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Doom 3 launches in North America

The eagerly anticipated third instalment in id Software's classic DOOM franchise has arrived at US retail stores, a few days ahead of its UK launch at the end of this week.

However, the launch of the title has been marred by piracy concerns, after copies of the game appeared on Internet newsgroups and peer to peer download systems last weekend.

One service alone had over 50,000 people downloading the game simultaneously on Sunday, leading to widespread fears that piracy could damage the launch of the game - which is expected to be one of the largest ever for a PC title.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, the game was already at the heart of controversy last week despite being over a week away from launch - with our favourite right-wing newspaper of the week, the Daily Mail, branding it as "evil" in a front-page article.

Given that the game is about scientific experiments on Mars which open a gateway that allows the creatures of hell to come through to this dimension, we'd imagine that being "evil" is pretty much the point of the exercise.

As well as driving PC game sales, the industry is hoping that Doom 3 - along with Half-Life 2, which arrives this autumn - will revitalise sales of PC hardware. Both titles require high-specification machines to be played, and many players are believed to be planning to upgrade their systems for this reason, driving tens of millions of pounds worth of revenue in the process.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.
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