular Beaver
Cool, tell me how you did that? Mine didnt look for them at all.
You dont have to type in your Steam passord? Steam wont be loaded?

I don't like arguing. Why can't we all just get along instead of fighting and arguing?
This comment was edited on Sep 21, 03:36.
Avatar 12928
Waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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142. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 03:34 Undead Scottsman
Actually I still use ASE to play all my steam games, infact it searched and located them automatically.

SHHHHH... You'll spoil the illusion!

Jeremy Dunn

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141. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 03:29 Duc
Actually I still use ASE to play all my steam games, infact it searched and located them automatically.

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140. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 03:27 Muscular Beaver
Rilus, it may come to your mind that I dont comment on "arguments" that are totally idiotic and factless. I cant even change your opinion with the hardest facts and you want me to start to argue about idiot shit you posted? Right...

Did you actually notice that I gave more than 2 examples why Valve is more likely to do something stupid like implement spyware than other devs (even if its not very likely)? Yet you still claw yourself to it with your kiddy fanboy comments, ignoring everything I said. That normally is typical if you run out of arguments (or facts).
I am very sorry that I ignore your Newton approved comments and maybe hurt your ego with it, but somehow I feel more and more stupid the more I answer to such factless mud. Just look at your newly discovered evolve theory. I couldnt anything but laugh at it, or I would have felt extremely dumb to explain the word "evolve" to you. And be honest, would you simply come here again and say "oh yeah I was wrong, you are right". hahahaha in my 10 years of internet experience Ive never seen something like that happen with your kind. Soooo... I simply laughed at you.

The CPU usage problem I talked about (duh) and you seem to know nothing about but still had to spit out your opinion about. look below.

Skirtman: You might want to install a personal firewall or Motherboard Monitor and leave them in the background. Then open the taskmanager and look at the CPU usage of those programs, and while youre at it watch steam closely aswell, even though it wont be that frequent as MBM or the FW (you actually have to watch a few minutes). Its not much CPU power that is used but in demanding games you can notice it, even though most people dont notice it at all because it is so relative from person to person. Just like if some guys dont care if they are playing a game with a ping of 150 and others suck badly if their ping is any higher than 50.
I think I somewhere read that it has impact on 3dmark 03 and similar benchmarks, but you wont see it on your fps rate displayed on your screen. No wonder why those overclocking freaks only benchmark their computer with an empty taskmanager or fresh installed OS.
You might want to look into any hardware/software forum for more info about this. but it seems as you are one of those guys (the majority anyway) who dont notice it, heck even I dont notice it most of the time. But when I see my friends playing at their computers and other people on LANs I notice it very well.

noman: Oh, still a few more icons (which lead you to the awesome Steam browser too) on my desktop compared to JUST ONE for all kinds of games from various different developers that has awesome filters and a very nice and efficient query engine and only accesses the internet when you tell it to.
I was also under the impression that Steam checks for new modules and updated Steam version every few hours or so. I didnt know that you could switch to offline mode while playing a game over steam either. And if you want to go into offline mode you have to select it after you stopped playing, rightclicking the icon and shutting it down is faster actually.... well ok, that shutdown delay may make it faster switching to offline mode actually, lol.
All in all, Steam is slow as shit compared to GameSpy or ASE.
on a side note, what would you say if some car manufacturer would suddenly develop their own steering method and you have 4 cars, 1 or 2 from that mentioned manufacturer (which would get their steering reconstructed for free - but forced)?
I know I know, "if its a good steering method..." oh well. I hope you get my point anyway.

I don't like arguing. Why can't we all just get along instead of fighting and arguing?
Avatar 12928
Waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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139. No subject Sep 21, 2004, 03:12 space captain
'back orifice' was a background app too.... but i doubt you would want that running

steam can install things on your system without your permission, and it seems like some hackers might want to exploit that potential

considering Valve's history in that area, some caution might be prudent

unless you blindly believe everything you are told, like a good little dupe

"put it in a bottle, throw it out to sea... I dont trust nobody who dont trust me...
I'd rather run with Ramsey, swim in quicksand... shit by a tree, fuckin live off the land..."
"When the bomb drops it'll be a bank holiday
Everybody happy in their tents and caravans
Everybody happy in their ignorance and apathy
No one realizes until the television breaks down..."

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138. Re: regarding steam.. Sep 21, 2004, 02:40 noman
>Rilus, I don't think it is so much an issue with gameplay
>(when your actually in the game) even though people say
>this, I think it is more an issue of the 'cludgyness' of
>the Steam interface and that you are FORCED to have to go
>through it to play a game.

You can create desktop shortcuts for any Steam enabled game. Clicking it would start the game directly through Steam in online or offline mode. How is it different than having a splash screen before the start of a game? An idle Steam app takes zero CPU resources and doesn't talk to Steam servers in offline mode. So what's the 'cludgyness' that you are talking about?

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157 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 1.
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