Pirates Release Halo 2

Last night, with less than a month left before Xbox’s most anticipated game of 2004 was officially scheduled to go to retail it has emerged that a full copy of the game was leaked onto the internet.

Earlier today a number of websites using the popular BitTorrent file distribution format indicated that hundreds of users were downloading the game, which reportedly clocks in at just under three gigabytes in size. The pirated release is the PAL version of the game, and is believed to contain French audio with English subtitles. It is still unknown how the game managed to make it way onto the internet but anyone thinking about downloading should take heed to the following warning. Players who download the game illegally could face a maximum penalty of $100,000 per infringement for copyright violations.

Reacting to the news this morning, Microsoft slammed those responsible and described downloaders and people hosting the file as thieves, encouraging real fans with any information to come forward and help it track down the source of the leak. The company’s statement follows in full

Microsoft has learned that a version of Halo 2 has been posted to various newsgroups and web sites. We consider downloading this code or making it available for others to download as theft. We are currently investigating the source of this leak with the appropriate authorities. Pending the result of our investigation, we do not have further comment. Microsoft takes the integrity of its intellectual property extremely seriously, and we are aggressively pursuing the source of this illegal act.

“We’re asking anyone with information on the source of this leak to contact Microsoft at 1-800-RULEGIT or send email to [email protected].”

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.