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."
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1.
 
Release the game already
Sep 20, 2004, 11:37
1.
Release the game already Sep 20, 2004, 11:37
Sep 20, 2004, 11:37
 
Just get Half-Life2 out the door. I don't care if I have to download, buy a CDROM or interpret smoke signals, just make it available.

"Any sufficiently advanced
technology is indistinguishable
from magic."
--Clarke's Third Law
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2.
 
Re: Release the game already
Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
nin
2.
Re: Release the game already Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
nin
 
3.
 
Re: Release the game already
Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
3.
Re: Release the game already Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
Sep 20, 2004, 11:42
 
This right here is the reason we won't be seeing HL2 released sooner or cheaper on Steam folks. Publishers and distributers will do everything possible to keep themselves from being eliminated.

4.
 
Valve
Sep 20, 2004, 11:43
4.
Valve Sep 20, 2004, 11:43
Sep 20, 2004, 11:43
 
Kick Sierra's ass...I bet valve has more then they do so take them to court and then buy them out

5.
 
Sierra....
Sep 20, 2004, 11:46
5.
Sierra.... Sep 20, 2004, 11:46
Sep 20, 2004, 11:46
 
... Dedicated to the destruction of computer gaming, one developer at a time.
I'm not even really here.
6.
 
Re: Valve
Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
6.
Re: Valve Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
 
and so the first publisher panics at the thought of them not being needed to distribute future games... we saw this coming... (if publishers arnt needed then companies can use options like steam to get thier game out... think of the power that companies like ID software and blizzard and valve would have if they didnt have these large companys over thier heads.)

(and with the internet becoming more and more proliferent in peoples lives its quickly becoming an issue)

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 11:48.
7.
 
Re: Sierra....
Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
7.
Re: Sierra.... Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
Sep 20, 2004, 11:48
 
Just when you thought we were nearing the end of the saga otherwise known as HL2....

How about this for the next headline.. "Sierra blocks HL2 STEAM release in court."

and

"Valve refuses to release HL2 until STEAM release allowed"

Ooooh yes my friends.. stranger things have already happened.

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 11:53.
8.
 
Hrm
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
8.
Hrm Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
 
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.
Interestingly, despite the current legal battle Sierra is fighting to make more money off HL2, the still want to make money off of more Valve games.
How unexpected...

9.
 
Re: Sierra....
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
9.
Re: Sierra.... Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
 
Just when you thought we were nearing the end of the saga
Just my thought. The pain for Valve never seems to end. I was hoping after HL2 is released and they start to rake in all those 10 ton bags of money from Steam that maybe they could just sit back, relax, and enjoy their success.

Could you imagine if they actually lost the HL IP?

10.
 
No subject
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
10.
No subject Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
Sep 20, 2004, 11:51
 
Interestingly, and in spite of the ongoing legal dispute, Sierra/VUG still wants to work with Valve in the future...

No shit! Valve is one of the few developers in the industry pretty much guaranteed to make a ton of money.

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11.
 
regarding steam..
Sep 20, 2004, 11:55
zaq
11.
regarding steam.. Sep 20, 2004, 11:55
Sep 20, 2004, 11:55
zaq
 
I hear a lot of gamers are not happy with "steam". But I'm unclear as to what the cons are about it...

I simply don't like installing "junk" on my PC, but I really don't know whats wrong with steam.

All I can say is I did install it.. but didn't do anything with it.. and for somereason it was using some bandwidth, and I'm not sure why. It was just sitting in my tray.

Could someone please sum up whats wrong with steam?

12.
 
Re: regarding steam..
Sep 20, 2004, 11:58
12.
Re: regarding steam.. Sep 20, 2004, 11:58
Sep 20, 2004, 11:58
 
I bitch and moan about Steam because my gaming computer has no internet connection and I'm afraid I won't be able to play SP games or mods or get patches or whatnot.

In theory though, Steam seems like a good idea, to cut the evil publisher out of the loop. I'm sick of crappy games, dumbed down to appeal to the widest audience, and publishers who refuse to take any risks on anything new or not part of an established IP. Maybe Steam will bring back a golden age of PC gaming (queue Bambi music)

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 11:59.
13.
 
