Microsoft: Modify Your XBox - Get Booted

In the days before Microsoft Corp. released the hotly anticipated Halo 2 video game for the Xbox game console, some gamers noticed a sudden spike in the number of people being kicked off the company's online game service. That was no coincidence.

With Halo 2 expected to entice a new batch of users to the Xbox Live online gaming community, Microsoft says it got tougher with people suspected of making unauthorized modifications to their Xboxes.

Cameron Ferroni, general manager of the Xbox software platform, says Microsoft is not interested in suing individual users. But the company does want to banish scofflaws from its online service, Xbox Live. Microsoft has a unique glimpse into the approximately 1 million Xbox Live users' computers because, by virtue of signing up for the service, users agree to let Microsoft gather certain information from their machines.

Ferroni declined to go into specifics on how the company can check Xbox Live users' machines for suspected modifications. He said Microsoft has no way of checking whether players who don't use Xbox Live have modified their machines. Microsoft says it has focused its legal efforts on those it believes are manufacturing pirated games or mass-producing Xbox modifications.

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