Rumors have been rampant on the Internet and spreading like wildfire in other media sources as to whether Valve’s next release of its much awaited Half Life2 game will be delayed, and when the new release date will be. The current gossip is that HL2’s release will be delayed until April ’04: this information appears to have originated from Vivendi in a statement made by Vivendi to CNN.com. However, industry sources are now indicating that no official statement from Valve regarding the release status of HL2 was ever made to Vivendi, nor did Valve ever request that Vivendi or anyone else make such an announcement. Speculation continues that an outside party pressured Vivendi to issue the unconfirmed and unauthorized product delay announcement.
The hysteria over HL2’s delay started with a “hacker attack” that Valve experienced recently, when a great quantity of Valve’s product source code was unlawfully accessed and misappropriated by hackers. As a result, speculation has been circulating that there will be a significant release delay of HL2. While Gabe Newell of Valve, has indicated that there may be a release delay, no firm time frame or official revised release date has been announced by Valve or authorized for release by Valve. As of today, Valve has not issued any formal statement that HL2’s release will be delayed until April ’04.
While it seems almost certain that the release of HL2 will be delayed, it is outrageous that parties are issuing unauthorized releases and news leaks containing unconfirmed information regarding Valve and its HL2 product. This not only hurts Valve, but it also impacts Valve’s product marketers and partners. ATI, a major Valve marketing partner, reportedly has invested millions to secure the opportunity to showcase and bundle HL2 with ATI’s products; many sources are noting that the ontime launch of HL2 before the holiday shopping season would have likely translated into the sale of many new ATI video cards.
The technology industry is already sufficiently volatile without rumor mongers feeding it. It would certainly behoove those making major announcements to ensure the accuracy of their information prior to releasing it. Vivendi should have its hand slapped for its hasty release of unconfirmed information regarding HL2 – particularly since it appears that Vivendi doesn’t even have the story right.
Our friend Joel Hruska over at Sudhian has also posted a few comments on the subject including the reminder to turn folks in that are offering the code for download. You can read Joel’s thoughts here.