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Valve begins Half-Life 2 presale on Steam

Developer Valve Software has begun accepting purchases for forthcoming title Half-Life 2 on its Steam digital content delivery service, with Counter-Strike: Source being made available immediately to those who buy the game online.

Developer Valve Software has begun accepting purchases for forthcoming title Half-Life 2 on its Steam digital content delivery service, with Counter-Strike: Source being made available immediately to those who buy the game online.

As revealed last week, three different Half-Life 2 bundles are being sold over the service, with the basic Bronze pack selling for $49.95, the Silver package including Source Engine versions of original Half-Life and Day of Defeat for $59.95, and the Gold bundle including all of that plus a package of Half-Life 2 posters, a strategy guide and other such paraphernalia for $89.95.

While the game itself is not yet available, and won't be until such time as boxed versions appear in retail due to the nature of Valve's contract with publisher Vivendi Universal Games, those who purchase a package now will get Counter-Strike: Source to play with immediately.

Valve is undoubtedly hoping that by offering early purchase options and incentives such as the Counter-Strike: Source download, it will drive more users to purchase the game from the Steam service - since Steam, operated by Valve directly and cutting out the traditional value chain of publisher and retailer, will realise more profit per sale for the developer than boxed game sales will.

Gamers will be able to purchase Half-Life 2 packages on the Steam service from 11am Pacific Time (6pm GMT) today, and many will be able to start playing Counter-Strike: Source immediately, thanks to Valve's pre-loading system which loads Steam content onto machines before it is made officially available.

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Rob Fahey: 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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