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Portal 2 Countdown Timer Reaches Zero

Portal 2 Countdown Timer Reaches Zero

Will we be playing Portal 2 earlier than expected? It's up to you, Internets!

We’ve been watching a curious countdown timer on the Portal developer Aperture Science’s website that purported to reveal an early launch time for the much-anticipated Portal 2. Eager to get playing, we’ve been watching it all afternoon, but were disappointed. Instead of unlocking the game, the timer merely resolved to another countdown timer.

The second timer encourages people to play the games in the Potato Sack to ‘reboot GladOS’ thus allowing you to play Portal 2 early. In fact, this is an innovative way of encouraging people to play (and buy) the 13 indie games included in The Potato Sack bundle.

By playing games such as Bit.Trip Beat, Super Meat Boy and Amnesia: The Dark Descent the Portal 2 release time will – it’s claimed – be brought forward from the expected launch time on 19 April. You don’t need to actually do anything in these games – there are no gamer challenges to complete – just be recorded by Steam as actually playing them.

After the previous ruse we were sceptical, but leaving one browser page running the countdown while other page on another PC constantly refreshed showed a discrepancy. It does look like more activity in games in the Potato Sack is speeding up the countdown. Whether or not the countdown will tick down to an unlocking of Portal 2 before the previously announced time remains to be seen.

GlaDOS@Home is a riff on the concept of Bit-Tech favourite Folding@Home which uses the power distributed computing to solve many complex tasks. The idea to get as many PCs around the world doing as much work as possible simultaneously. The GladOS site currently lists how many ‘CPUs’ are playing the 13 games – for ‘CPUs’ read ‘PCs’.

Valve's servers somehow survived their entire following mashing F5 in unison as their timer reached zero, just after 5pm today. When the site first loaded, visitors were initially greated by text suggesting that the timer was a late April fools joke.

An ARG has been running over the last few days that has had sites speculating over whether it was a simple advert or something more. An ARG was also used to announce Portal 2 in the first place, with the introduction of the radios in Portal through an unexpected patch.

Portal 2 is one of the most anticipated games of the year and we talked about it in our recent gaming podcast.

Let us know just how mentally excited you are to be possibly playing Portal 2 in less than 93 hours in the forums.

46 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
NuTech 15th April 2011, 18:18 Quote
I appreciate that the surge of sales for the Potato Sack will no doubt put a smile on the face of the indie devs that worked on the included games...

But I can't help but feel slightly bitter about this 'early release' marketing tactic considering little shites have been pirating both the PS3 and Xbox360 version for the past 48hrs.
Phalanx 15th April 2011, 18:19 Quote
The whole thing is a brilliant example of how to build up hype for a game. Well done Valve! :)
Cei 15th April 2011, 18:21 Quote
Couldn't care less. The official release is hardly a long time away, and Valve are trying to wring another £30 out of everybody for the Potato Sack - yes some of that will go to the developers, the rest continues to line Gabe Newell's pockets. Masterful marketing stroke by Valve - hype over one game leads to sales of 13 others! You all got diddled :)

So I'm happy to wait for my PS3 copy to arrive, especially as I get the PC/Mac copy as well for the same price.
Deders 15th April 2011, 18:23 Quote
Do they really think that after the last ordeal i went through with Aperture Science that I'm likely to believe anything that has anything to do with GladOS?
Jaffo 15th April 2011, 18:30 Quote
It'd be unlocked by now if Minecraft was on Steam

:)
Mentai 15th April 2011, 18:33 Quote
Unimpressed, by the time all these cpu's are being used it will be so close to the actual release date as to not matter. Whatever, I'm going to boot up bit trip and go back to sleep.
leveller 15th April 2011, 18:37 Quote
We never lost anything because the official launch has always been the 19th (except previous unavoidable delays). The ARG has been huge fun for lots of people (I'm a spectator) and I think it is insane the lengths Valve has gone to hide messages with audio files etc, but even more so that the deciphering and solving by Steam users is the sort of thing Bletchley Park would be proud of. Valve was never going to release Portal2 today which explains the new countdown, potato count system for early release and the artwork revealed for countdown 2. However, maybe they could have prevented us all from mis-reading the situation and pinning our hopes on playing P2 today ... I bet they won't be doing it like this again though. Nevermind!
tennisball 15th April 2011, 19:00 Quote
^Exactly what he said.
Ice Maiden 15th April 2011, 19:09 Quote
Woooooooooo let me play, unlocked soon, give give give :P
Telltale Boy 15th April 2011, 19:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
We never lost anything because the official launch has always been the 19th (except previous unavoidable delays). The ARG has been huge fun for lots of people (I'm a spectator) and I think it is insane the lengths Valve has gone to hide messages with audio files etc, but even more so that the deciphering and solving by Steam users is the sort of thing Bletchley Park would be proud of. Valve was never going to release Portal2 today which explains the new countdown, potato count system for early release and the artwork revealed for countdown 2. However, maybe they could have prevented us all from mis-reading the situation and pinning our hopes on playing P2 today ... I bet they won't be doing it like this again though. Nevermind!

