Steam beta coming to an end

No more free Half-Life for you!

Erik Johnson - Valve's, um, Face of Steam - has commented on the content delivery service's forums that the current free beta phase will soon be wrapping up, and that the next version will require users to own a valid Half-Life CD key before they're able to play. Currently, the full game can be streamed onto users hard drives for free along with the 1.6 beta of Counter-Strike, various other mods and a number of direct-feed Half-Life 2 movies.

The plan is to release three more HL2 movies through the new Steam update, which will bring with it full skinning support and - thankfully - a more efficient use of disk space. A wizard that will automatically make use of previously installed Half-Life and mod installations will also come with the update - this news comes as a relief to us at least, with our Steam beta directory currently residing at 1.64GB despite apparently only containing Counter-Strike and those videos.

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