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Pirates Hijack Xbox's 'Halo 2'

By Kelly Shermach
Oct 14, 2004 9:56 AM PT

A version of the popular "Halo 2" video game for Microsoft's Xbox platform has appeared online in an act of digital piracy.

Pirates Hijack Xbox's 'Halo 2'

While games figure as the least pirated digital entertainment medium, falling far below music and movies, "there was going to be piracy, no matter what," Yankee Group senior analyst Mike Goodman told TechNewsWorld.

The popular game is scheduled to be released November 9 in the United States and November 10 in Europe.

Protective Measures

Microsoft is aggressively pursuing the hole in its supply chain through which the game leaked onto Internet piracy sites and newsgroups.

Beyond that, "they are constantly evolving the protection of their games to provide more security," Goodman said of Microsoft's Bungie Studios and other video game developers.

A security measure inherent in "Halo 2" requires receivers of the pirated version to modify their Xbox hardware in order to play the game.

Hard Copies Bigger Threat

In media piracy, the real threat to entertainment developers is not so much downloaded versions as hard copies -- CDs or DVDs that are pressed and sold on street corners.

"The bulk of this kind of video game piracy is in the Far East," said Goodman. "In South Korea, it's incredible how much it happens right on store shelves."

Little Sales Impact

But this digital piracy release of "Halo 2," sequel to "Halo: Combat Evolved," which sold more than 4 million copies, likely will have little impact on the game's sales or preordained launch date, he said.

"As long as it stays out of pressed copies, the effect will be minimized," Goodman said.

"It shouldn't be a surprise that it's been pirated, and that should be built into sales expectations. They've already pre-sold a million copies."

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