Regarding Valve’s privacy (or lack thereof)

Okay, Metrocop’s purpose has shifted from generic “Half-Life fan blog and I make comics” to “Garry’s Mod comics hub with a spoonful of Half-Life“, but earlier I raised a point on Twitter that LambdaGeneration picked up on, and I’d like to explore it further. So, forgive me if this feels off-topic considering recent posts, but I feel like it has to be said.

ValveTime, previously known as HalfLife2.net, has pretty much become the place for Valve news and it’s often the source of new information regarding future Half-Life, Left 4 Dead or other games. However, I personally don’t feel like their methods are very respectful to Valve itself, and I’m telling you why.
Their most recent finding was an internal list of Valve’s projects, listing previously rumoured projects like “Left 4 Dead 3“, “Source 2” and even “Half-Life 3“. Note the word “internal” – this is a cache of Valve’s database of projects, used by Valve to, I suppose, organize their game and software development. As such, this was never meant for the public eye, and yet here we are, with a list of names of Valve’s secrets in our hands, peering at whatever we’ve found about Half-Life 3, Source 2 or GabeN’s lunch habits.
Look, maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to feel like we’re escalating into “HL2 beta theft” territory again. This is Valve’s private data and they don’t divulge it for a reason, so, logically, it should also not be reported. I’m not blaming ValveTime for coming across it and reporting on it, in fact, I’m sure their involvement with the findings themselves was minimal, but this is a huge spit on the face of everyone at Valve.
Back when the Half-Life 2 beta was stolen and leaked online, Gabe Newell went to HalfLife2.net to ask for the community’s help in tracking the perpetrator. That very same community is now, ten years later, leaking a list of Valve’s projects – which, thankfully, is not really major information, but it compromises the company and breaches its trust with the fans, the same trust that Gabe Newell upheld when he asked for help. Unfortunately, if something accidentally slips past Valve’s privacy, they now can’t trust the most influential fansite to keep it hush-hush, and that’s a big loss for everyone, in my opinion.

Look, I know that’s been a long wait for another Half-Life and I’m just as eager to get it as you. I know that Valve have been remarkably uncooperative in telling us anything about the series’ future, but they have their reasons and we all know that. Personally, I am okay on waiting for official word, and so are many fans. I’ll admit, it may sound hypocritical, but I’m even okay with leaks regarding the cancelled Episode Four/Return to Ravenholm game to make the wait easier, because that’s no longer in development and, therefore, should not affect Valve too much to learn more of it. I’ll even say I was excited at first when that Episode Three artwork was found and leaked online, but now? Now it’s getting to be too much. At this point, there’s really no respect for Valve’s privacy anymore, and we’re really starting to come across as a demanding, ungrateful bunch. Valve takes their time to bring us a good game for our sake, so let’s try and respect that instead of constantly forcing our way into their secret projects, because it’s illegal, immoral and aggressive.

Now, I’m not declaring war on ValveTime.net, boycotting it or doing whatever I would do to be against them. I respect the place, its administrators, and I’m even a registered member of their forums – even if I admittedly only registered to share my Hercule Cubbage comic series with an audience I thought might be interested. Consider this more like someone who disapproves of smoking but isn’t against smokers – they have their site and their methods and it’s none of my business, nor am I the kind of person to go on berserk and start hating and insulting them, but I have to tell it how I see it, and, right now, they’re the paparazzi of the Valve fanbase, always reporting any embarassing leaks they find or that are provided to them. I think it’d be much better for Valve and their perception of us to respect their secrecy instead of forcing them to waste time and money on protection from the people they’re always trying to please.

Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. But I’ll wait and respect Valve, because all the effort in the world to uncover clues on Half-Life 3 will go to waste until they’re ready to officially unveil it. And I wish you would, too.

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2 comments

  1. I can see where you’re drawing the connection between the recent leaks and the HL2 Beta Leak, but I’m going to have to disagree with you.

    If I read correctly, these “leaks” were available to the public because of a screw up on valve’s part. The HL2 Beta Leak, though, was released by somebody who had HACKED into Gabe’s email. I think that if ANY company screws up and posts something, then it’s fair game (the exception being login information or billing accounts).

    • It’s not so much drawing a direct comparison as it is mentioning the trust issues this is developing. Gabe actively asked for this site’s help in tracking down illegal action in the past, now the same site is reporting findings about Valve’s private database of projects. It feels like a breach of trust and it probably delays an official revelation of anything, which isn’t good for anyone.

      Perhaps it is fair game, I’m not exactly a journalist so properly admit knowing the intricacies of reporting on blunders of a company. But then again, these guys aren’t journalists either, they’re self-proclaimed Valve fans, so I think they have to take into account what hurts the company, at least, in my opinion.

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