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Orange Box In Stores Wednesday 162

Ars Technica is reporting on an announcement from Valve: the Orange Box will be in stores on Wednesday. For those folks who purchased the pack through Steam, all five games will be 'unlocked' just after midnight that day. If you're like me and already owned HL2 and HL2:Episode One, the 'giveaway keys' should be available at that time as well. "In our last bit of Orange Box news, Valve has been running a television commercial for the Orange Box. It had to have been hard to make all those different games look like one cohesive package, but the company did a great job. The Orange Box can't come soon enough."
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Orange Box In Stores Wednesday

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  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:12PM (#20905041)
    > The official Orange Box Gifts FAQ also says that purchasers of the Orange Box via physical means will also be able to give away their licenses individually.

    Once upon a time, when I bought a box full of games and had a duplicate, I just gave the CD, and the CD-key printed on the label, to my friend.

    No vendor needed to know my email address, and they sure as fuck didn't need to know my friend's email address.

    In fact, neither of us needed an internet connection and a subscription-based DRM system either.

    • by gumpish ( 682245 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:23PM (#20905137) Journal

      In fact, neither of us needed an internet connection and a subscription-based DRM system either.
      I have to wonder if there's any intersection between the people who complain about digital distribution of software (a la Steam) and people who shriek and throw feces at the entertainment industry for not changing their business model to center around digital distribution.
      • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:35PM (#20905259) Homepage
        Well he is talking about walking to the store and buying a physical copy, so I think it's a valid complaint. If the music industry's digital enlightenment involved them tying their online distribution to physical CDs so even though you bought a CD you still had to register online to actually use it, I think anyone who asked the music industry to change distribution models would be correct to say "That's not what we meant".

        Online distribution is supposed to make getting media without purchasing a physical object easier. It's not supposed to make buying a physical object should you choose more of a chore. :P
        • What is he whining about? Valve is doing this as a service to their customers.. granted it's kind of a ripoff since they cancelled Black Box, but allowing customers to give away duplicate programs that they bought through Steam is a great idea. If you bought it on disk originally, there's nothing keeping you from giving it you your friend (as long as it's not multiplayer)
          • Esp. if the friend is already on steam.. I have 3 steam accounts that I registered with older copies of HL1 that friends of mine weren't using.. now i can install HL2 on those accounts as well..
          • by B'Trey ( 111263 )
            Valve is doing us a favor? They're forcing us to buy software that we already own in order to get access to Episode 2, and then they're doing us a favor by letting us give one copy of the software we've paid for twice to someone else? How bloody friggin' generous of them.

            The whole promise of "episodic content" was smaller, quicker, cheaper. Now suddenly we have to pay the price of a full game if we want to get the next episode. And don't tell me that I'm getting my money's worth by getting all the other
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by toolie ( 22684 )

              Valve is doing us a favor? They're forcing us to buy software that we already own in order to get access to Episode 2, and then they're doing us a favor by letting us give one copy of the software we've paid for twice to someone else? How bloody friggin' generous of them.

              Instead of being a douche and jumping on the 'ZOMG!!! They suck making us buy all this stuff!' bandwagon you do some checking for yourself. Here, I'll even help you out [].

              • by B'Trey ( 111263 )
                As of yesterday, that page did not include a "purchase" button for Episode 2. I looked at it again before I made my post. It only listed the purchase options for the packages. I spent a couple of hours researching this issue when the Orange Box became available for preorder because I wanted to preorder Episode 2. I could not find any information on it being available stand alone. Everything I found talked only about the various packages. I'll retract and apologize for my rant but I did not "jump on th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 )
        > I have to wonder if there's any intersection between the people who complain about digital distribution of software (a la Steam) and people who shriek and throw feces at the entertainment industry for not changing their business model to center around digital distribution.

        I don't see anyone clamoring for the music industry to deliver "you download the song, then your MP3 player contacts the mothership to confirm that it's authorized to decrypt the song on your player, and if you leave your MP3 player

      • In AU stores I believe the orange box is retailing between AU$79 and AU$99. But with the current exchange rate you'd be much better off buying direct from steam. When I pre-ordered it only cost AU$54 including VISA's currency conversion fees, and I believe the exchange rate has tipped even further in our favour.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by matazar ( 1104563 )
          It's the same in Canada. It looks like it's about $60 to buy it here, or I can buy it on steam for $45, since USD = CAD right now.

