Mass Effect 2 Sees Vast Pre-Release Piracy

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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.

Mass Effect feels the mass downloading effect 😦

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.

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15 Responses to “Mass Effect 2 Sees Vast Pre-Release Piracy”

  1. Stephen Lacy Says:

    As someone who hasn’t got a massive respect for copyright and copious use of rapidshare.com, that is poor show, I don’t mind folks getting the game pirated some time after release but before just sucks. That must be really horrible for bioware, I mean they really put so much into those games, more than practically anyone else even attempts and this is hardly going to encourage that spirit.
    I for one am buying my legal copy of mass effect 2 when it’s released.
    I hope that others will do the same and long may the franchise continue.

  2. Jonathan Cremin Says:

    I’ll buy a legal copy when the Euro price matches the US price. $49.99 != €49.99. Even the British are getting it way cheaper than we are (£35). You can top this off with the fact that the US release date is today, Europe and the UK have to wait until Friday.
    I feel sorry for Bioware, but that’s what you get for partnering with the scummiest publisher possible, EA.

    • komplettie Says:

      My love of Bioware is tempered mightily by my suspicion of EA alright 😦

    • Stephen Lacy Says:

      Irish minimum wage is €8.65, in the us it varies but the highest I could find is $8:40 (note the change in currency sign).

      I tried to find out what their VAT is but they have a completely different system of taxation which seemed to be on the really low side, but I don’t understand it enough to compare.

      Businesses will make profit based decisions, there is nothing wrong with that. We as fans of their games should encourage others to make the same commitment to quality content with our wallets, the only praise that truly warms the heart of greedy shareholders.

      Anyone else looking forward to a weekend of immersive gaming?

  3. macken04 Says:

    whats the point of buying the game when half of it will be released through paid dlc

    • Stephen Lacy Says:

      I will be seriously surprised if mass effect 2 doesn’t take many more hours and contain far more content than the average decent xbox 360 game for the same price even without the paid for content.

  4. Tacitus Says:

    That’s what they get for being greedy. €50 on Steam is ridiculous. They’ll have to drop prices if they want to compete with the Pirates. We are in the middle of a recession after all. Have these companies not noticed that?

    • Stephen Lacy Says:

      They can’t sell the downloads cheaper than the retail otherwise they will get flak from the retail stores and they can’t make money without them.

      I don’t think they can compete with pirates as the pirates don’t have to pay for a large team of people to develop the game, pay the people who bankrolled the project, licensing to microsoft, distribution costs to shipping and retailers and still make a profit for the shareholders to encourage future investment.
      It’s not ideal but there are plenty of open source games you can play if that business model suits you better. (Not putting down open source, it’s awesome).

      Personally I don’t think there is any justification for pirating, it’s stealing plain and simple. If you pirate, be aware that what you are doing is wrong. Just like jay walking, I jay walk and know that I’m doing the wrong thing, bad example to kids, dangerous etc, but fairly harmless in the scheme of things.

      However having said that I’d be in favour of some sort of xbox monthly subscription option similar to sky, broadband or netflix where you can play any game available on xbox live as long as you maintain your subscription.
      The problem with this model is that it’s damn scary for people whose jobs depend on their games making money. It’s an untested model, perhaps if netflix works out for them they will consider rolling out something similar. Big ships turn slowly.

      Finally, on the recession comment, actually the games industry hasn’t been hit as badly as most other sectors, and again in an the absence of any regulation to say otherwise they are all about the profit.

  5. Brian Bambrick Says:

    They should have had a proper US and Euro release on the same day. I’m getting the 360 version but am sorely tempted to d/l the pc hacked copy as the xbox version is not out till Friday.

  6. nutterguy Says:

    CdWow.ie has a good price (€27) for PC version: http://www.cdwow.ie/games/Mass-Effect-2-Us-PC/dp/pc/11634607#bc=6e64

    Still I would prefer it on Steam but once again there is no way I am willing to pay DOUBLE for it on steam. It’s just retarded!

    I’ll buy it in a few months when it comes way down in price…

  7. Flukioh Says:

    I have some sympathy for Bioware on this one. Mass Effect was such an amazing, nearly perfect game that surpassing it was an effort almost automatically doomed to failure. But what surprises and disturbs me is how Mass Effect 2 seems to have intentionally fumbled that effort by taking much that was great about Mass Effect and deleting it on purpose.

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