The bad news: It’s for the worst reason ever. Piracy.
September 14th is a super special day for me and millions like me, men and women and XBOX Live racists as Halo: Reach arrives in all its glory. It’s a rare title that is a sure thing for me and my gang of loudmouthed friends as we’ve already played the Beta and certified it’s still “our” Halo. I played it for a stretch at Comic Con as well, and everything I’ve read has only build my enthusiasm. September 14th, I will be there at the midnight release to claim two copies for the inevitable hundreds of games to follow over the month as we system link ourselves to glory. The big difference in our way is that the racism is immediately answerable [you know who you are…].
The game has gone gold and the fine chaps at Bungie have segued onto their next project (for Activision!) and much needed vacations, but the code for the game has leaked and people out there who don’t understand how the world needs to work have cheated themselves into copies. Because hackers and pirates feel the need to proclaim their dominance, word got out and now the involved parties are balancing how best to squash these people and how best to ensure that people pay for the game rather than stealing it.
One option is to release the game sooner.
As a fan I’m all for it, but what kind of message does it send when the bad guys get rewarded for their bad deeds? Or at least have a hand in things that don’t concern them. It’s a less weighty issue of the terrorists winning.
Apparently, the music industry is used to this and bumps releases up to stymie the thieves, but there aren’t a lot of video game examples, and it make sense because so many games take their development cycle right down to the wire and often beyond.
Either way, this is bittersweet. I want the game now, but not because of shit like this.
That said, Microsoft hasn’t addressed the issue and I think they’ll come down hard on folks who abuse the system. And really, $60 isn’t a lot of money for the kind of long-lasting entertainment Halo games bring their fans.