+1

Personally I bow down to Valve as the new hype kings, and not false or anticlimatic hype. This ARG had definitely been one of the most exciting and interesting launches ever, you really feel how the whole community is discovering and unlocking the game.
mi1ez 15th April 2011, 19:46 Quote
Erm... Has anyone else who's pre-ordered played Audiosurf since pre-loading? I've just played as chel, through some song with GLaDOS, with only 2 coloured blocks and the WCC...
mi1ez 15th April 2011, 19:51 Quote
In fact, this is exactly what I was greeted by...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCQlLjtbbfE
mi1ez 15th April 2011, 19:54 Quote
Does anyone have any of the other games from the Potato Sack?

http://www.aperturescience.com/glados@home/
Jipa 15th April 2011, 20:10 Quote
Liking it. In fact, liking most Valve does.

And atleast they have a reputation of also delivering, it's not just pointless hype :)
TWeaK 15th April 2011, 20:10 Quote
I have a few games, namely SMB, 1,2,3 Kick It and Audiosurf on Steam, as well as a few others that aren't registered on Steam. As such, the pack represents really poor value for me (as with a lot of packs now - Steam has bled me dry!) and even this won't push me to buy it.

Still, if me playing the games I have will push forward the release I'm in. That is, so long as my games do it - it would be annoying if it didn't count since they were bought before the sack deal.
faugusztin 15th April 2011, 20:33 Quote
Looking at rate the total meter goes up, it won't be released sooner. 4-5% in 4 hours means 95-96 hours till end - and the standard timer will expire sooner than that.
The Hooded Claw 15th April 2011, 23:43 Quote
The timer is a lie.
Mentai 15th April 2011, 23:47 Quote
I think it will come out about half a day earlier. Or I hope so, just so that the ARG isn't entirely without point, also it means playing it at normal hours for me. The default release time is 2am NZ.
Volund 16th April 2011, 00:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Looking at rate the total meter goes up, it won't be released sooner. 4-5% in 4 hours means 95-96 hours till end - and the standard timer will expire sooner than that.

But remember that it is a friday, I'm guessing a nice spike this evening, and high participation through the weekend
leveller 16th April 2011, 00:11 Quote
http://www.aperturescience.com/glados@home/

It's going quite well. I'm guessing it will be a 3rd of the way by the morning because the US will be battering it.

Also this is the thread to follow for working together: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1837491
g3n3tiX 16th April 2011, 00:29 Quote
I have my Potato sack, my 36 potatoes, and the game running.
Come on ! get sooner !
http://steamcommunity.com/id/g3n3tix/
smc8788 16th April 2011, 00:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
We never lost anything because the official launch has always been the 19th (except previous unavoidable delays). The ARG has been huge fun for lots of people (I'm a spectator) and I think it is insane the lengths Valve has gone to hide messages with audio files etc, but even more so that the deciphering and solving by Steam users is the sort of thing Bletchley Park would be proud of. Valve was never going to release Portal2 today which explains the new countdown, potato count system for early release and the artwork revealed for countdown 2. However, maybe they could have prevented us all from mis-reading the situation and pinning our hopes on playing P2 today ... I bet they won't be doing it like this again though. Nevermind!

Exactly. Just trying to get these potatoes is loads of fun and I'm sure that will occupy me enough until the scheduled release anyway, but having this kind of user interaction, where Valve have effectively put the exact release time of one of the biggest titles of the year in the hands of its customers, is something that no other developer has even come close to matching.

It may be disappointing if you were hoping for the game to be released today, but that just goes to show what high expectations people have from Valve (who else would release a game 5 days early?), and just how damn unpredictable they are. One thing's for sure, no Valve release is ever boring
fingerbob69 16th April 2011, 01:51 Quote
Oooooooo...to buy into the hype? Or not?

Nope ....not today Gladis... ta anyway.
logan'srun 16th April 2011, 06:21 Quote
Was Portal that good that everyone is freaking out over P2? I have P1 sitting in my steam account and never even opened it. . .
Toploaded 16th April 2011, 06:25 Quote
Not even sure they need all this hype. They had me at 'Portal 2'. And what's a day here or there? If this whole thing would make it come out a few weeks early I might be more interested in it's progress.

The potato sack is a cracking deal if you don't down many of the games on it (which I do). And the fact you can gift the games you do own makes it fair for those that only own one or two.
slothy89 16th April 2011, 06:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan'srun
Was Portal that good that everyone is freaking out over P2? I have P1 sitting in my steam account and never even opened it. . .
well clearly your not gonna know until you actually play it.. If you own a copy wats stopping you?! Start the journey for cake already!
GW42 16th April 2011, 07:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan'srun
Was Portal that good that everyone is freaking out over P2? I have P1 sitting in my steam account and never even opened it. . .

For me, the best bit about the first Portal was that it was so unexpectedly good. no hype, just included in the orange box. To this day I'm not sure why (I'd not read any reviews and didn't really know anything about it), but I decided to play portal before HL2. I was very pleasantly surprised - it actually felt like something new, not just another FPS shooter etc... HL2 almost felt like a let down after that.

