Valve Software founder Gabe Newell has announced that Counter-Strike: Source, the updated version of Counter-Strike running on the Half-Life 2 Source engine, will be available via the company's Steam distribution platform next week.

The surprise move comes as Valve is embroiled in a legal dispute with publisher Vivendi Universal Games over the release of Half-Life 2 itself. Players must purchase one of three Half-Life 2 packages via Steam to gain access to Counter-Strike Source next week, which may lead to a larger number of Half-Life 2 sales being made via Steam than expected, possibly inflaming relations with the publisher.

No official date has been set for Half-Life 2's launch, but Newell announced the following packages would be available, two at retail and three via Steam.

Retail Boxes

[list]
* Standard Edition — includes HL2 and CS:Source. Ships on six CDs, in one of three box-art packages (Gordon, Alyx or the G-Man).

* Collector's Edition — includes HL2, CS:Source, Half-Life 1: Source, a HL2 T-shirt and a Prima book sampler. Ships on a single DVD.[/list]

Steam Packages

[list]
* Bronze — HL2 and CS:Source.

* Silver — HL2, CS:Source, Half-Life 1: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Valve's back catalog currently available on Steam.

* Gold — HL2, Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 1: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Valve's back catalog currently available on Steam, Complete Strategy Guide from Prima Games, 3 different HL2 posters, HL2 hat, HL2 postcard, HL2 stickers, HL2 Soundtrack CD, Chance to win a trip to Valve! (1 trip offered for every 5000 Gold packages purchased).[/list]

Players who purchase any of the Steam packages will get access to Counter-Strike: Source next week, but will have to wait until Half-Life 2's release to receive the other items. Pricing for the packages has not yet been announced.