Microsoft Threatens Console Bans for Gears Pirates

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Microsoft Threatens Console Bans for Gears Pirates

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Gears of War: Judgment gets pirated, a month before its scheduled release.

We've a month yet to go before the launch of the next installment in the Gears of War franchise, but pirates already have copies up on torrent sites. This doesn't please Microsoft, you'll be unsurprised to hear, and it has already threatened console bans for anyone who dares play a stolen copy.

"We are aware of isolated cases in which Gears of War: Judgment content has been propped on the web and are working closely with our security teams and law enforcement to address the situation immediately," said Microsoft in an official statement, adding that "playing pirated copies of games, such as Gears of War: Judgment, is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use and will result in enforcement action, such as account and console bans."

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Halo 4 had its share of piracy problems, and Microsoft was quick with the bans when it popped up on torrent sites. Moreover Microsoft regularly polices its system, often banning hundreds of thousands of accounts at a time on piracy charges.

The official release of Gears of War: Judgment is March 22nd, for the Xbox 360

Source: Eurogamer

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This is all very funny. You see, they are making a big deal out of this, but it happens all the time. All the, "PC is full of pirates", nonsense that was espoused not too long ago looks tame in comparison to this. I mean, you usually can't even find a PC game prior to release, and then if you do, it tends to not be unlockable before actual release day. Consoles on the other hand, it's not uncommon to find them multiple weeks before release. Especially 360 games. But it happans often with PS3 titles as well. I just find it amazingly ironic that consoles are so badly afflicted by piracy when that was, for a long time, the main complaint from big publishers and Microsoft's point precisely for being against PC gaming.

I'm not condoning piracy, I'm just saying the way it is. And in that, I don't have any complaints about their methodology for trying to deal with it. I mean, it won't really work; no one is using a 360 that they use for official online XBL gaming to play downloaded games... well no one with two brain cells to rub together.

Yeah, man. Ban the consoles a couple of days before Sony announces their next gen console. That will make people buy your next console, for sure.

Don't get me wrong. They have every right to do it. But sometimes exercising your rights isn't in your best interest.

Is it just me, or do "console bans" irk anyone else?

Account bans are perfectly fine, given the circumstances, but a console is hardware; it's not a game that they license out or a service you subscribe to, it's a real-life physical object that you paid for & own.

I'm pretty much exclusively PC these days, so it's not like it's even a concern for me, but it strikes me as unethical to say the least

What kind of signal would that send? Sony didn't react to PSP-hacks swiftly and harshly enough, and it ended up costing them an insane amount of money. Also how would not exercising your rights appear toward the GoW-Team? Just ask crytek how harsh it can be to see people pirate all your stuff

Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

fabiank22:
Just ask crytek how harsh it can be to see people pirate all your stuff

I have a better idea. Ask Crytek how many copies of Crysis 1 they sold on PC alone, and how many copies of Crysis 2 they sold on all systems combined.

People who want to pirate GoW will do it anyway and those who want to buy it will still end up buying it. It changes nothing.

I have nothing against banning the accounts of those pirates. But I can't get behind banning hardware.

so they will ban you as long as you have a internet connection...

Andy Shandy:
Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

Gears of War 3 flew under my radar and that was a numerical sequel to a game I played through and beat. Judgement is...what, supposed to be Gears of Reach? I'm actually really curious to see what the people who played Judgement thought of it. I've only played the first two Gears titles and just don't really care for the franchise but I'm still curious about those first impressions.

Zombie_Moogle:
Is it just me, or do "console bans" irk anyone else?

Right here. The thought of Microsoft being able to disable my console as a whole as opposed to my account is really disquieting to me. I can't log on to Xbox Live much anyway so I know I'm on the 'watch this asshole' list for those few times I am able to log on for long enough to update my console.

Damn, that was fast.

Anyone dumb enough to play a game online a month before it's even released deserves it purely for their stupidity.

Adam Jensen:
I have nothing against banning the accounts of those pirates. But I can't get behind banning hardware.

The problem with that is, banning an account doesn't disable the modifications in the console.

Just ban the account and the pirate is back online in minutes, playing his burnt game, with a new account.

When an Xbox 360 is banned it loses its ability to connect to LIVE. In every other way it will continue to function as normal, you'll even be able to continue to play burnt games.

Well ain't all we Xbox players just a bunch of dirty criminals?

Andy Shandy:
Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

Wanna hear something else under the radar? Crysis 3 went on sale today in the States!

Andy Shandy:
Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

Yeah, so it would seem. This is the first time I've heard of a new Gears of War game. Not sure this is the kind of publicity Epic would want for their game...

