In: Uncategorized by Edie Sellers30 Apr 2008
Seems pirates, hackers and critics weren’t the only ones to get their greasy paws on Grand Theft Auto IV a little early.
This came to us from a rather pissed-off listener, MinusFahrenheit, today. He, like the rest of us, waited with fingers tap-tap-tapping for GTA IV’s release. However, being like many of us (ie: “broke”) he couldn’t afford the steep $60 pricetag to own the game himself.
So he rented it, in advance, from GameFly so he could get it upon release.
And he may have uncovered why so many people were seen to be playing GTA IV on Xbox Live before the game’s official drop. And possibly where those illicit pirated copies that circulated torrent sites last week originated.
Despite the fact the game was shipped to him Monday (a full 24 hours before retail release), when he got it in the mail today, it had obviously been played. And not just played… played a lot!
And by someone with the care and grace of a chimp on coke. Or the kind of person who would copy a game and leak it to torrent sites.
Well, I had ordered Grand Theft Auto from Gamefly on Monday, and it arrived in all its glory. I noticed on the back of the CD a what looked like a smudge, and it was also a bit dirty, but I ran it under some water and cleaned it, thinking everything was fine.
I played the game for a few hours until I reached a mission titled “Jamacian Heat.” When starting it, my game froze, and I restarted, trying the level again. It froze.
I checked the back of the disc to notice that “smudge” was still there. I realized it wasn’t a smudge, but a scratch. I was sure that my game had been played, and that would be alright, except for the fact that the I knew I was the first person to recieve the copy. An employee must have played the game, scratched it, and placed it back in its case. Talk about good customer service…
Sure, you could argue that it may have been a manufacturing default except the game was suspiciously dirty. Disks aren’t made in dirty places for obvious reasons.
We expect scratches and glitches on rented disks because, let’s face it, rental customers aren’t exactly as careful as they should be. But this is a case of you theoretically being the first person to play the game, and if the disk was mailed on Monday, it follows that someone at GameFly itself (not a lunkhead customer) used the disk so much between last week’s ship date and this Monday that he or she left it partially unplayable.
Does this mean GameFly employees get an “official” crack at games before the rest of the gaming public? Or if unofficial, does that mean that GameFly does such a poor job of tracking games that even it doesn’t know when a pre-release copy of GTA IV walks out the door?
All of a sudden, the thought of a hot game being hacked and sent out to the interwebs prior to release seems a lot more plausable.
In any case, GameFly might want to instruct its mailroom clerks to not to use their disks as coasters before shipping them.