Whether It'll be as good the second time round? I hope it'll certainly be longer if it's a standalone full price game, and hopefully they'll have explored the gameplay possibilities more as well.
TWeaK 16th April 2011, 09:02 Quote
It looks like the ARG's coming along nicely. One down, 12 more to go!
wuyanxu 16th April 2011, 09:08 Quote
everyone join this group, and put on whatever game it says. this need to be a combined effort.
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/CPUC

Quote:
Originally Posted by g3n3tiX
I have my Potato sack, my 36 potatoes, and the game running.
Come on ! get sooner !
http://steamcommunity.com/id/g3n3tix/

hats off to you sir!
TWeaK 16th April 2011, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by My Idiot Self
Just so people know, apparently playtime is only added when you close the game. So don't just leave it on all the time!

Scratch that, apparently that's a myth. Also, according to RPS you need to actually be playing the game (or at least producing keystrokes) for the time to count.
leveller 16th April 2011, 14:06 Quote
Volund 16th April 2011, 16:43 Quote
:/ is keeping my pre-order on steam even worth it?

I will probably get 2 more days of play time (i get free 2nd day shipping from amazon), but amazon has it up for $34.99 for the PC and PS3.... that is a REALLY good deal.... help me decide
TWeaK 16th April 2011, 21:10 Quote
Up to you Volund, I read someone else on another thread asking the same thing. They decided to keep it given that they'd get it slightly earlier and get a TF2 pin. If price was really that important I'm sure you could wait a couple months - no doubt Portal 2 will be in the Summer sale :P
r8bwp 16th April 2011, 22:28 Quote
I woke up today to find that i had been gifted rush from a fellow gamer. I was overjoyed to play a new game after spending all my dosh on a new computer build, so totally skint. Didn`t know about portal2 and its release hype.
thehippoz 17th April 2011, 01:50 Quote
here's a test for portal- I got P-body

http://www.thinkwithportals.com/coop_survey.php

the intro to the countdown

http://www.aperturescience.com/a/b/c/d/g/h/abcdgh/
wuyanxu 17th April 2011, 11:57 Quote
i got Cave Johnson!

think i shall now start a tier 4 research program
GiantKiwi 17th April 2011, 13:22 Quote
i got GlaDOS :>
faugusztin 17th April 2011, 13:28 Quote
46 hours.... hm... That means 19th 12:00 ? Wow, good job, game will launch 5-7 hours sooner :D.
Skiddywinks 17th April 2011, 14:49 Quote
It is currently at a little over 3 hours earlier, actually.

http://hasportal2launchedyet.com/
wafflesomd 17th April 2011, 15:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan'srun
Was Portal that good that everyone is freaking out over P2? I have P1 sitting in my steam account and never even opened it. . .

Um, yes. Duh.

Now go play it.
Toploaded 17th April 2011, 15:28 Quote
So after all this the game might launch around 6 hours early, maybe? What they are doing is kinda interesting but I can't really see the point unless it was done over a longer period of time and the difference could be days rather then hours.

If that was the case I might have even done my bit by trying to complete super meat boy :)
Cei 18th April 2011, 09:43 Quote
Yeah, 6 hours early and loads of people rushed out to spend £30 on a bunch of games just to get it faster. Ludicrous. If we were talking months early I might have been interested...
Toploaded 18th April 2011, 14:49 Quote
Days early at least, just so all this effort had some measurable impact. It's not like it's even going to make much of a difference to those that work... It would either have come out around the time people finish work, or now a few hours earlier, big deal. They could have at least made the difference between a midnight launch or an early evening meaning many would have played it a day earlier.

I like the idea of promoting the Indie games, and also encouraging people to play them, but they took a good idea and implemented it rather poorly which is unusual for Valve. Anyway... Portal 2 tomorrow guys and gals!
smc8788 18th April 2011, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
here's a test for portal- I got P-body

http://www.thinkwithportals.com/coop_survey.php

I got the Weighted Companion Cube :D
Toploaded 19th April 2011, 05:41 Quote
Well, it's ready to go! I just came off a night shift so I guess I'm gonna be missing a lot of sleep today whist I have a blast on it, would probably have been better for my sleeping patten if it had just launched tomorrow afternoon :)
impar 27th April 2011, 17:01 Quote
Greetings!

Worth a read:
Quote:
Abusing IP: the story behind one studio's Portal 2 ARG adventure

Valve's Potato Sack bundle on Steam turned out to be brilliant marketing for both the included independent games and Portal 2, but how did it all come together? We spoke with Leo Jaitley from Dejobaan Games, the developer behind three of the games included in the Potato Sack, about how they came to be included in the bundle, what it was like creating the new content, and how much money was made off the promotion.
...
In a side note, when I first began getting e-mails about the game, I responded asking for more information, and was sent this response from Mr. Newell. I have preserved the typographical errors:
Quote:
I am out scik

For general issues, e-mail [removed]@valvesoftware.com. For marketing or press issues, e-mail [removed]@valvesoftware.com. To complain about HL-2 Ep 3 taking too long, email [removed]@valvesoftware.com. To complain about L4D2 not taking long enough, email [removed]@valvesoftware.com.

...
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