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“Ever have one of those weeks?” That was the understated post from Gabe Newell, managing director of Valve Software, shortly after discovering that the source code for his company’s hotly anticipated game, Half-Life 2, was stolen. Apparently, some hacker broke into Newell’s email system to extract the code, which has since been disseminated across the Internet.

The resulting delay in the release of Half-Life 2, the sequel to one of the bestselling and most critically acclaimed shooters of all time, is more than just a bummer for twitchy gamers. Graphics chips makers including ATI and Nvidia rely on these new graphics-intensive titles to bolster sales of newfangled video cards. It’s not surprising that analysts have lowered their forecasts for the PC gaming industry since news of the Valve’s stolen code broke. With Half-Life 2 and Doom III, another bleeding edge shooter, slipping into 2004, the holiday season for PC gamers is shaping up to be all trick, no treat.

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