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Half-Life 2 authentication rush causes server jam

New security proceedures hinder gamers, and still don't stop pirate copies

Eager gamers have been wailing and gnashing their teeth as games developer Valve’s new security measures left them out in the cold when they tried to register their copies of Half Life 2.

In an attempt to thwart software piracy, which is particularly endemic to the PC gaming industry, Valve requires its customers to log on to registration server Steam and create an account in order to unlock files crucial to playing the game. All this is regardless of whether or not customers have opted for the online or retail copy.

Understandably, the authentication servers were bogged down by the hundreds of thousands of users who wanted to immediately jump into Half Life hero Dr Gordon Freeman's shoes. For some, account registration would fail, CD-key registration would lock and unlocking the game files took about an hour when the servers were particularly crowded.

Ironically, purportedly cracked copies of the game are already rumoured to be floating about, though those interested would be in for a long wait with the hefty 3GB download.

It may only turn out to be a minor issue, however. With the launch day frenzy subsiding, servers will likely be less congested, preventing further time-outs.

In the meantime, the company released a statement to address possible issues:

  • CD Installation error when Counter-strike: Source is not selected. The following has been identified as a known issue with Half Life 2 Standard Edition (not Collector's or European DVD editions).

    If during the initial installation process the option to install Counter-strike: Source is not selected, an error may occur during installation. The message will be: cabinet file error, fatal disk error, or something similar.

    Cancel the current installation process and reinstall the game from the beginning, starting with Disk #1. Make certain to select the option to install both Half-Life 2 and Counter-strike: Source.

    If you prefer not to retain the Counter-strike: Source program on your system after installation, you can remove it using the following procedure. After Half-Life 2 has been successfully installed, open up the Steam client. Select the Play Games list. Right click on Counter-strike: Source and select Properties. Select Delete Local Content.

  • Product Authentication Delay When Installing Half-Life 2

    Some consumers may experience delays in authenticating Half-Life 2 during the installation process. This is due to the high volume of consumers who have purchased Half-Life 2 and are installing the game, which is causing high traffic on the Steam authentication servers. Please inform any Half-Life 2 customers that encounter this situation to keep trying, as this is a temporary delay.

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