AfterDawn: Tech news

Half Life 2 requires online registration

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Oct 2004 5:50 User comments (42)

Half Life 2 requires online registration Valve have decided to add an extra feature to the installation of their Half Life 2 game. Users will be required to sign up for a free online account to play the game. Once the account is created, the user will be able to play single player and LAN games without an internet connection. This comes after several big title games including Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas leaked onto the Internet before their official release.
Last year, there was a major security breach at a Valve network and hackers managed to download a huge chunk of the Half Life 2 source code and some other material. Just days after the theft, the source code appeared online and eventually a working beta of the game. This resulted in a delay of the official release of the game of almost 12 months.

It would seem that in future more gaming companies will take approaches like this to attempt to stomp out rampant piracy.


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42 user comments

123.10.2004 17:55

i wonder how long it will be before someone finds a way around this.......

223.10.2004 18:41

I doubt it will take too long since it's such a highly anticipated and popular game

324.10.2004 00:54

I do understand why Valve are doing this, but they should definetely provide other methods of registering Half-Life 2. With such an anticipated worldwide release, there has to be people without internet-connections who are going to want to play the game. Luckily you can register the game with any computer connected to the net and running Steam. Thatīs the impression I have. For those who donīt know, the "free online account" Dela speaks of, is of course the Steam software. Benefits of having Steam run alongside your game are automatic patches and better protection against cheating in multiplayer games.

424.10.2004 08:52

Ghostdog: VAC is good for public hacks, but not private... we want Cheating Death!! By the way, those shunning CS: S, they haven't implemented VAC yet, so there will be speedhackers etc. This seems like a method that might work for... a few weeks? Hell, there are ways right now of playing online with a fake cd-key on Steam, and it works perfectly!

524.10.2004 12:53

What if you don't have an internet connection? It still does happen you know. Morons.

625.10.2004 01:09

Screw em I won't be buying the game for that very reason. I even back up my XP key so that I can re-install without having to go on the internet and connect to M$.

725.10.2004 13:15

pretty soon everyone is going to require you to activate "your" software its getting out of hand you try to do the right thing by purchasing a legal copy of said software then you have jump throught hoops to prove that you own your $40 - $100 software I call it "PIMP WARE", they take your money then tell you what you can and cannot due......

825.10.2004 16:33

That sounds like the truth to me :)

926.10.2004 09:22

Toiletman, i spent months lookingfor cd-keys for steam, as a spyware app stole mine prior to registration, so ive never been able to play cs:s... could you PM with cd-key details. thanks in advance..

1026.10.2004 11:46

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don't provide CD-keys. Plus, how hard is it to go and spend $10 on your local Best Buy?

1126.10.2004 11:49

kind of frustrating when youve already bought the damn game..

1212.11.2004 02:19

It's understandable Valve want to protect their property. To survive as a company they need to be able to make money. Nobody will deny that. But this is too much. Ghostdog is right ofcourse. I'm one of those guys without internet connection some of you talked about. I am forced to choose between owning a decent gaming rig or having a no-good computer with internet connection. I just can't afford both, sadly enough. I do however buy games that deserve to be bought, like UT2004, Homeworld series, Half Life etc. I already had some money put aside to buy Half Life 2. It seems I can now use it for something else as Valve forces me to go for a pirated version of their game. Thank you Valve, for nothing.

1312.11.2004 05:07

Well perhaps you could register your copy at a local Internet Café or have a friend authenticate your copy?

1412.11.2004 11:37

If you don't have an Internet Connection, you've just lost 70% of your Half Life 2 product.

1515.11.2004 17:33

This really sucks I have been looking forward to halflife 2 since I played the original. Unforuneately I live in the country where 56K is considered amazing. My DL speeds are within 2 to 3K. Programs that try to connect to the internet never work. i.e. steam will not work, in conclusion I will not get Half life 2. Valve really screwed over a lot of gamers and all to stop piracy. I bet you that the "registration" will cause Half life 2 a bigger loss in sales than piracy ever could, and on top of that shit hackers will be more pressured to crack the game rather than register anyway. What was Valve thinking, tsk tsk...

