Just two weeks before the launch of Modern Warfare 3, pirated discs of the PC version have begun to spread around the US. Considering just how prevalent piracy is, as well as how popular the Call of Duty franchise is, this should come as no surprise, though it is still very unfortunate news.
What may come as good news is that the pirated version of Modern Warfare 3 is apparently not the whole game. The PC version is said to launch on two discs and the pirated version only contains the contents from the second disc. The leak has been traced to a stolen disc from a shipping warehouse, though it's not really clear as to why someone would only steal one of the discs. Hopefully it wasn't the singleplayer disc so interested gamers can avoid spoilers at all costs.
Now, some people may be jumping up and down ecstatically at the thought of being able to pick up Modern Warfare 3 early, but it's probably best to avoid doing so at all costs. There are reports that Activision has sent out investigators to confront the instigators face to face, a tactic they've used in the past. The investigators will go to the homes of anyone who owns an illegal-obtained version of Modern Warfare 3, and ask that they delete the data. Failure to do so will result in a $5,000 fine and the obligatory banning from the game. Call me crazy, but it doesn't really seem worth risking a $5,000 fine to play a $60 game two weeks early.
Piracy and large releases are usually seen in tandem these days, as almost every major release has been leaked out weeks early. Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 are just two examples of games that leaked before release, though this is hardly a PC-centric issue. In the past many major console releases (including the recent Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3) have also seen leaks, and piracy runs rampant on the two handhelds.
One can only hope that Activision is able to deter many from pirating the title. This kind of behavior is what leads to intrusive anti-piracy methods from publishers, such as DRM and Online Passes. Whatever opinion one may have of Modern Warfare 3, piracy is bad for the industry and in the end only hurts the legitimate consumer.
Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8th, 2011 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii and DS.
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