Beating The BioClock

Steam are still claiming that pre-purchasing BioShock via their system will allow you to

“play the moment it’s released.”

Which is not true. What they mean is,

“The moment it’s released on Steam, which is many hours later.”

The game is officially released tomorrow morning in the UK, with most stores naturally opening at 9am. Steam, with the exception of further jiggery-pokery to their countdown clock, will be releasing it at 5pm tomorrow. Until today, the clock suggested they would be releasing it at 8pm, so there’s three hours’ gratitude for you.

The problem is, that countdown clock is not on the BioShock game page on Steam (indeed, until Tuesday it stated that it would be available on the 21st, despite the front page saying otherwise). And worse, the countdown clock only appears on some loads of Steam, with the new TF2 trailer taking its slot half the time. So you could easily buy it, like I did for instance, without ever seeing the reality.

This decision is not made by Valve, but by 2K, who for whatever mad reason are imposing this delay on everyone who was tricked into pre-ordering, thinking they’d get to play it first thing Friday without having to leave the house. The only possible reason would normally be that they wanted the shop prices to get a go, but in this case, at £32, 2K can’t be making less money via Steam, cutting out packaging and the shop cut.

You might argue,

“Stop moaning about eight hours, you big whining baby.”

But I would point out to you it’s a principle thing. And also that I’m away this weekend, and Friday’s my only chance to play it for over a week. So shut up.

Steam gave me a refund when I complained, on principle, and I have pre-ordered myself a copy from a highstreet store, which will, astoundingly, be more efficient.


  1. OTI says:

    I’d say that it’s akin to being penalized for making a loan to the company. When this sort of thing occurs in large financial transactions, you would expect to get interest on your down payment; here, 2k treats you like a second rate customer for making their lives easier.

  2. jamscones says:

    Is the retail version any more efficient?

    I have heard conflicting stories about the activation servers for the EU – are they online yet, and if not, when? My copy arrived today, but I can’t get it until tomorrow morning. I have no idea when I’ll be allowed to play it.

    The whole activation thing has been very poorly handled. They would have been far better off going for a simultaneous global release, since they were releasing it digitally anyway. It really didn’t hurt Half-life 2’s sales (notwithstanding Steam’s falling right the fuck over within minutes, but that’s yesterday’s lesson, right kids?).

  3. jamscones says:

    Oh, and I’d just like to complain about the Collector’s Edition “Soundtrack CD”, which plainly isn’t. I was expecting a “Soundtrack CD”, not a Moby single. What the fuck does Moby have to do with Ayn Rand, or Art Deco for that matter?

    I hate Moby.

  4. dr_demento says:

    I cunningly avoided the copy-protection/Steam debacle by buying the Xbox 360 version. Not quite as pretty but at least it’s guaranteed to run smoothly, which on my computer is a pretty even bet.

    Oh, and I’m with jamscones – not over the moon on the quality of the figure, although Warhammer paint’ll make it much prettier, and three Moby remixes isn’t even close to being a soundtrack. Why not just stick the levels’ audio tracks on a CD and throw that in? It’d hardly be difficult.

  5. dr_demento says:

    Oh – forgot to mention the only relevant part of that, which is that Game delivered it today. Yay.

  6. jpr says:

    Actually, if it works like it did in the US, even when the game is unlocked, they are withholding the last 20%. We still had to download for 20-60 minutes after unlocking.

  7. Mike says:

    Even more bizarre is that here in NZ, the Steam version was “unlocked” at the same time as the US release, but the official release date was the Euro date of August 24 (today, here), so you couldn’t buy it at retail for an additional 3 days. Who says publishers don’t add value?

  8. Martin Coxall says:

    Got my game! Yay!

    Activation doesn’t work! Yay!


    It’s no wonder PC gamers resort to piracy to get around this sort of ‘activation’ idiocy.

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    actually the pc pirated version isn’t working just now, the only people who can play it is XBOX 360 owners & folk in the US

  10. Homunculus says:

    Just to be insufferably smug for a moment, I was able to play it yesterday evening, as Play and a blisteringly efficient Royal Mail conspired to deliver it Thursday morning. The first two attempts to install it failed, though, as I received a corrupted download of the final chunk, which I guess was withheld as an anti-piracy measure (which, annoyingly, causes the entire umpteen-gig installation to be deleted if you choose to cancel the download process). Third time was the charm, though, and, astonishingly, the activation process worked despite it being before the publisher-sanctioned release date.

    I have to reflect that if this sort of shenanigans had been applied to System Shock 2 when it was released then in all likelihood I wouldn’t have been able to play it this week as an appetiser. I would find it disheartening to be part of the Irrational team, working for years on what is being hailed as their Magnum Opus, only to have the team’s identity, and all of the credit for Bioshock, subsumed by the publisher that is also responsible for sullying the sublime experience with all this draconian digital rights management malarkey.

  11. tjeu says:

    Actually, after I found it in a store yesterday here in Holland, it installed and activated without a hitch.

  12. Pod says:

    Oh no! You might actually not be the first person you know to play this game. Infact, you might be the last! Face it, your life is over, you might as well kill yourself now.