1616.11.2004 02:34

Ghostdog, this might sound stupid, but I know nothing about the ins and outs of the Steam activation method. So would you please explain to me. How do I register a copy of my game at an Internet café? Does that involve dragging my machine over to the café and hooking it up to the internet at the spot? That's to much hassle in my case. But nevertheless thanks for your suggestions. A solution for this absurd problem is more than welcome.

1716.11.2004 03:34

I have to admit that the info Iīve received is mostly unofficial, but hopefully it will help you out at least a bit. Your Steam account info is stored remotely on Valveīs servers, so your information and your settings should be the same wherever you access it (friends house, Cyber café). Iīm not sure how Steam authenticates your retail copy of the game, asuming you are buying retail. If it gets tied to your system or if Valve just wants to "activate" the use of your copy. Iīve heard talk about being able to play your own copy of game on any computer that has the game installed. However this could be just rumours of planned features. If HL2 needs to be activated from the game it is installed on you will need to transport your PC to friends house or to someone that lets you connect to the internet (essentially just plugging the cable connecting to the internet to your own PC). This is how it should work, though I canīt be sure since I perosnally am not buying retail. The best source for accurate information would probably be Steamīs support-staff ( Sign up and send them your questions. Try to be detailed about what you are experiencing. Sorry I could not be of more help. I agree Valve should provide other methods of activating the game. It is very generalizing to think that everyone has internet, though I do understand that they do not want to provide options like activating the game through phone. Hope you get it sorted out.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Nov 2004 @ 3:36

1816.11.2004 11:15

I have a statement. The reason Half Life was so big in the first place was it's modding potential. And if you don't have an internet connection and you bought Half Life 2, you're losing a hell of a lotta value there, maybe around 5 years at the least. I have another statement. Half Life 2 is OUT! OMFG!!!1!!1!!1! It is producing world wide orgasms!

1916.11.2004 18:45

I am retail cd buyer of HL2. I tried making a Virtual CD of the first disk to keep from having to insert it each time to play HL2. I find this does not work, it tries but then hdd activity light stops and it doesn't start game. Any ideas or tips?

2017.11.2004 11:39

Develop stronger arm and hand muscles so you can lift CDs with ease. Do NOT masturbate as exercise, I would recommend writing letters with the specific hand or lifting similar weighted objects, such as rubbers (erasers) or tissue boxes.

2118.11.2004 01:37

Thanks Ghostdog. I might have found an easy but not so legal solution. I'm a librarian at a highschool library. Several students already offered to help me out. They allegedly already have hacked copies of the retail game :-0. It seems the Steam activation protection (or whatever it's called) is a joke and has already been cracked by groups like Reloaded and Emporio/Ape. Valve, Steam, cheers....

2218.11.2004 03:38

Huhm... couldnīt you take your computer to the library and activate the game there. Maybe itīs a bit of a hassle... Hey, as long as you are buying the game you should - in my opinion - do what it takes to play the game. Good luck.

2318.11.2004 10:09

The pirated version of the game, released by Empornio, is practically waiting there to be nuked. It's missing a bit of stuff, and you can only play in DirectX 8.1 Obviously I've bought the real version so I don't know whether that's true or not. There is also a rumour about Valve tracking those who have Steam accounts + pirated copies of Half Life 2 on their machine, which is 90% bullshit.

2418.11.2004 22:10

I'm certainly willing to buy the original, but only if I am alowed to play it to. Toiletman, this can be found on & Guru3D : Recently, one of the members here, alerted me of a pirated warez version of Half-Life 2, apparently released via the Bittorent network. I immediately, forwarded this to Gabe Newell of VALVe Software. A couple of hours later, Gabe replied with the following: Quote: We're running a bit of an experiment. We're keeping track of the accounts that do this and will be shutting them off. So, as you can see, VALVe Software have released a test "warez" version aimed at catching people out. These people will have their accounts deleted and will be banned from Steam. Therefore, I strongly suggest that you DO NOT participate in these illegal activities as it would only lead to your own harm. VALVe Software spent over $40 Million to develop Half-Life 2. Show them you appreciate their work. Buy the game!

