Update: A Microsoft rep has clarified to Pro-G that it will only ban the Xbox Live accounts of Microsoft employees playing Halo 3 early. Regular consumers will not, as previously reported and feared, be sacrificing their Xbox Live privileges due to the blessed negligence of retailers.
Original Story: With a game as eagerly anticipated as Bungie's Halo 3 being shipped to retailers worldwide in advance of its next week's release, it's no surprise that a few resourceful folk are going to get their hands on it early. Chalk it up to the persuasive powers of smooth talking or the much more likely scenario of some poor hapless employee not paying attention to the bajillionth green Xbox 360 game case they've seen, but it's going to happen one way or another.
In fact, broken street dates are a relatively common occurrence in the realm of video games. It happens just about every time a game goes off to stores before it can be sold. It happened to 2K Boston/2K Australia's BioShock, it regularly happens to EA Tiburon's yearly Madden release, it's happened to countless other releases. It even happened to Halo 2.
However, Microsoft appears to be taking a much more confrontational stance than most this time around. According to Pro-G, the company will be punishing gamers for the mistakes of their local retailers. The site reports that anyone caught playing Halo 3 before its official release will be banned from Xbox Live.