          They really need to fix that, we have an issue with our books, since the price is still listed on books as USD = $14.99 || CAD = $19.99, when our dollar is the same.
        • Even adding on 17.5% tax it's only £26. The RRP is £30 for the PC version (though it can be found online for £25+delivery), or £50 (£40 online) for the console versions.

          Seems that the PC boxed version is pretty competitive with the steam version, and console gamers get ripped off again :)
          Anyone who says a console is cheaper than a pc, but has a shelf-full of games, should have "higher initial investment for lower long-term cost" explained to them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Kingrames ( 858416 )
      Yeah but you had to walk to the store, and that means risking your LIFE to a TERRORIST.

      You could have DIED, man! DRM's quite preferable to that.
  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:13PM (#20905043)
    A new column in the 'My Games' tab titled 'Gifts' appeared earlier today, with listings beside my installs of HL2 and EP1. According to the official forums, that system is live.
    • You neglect to mention that while the system is live, you still don't get gift passes until the 10th

      Also, this column only shows you whether you have gifts. You'd give them the same way you give guest passes (Games > Manage...).

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:17PM (#20905075) Homepage
    It had to have been hard to make all those different games look like one cohesive package

    Not really, I mean, it looks like they just put them in an orange box, and named it "the orange box".
    • No shit. First time I saw the commercial I thought to myself "What the hell kind of name for a game is 'The Orange Box?'" I had no clue it was a collection of multiple games until I read this article just now.

      Way to go marketing "geniuses."

    • by msimm ( 580077 )
      Lol. Not to mention they show Source games. Even TF2 is still obviously a Source derivative, down to some of the sounds. If the game play wasn't so...playable, I'd think I'd been tricked into playing another round of HL2MP (shudder).

      Whoever told Valve games should be fun should get a raise. Maybe next they can do a little less simplifying...
  • Cohesive? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SnoopJeDi ( 859765 ) <> on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:17PM (#20905077)
    Personally, I think the commercial is awful for any casual gamers. It's really obscure, and doesn't really specify WHAT the games are.

    If I didn't know what these games were, I'd rather just see an infomercial-type ad with a picture of the set and a guy telling me wtf it is.

    That said, I'm not a casual gamer, and I've anticipated Portal since it was announced. So I loved the commercial.
    • I think it gives you enough of a picture to make you curious enough to go online and figure out what the orange box is all about, which was their goal. They did an amazing job with doing that for Portal. Not to mention, they have a big enough following for half life that I'm sure word of mouth did enough alone. Considering the box has already gone gold.
    • I would agree with you, had only I not seen the Halo 3 "Action figures with solemn music" ad the very day before it. In fact, looking back on a lot of FPS, and other gaming ads (I'm looking at you, Sony) the Orange Box commercial looks positively informative. At least this one actually had any gameplay videos in it.
    • I'd beg to differ. Valve is a company that could put a picture of a crowbar on a page with no text and people immediately go nuts because they knew it was Half-Life 2.
  • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:20PM (#20905111) Homepage
    Got a copy of Episode One, and want some more single-player Half-Life 2 before going all orangey with the Orange Box on Wednesday?

    I prescribe my own MINERVA [], complete with needlessly cryptic website.

    Random games journalist types are quite keen on it []. No bribery was involved whatsoever, honest. Other links? Wikipedia! [] My blog-thing! [] ... Um ... Valve Developer Community! [] Even Steam! []

    Described by random inhabitants of the internet as having: "extremely bad writing", with "some of the most dreadfully boring environments you'll ever see" - the "puzzles and triggers in the game are horrific", and "combat is done exactly the wrong way" - what are you waiting for?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rowan_u ( 859287 )
      Just wanted to add here, that despite the self depreciation. . . I loved Minerva! Maybe even more than the main game (with the exception of the antlion bits). Writing was superb, and the way you left me staring down turrets with no grav-gun really opened me up to what's possible in the source engine. Running mad dash style while holding a barrel in front of your face for cover, then attempting to pick up one turret and throw it into another is simply something that never occurred to me while in possessio
    • I've been waiting for this mod for a very long time, following you since the start, and you choose to release it in the busiest gaming period of my lifetime!

