Microsoft Bans 1 Million Xbox Live Accounts

It's being reported today the Microsoft has banned up to 1 Million Xbox Live Accounts. Fresh on the heels of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 release Microsoft has stepped up their attack on piracy by banning a mass of Xbox Live users. According to a report in InformationWeek, Microsoft has banned as many as a million players from Xbox Live for altering or modifying their consoles in order to play pirated versions of Xbox video games.

Activision's new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was released earlier this week, and InformationWeek has speculated that because pirated versions of the game appeared on multiple file sharing websites in before the games public release date, Activision may have put pressure on Microsoft which resulted in the Xbox Live account bans.

Microsoft said its "commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of the Xbox Live community remains a top priority. All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and modifying their Xbox 360 console violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live. We can assure you that if an Xbox Live member follows the Xbox Live terms of use, purchased a retail copy of Modern Warfare 2 and played the game on an unmodified Xbox 360, no action will be taken."

Over at the Xbox support page, Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb, also known as Major Nelson, has addressed some of the circumstances that could lead to a player's Xbox Live account being banned.

"Players who find their Gamertags banned from Xbox Live have wound up in that situation due to violations of the Xbox Live Terms of Use," Major Nelson wrote.

"The Xbox Live team monitors players for not just cheating, but also for things like threats, racism, profanity, and just being an all around poor sport and ruining the game for others.

"When a Gamertag comes up as violating our policies for online behavior, the person who owns that Gamertag is punished by being banned from the service. Keep in mind, this isn't just a ban on a particular game. This is a ban on the Xbox Live service as a whole, so you won't be able to go online at all during your ban. Initially, you may be banned for a day, a week, or depending on severity, permanently! Kiss that $50 goodbye."

While Microsoft has always thwarted attempts at Xbox piracy by banning Xbox Live accounts this latest round of bans is a 5% reduction of the estimated 20,000,000 players who utilize the Microsoft services to compete with other players online. Even with the Xbox Live bans players will still be able to play games on their Xbox consoles, albeit without the ability to take their games online.

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