We’ve just made it back home from warm and humid Taipei only to board a plane to Munich Germany just two days later to attend ATi’s launch of their Radeon 9800 XT and Valve’s HalfLife 2 in Munich, Germany. Having arrived in Munich it quickly became apparent that ATi had made every effort to invite as many journalists as possible to their party. Apparently they had something to show us as why else would they’ve gone to these lengths to invite most, if not all, of the online and printed press. Prior to this event, ATi has been feeding us with information which led us to believe that we’d be shown the game in its final stage, or maybe even a public release of a playable demo. Because ATi has just recently signed a deal with Valve about the bundling of HalfLife 2 with every Radeon graphics card sold, we at the very least expected to see and hear a lot more about this upcoming game.
After having arrived in the late afternoon we were picked up and rushed to the ATi launch party. The party literally started off with a bang with a recreation of a scene right out of the game were a number of marines and aliens were running around, combined with plenty of fireworks and other pyrotechnics this launch party seemed to be off to a good start.
Fig 1. About as exciting as ATi’s launch party in Munich got, free drinks and some conversation with friends.
Unfortunately that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the launch party, albeit a good opportunity to meet up with old friends, was a big dissapointment, or rather a paper launch. All that we’ve been shown during the launch event was some old footage from HalfLife 2 that has already been circulating the web for weeks. No Radeon 9800XT was anywhere to be found, and the only PCs that they had on display were running two popular DirectX 9.0 titles, Tron 2.0 and AquaMark 3.0. And to make matters worse, one of these PCs was constantly crashing during the AquaMark demo mode due to an invalid DirectX 9.0 call, you’d think ATi made sure these PCs were running properly, especially during a launch event such as this.
ATi however tried to up our spirits a little by throwing in a few barely dressed dancers that were supposed to help us forget about what the actual reason was for coming here, the launch of the Radeon 9800 XT and Valve’s HalfLife 2. To be honest I think ATi could better have postponed the event to a later date so they could’ve shown us something substantial, or maybe they could’ve sent us the Radeon 9800 XT instead, as a complimentary gift, bundled with the HalfLife 2 demo. That would’ve cost them less, would have gotten them much better exposure and would also have made a much better impression. As all that I, and many of my fellow journalists, am left with is two days out of my busy schedule gone to waste. All that we’ve got out this launch party are a few free drinks and an ATi T-shirt, and that simply isn’t worth my time.