      Thanks a bunch :(

      Downloading now ;)
    • Seriously. Minerva is one of the most singularly impressive single-player mods that I've ever had the pleasure of playing through. Anyone who has HL2 and hasn't played through this is missing something wonderful.
    • Congratulations on finishing up your mod, Adam. Some of the greatest map design I've seen. The last chapter in this was challenging, a great surprise, and an exercise in desperation to stay alive. That's all I'll say, and hopefully avoid spoiling it for others.

      I loved it! Thanks for the great series, hope you keep up the good work.
    • by witte ( 681163 )
      Just finished it yesterday night, this is a very polished single player mod.
      Lots of surprises, clever and ironic puzzles, some unexpected twists, good timing and event triggering, and not easy.
      I was very impressed by the dynamic layout of the levels with everything interconnecting organically as the player explores the environment. This takes gameplay a bit more off the rails as well. And the level of detail is beyond what you'd expect from SP mods.
      (Minerva is more fun than a lot of HL2's original chapters
    • I hate you.. now I have to play part 3.. I adore your mod but you don't half work up the paranoia..
    • Heh, funny, just downloaded your newest release two days ago.

      Yeah, Minerva is awesome.
  • by KGIII ( 973947 )
    One of the comments on the site summed it up fairly well:

    At the end of the day for the sheer amount of gameplay you will get out of the package $50 for all of this is an excellent deal. Valve could have sold everything for the $80 separate price and probably still would have sold copies of everything to most of the people who plan on buying it for $50 anyways. It certainly beats paying $70 for a 360 or PS3 game you finish in a few hours and then let collect dust.

    That, to me, sums it up just nicely. It is

    • by Fozzyuw ( 950608 )

      That, to me, sums it up just nicely. It is a decent enough value at the price and the hours of play more than justify it.

      Am I the only one who's seriously disappointed by the "orange box"? I already own HL2 and EP1. Gift cards to give HL2 and EP1 to a friend? Give me a break. It's a pure marketing scam to get HL2 in more peoples hands. OH! So the friend gets a free copy of HL2 and EP1 at your expense. How nice of them use US to give someone ELSE their product! Of course, since the friend didn't pa

      • "(hey, $5 off when pre-ordered from GameStop, I'll take what I can get)"

        You have to use steam to play the game anyway right? why not just have pre-ordered thru steam? you coulda been fragging with me in TF2 the last 2 weeks (which has been a blast).
  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:40PM (#20905297) Homepage
    You have given us $70-$120 in the past. To show our appreciation: Here is a $5 discount on our already great one-and-a-half games for the price of three offer!
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      If all you want is Ep2, it's $30 through steam. If you only want Portal, it's $20.

      Of course, if you want both, you're better off with the Orange Box. And you're also free to wait until the price comes down to something you feel is reasonable. Shouldn't be more than 6 months.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Lord Bitman ( 95493 )
        But I only have five months to live!
        The make a wish foundation at first thought I was talking about dying when I asked for half-life, now they tell me to stop calling.
      • Isn't Ep1 still $20 on steam? What makes you think that it's going to drop in price?
        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          Nope, it's down to $10 now. []

          And I 'think that it's going to drop in price' because all games do, eventually. If not a straight price drop, then they get packaged in with other stuff until the value is good enough to keep selling copies of it.

          Eventually it -does- go away, of course, but most decent titles see some time in the ole bargain bin. And if it isn't decent, why do you want it anyhow?
    • Except, don't most PC games cost $45+ by themselfs when they are first released? So you are not only getting TF2, Portal and Ep2, but also HL2 and Ep1 for the same price. I think this is a pretty reasonable price. Portal will be short, but the mod and custom map potentials are huge.
      • im not disagreeing with you (I have no idea about it), but what makes you certain portal will be short?
        • They've released details saying theres about 50 maps or so. The expected gameplay is 5-6 hours.
          But it has great mod and community made map potential, so it will be worth it anyways.
          • ah, first I'd heard of it was when I watched the videos on steam when I was about to buy the orange box a few days ago. Looks fantastic and I'm so glad they're not trying to cobble multiplayer onto it. more devs need to learn that not every game needs multiplayer modes
          • They've released details saying theres about 50 maps or so. The expected gameplay is 5-6 hours.

            I've played through the storyline section - while it is pretty short (I really got the hang of it after some false starts) and really didn't take that long for me to complete, it's definitely my gaming highlight of the year. I just don't want to spoil anything by describing why...