2519.11.2004 11:25

Yeah, it's pretty obvious it's a clever little story that's made up by the author of the article. Afterall, if you love a game, obviously you don't want people trying to pirate it. 1) You can't track files over mIRC. 2) It's probably against some Vivendi Universal agreement to do this... but on the other hand, Valve ain't on the best of terms with VU. 3) The software included with the pirated version emulates Steam, and the only way (that I can see) Valve can track these copies is if they use Steam to install it OR if they have Steam and the pirated copy on the same machine.

2617.12.2004 13:35

People have already developed a steam hijack that bypasses steam, might be a good idea to use even if you own the game, but don't have a internet connection.

2717.12.2004 17:25

I don't see what difference it makes, hacks will just find away around just like they always have.

2822.12.2004 01:58

Well, a hacked version was handed to me a few days after my last reply. Steam was totally and very successfully removed by some dutch students. Four days later I had already beaten the game, and I played it on the highest difficulty setting. It is a truely beautiful game (the best fps I've ever played), but I wish it would have lasted a little longer. On the other hand a game like this never lasts long enough. It is AWESOME. And Bargaina as I've said before Valve are welcome to every single dime of profit and I'm willing to buy this game, but not if I can't play it because of a ridiculous protection scheme. This deserves to get torped.

2922.12.2004 09:01

You can buy it now and it takes mere minutes for it to register. Before, the servers were very, very busy. Plus, HL2 is one of those games you can replay a few times and still get a ton of fun while seeming fresh. There's practically unlimited ways you can kill enemies. *looks at Gravity Gun* Of course, HL2 can also be further enhanced by console commands! =D

306.2.2005 15:18

I just purchased the half life 2 game from gamespot. Took it home, installed it, entered the cd key...tried to register it, and the fn' system tells me that someone has already registered that key. I'm so pissed off right now, I will strangle those guys at gamespot come monday morning at 9am. I try to do something right and purchase a legit copy and this is what I get...jack $hit.

316.2.2005 16:54

which means there is a key generator out there that somebody used that happened to pick your #'s that was available as yours wasn't registered yet as you hadn't bought it yet

326.2.2005 19:03

@traders2, did you buy HL2 new? Because if you bought it used, that is why. If you bought it sealed, then someone just got lucky and got your number off a KeyGen. :(

3331.3.2005 16:15

i bought the dam game 2 and my cd key DIDNT WORK im pissed i took it back to wal mart and asked them if they put games back on the shelf that had been returned they said no and i told them to take this dam game and give me a new one because it didnt work. brfore that i took my game to my fiends and compared my key with his and it was VERY SIMILIAR to his. something like a nero key (there all alot alike) so i figured it had been generated by some lucky devil. so forget THAT i took it back and got star wars battfront (pretty good game no bullcrap steam or any anti STOP U FROM PLAYING piracy bull. man o man i sent sierrra a nasty little email and what do u know they even have a nice little section for u to send your game back to them DUE TO YOUR KEY U PAID FOR NOT WORKING so i figured why should i send my game i paid for with MY ORIGINAL RECIPT so they can loose it for me NO WAY watch out guys for this unless u have alot of patience. BEWARE this should be out there for people 2 see IF THEY DONT KNOW sierra WONT GIVE U A NEW KEY they want u to send the game in with your reciept and theyll give u a new one AND THEYLL ONLY PAY FOR IT WITHIN 90 days of purchase i think it could be less so if u reformat and your key dont work again HAVE FUN. i hope this info is usefull to someone I wont bew playing half life 2 or anything from their company and i KNOW theres more outhere like me. ENOUGH IS enough with the way these companies r trying 2 stop antipiracy. man if this would have happend to me with my BELOVED NERO 6 ULTRA DISK i would have been pissed and sad im just waiting for that to happen next. i suggest anyone with this problem to complain professionally to these idiots more and more than once so theyll change something but as for me im done with them.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 Mar 2005 @ 4:17