Don't worry Microsoft, you won't have to ban that many people, as not that many people give a shit about this latest version of the game.

Andy Shandy:
Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

I had no idea their was a new GoW.

OT: Who would be dumb enough to use Live on an Xbox with pirated games on it?

shameduser:
OT: Who would be dumb enough to use Live on an Xbox with pirated games on it?

Given some of the posts on the "why was I banned" board of the xbox.com forum, quite a few people.

It seems as if they don't want to pay for their games but still have the fun of playing online with their friends.

Zombie_Moogle:
Is it just me, or do "console bans" irk anyone else?

Account bans are perfectly fine, given the circumstances, but a console is hardware; it's not a game that they license out or a service you subscribe to, it's a real-life physical object that you paid for & own.

I'm pretty much exclusively PC these days, so it's not like it's even a concern for me, but it strikes me as unethical to say the least

The ability to connect to XBox Live is a service you subscribe to. Even for the free Silver accounts you have to agree to the TOS.

Illegitimately modifying your console to play pirated games is a violation of the TOS and it's perfectly acceptable that Microsoft would ban your modified console from accessing their network.

Banned consoles can still play games, they just can't connect to XBox live and interact with other consoles or use any of the features of Xbox Live, which is a good thing considering the instability a modified console could have on the network, or the illegitimate behaviour such a console could allow in multiplayer games and leaderbords.

I have never owned a console so I might be wrong about this, but doesnt a 'console ban' mean that the whole console itself wont be usable for anything online anymore?

If thats so then this is an incredably dumb and short-sighted way to deal with this (suprise surpise). Just how many people whos console they ban are they expecting to buy a new console AND a new game? I dont expect very many, especialy with the new consoles ones comming up and with the 360 being horrendously obsolete.

Zombie_Moogle:
Is it just me, or do "console bans" irk anyone else?

Account bans are perfectly fine, given the circumstances, but a console is hardware; it's not a game that they license out or a service you subscribe to, it's a real-life physical object that you paid for & own.

I'm pretty much exclusively PC these days, so it's not like it's even a concern for me, but it strikes me as unethical to say the least

It isnt a actual console ban as that would be impossible what they are doing is blocking consoles from access to xbox live and xbox live is a service. Still really stupid but at least it isn't AS ridiculous.

You people complaining about console bans... would you prefer jail? Microsoft is being lenient on pirates (because it would cost them too much to exact a full decree).

Jamash:

The ability to connect to XBox Live is a service you subscribe to. Even for the free Silver accounts you have to agree to the TOS.

Illegitimately modifying your console to play pirated games is a violation of the TOS and it's perfectly acceptable that Microsoft would ban your modified console from accessing their network.

Banned consoles can still play games, they just can't connect to XBox live and interact with other consoles or use any of the features of Xbox Live, which is a good thing considering the instability a modified console could have on the network, or the illegitimate behaviour such a console could allow in multiplayer games and leaderbords.

aba1:

It isnt a actual console ban as that would be impossible what they are doing is blocking consoles from access to xbox live and xbox live is a service. Still really stupid but at least it isn't AS ridiculous.

Oh, well as long as it'd still have local functionality, that's not so bad

@aba1: It wouldn't be "impossible", technically; if Microsoft decided to implement some kind of remote shut-off to the actual console at boot, they could effectively ban you from your actual console (no idea if they have that kind of function in the code anywhere, but it'd be one firmware update away if they decided to add it)

It used to be that when Microsoft banned you from LIVE they also removed the ability to install games, essentially reducing any hard drive to huge memory cards.

They stopped doing that when they released the update to allow USB storage. Any console it had happened to could just download the update and install it to get the feature back.

I wonder what stopped them doing that?

Adam Jensen:

fabiank22:
Just ask crytek how harsh it can be to see people pirate all your stuff

I have a better idea. Ask Crytek how many copies of Crysis 1 they sold on PC alone, and how many copies of Crysis 2 they sold on all systems combined.

Yeah that was just a case of Crytek having unrealistic expectations. Just in case some people didn't know, Crysis on PC sold 3 million copies, but Crytek expected several times more than that and made a big fuss about piracy being the cause. Skip ahead a few years and Crysis 2 sells 3 million across all platforms... not a peep from Crytek.

While I'm not saying it wasn't pirated, it definitely was, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the people who did just wanted to see if they could actually run the game before putting money down as it was highly publicised (even by Crytek themselves) as being a monster that would bring most PCs to their knees.

Piracy on PC is always blown way out of proportion, while console piracy is generally ignored, even though it's clear from the article linked in the OP (MS banning 1 Million accounts for piracy in just one sweep a few years ago), it is just as much of a problem.

