If you've played Gameloft's Modern Combat 5, then statistically speaking, you're almost certainly a pirate. That's because the game hasn't been released yet, and the only ones who have access to the final version are a few people who won a Gameloft contest. At least that's how it's supposed to be - one of the winners passed the game along to some pirates (or just did it themselves), who promptly cracked it and made it available for illegal download.

Eli Hodapp of TouchArcade reported the sad affair on Twitter, and Polygon subsequently got more information off of the official Modern Combat Facebook page. Gameloft's community manager Florian Weber generally chided the "thousands" of users who have already downloaded the game and installed it, threatening an instant ban to verified pirates. While he didn't specify which version of the game had been stolen (it will be released on iOS and Android later this week), he summed up the situation in basically the only perfect sentiment:

Seriously, this is why we can't have nice things.

Another Gameloft representative said that all pirated copies have been disabled, and that anyone who downloaded it will simply have to wait for the full release.

The whole thing is all the more disheartening because Modern Combat is Gameloft's premiere franchise, and Modern Combat 5 will be one of the only titles that Gameloft has made in years without in-app purchases. This kind of player-initiated theft makes alternate revenue streams and frustrating DRM all the more appealing to developers and publishers, and a new game release that doesn't rely on the frustrating and often manipulative free-to-play model is already all too rare.

Pay for your games, please, unless you really do enjoy buying them one in-app purchase at a time.

Source: Polygon

Update: a previous version of this article stated that previous Modern Combat games didn't use IAPs. That isn't true, but Gameloft has told media representatives that Modern Combat 5 will not use the IAP model. Also, commenters claim to have found pirated versions of the iOS version of MC5, not the Android version... not that this changes the fundamental issues of pirating the game in the first place.