Once upon a time Microsoft had the idea to make its upcoming sure-to-be-blockbuster Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360 easier for video game reviewers to access by putting it up on the Xbox Live Marketplace service instead of sending out physical discs. To keep those not on the list of approved reviewers from accessing the game (which is due out in stores exclusively on a disc next month), Microsoft set the supposed price of the game at 99,999 Microsoft Points (approximately $1,250). Even if a die-hard Halo fan were willing to pay that high price to download the game, the service still requires a special code before granting access. I'm sure that you can see where this is going, as someone out there hacked together an unauthorized code and downloaded the game. Now Halo: Reach is running free in the wild. Kombo has the story.
What's disappointing about this leak is the fact that Microsoft came up with a really great way to distribute the game to the press, allowing them to access it at their leisure without having to wait for the game to arrive on their doorstep, and it's doubtful they'll allow other titles to be distributed the same way. The fact is, piracy isn't good for the industry. If you don't want to shell out $60 for Reach, don't steal it. Wait. Buy it in a year when the price has come down. Don't be a jerk.
There is a select group of gamers on the Xbox 360 who think pirating games is a great idea, but it isn't. If you're caught playing a pirated game you could have your Xbox LIVE service shut down, and furthermore, there's a group of hard-working individuals who spent years working on the title that you are essentially robbing when you pirate a game. Support the industry, support the people who make the games. Don't pirate Reach or any other title.
There's a class of gamer that complains that a game never get enough sequels, and then when a sequel is released, they pirate it! Here's some free advice to that group: instead of pirating it, buy the game, pay with money, support the talented people that created it, and show that there's a dedicated, paying audience for solid core-oriented titles. The more successful a title is in the market, the likelier a sequel will be developed sooner rather than later (or, in some cases, at all). Kinect and its casual-based family fare is coming, and should that turn out to be much more profitable than Halo, don't doubt for a minute that Microsoft would re-evaluate its development and publishing budgets. If you want Halo to keep coming back often in the years ahead, support the developers and not the pirates.