Reports overnight that retail copies Call of Duty: Black Ops have been stolen from a factory in Alabama appear to have been a load of rubbish, judging by conflicting posts by semi-literate gentlemen on various Xbox 360 hacking forums.
Yesterday Hooked Gamers chronicled events surrounding hacker forum members "Ungodly Leaker" and "97SIRHB". The former supposedly had the game disc in his hands, and was credited with leaking Halo: Reach pre-release, while both he and 97SIRHB apparently conversed with Treyarch community man Josh Olin, who was said to be seeking information on hacker groups and making threats.
However, in a rambly "final statement to all the fans and media and Treyarch" repeated on the Se7ensins forum, Ungodly Leaker said that while he was contacted by somebody claiming to have a copy of the game, it was "never in our hands".
"It did how ever hit the hands of the Runner (the Computer guy) and according to him FBI came and Took It (RIGHT!!) Ha Ha Ha." Ha ha ha indeed. Also sic. "After speaking with Josh [Olin] no FBI are involved at all but he wants tto know were we got the game from.... NO WERE it landed in our laps but we were scammed END OF Story...." Was this guy in Ocean's Eleven?
Activision has yet to comment on all this, and we don't expect it to do so, because everyone concerned appears to be madder than a bag of hammers.
Piracy of Xbox 360 games has been a problem for several years, with most major releases hitting newsgroups and torrents well ahead of release. Halo: Reach is the most prominent recent example, appearing in the wild over three weeks ahead of its release date.
PlayStation 3 is no longer immune to the problem either following the release of PSJailbreak, although publishers including Electronic Arts are already taking steps to reduce the firmware-snubbing device's potency.