What would happen if Half Life 3 were released without warning?
Over the weekend, SteamDB went through Steam’s Help Desk support system and registry to leak a list of games that will soon be featured on Steam. SteamDB has been reliable in the past when it comes to confirming such leaks, but leaked lists can be misleading. With that in mind, here are the games supposedly coming to Steam in the near future:
Everybody’s Gone to Rapture, Criminal Girls, Danganronpa 1 and 2, Steins;Gate, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, Earth Defense Force 4.1, Stranger of Sword City, Bad Rats Show, Space Pirates VR, Arslan Musou, Phantom Brave, Ray Gigant, Code of Princess, Xblaze: Code Embryo, Final Fantasy VI and Half Life 3.
Yes, Half Life 3 was on the list of games coming soon to Steam. Does that mean that a surprise release for Half Life 3 is in the works?
In recent years, conventional marketing has been at an impasse. Generating buzz and hype in advance to raise the product’s awareness in the public consciousness isn’t as effective as it was pre-Information Age because you run the risk of becoming white noise to your desired demographic and you also become a target to pirates.
While this is much more true of music and film projects than it is video games, it isn’t unfathomable that Valve has recognized the recent success of turning the traditional means of marketing a project on its head. Releasing a product without warning like Beyonce, Adele, Radiohead, David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Drake and then proceeding to dominate the public consciousness either through paid advertisements or organic shares on social media works because it allows people to consume impulsively. Capitalize on the people’s excitement while it’s fresh! Fresh excitement is rare and powerful commodity in this world of short attention spans and too many distractions to look forward to on a daily basis.
Now, this strategy can only work with established properties like Half Life. But can you imagine the reaction? After years of waiting, Half Life 3 getting a surprise release would be a revolutionary. And when I say revolutionary, I do mean that there will be blood in the streets because gamers worldwide would be on a frenzy.
Realistically, Steam is a Valve property. And someone at Valve probably pointed out that the name Half Life 3 had not been registered. Therefore, it’s not inconceivable that they were just protecting themselves from someone looking to profit from squatting on their trademarked name.
A surprise release for Half Life 3 isn’t inconceivable, but it’s also not very likely. Will Half Life 3 have a surprise release? I hope so, if only to tell you I told you so. However, I doubt I’ll have that luxury any time in the near future.