"Call of Duty: Ghosts" hits the street tomorrow (Nov. 5), sure to be another $1 billion behemoth in the "Call of Duty' video-game franchise. If you are just itching to get online and frag players worldwide, you may be surprised by the stiff competition you encounter.
According to the gaming website Polygon, the files for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of "Call of Duty: Ghosts" have already appeared online. Furthermore, hackers have programmed cheats to use with the game.
The ripped game can be run on hacked consoles and played in unofficial multiplayer lobbies that permit cheats such as seeing through walls, automatic aiming and gaining extra experience. It remains to be seen if any of these cheats will work with official multiplayer lobbies, or if those with hacked games and consoles can remain undetected.
Even if the hackers can't use the cheats in official multiplayer lobbies, regular players will still be at a disadvantage. Those who have early access to a game can learn all the ins and outs of the levels, weapons, experience system and perks.
For other players, it would be like being a contestant in a trivia game show where your opponent already knows the categories for the questions and can prepare ahead of time.
Ever since the "Call of Duty" series became popular, every iteration of the game has suffered from players who use illegal software to give them boosts similar to these cheats.
Many gamers who play multiplayer games on PCs use anti-cheating software such as PunkBuster to block illegal software. Many online multiplayer role-playing games such as "World of Warcraft" have similar monitoring software running in the background.
Tomorrow's release of "Ghosts" is for currently available hardware, including Windows PCs and the Wii U as well as the 360 and the PS3.
In a few more weeks, gamers will learn if the next-gen versions will be easily ripped and hacked with cheats. Those versions of "Ghosts" will launch with their respective consoles: Nov. 15 for the PlayStation 4 and Nov. 22 for the Xbox One.