Fake Steam Website Announces Half-Life 3

I was the victim of a cruel but well-constructed hoax. Half-Life 3 has not been announced. Sadly.

I was the victim of a cruel but well-constructed hoax. Half-Life 3 has not been announced. Sadly.

As an abject lesson in fact checking, I narrowly averted making an complete fool of myself after seeing a link on Twitter supposedly announcing the imminent release of Half-Life 3.

The link took me to a convincing looking Steam website where the evidence was enough to get me so excited, I immediately set about reporting the amazing news.

What’s more, it was a scoop! No other news sites were reporting it yet. I was doubly excited.

So off I gushed and completed my Half-Life fanboy article whilst wiping the foam from my mouth.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

As I did some last-minute fact checking, I was puzzled to find that I couldn’t locate the same page on Steam itself. 

Had Valve taken it down? Had it been temporarily published by accident? Perhaps I had an even bigger scoop on my hands – thank goodness I’d taken screenshots!

But I was suspicious enough to return to the original URL and study it again. The stirring piano music, the understated appearance, the tantalizingly scant information. It all fitted Valve’s modus operandi. Every link went to another Steam page or the appropriate external website. It seemed bona fide.

And then I saw it–the URL was actually store.stearnpowered.com/app/246720/.

Very clever. I’d been had. Next time I’ll know to fact check before I start splurging words and paragraphs.

Taking one for the team since 2013 – I was fooled so you don’t have to be.

The sacrifices I make for my fellow gamers. 😉


About the author

Mat Westhorpe

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.