First it was a grainy video capture of the game’s final cut scene. Now it’s the whole game. A week away from its official release on Sept. 25, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Halo 3 has reportedly been leaked in its entirety onto the Internet, according to Max Console. At this rate, 2009’s Halo movie should be available for download before you finish plugging in your new XBox 360 Elite.
The path to full exposure has been a short one. A shaky, six-minute-long video of the final cut scene from Halo 3 was posted on YouTube last week, revealing the fate of Master Chief. Although the spoiler video was pulled from YouTube when Microsoft claimed copyright infringement, it has since been reposted all over the web. Earlier this week a UK retailer broke the street date, selling “a small number” of real copies of the game.
The game can now be found on eBay, going for over $200. Then, sometime last night, copies of the entire game starting appearing on torrent sites. The game’s posting has been credited to the hacking group “Paradogs.”
This news comes shortly after the source code for MediaDefender’s trapping and decoy software was leaked online through a group called “MediaDefender-Defenders;” both are just the latest in the continuing escalation of content leaks. Earlier examples include the unprecedented leaks of the final book in the Harry Potter series earlier this summer and the leak of HD-DVD code.
Such an escalation hasn’t gone unnoticed by the higher-ups. Steve Jobs has said Apple (AAPL) will fight iPhone hackers in an ongoing “cat-and-mouse game,” according to ComputerWorld, while on the video front, Ars Technica quoted MPAA head Dan Glickman as saying the movie industry wants to “deepen” its relationship with ISPs in an effort to curtail piracy. Even governmental officers are pressuring ISPs to filter. Marybeth Peters, head of the U.S. Copyright Office, recently asked an audience at the Future of Music Policy Summit, “Shouldn’t you have to filter? Shouldn’t you have to take reasonable steps to make sure illegal stuff that went up comes down?”
If you’re getting bored pondering this question you could always queue up the 6.14 gigabyte Halo 3 leak. And if you’re planning your own Halo night, make sure to stock up on Mountain Dew’s special “Game Fuel,” because nothing washes down copyright infringement and piracy better than caffeine and Yellow 5. And maybe by chugging all that extra high-fructose corn syrup you’ll be helping to offset the losses NBC claims corn farmers are suffering due to movie piracy.