            The challenge maps, or whatever they're called, should add loads of replay potential - apparently it can count the number of portals ope

  • by AdamTrace ( 255409 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:47PM (#20905363)
    I pre-ordered the Orange Box just to get early access to Team Fortress 2, and so far I'm loving it.

    It's very Counterstrike'ish, but with classes. What's cool, and surprisingly refreshing, is that the classes are actually VERY different, and lead to very different gameplay. The Spy is very sneaky, the Engineer is kind of a "pet" class where you spend most of your time fixing machines rather than in direct combat, the Healer is fun support, etc.

    Good times.
    • It's very Counterstrike'ish, but with classes.
      As a long-time TF player, that comment just made me die a little inside.
      • It's not anything like counter-strike....

        It's fairly different from TFC, but counter-strike? I'd like to know what version of counter-strike this guy is playing...
      • I think he means it in a "I'm not familiar with the TF series in any engine, but if I'm going to compare the basic genre, it's like Counterstrike in that there are teams and you have guns."

        From what I've heard TF2 keeps the craziness of the original TFs which, to me, is why they were so much fun. Rocket launcher for teh win!
        • They also did a great job on balancing classes. Removed grenades, so that the game isn't just a grenade fest. You actually have to work together to win.
        • If you watch one of the trailers, the last 30 seconds or so is of the Soldier class rocket-jumping to ballet music
          • by Splab ( 574204 )
            The trailers are great, I'm going to buy the orange box and try it out. I usually only buy a game every other year or so (no I don't pirate, but most games don't have an appeal, I play CS (gun game mod) and DDO) but that trailer totally sold me for the TF2.
      • Oh, lord, did he just say TF2 is like Counterstrike?


        As the author of CustomTF ( -- where you have money to build your own Team Fortress class and equip your character -- it galls me to hear people say, "Hey, that's just like Counterstrike!"
    • by LazyBoy ( 128384 )
      How does it compare to Tribes2?
      • by Slamtilt ( 17405 )
        It's a very different game. Much faster paced, no vehicles, small maps, and you don't spend time fiddling to find the perfect loadout. It is fantastic fun, though.
  • Yeh, Buy what you already have... But that's ok, because you can give it away.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by matazar ( 1104563 )
      These games were thrown in to the Orange Box. You were never paying for them in the first place. You are paying for TF2, Portal and Ep2.
      It's more than reasonable price considering most new games cost that much by themselfs. Though if you are so upset over it, buy them all seperatly....
      • LOTS of people think you are buying HL2 and ep1 with the Orange Box. This is not the case.
        • by Surye ( 580125 )
          Really? How do you figure? Last I checked, you buy Orange Box, you get HL2 and Ep1. They aren't free outside of Orange Box, so it's not just included for convenience. That's like saying when you buy a burrito combo, and it comes with rice and beans, you aren't really buying rice and beans.
          • by derfy ( 172944 ) *
            Ok, Ok. What I meant was, you aren't paying for HL2 and ep1, they are included for free [to get people up to speed, sayth VALVe].
            • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
              Really... I'll just wait for Ep3 then... I can get HL2 and eps1 & 2 for free when it comes out probably.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by matazar ( 1104563 )
            "The Orange Box features three highly-awaited new games by Valve: Half-Life® 2: Episode Two, the second installment in the Half-Life 2 episodic trilogy; Team Fortress® 2, the sequel to the game that put class-based, multiplayer team warfare on the map; and Portal, the game that blends puzzles, first person action, and adventure gaming to produce an experience like no other. To bring gamers up to date with the Half-Life 2 universe, The Orange Box also includes Half-Life 2, the best-selling and hig
  • by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Monday October 08, 2007 @08:33PM (#20905799) Homepage
    I have to say, I really think this is pretty cool.

    Steam is the best gaming platform ever. It is truly awesome. It lets me lose my CDs as long as I have my password. It lets me fix the game files if something happens to them. It lets me keep track of my friends and play with them instantly.

    I know DRM is inherently bad, I know. But it's almost like Valve took all those promises that the MAFIAA made (such as, "DRM will give us new our customers new ways of enjoying our products"), and making them real.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fweeky ( 41046 )
      I'm not denying that Steam doesn't have some good aspects, but the app itself is a pile of junk. It's slow, buggy ("Delete your ClientRegistry.blob. Again."), awkward to use, and lacks a lot of basic functionality I'd hope a download service like it would have by now.

