Halo 3 Leaked Onto The Web; Blame The Covenant?Halo 3 Leaked Onto The Web; Blame The Covenant?
Purloined versions of Halo 3 are all over the Internet, available for play to Xbox 360 users who have modified their systems to defeat Microsoft's copy protection software.
September 21, 2007
Is it a plot to ruin Halo 3's much hyped debut on Tuesday? A scheme orchestrated by Master Chief's nemesis The Covenant? Probably not, but bootleg copies of the most widely anticipated video game in history -- no matter how terrestrial in origin -- are stealing some thunder from next week's launch.
Numerous bloggers are reporting that purloined versions of Halo 3 are all over the Internet, available for play to Xbox 360 users who have modified their systems to defeat Microsoft's copy protection software. Gaming industry bloggers at MaxConsole are reporting that one source of the illegal files is a hacking group called Paradogs. Also, a version of the game appeared to be available as a 7.3-Gbyte download from a peer-to-peer file sharing site called Isohunt.com as of Friday morning. Downloading and using bootleg software is illegal in the U.S. and many other countries. Microsoft has estimated that pirated software costs the computer industry about $40 billion a year in lost revenue. Bootleggers aren't the only ones that have helped to blow the official launch date for Halo 3. Earlier this week, British catalog merchant Argos conceded that an administrative error caused it to hand over copies of the game early to customers who placed pre-orders over its Web site. Copies sold to Argos could be one source for the Halo 3 files circulating on the Net. Indeed, a shrink-wrapped copy of Halo 3 that originated at Argos was recently spotted on Ebay's U.K. site selling for $500. When it's officially released, the basic version of the game will sell for about $60.00. Retailers have to date taken more than one million pre-orders for Halo 3 -- an industry record. The leaked files are doubtless causing some consternation in Redmond. Microsoft has spent millions on Halo 3 marketing and promotion campaigns that will culminate in elaborate launch events Tuesday in New York City, Seattle, Miami, and Los Angeles. Halo 3 stars Master Chief, a biologically enhanced soldier who has to blast his way through a futuristic, 3-D landscape to survive and accomplish missions. He squares off against The Covenant, a shadowy terrorist alliance. Version 3 of the game, developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft, features a host of new levels, weapons, vehicles, and level types. Most retailers are selling the title for around $60. A special "Legendary Edition" sells for about $130 and includes a helmet-style case, bonus discs, and collector's art. Microsoft is also planning to introduce a special Halo 3 version of the Xbox 360 that's emblazoned in the same green and gold colors sported by Master Chief.
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