Killzone 3 and Crysis 2 leaked online

Pirated versions of Sony and EA titles available weeks before release

Both Sony and EA have in recent days suffered leaks of major upcoming titles, weeks ahead of their planned release dates.

A copy of Sony and Guerrilla's PlayStation 3 title Killzone 3 appeared on a number of filesharing sites over the weekend, and is rendered playable by home users due to the recent clutch of copy protection hacks.

The foremost of these was achieved by one George Hotz, who Sony is currently suing. The hacker recently posted a self-performed rap concerning the ongoing legal battle.

The source of 41.4GB Killzone 3 leak has not been identified as yet, but it is known to be the European version of the game. A smaller copy, with the stereoscopic 3D functionality removed, is apparently also available. The game is not due for retail release until Feb 25.

Meanwhile, last Friday saw the news that an early PC build of Crytek title Crysis 2 had been leaked online. The shooter, to be published by EA Partners, is due for release on March 22. The pirated version is believed to be a near-finished copy, playable from start to finish but strewn with error messages and missing elements.

In a joint statement, EA and Crytek claimed to be "deeply disappointed by the news. We encourage fans to support the game and the development team by waiting and purchasing the final, polished game on 22nd March.

"Crysis 2 is still in development and promises to be the ultimate action blockbuster as the series' signature Nanosuit lets you be the weapon as you defend NYC from an alien invasion.

"Piracy continues to damage the PC packaged goods market and the PC development community."

As yet, the game's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions apparently remain secure.

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Latest comments (23)

Robert Kelly11 years ago
I wonder if this will effect the George Holtz case...
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Alexandros Miaris Studying Bachelor of Interactive Animation, SAE Institute11 years ago
I can only understand the frustration of Guerilla, Crytek and EA. Piracy is hurting the industry and forces companies to take, sometimes drastic, measures. This sometimes results in inadvertently hurting the honest buyers of the final products, by using distressing license validation procedures that most of the times are overridden anyways. No wonder many companies turn to consoles, since they have far less losses in revenue due to piracy (as far as I know at least). And why would one download an unfinished version of a triple A game, instead of waiting a little bit longer and buying the full (and working) version. Anyways, I hope they find the guy(s) who leaked the games.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alexandros Miaris on 14th February 2011 10:01am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
This is definitely bad for all involved; we don't really need rampant piracy damaging the console market too. I can't even see why people would bother with a 40GB download of what will probably be a buggy, unfinished game, when they could just wait less than a fortnight and at the very least rent it for about six pounds.

As for Crysis 2; weren't both the series' previous instalments heavily pirated too? You have to wonder if Crytek are using Crysis 2 PS360 as a testing ground to decide whether to leave core PC development.
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Show all comments (23)
Jan Landsaat Project manager 11 years ago
Well the best way for everyone (imho) is release the game via PSN/Live/Steam first and let retail versions wait 2/3 weeks.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game11 years ago
@Jan. The problem there is the retailers would start refusing to stock those games, or at least display them with any promonence, and at this moment in time, for AAA games still make a lot more sales from conventional retail than they can from downloads. It's not plausible until we reach the tipping point from retail to online distribution. It will be the better model in a few more years I'd guess.
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Must be national leaking day :/

I don`t think people are too keen on downloading 40GB of data via PSN/Live or Steam especially given the standard HDD size in a 360 or PS3 and wait ages until they can actually play the game. At the moment the internet just isn`t good enough on a global scale for that and many ISPS wouldn`t be to happy with the high amount of traffic. If ME2 would have been 5 bucks cheaper as download compared to retail I would still have went to the store and get the disc version instead of downloading 12GB and having to decide if I want to keep the download running or put it on hold because I want to play something online.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 11 years ago
This is bad for the industry. Quite frankly In my opinion I prefer to own the game on the disc. So downloading it is retarded.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 14th February 2011 11:42am

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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital11 years ago
Perhaps sending publishers weekly builds isn't such a good idea?
Seriously though, this isn't about Piracy as much as its about publisher/developer/reviewer security. Where did the leak come from? Was it a server/ftp hack or was it an employee or a 'weak-link' ?
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I agree that physical media is moving more and more towards being superseded by digital distribution. On the PC world, steam is being a huge driver of this (I myself always catch myself asking "What do you mean this isn't on steam?!?" whenever the occasion presents itself, which is becoming increasingly rare) but indeed consoles have not come fully prepared for this and the comments about ISPs and internet distribution are quite valid.

