It seems that Bioware’s upcoming sequel to its hit science-fiction RPG, Mass Effect, has been leaked to bittorrent sites, with many users rushing to illegally download the game before its release.
Word comes via TorrentFreak of the leak, which has apparently resulted in an inordinate amount of illegal downloads. Indeed, the figure was initially reported to be “more than 300,000” to be somewhere in the process of downloading or having already downloaded the game illegally. This is thanks, in no small part, to the fact that the first Mass Effect game managed to win such critical acclaim for itself.
Of course, the big point to take home from this is that those downloads are across both the PC and the Xbox 360 versions of the game. While Microsoft initiated something of a “ban wave” late last year for those found to have modified their consoles to play illegal content, those users were simply stopped from playing games online from that console. That means that there is a massive number of consoles out there that aren’t capable of playing multiplayer games, but can not only play single player games, but pirated copies of those games.
It’s a strange enough phenomenon, but it seems it could well be one that dogs single player game releases on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, given the number of consoles out there that can’t access Xbox Live due to having been modified.
For now though, we’ll have to wait and see just how much Mass Effect 2’s launch is effected by the fact that the game has been made so widely available to unscrupulous downloaders before it’s official release.