Retailers break Portal 2 street date, sales start

Valve's Portal 2 is enjoying brisk sales following the early release of the Steam-distributed edition - and that looks to get a boost thanks to some high-street retailers breaking the official launch date for the physical copy.

Following the conclusion of the Aperture Science-themed alternate reality game created to build hype for the title - with great success, it seems - those who had chosen to buy box-carry-'em-up Portal 2 on Valve's digital distribution platform Steam enjoyed an early unlock, getting to play the title from yesterday instead of having to wait until Thursday for the official release.

It's a nice reward for those who have spent hours poring over cryptic clues during the ARG, but the fact that all Steam users get the title early has left one particular group steaming mad: high-street retailers.

While the Steam edition is out now, the physical version - on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Mac - doesn't get a UK release until tomorrow. As a result, there has been a rush of people cancelling their pre-orders and buying the title on Steam instead - leaving high-street retailers facing dropping sales figures.

To fight back, at least one retailer has broken the street date and started selling the title early. Game Stores Group, which owns both the Game and Gamestation high-street shops, has started selling the physical copies before the official launch date - prompted, the company has confirmed, by the early Steam release.

With the original title, created as an update to an old Flash game created by an independent development house that would end up being taken under Valve's wing, having sold almost four million copies since its launch, Portal 2 has a long way to go to live up to its predecessor - but a slew of near-perfect review scores suggests that Valve has yet another smash hit on its hands.