The real truth behind live bannings
News has just been posted on Xbox Forums about the LIVE bannings, This wont come as a suprise but reading the post it seems that Mr Gates is getting his army ready for all out WAR on us 360 owners.
Microsoft recently banned a large number of pirates from Xbox Live, and this has raised some questions over what can get you banned, and exactly how fair and accurate the banning process is. The truth is worse than you may have suspected.
Let?s get one thing straight right off the bat ? pirates should absolutely be banned from XBL. Piracy is a large drain on the gaming industry and needs to be stopped, but just how does Microsoft determine who is and who isn?t a pirate? Well, they?re not very upfront about their process for determining guilt, but it?s a safe bet that some piece of diagnostic software running in the background on every 360 is looking for the firmware modifications necessary to run pirated games. When a console has been flagged as modded, it gets banned.
That?s all well and good, but what if you genuinely didn?t mod your console? What if you bought it used and had no idea it was even modded? If you go to MS with these concerns, prepare for the possibility that you might lose any DLC you have legitimately purchased, including games, map packs, and videos. One user who claims to have been banned in error was met with the following threat from a Microsoft staffer after posting his concern on the Xbox Forums
Our investigations are very thorough. However if you PM me with your consoleID and serial number we will reverify our investigation. Your console ID is located in System Settings>Console Settings>System Info
Before replying, please be sure that you:
1. Purchased your console brand new and unopened from a reputable retailer 2. No individual has ever handled the Xbox outside your direct physical supervision. 3. You have thoroughly reviewed the information and FAQ located at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/consoleban/
Please be aware that if our reverification is correct, this could result in a permanent suspension of the Xbox LIVE accounts on this console, along with all associated licenses and gamerscore.There are two scary facts here. The first is that MS won?t re-investigate the banning, but only re-verify it. That makes it sound like they?ll just double check to make sure this unfortunate gamer?s serial number is in fact on the banned list rather than making sure it deserves to be on that list. Even more upsetting is that the punishment for asking to have the console re-verified is the banning of the gamertag, complete with the loss of any and all DLC licenses held by that account. So let?s say you have purchased $200 worth of map packs, games on demand, and XBLA titles from the Xbox Live Marketplace before your console got banned. If you ask to have that ban re-verified, and the results are the same, Microsoft can take back all of that content that you legally purchased.
I?m afraid it gets worse. Piracy isn?t the only thing that can get an Xbox 360 banned from Xbox Live. If you have any repairs or cosmetic modifications done to your console by anyone other than Microsoft, you run the risk of getting banned if they find out about it. From the Xbox Live terms of service:
The Service may only be accessed with an original Xbox, an Xbox 360 console, a personal computer, or other device authorized by us, or by logging into your account via Xbox.com . You agree that you are using only authorized software and hardware to access the Service, that your software and hardware have not been modified in any unauthorized way (e.g., through unauthorized repairs, unauthorized upgrades, or unauthorized downloads), and that we have the right to send data , applications or other content to any software or hardware that you are using to access the Service for the express purpose of detecting an unauthorized modification.Microsoft charges over $100 for a repair if you?re out of warranty, and you can expect to be without your console for between two and four weeks. In my area, I was able to find several repairmen, and shops that would fix a 360 for $50, and the turnaround time was less than a week in every case. Currently, there doesn?t seem to be any evidence that MS is banning customers for going with the quicker, cheaper local repairman, but it is rather disheartening to know they could.
It?s great that MS can ban pirates whenever the need arises. Unfortunately the policies that allow for pirates to get the smack down also leave a lot of room for innocent gamers to get trampled on. Hopefully Microsoft will update their policies, or at least use their ban hammer responsibly.
I have reached out to Stephen Toulouse, Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE, for clarification on these issues, but have not received a response at the time of this writing.
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