Last week, Darin Harris, a 29-year-old man, was arrested but not for the reason many had speculated. While he did leak 45 minutes of footage from the highly anticipated, unreleased game Starfield, it was actually the theft of 67 copies of the game that led to his arrest. These copies were stolen from a Memphis-based warehouse managed by Vantiva, a logistics company.
The incident has caught the attention of the gaming community for several reasons. Initially, Harris uploaded gameplay footage on Aug. 22, sparking widespread interest. However, it wasn’t the content that caught police attention but the underlying theft. According to a Memphis Police Department report, the stolen copies are valued at an estimated $2,500, although their actual market value could likely be over $4,600.
Not stopping at merely sharing the gameplay, Harris even took to selling some of the stolen copies on the e-commerce platform Mercari. “Todd, no offense, man. That’s a good game,” Harris said in a video, seemingly addressing Starfield game director Todd Howard. “They were saying I play like a beginner, ’cause I’m not a game expert; I was just trying something out. That’s a good game — y’all don’t want to miss that. Starfield, for real.”
Soon after these events, Memphis police executed a search warrant on Harris’s residence. They discovered a FedEx package with a sealed copy of Starfield, six other copies across two editions, marijuana, and three handguns, one of which was reportedly stolen.
Harris faces multiple charges. He is booked for a felony theft charge for property estimated to be worth between $2,500 and $10,000. Alongside this, Harris also faces two misdemeanour charges for possession of marijuana and for property theft valued at $1,000 or less. Following his arrest, he was released on Aug. 25 on a $10,000 bond. He is scheduled to make a court appearance on Sept. 8.
As this complex case unfolds, questions abound concerning the illegal distribution of yet-to-be-released games and how it impacts both the industry and fans eagerly awaiting new releases. What started as a leak intriguing the public has unfolded into a multi-faceted legal drama, shining a spotlight on the intricate webs of game theft and distribution.