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EA to publish Half-Life 2 Xbox, distribute Valve PC titles

The Xbox version of Half-Life 2 will be published in October by Electronic Arts, it has emerged, with developer Valve signing a deal with the giant publisher that will also see its back catalogue of PC titles being distributed worldwide by EA.

The Xbox version of Half-Life 2 will be published in October by Electronic Arts, it has emerged, with developer Valve signing a deal with the giant publisher that will also see its back catalogue of PC titles being distributed worldwide by EA.

Valve will continue to distribute its PC products online over its Steam platform, while EA will be distributing a boxed "Game of the Year" edition of Half-Life 2 PC, featuring HL2, Counter-Strike Source, Half-Life: Source and HL2 Deathmatch.

The future of the Valve PC titles, and the forthcoming Xbox edition of Half-Life 2, has been up in the air since Valve and its former pulisher Vivendi Universal Games ended their five year relationship in late April.

That relationship came to an end after a storm of litigation between the two companies was resolved in a settlement that will see VU Games ceasing distribution of all Valve products at the end of August.

One of the biggest bones of contention between the two companies was Steam, the digital distribution platform which was used by Valve to directly sell Half-Life 2 to customers over the Internet, effectively cutting VU Games out of some proportion of the game's sales.

However, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz recently, VU Games president Phil O'Neil said that there was no remaining bad blood between the two companies.

"We have actually settled our dispute very very amicably," he commented. "All I can say is that I wish them well. We've enjoyed the relationship, we're thrilled with the success of Half-Life 2, and we wish them all the best."

Valve's decision to partner with Electronic Arts isn't what most commentators had expected the company to do; rival publisher Activision was seen as the front runner to publish Valve titles going forward, having already worked with the developer on a retail version of the Day of Defeat mod for Half-Life two years ago.

Microsoft and Take Two were also tipped to establish ties with the high profile developer. However, it should be noted that the deal EA has signed is a distribution deal, rather than a publishing deal - Valve will, in effect, now be self-publishing their PC products.

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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