I am with the crowd, though, that thinks that for the next generation of consoles, physical media is going to be much less relevant and, if any, minor.

This, of course, brings out another problem that publishers don't seem keen to address, which is sharing. The thing is, that if I buy a physical copy of a game, not only can I lend it to other people, but other people in my house, for instance, can play it. Whereas with digital distribution these games are tied to your individual online account (of the relevant service). I believe this to be one of the annoying grey areas that will need a bit of sorting out for digital to become the main form of distribution

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jehferson Wohllerz Curupana da Rocha e Mello on 14th February 2011 12:32pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game11 years ago
@Jefferson. That is not always the case. XBLA for instance allows all users on the original console the game was downloaded on play the game(on or offline) and the account that bought it can also use it on another console, but only online. Not sure if PS3 is the same, the wii has no profiles so it is just locked to the console, not an individual.
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@Andrew I believe that is some of the advancements in this kind of area. But it is indeed one of those annoying fiddly bits, where there is a need to juggle between taking the "100% jerk stance" ("sorry, you need to buy this content once for every user and if you need to replace, so sorry, because it's hardware locked as well!") and opening yourself, as a publisher, to lose profits due to content sharing (three,four users with only one paid copy can be seen as 2-3 copies that did not get sold to those additional users).
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I dont suppose any of these pysical media can have a simple date counter whereby, the program cannot run before a set date/time - which is verified via synched live time.

This way, a specially modified in house rig (whereby the media/game build is authorised to be played with a matching code/algorithm) is the only system allowing the game to be built, and any physical media eg. given to the press, will have a "mission impossible" time - this media will cease to function after 2-3 days :) and for game retailers - this media will not run until so and so time is achieved.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 11 years ago

On a PC that could be easily spoofed.
For console games you can approve retail console IDs (at least I have seen this for Xbox releated products) to connect to the live servers but offline play is still possible.

So, without an always on internet connection being required there is not much that can be done and even then people thrive of breaking DRM systems for games and will still find ways to bypass any lockouts based on dates.
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Stephen Arnold Business Development, Localsoft Games11 years ago
this is awful news. How does something like this happen? There's no way someone could have hacked into the server/FTP and transferred 40GB without someone noticing, and it's highly unlikely that someone could have made a back up onto an external HD via USB - that would just be incredibly bad security.

Employees are really going to feel this one. Retina scanning, urine samples, truth serums!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephen Arnold on 14th February 2011 3:35pm

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Lawrence Makin Audio 11 years ago
@Stephen Arnold:

I agree totally. The heart of the matter is that the studios involved failed to prevent their own employees from leaking the code.
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David Bachowski VP Business Development, Babaroga11 years ago
boo-urns on pirating... makes me rethink my childhood dreams of becoming a pirate
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Killzone 3 reviews are out since a week, so many people outside of the company have already a copy of the game.
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Tim O'Donoghue Information resources, Crunch11 years ago
I think you "Piracy is rampant! Get out the witch-bonfire kit!" people need to be a bit more pants on with your assessment. All these leaks will do is bump up publicity and everyone knows that the games will be hacked within hours of release anyway so why get all blue in the face about it?

Does anyone know what the last game not to get hacked was?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim O'Donoghue on 14th February 2011 4:50pm

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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 11 years ago
Someone may have snagged a copy from the factory pressing the disks.
Its happened for other games but until now there was no reason to do it for PS3 titles as there was no way to play the copy on the console.
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Nigel Knox Software Engineer, Slant Six Games11 years ago
@John Donnelly

This can be achieved by encrypting the data on the disc, and making the the user "validate" the game online, which downloads a key to decrypt the game. The downside to this, is that all users must have an internet connection to play the game. It's a sad state of affairs, but George Holtz and his peers are going to make a lot of gamers jump through hoops.
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@ Tim - be it as it may, the fact someone leaked information/game early means efforts and strategies spent towards the "marketing team" and full experience are dimished. In a smaller developer, a unfinsihed product may have rampant bugs and this may negatively skew the game experience and reviews. For established developers, it may result in many units of sales potentially lost (thats maybe a whole team's worth of salaries to take into account) and if the overall experience and "mystery" of playing the game yourself is lost, and hype and build up lost, this translates ultimately into potential loss of sales (and a primary indicator of success). Imagine, if this happened to one of the recent companies that were laid off/closed due to even poorer sales due to reviews/such.

