Oct. 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM ET
If you're already playing "Halo 4" then ... well ... you shouldn't be.
You shouldn't be playing "Halo 4" because the highly anticipated new installment in the famed Halo franchise hasn't officially launched yet. (That's happening Nov. 6.)
And you shouldn't be playing "Halo 4" because Microsoft will slap you with a lifetime ban from its Xbox Live service if it catches you playing the game, which hasn't officially launched yet.
Pirated copies of "Halo 4" started making their way into the wild over the weekend, with videos of the gameplay appearing online and a NeoGAF user posting a photo of the game discs in the popular online forums.
"There are people putting the whole thing on YouTube," Frank O'Connor, Halo franchise director at 343 Industries, told Polygon. "Microsoft is addressing that a single case at a time, it just takes a little while to handle."
Indeed, Microsoft issued a statement saying, "We are aware of isolated cases in which 'Halo 4' content has been propped on the web and are working closely with our security teams and law enforcement to address the situation immediately."
And then Microsoft broke out the banhammer.
According to a report by MCV, some Xbox Live users have been caught playing "Halo 4" ... and have been given a permanent goodbye from Microsoft.
MCV got a hold of the letter sent to those players who jumped into the game (which they would have had to use a modified Xbox 360 to do).
"This email is to notify you that your Xbox Live privileges have been permanently suspended due to illegitimate prerelease title play," the email reads. "Because your conduct is in violation, the Xbox Live Enforcement Team has issued a permanent suspension ... Your Xbox Live privileges will not be reinstated."
For a (non-pirated) look inside "Halo 4," check out the following videos from InGame editor Todd Kenreck.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti, and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.