Re: Sierra....
Sep 20, 2004, 11:59
nin
13.
Re: Sierra.... Sep 20, 2004, 11:59
Sep 20, 2004, 11:59
nin
 
Could you imagine if they actually lost the HL IP?

At this point in the game (with the game basically done), Valve would end up cutting VU a check and going on...but HL3 could be up in the air, if VU wins the rights and doesn't want to pay Valve what they're asking.


http://www.johnwaitethehardway.com/index2.htm
14.
 
Reminisant of...
Sep 20, 2004, 12:03
14.
Reminisant of... Sep 20, 2004, 12:03
Sep 20, 2004, 12:03
 
Kinda reminds me of RIAA vs Napster...
Buy it only on CD or else....

or else I won't be making enough money.

snafu

Opinions are like A**holes, everybody has one and they usually stink
(all except mine of course)
Eye 4N Eye

Opinions are like A**holes, everybody has one and they usually stink
(all except mine of course)
15.
 
Re: regarding steam..
Sep 20, 2004, 12:09
15.
Re: regarding steam.. Sep 20, 2004, 12:09
Sep 20, 2004, 12:09
 
Could someone please sum up whats wrong with steam?

Some of the concerns of STEAM are:

1. Not having control of what goes on - not seeing exactly what STEAM is doing to your files makes some users uneasy.

a. Being able to patch your game at your own leisure is sometimes necessary if there are side effects of the patch (losing save games for one).

b. Theoretically it may be possible to not only download files, but also upload files.. using your PC and bandwidth as a file server.

c. Spyware

d. Performance hit - Is a mid to low end PC going to take a significant performance hit in a single or multiplayer game with STEAM running in the background?

2. Your PC requiring Valve's servers much in the same way a MMOG requires servers could be a problem.

a. Look at WoW and SWG. They had problems recently due to a tornado hitting their server farm. WoW testers were not able to log in this weekend. Imagine not being able to play your favorite single player FPS because of this.

b. Situations where local internet is temporarily not available

c. LAN games - will they happen with HL2?

d. If a million people send an authorization request at the same time (release day.. whenever that is), will STEAM be able to handle it?

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 12:25.
16.
 
what next
Sep 20, 2004, 12:11
16.
what next Sep 20, 2004, 12:11
Sep 20, 2004, 12:11
 
Last year it was the code theft...this year its litigation....Half Life 2 is becoming the new Duke Nukem Forever.

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17.
 
Hmmm, who to root for?
Sep 20, 2004, 12:13
17.
Hmmm, who to root for? Sep 20, 2004, 12:13
Sep 20, 2004, 12:13
 
Valve or Vivendi...Hitler or Stalin...tough one.

-tAE-

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18.
 
WTH?!
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
18.
WTH?! Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
 
asking the court via filings to force Valve to work with it on whatever is next in the development pipeline
On what grounds can they possibly expect the court to grant this? It sounds like they'd be just as happy if slavery were legalized so they could chain developers to their desks and get busy with the whips.

Guess who is shopping for a new publisher? Hell, Valve is loaded enough that they could just about start their own publisher. As long as HL2 isn't complete crap it will make a hojillion dollars and after that what big box chain isn't going to go the extra mile to make sure they have the next Valve game on their shelves?

I wonder what VUG's shareholders will do when they lose Valve because of this horseshit?


19.
 
So we finally know...
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
19.
So we finally know... Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
 
...the real reason that HL2 has been delayed so much. I sincerely hope that Sierra gets their butt handed to them on a platter.

20.
 
Re: Reminisant of...
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
20.
Re: Reminisant of... Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
Sep 20, 2004, 12:14
 
Kinda reminds me of RIAA vs Napster...

thats the first thing that popped into my mind as well when I read it.

Electronic distribution is going to cause a massive shift in how things are done. When the record industry has to start suing 11 year old girls and publishers want to litigate to force devs into an agreement on their next game it should be a sign that they've become obsolete.

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