Zombie_Moogle:

Jamash:

The ability to connect to XBox Live is a service you subscribe to. Even for the free Silver accounts you have to agree to the TOS.

Illegitimately modifying your console to play pirated games is a violation of the TOS and it's perfectly acceptable that Microsoft would ban your modified console from accessing their network.

Banned consoles can still play games, they just can't connect to XBox live and interact with other consoles or use any of the features of Xbox Live, which is a good thing considering the instability a modified console could have on the network, or the illegitimate behaviour such a console could allow in multiplayer games and leaderbords.

aba1:

It isnt a actual console ban as that would be impossible what they are doing is blocking consoles from access to xbox live and xbox live is a service. Still really stupid but at least it isn't AS ridiculous.

Oh, well as long as it'd still have local functionality, that's not so bad

@aba1: It wouldn't be "impossible", technically; if Microsoft decided to implement some kind of remote shut-off to the actual console at boot, they could effectively ban you from your actual console (no idea if they have that kind of function in the code anywhere, but it'd be one firmware update away if they decided to add it)

They would have had to program something like that preemptively and even if they did if your not online or changed the identification number on the system it wouldn't work.

Isn't this a moot point? Unless I am mistaken (and I don't think I am) you have to mod your console to play pirated games in the first place. This means if MSFT catches the console online they would ban it anyway. So if someone was going to pirate GoW and play it, it would likely be on a console that never goes online anyhow. So how exactly are they supposed to ban it?

I wonder if Microsoft has IDs or tags in the discs, to see if they can trace it back to a game reviewer or a store that was supposed to hold on to the shipment until the street date.

Anyway, this has been going on for a long time now. I remember one Christmas a long time ago, my parents had my PS1 under the tree. I was like "huh isn't that the one I already have?" Dad said "yeah, but I got a chip put in it so it can play CD-Rs, it'll save us a ton". The other gifts were a spindle of discs and a confirmation letter that we had gotten broadband internet. Totally true story, I didn't know that was even a thing you could do until that Christmas. It might be easier on PC, but console piracy is totally a thing and some people don't even realize how bad it is.

OR better still..... DO NOT TAKE YOUR PIRATED CRAP ONLINE.... Cmon people that is something a person with 50% of a working brain knows. I DO NOT advocate piracy, but with "demos" like this happening what the hell do developers expect to happen?

I have a buddy (seriously not me my interwebz moves to slow) who pirates every game he might want to play. He then plays it on a system that is not online. If he likes the game after 2 hours then he will stop playing it and go buy the game. Why? Because he has been burned on demos and $60 paperweight preorders. I personally just wait unitl a game has been out a month because there are still problems with his method, not the least of them being the quasi legal nature. He got burned on Mass Effect 3 and I did not because I heard about the ending.

The only thing Microsoft is doing wrong here is only threatening bans for people who pirate games.

Everyone who's had the stupidity to go online with a game that's not released for some time to come should have had their 360 bricked no questions asked. Call it a form or Darwinism.

It won't stop game copying, but any pirate with more than 2 brain cells to rub together is not going to go onto Xbox Live and try to play a game before it comes out...

Zombie_Moogle:

aba1:

It isnt a actual console ban as that would be impossible what they are doing is blocking consoles from access to xbox live and xbox live is a service. Still really stupid but at least it isn't AS ridiculous.

Oh, well as long as it'd still have local functionality, that's not so bad

@aba1: It wouldn't be "impossible", technically; if Microsoft decided to implement some kind of remote shut-off to the actual console at boot, they could effectively ban you from your actual console (no idea if they have that kind of function in the code anywhere, but it'd be one firmware update away if they decided to add it)

If they did that they'd be fools. They could just as easily put in an actual device wired in such a way that removing it breaks your Xbox anyway, unless expertly done and if the device is activated it physically breaks the Xbox when it receives a code from Xbox live. The worst case scenario for this however isn't Microsoft shutting down your Xbox it's a hacker getting into the network and sending a world wide shutdown code to anyone online at the time. The only way back from that would be to replace the units but recovering the shaken trust if it ever happened would be nothing short of impossible, let alone if individuals were wrongfully targeted.

(Not that I'm advocating piracy... really I'm not! What if this happened to Aliens: Colonial Marines would someone who pirated it have attempted to "warn" others of actually buying it if some "pirates" say they only want to try before they buy?)

slash2x:
OR better still..... DO NOT TAKE YOUR PIRATED CRAP ONLINE.... Cmon people that is something a person with 50% of a working brain knows. I DO NOT advocate piracy, but with "demos" like this happening what the hell do developers expect to happen?

