Halo 3 UK street date broken

Numerous UK-based publications, including trade title MCV, are reporting that Halo 3's much-publicised September 26 (25 in North America) release date has been broken by at least one major high street retailer. Argos, which sells garden furniture, jewellery, and just about everything in-between via...

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Numerous UK-based publications, including trade title MCV, are reporting that Halo 3's much-publicised September 26 (25 in North America) release date has been broken by at least one major high street retailer. Argos, which sells garden furniture, jewellery, and just about everything in-between via in-store catalogues and a Web site, had reportedly been advertising a September 19-20 collection date for preordered copies of the game, and has been making good on that promise.

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Predictably, Master Chief wannabes who have managed to get their hands on the game early have wasted no time gloating on message boards and the like, and several have offered proof in the form of photos or videos that clearly show the retail game alongside an Argos receipt. Posting about getting Halo 3 early is more important to a good number of people than actually playing it, it would seem, which might not be such a bad thing for them if reports that Microsoft will freeze the Live accounts of anyone caught playing the game early (even retroactively) are to be believed.

When contacted by GameSpot for comment, a Microsoft UK spokesperson said: "The launch date of Halo 3 is Wednesday, 26th September 2007. We expect our partners to stick to the agreed launch date and take any breaches of the street date agreement very seriously, and we will take appropriate action with retails if the launch date is broken."

Looks like bad news for Argos, then, but what about those people who are already playing the game? Being banned from Xbox Live, even temporarily, seems a little harsh a punishment simply for getting ahold of a game early, but at the time of writing GameSpot is still waiting to hear back from Microsoft on that one.

Incidentally, GameSpot's search for Halo 3 on the Argos website found a picture of the game's box, but it doesn't actually link through to the product, suggesting that it has been removed from the store's online preorder scheme. There appear to be plenty of "Halo Silver 3" light ceiling fans available, though, which can be reservedto pick up in the store, subject to stock. More news on this one as we get it.

[UPDATE]: A US representative with Microsoft told GameSpot that the company won't be banning people who play the game early thanks to broken street dates at retailers. If gamers can track a copy down, they're clear to play it.

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