There's been some confusion regarding the UK digital release of Left 4 Dead 2. It seems that those Brits who pre-ordered the game found it unlocked at 5am Tuesday (Valve time) as expected. However, anyone who's bought it from Steam since has discovered it won't unlock for them until Friday. Which seemed strange, since the game was announced for a worldwide digital release, the retail dates separate. We contacted Valve to find out why this happening, and it seems to be about the UK being at the back of the queue for retail copies.
Valve's Doug Lombardi says,
"Demand for the game has lead us to release it worldwide, except in the UK where copies are still arriving. We plan to have everyone in the UK playing by Friday morning. Those who pre-ordered the game via Steam in the UK before the worldwide launch have been given access to the game."
Generally the retail outlets get more than a little sniffy if they're unable to sell a game before it's available to buy online. And since games have tended to come out on a Friday in Britain, and a Tuesday in the US, this has previously led to similar issues. But it seems an enormous shame that a game by a company that owns their own digital distribution platform should be affected by the same arcane rules. It does seem from Valve's reply that the UK pre-orders getting access Tuesday was something of a compromise itself. But we'd really prefer to see worldwide access to a game including our own little island, with retail getting their copies in time to stop us getting bumped to the back of the line.
It's worth being annoyed by, because the game's so damned good, as the rest of the UK will find out at the end of this week. See our review and listen to the special podcast for details of why L4D2 is such a fantastic time.
Meanwhile, those upset that the original four characters didn't return should get a kick out of the latest Chainsaw Suit.