341.4.2005 11:31

Are you sure you typed numbers instead of letters? Because if you don't know how to put fullstops.. well erm, that ain't a good sign. =)

352.4.2005 10:12

ummmmm what letters instead of numbers? my key came with letters and numbers i think u mean 0 as in o yeah beleieve me i tried every combination the game has been out for a while now so they should have something better to offer for their bad key problems and i know im not the only one cause sierra has an area on their site for bad keys so it probably happens alot. i would hope it wouldnt but im feeling thats not the case. it would be very interesting to know how often this thing does happen with half life keys id like to find some more information on this maybe someone has some linkage? 60 bucks for that game i feel sorry for the college students and the kids who dont have much money and get the game and get burned. i just bought that game to test my oc on my new amd 64, im 30 years old i dont have time to be bying a game and then sending it back for a new key. the demo worked fine and he game looked tight made me STEAM for steam lol. i wanted to see how far my old all-in-wonder 9600xt would bend. oh well i do know one thing for sure the key i bought is almost exact as my friends he has so it wouldnt be that hard for a generator to be out there somewhere. oh and by the way toiletman or anybody else out there listening i also did try my friends key and guess what steam is real good at tracking keys so dont get any ideas i put his key in 2 and it didnt work. both legal paid for keys so i guess when i put my paid for key in that was already being used by someone it tripped something with steam and got my ip blacklisted or something i dont know exactly how they do it but u can do the math= if u do get a bad key u r gonna have to make a big stink out of it to get it 2 work through sierra. and i also reformatted and even went into the regestry and deleted all info still nothing so i think it has something to do with my ip address i can call verizon and change that or go through dos but why? so i can waist more time trying to get a game i paid for to work? no way they wont get one dime from again ive never had this problem with any games before not even halo Develop stronger arm and hand muscles so you can lift CDs with ease. Do NOT masturbate as exercise, I would recommend writing letters with the specific hand or lifting similar weighted objects, such as rubbers (erasers) or tissue boxes. lol good one

365.4.2005 17:12

bargaina, what in the world is that about??

375.4.2005 18:31

some new spayware maybe?

381.5.2005 19:33

I purchased Half Life 2,Installed It, went through a bunch of confusion on registering it, confusion on starting the game, finally got to play it, got half way through the game, had a hard drive problem and reinstalled windows XP and half life 2, opened up steam, noticed that half life 2 wasnt in the play games menu, I kept getting the stupid menu to get you to buy the thing, I tried to register my cd key again and again and again, got the message that the cd key was already registered to another user, I finally got my login info from them by giving them the email adress i used when I originally registered the product, I connected again to steam, it showed me as bieng connected and it also says im in good standing, The half life game still aint available to play, I spend 6 hours trying to solve this problem, the steam websites support page had some info telling me =I can send them my cd key from the original package it came in and wait for them to redo the account. My hell all I diid was reinstall the dam thing. And to thinkl I bought this stupid thing as well as buying another for my dads birthday. My dad still hasnt played hi he dont even want to deal with the registration crap.

391.5.2005 19:40

Does Valve offer refunds, I would lo=ve to get my money back and buy the new update to DOOM 3.

401.5.2005 22:20

yup wkdragon just about the same thing happened to me. good luck on getting a new key i took the thing back where i bought it and got another game. im wondering if any other owners of half life 2 r having problems after reformatting connecting with the same key.

4117.5.2005 07:52

Does anyone have any idea how I could get my hands on a copy of the version that Andreazz was handed??

421.9.2006 12:39

my cd-key was duplicated... i recived an e-mail from valve team and they told me to click in the name of the game and follow the intructions... i still trying... i need my money back :ī(

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