ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Video game makers in high-stakes shootout

Half_life The computer game Half-Life basically invented the modern genre where you walk around shooting up everything.  But the developer of the spectacularly successful game is now locked in a shootout of its own with its distributor, and things are heating up ahead of a March trial date, according to a report in Gamespot News.

Valve Software, developer of the Half-Life and Half-Life 2 games, is suing the distributor, Vivendi Universal Games.  Valve says that Sierra Entertainment, a unit of Vivendi, has been placing Valve’s games in "cyber cafés," contrary to its license.  The battle got uglier after Vivendi retaliated by claiming that Valve violated its agreements and that Vivendi should be declared owner of the highly popular games.   A jury will have to sort all this out.

As to the games, fans love them. "Who could ever forget the first time a headcrab leapt out at you from a dark corner?," asked one enthusiastic reviewer. "Or the moment when the commando tossed a satchel charge into the sewer pipe you were hiding in?"

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