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Arrests made in Half-Life 2 source code case

Long arm of the law extended by assistance from gaming community.

Valve Software has announced that a number of arrests have been made in several different countries by authorities tracking down those responsible for the theft of the Half-Life 2 source code last autumn.

The developer claims that suspects in a number of countries have been brought into custody on charges relating to the hacking of Valve's network, the theft of the Half-Life 2 source and a partially completed version of the game, and the distribution of the code on the Internet.

It's not clear when these arrests took place, however. In today's statement, Valve CEO Gabe Newell says that "within a few days of the announcement of the break-in, the online gaming community had tracked down those involved" - which could mean either that the arrests occurred some time ago, or that the law enforcement authorities just took their time over processing the information received from gamers.

Either way, Newell is full of praise for the efforts of online gamers in assisting Valve and the police in their hunt for the culprits. "It was extraordinary to watch how quickly and how cleverly gamers were able to unravel what are traditionally unsolvable problems for law enforcement related to this kind of cyber-crime," he said.

"Everyone here at Valve is once again reminded of how much we owe to the gaming community."

Although it was implied at the time of the source code theft that this event was at least partially responsible for the slippage of Half-Life 2 - which is likely to see the game released around a year after its originally targeted date - Valve has since admitted that it would have been impossible for it to ship the game last year regardless, as it had been too aggressive in its estimates of development schedules.

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