M+E Daily

Hackers Claim To Have Purloined Pre-Release Digital Copy of ‘Halo: Reach’

Microsoft’s decision to distribute review copies of its hotly anticipated “Halo: Reach” as secure downloads via the Xbox Live Marketplace appears to have had unintended consequences.

A hacking team claims that it was able to circumvent security on the Xbox Live servers to gain access to the videogame’s full download, according to game site . The hackers have no plans to distribute the leaked copy to the public, according to the report. But other game sites have spotted BitTorrent versions of the game being shared on several P2P portals.

“Halo: Reach” is slated for official release Sept. 14. Microsoft posted the game to its Games on Demand service on Aug. 16, according to Joystiq, making “Reach” available in its entirety to select media reviewers who received a 25-character “pre-paid token” from the company.

A Microsoft spokesperson tells Joystiq that it is “aggressively investigating” the purported security breach.

As Joystiq and CNET point out, the incident would be the latest in a line of pre-release leaks surrounding the “Halo” franchise. Previous incidents include the theft of “Halo 2” codes from a disc manufacturing plant in 2004, and the early release of “Halo: ODST” by a retailer in 2009.