Although slated for release on September 25, some retailers, particularly in Europe, have been releasing the game for sale prematurely. While these early sales have put copies of the game into the hands of a few lucky gamers legitimately, a Microsoft representative warned earlier today that anyone playing Halo 3 prior to the street date would have their Xbox Live accounts banned. Even gamers who played strictly offline would face sanction, as the game would set a flag informing Microsoft of its presence and use upon connection to the network.
Later, however, another Microsoft representative contacted U.K. gaming site Pro-G to retract the claim, saying it only applied to Microsoft employees. "We can confirm that Microsoft is not taking any action (such as banning Xbox Live accounts) against gamers who are playing Halo 3 before the official street date," the statement read. "Any rumors or speculation to the contrary are false." No reason for the confusion or change in policy was given.