A group of hardcore gamers managed to procure copies of Halo 3, and then proceeded to play the unreleased game online. After Microsoft discovered the players, they were banned from Xbox Live until the year 9999.
The gamers were discovered by bloggers on the official Xbox forums, where they were complaining about having their consoles banned from accessing the Xbox Live feature. Towards the beginning of the thread, one of the posters who was wondering why he was banned ended up answering his own question (all grammatical errors are sic the author):
"Do you think they would ban my console because I played halo 3 epsilon yesterday?" wrote "dak Is bak." Another poster named "Scar" who was in a similar predicament, agreed with his theory, writing, "i also played the epsilon yesterday... so thats probably it... is your live account suspended till 9999 also like mine?"
The gamers accessed the Halo 3 multiplayer build, codenamed Epsilon, through a unnamed Microsoft employee, who apparently gave her son an access code to the game. The gamers convinced the lad to give them his account recovery information, in exchange for a phony Project Gotham Racing 4 download code. He obliged and soon the gamers were running his account on each of their consoles, playing Halo 3 weeks before its release, until Microsoft noticed the leak and permanently banned the offending consoles.
The gamer who perpetrated the hack goes by "CaptBansheeKiller," and corresponded via email with The Escapist. He's angry at Microsoft and can't understand their punitive actions in the context.
"Come on, it's Halo 3," he wrote.