People talk, friends tell friends and in this day/age of interweb, even a false review/experience becomes the arbitary news/truth. Its akin to....saying a celebrity is the wrong sex or an alien even. It may not be true, but with guillible masses of folks these days, anythign reported in the media tends to be treated as gospel for the naive.

@ Nigel - I hated DRM, but I guess in this instance, something has to be done. Some sort of middle ground and security. Perhaps an initial connection (once only) connection to the internet to verify that the product is authentic, and registered accordingly. Once that is done, it is bound to that machine. And to share, it has to be unregistered.

Registration may merely required a unique 36 ID passkey, that is encrypted with a colour ID and alphanumeric pass and perhaps a simple mathemetical test. eg. 40 x 2 x 0 or IQ test. match this colour ball with this coloured space.

(perhaps the IQ and maths test may not be so good for the overall populace)

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Private Industry 11 years ago
I think it`s more likely for Killzone 3 that some reviewer did something wrong or that a retailer was involved with giving someone a retail copy before the release. There are already many people who got there hands onto a Killzone 3 disc legal. While it`s not impossible for someone to get a disc from the Sony factory it`s a bit less likely than for other systems like PC where there are many different factories and not all of them too secure while Sony has only one for Europe in Austria and rather good secured.

For Crysis, well that can be ruled out it`s from the factory given it`s an unfinished version and not the final code. Obviously it`s hard to say who got a legal copy of the beta to see who could be responsible. It has to be rather old code given the release in around a month they need to have now already more or less the final code so it`s probably less likely from Crytek.

As for publisher, they are usually well monitored and it`s likely that if it is somebody from the devs or publisher they will get the person and that wouldn`t end very well for the person. Such things aren`t productive for the future and the person wouldn`t be very smart. So it would be more logical that it was somebody from outside of those 2 areas since they can`t be properly monitored and it`s a lot harder to find out who it was so less likely of any consequences. But that all just theory for all we know the boss from Crytek could have send a mail with a disc to the wrong address.
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Umar Tahir Studying Designer, Train2Game11 years ago
I heard about the leak of Crysis 2 a few days back, what saddens me is how quick Crytek were to pull out the "PC Piracy" statement when the leak (from what I've read) is more or less in Pre-BETA stage. Why should honest PC customers all be made to feel like thieves? Lets not forget that Piracy is NOT limited to this platform alone, The Xbox 360 has its fare share of it too, yet you don't hear console developers constantly hammering away with every games release with this excuse. To be honest, one could argue that the Xbox 360's profits are hit harder due to Pre-Owned Sales, Trading, Renting, And piracy combined. In contrast when you walk into that shop to Buy a PC game your pretty much stuck with it.

Yes Crysis 1 was Pirated a lot, but apparently the sales for WARHEAD were pretty good, since they added the online verification which also thankfully removed the disk check if i remember correctly.

In my view Crytek should have just owned up, and admitted a lack of security on their behalf or whatever; rather then blackening the PC platforms name even further. Speaking of which theres plenty of these Conspiracy theories out that it was done on purpose to give Crytek an excuse to move away from developing for the PC platform, or to give the Game more publicity. I'm not so sure on either but i wouldn't be surprised if it were true.

We need something what isn't "Draconian" that punishes honest customers, but what also ensures minimal piracy. Maybe You should release PC demo's too, its extremely unfair that other platforms get one whilst the PC gets shoved on the sidelines and we get the corporate "Limited resources" line for example as an excuse for lack of one. Perhaps Developers should take a Look at what makes Valve and Blizzard as successful as they are and take a leaf out of their book.

Just goes to show that if you have a good system in place, and you treat your customers Equally and Fairly it goes a long way. A Recent example of this would be the game Magicka. On the flip side if any of you are familiar with the details of the Star Wars: Force unleashed Incident.. well i wouldn't be surprised if your games going to be pirated to hell and back.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Umar Tahir on 17th February 2011 12:27pm

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