Demos and trailers like that are part of why I almost never pre-order big releases anymore. My pre-ordering is limited to stuff that is getting a limited release from small companies because those games will likely end up being sold for $20 more than retail only days after release since they are of a such a small quantity. Even if I don't like the game, I can usually turn around and sell it used for as much if not more than what I paid for it a couple weeks down the road because, as I stated, supply is limited.

There's really no reason to pre-order a major game release unless you REALLY want that pre-order bonus or you have tons of grounding to know you're getting quality. For instance I pre-ordered MGR:R since it has gotten tons of game-play trailers, explanations by the developer, and so on. I also pre-order Ni No Kuni cause I wanted the steel-case but I deeply regret that decision since, imo, the game is pretty ass and I wish I had waited to get it later.

Lucane:

If they did that they'd be fools. They could just as easily put in an actual device wired in such a way that removing it breaks your Xbox anyway, unless expertly done and if the device is activated it physically breaks the Xbox when it receives a code from Xbox live. The worst case scenario for this however isn't Microsoft shutting down your Xbox it's a hacker getting into the network and sending a world wide shutdown code to anyone online at the time. The only way back from that would be to replace the units but recovering the shaken trust if it ever happened would be nothing short of impossible, let alone if individuals were wrongfully targeted.

(Not that I'm advocating piracy... really I'm not! What if this happened to Aliens: Colonial Marines would someone who pirated it have attempted to "warn" others of actually buying it if some "pirates" say they only want to try before they buy?)

Oh, I agree entirely. It'd be public relations hari-kari. My point is that it wouldn't be especially difficult from a technical standpoint, as some might suggest.

I don't play Xbox often (only my friend's console) & I practically never play online (XBL is an open sewer), so I have no personal stake in any of it. It just struck me as odd when they said "account and console bans"; it would appear I took their public chest-beating a bit too literally

Lucane:

Zombie_Moogle:

aba1:

It isnt a actual console ban as that would be impossible what they are doing is blocking consoles from access to xbox live and xbox live is a service. Still really stupid but at least it isn't AS ridiculous.

Oh, well as long as it'd still have local functionality, that's not so bad

@aba1: It wouldn't be "impossible", technically; if Microsoft decided to implement some kind of remote shut-off to the actual console at boot, they could effectively ban you from your actual console (no idea if they have that kind of function in the code anywhere, but it'd be one firmware update away if they decided to add it)

If they did that they'd be fools. They could just as easily put in an actual device wired in such a way that removing it breaks your Xbox anyway, unless expertly done and if the device is activated it physically breaks the Xbox when it receives a code from Xbox live. The worst case scenario for this however isn't Microsoft shutting down your Xbox it's a hacker getting into the network and sending a world wide shutdown code to anyone online at the time. The only way back from that would be to replace the units but recovering the shaken trust if it ever happened would be nothing short of impossible, let alone if individuals were wrongfully targeted.

(Not that I'm advocating piracy... really I'm not! What if this happened to Aliens: Colonial Marines would someone who pirated it have attempted to "warn" others of actually buying it if some "pirates" say they only want to try before they buy?)

It would also be illegal - destruction of property. No matter what a TOS says, it can't supersede actual laws. They could lock you out of the OS software, but they couldn't actually "break" your machine, legally. As you said, even if they could exercise that option, it would be financial suicide. Who would buy a console if there was even a risk of the company blocking you from using it entirely with no reason on their part or recourse on yours. Of course, I am talking about Xbox 360 here, a console that has a 50% failure rate within 2 years, and people are still buying it.

Andy Shandy:
Wait, the new Gears Of War is coming out in a month?

Is it just me or has that game flown completely under the radar?

Yeah, I had completely forgotten about the franchise.....

I think that without Cliffy B to be the face of Epic's marketing, everyone just forgot about it.

Adam Jensen:
Yeah, man. Ban the consoles a couple of days before Sony announces their next gen console. That will make people buy your next console, for sure.

Don't get me wrong. They have every right to do it. But sometimes exercising your rights isn't in your best interest.

Consoles are generally sold at a 50-100 dollar loss and made up through software licensing. If somebody isn't buying the software (and with the cost and difficulty of breaking console security, it's guaranteed they're not casual pirates), the manufacturer is possibly gaining money by discouraging them from buying their future consoles. This is not to say it's the most ethical or best long-term financial decision, but hardware sales alone aren't enough to go lax on piracy.

Yeah and...?

People pirate games, an illegal activity, owner bans console as punishment. You mind as well have a story about how if you don't pay your bills they turn your lights off. ('course knowing this forum some guy would still try to claim its not right for the electric company to cut your power).

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