Valve has fostered a lot of goodwill among its fanbase, and gamers are being rewarded for their faith this weekend. If you haven’t heard the story, Valve posted a sale for 13 indie games called the Potato Sack. Each game has been updated with some kind of potato theme (Super Potato Boy, for instance), and it’s all connected to a promotion that allows PC players to unlock Portal 2 early.
The concept is that GLaDOS (the sinister AI in the Portal games) needs Folding@Home-style CPU cycles from users around the world to boot up successfully. By playing the various Potato Sack games, everyone is one step closer to getting Portal 2 early. It’s some seriously slick, evil genius stuff.
The promotion has entire online communities (like the Something Awful forums) frantically buying and playing each game to access Portal 2 early. Everyone is okay with the scheme because Valve does right by its fans and is generally an awesome company, but seriously, this is sinister. The big bads in the industry like Activision should be taking notes.
At the rate people are going, Portal 2 will probably be out sometime tonight or tomorrow. As of this writing, it’s due 14 hours ahead of schedule. That number is changing by the minute, and you can check it via this handy tracker.
When the dust clears and everyone is happily playing Portal 2, Valve and its indie partners will be rolling in money. This is how you do business, people.