Steam heat – Plagued by pirates, gaming industry unveils its own legal P2P software

Last fall, Vancouver art director Tavis Dunn recently used a new program called Steam to download PC gaming’s most anticipated title of the 2004, Half-Life 2 to his computer’s hard drive. It was a week before the game’s official release date, which, ironically, had been delayed for a year because the first version of its code had been pirated and posted to the Internet. So is Dunn, who works for Greedy Productions, producers of such popular gamer-oriented TV shows as Electric Playground, just another over-eager downloader of pirated games?

Well, no. Steam, unlike Kazaa, Limewire, eDonkey 2000, BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer programs, is a creation of the game’s own developer, Seattle-based Valve Corp.

And Steam, which allows for complete game downloads and seamless invisible updates, could just be the first sign that an industry that loses some $3 billion U.S. each year to piracy is considering operating its own legal download sites, just like the music industry.
The Vancouver Sun,