      Stardock's content delivery system, Stardock Central, is much closer to what I want out of such a service; if Stardock are down or my Internet connection is funky, it doesn't freeze for 120 seconds waiting for the connection to time out; if a
      • by Fweeky ( 41046 )
        (woohoo, Portal and Ep2 unlocking. Suck it, people who have to go to work today ;)
    • by rhennigan ( 833589 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @10:20AM (#20911097)
      I am in total agreement. Initially I hated the idea of Steam and wouldn't touch it for some time, but I eventually caved because I wanted to play HL2. Since then I order my games on Steam if they are available because I'm one of those people that always loses CDs and CD keys. The ability to keep track of your friends in game is quite a nice feature. One click lets you jump into their game, on their server. Other games, you would have to contact them via other means, and communicate an ip address, etc. Sure, it's DRM, but it works for us too, very much unlike the music industry.
  • From their FAQ []:

    May I Buy, Sell or Trade gift subscriptions?
    No. This violates the Steam Subscriber Agreement and may result in having your account disabled.
    Last I checked, you purchased that software. Both of them. Why can you not sell one of the copies?
    • Not that I condone breaking EULA's or anything, but how are they going to know whether or not your friend gave you the gift of The Green Backs for your gift subscription from The Orange Box? And, why should Valve care? Anyone who is given HL2 and EP:1 are going to buy at least Episode 2 a few weeks later and probably Portal and TF2 - all ala carte.
  • I own HL2 and HL2 Ep1.. I want Portal, TF2 and HL2 Ep2 so chances are I'll just buy the Orange Box and pass on the give away keys. I was thinking I'd give them to my brother but he only really games with his xbox360. Can I transfer those keys to the xbox360 versions? Or at least get a discount on the Xbox360 version of the Orange box?

  • by brkello ( 642429 )
    I am looking forward to the Orange Box...but that has to be one of the worst commercials they could have made. That voice is extremely grating and annoying...and they spend as much time in an orange screen as they do showing game clips. This goes to reinforce my theory that 90% of people who make commercials are abusing a substance.
    • Too many video game commercials are basically aimed at people who already know about the game. And, since they only run video game commercials during shows that have been determined to be popular with the nerd demographic (SG-1, Family Guy, etc.) its basically like dropping hints to your parents that your birthday is coming up.

      Valve: Hey guys, you know what happens on October 10th?

      Core Demographic: Of course we do. You used to money from our pre-orders to pay for this ad in the first place.

      Valve: W

  • All I want to do is purchase Episode 2. Is this my only option?
    • No, historically VALVe has allowed its customers to buy individual games within a package. Episode 2 alone will cost $29.95, check []
  • I am bleeding excitement.
    I thought to myself, Hmm, I can't wait for HL2:Episode 2 to come out. I loved HL2 and Episode 1.
    Then it occurred to me that I've been waiting for TF2 for 9 years!
    I didn't even know what portal was until I viewed the trailer only a month ago. I had assumed it was another of those dinky steam games that sells for $9.95.

    I was astonished with portal. The closest reaction I can describe is seeing quake3 trick jumping for the first time, after realizing it was fake. Well, that and the first time I saw the physics gun in HL2. It was with the leaked alpha. It was so rough then, yet somehow the coolest thing I'd ever seen in a game.
    Then TF2! The style just completely makes sense. It's like "No one lives forever" meets "The Incredibles". And fun to play.
    I'm still looking forward to HL2:Episode 2. I will play it through. Then I will uninstall it.
    It just makes financial sense to buy the orange box.

    I pre-ordered it from gamestop. Then, while talking about it with a clanmate, I realized something. I don't want another cardboard box and game disc!

    They're a liability. I need to keep track of them. With steam, I just need a password and email. Steam keeps track of my account, and games I've purchased. I can download them and install them any time I want. I can uninstall them and free up disk space and not worry about it.

    There was a time when I had 60+ game boxes mounted on my wall as a badge of pride. Now, steam makes it easy to own games.
  • May I Buy, Sell or Trade gift subscriptions?
    No. This violates the Steam Subscriber Agreement and may result in having your account disabled.

    Just want to throw this out there. If someone wants to buy me a beer at our slashdot party... I might be influenced as to which friend gets a copy of HL2 and/or HL2ep1.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.