Microsoft says that reports it banned up to a million Xbox Live users for having modified consoles last week are vastly overblown.
The tubes were alive with the sound of pissed-off Xbox Live users last week as Microsoft brought the hammer down on owners of modded consoles that can be used to run pirated software. It was a stinging blow, coming as it did the day after the release of Modern Warfare 2, and it reportedly caught an awful lot of people, although just how many now appears to be a matter of debate.
Early reports claimed that anywhere from 600,000 to a million users had been affected by the ban, but in an interview with VentureBeat, Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten said that just ain't so. "We didn't release the number. I cannot explain to you why people would think it was a million people. It wasn't a million people."
"Check the veracity of that claim," he added. "It was one news source."
That one news source was apparently InformationWeek, which wrote on the morning of November 11 that Microsoft "booted as many as 1 million players from its Xbox Live gaming service." Where InformationWeek came up with that number is unknown, as is the actual number of users who were banned, which Whitten did not reveal. Microsoft would confirm only that a "'small percentage' of the 20 million Xbox Live users worldwide" were affected, according to a BBC report published in the immediate wake of the bans.