Microsoft Punishing Gears of War Leakers By Disabling Their Xbox Live Accounts

And much worse may be incoming.

Posted By | On 15th, May. 2015

Xbox Live

That Gears of War is being remastered and coming to Xbox One is a thing we have known for a while now. This news piece is not about that. This news piece is about the fact that people who made this known to us, by leaking screens and media, violated some very harsh NDAs, and now Microsoft as well as VMC (a company that allows for widescale game testing by crowdsourcing it) are both going to impose some pretty harsh penalties on the leakers.

VMC said in an email sent out to all testers, “Recently, multiple leaks were perpetrated by several GBTN community members. In one case, a member who was participating in that test shared a screenshot on Snapchat with their friend, who wasn’t part of the project, but tricked his friend by saying he didn’t believe him when he said they were working on the same project.

“Upon reception of the screenshot, the friend who received the Snapchat leaked it online, betraying his friend as well as his NDA with VMC Games. While the tester who first took the screenshot didn’t think he was doing anything bad, he was still going against the NDA, and was part of the cause why the information got leaked. Because of this, both members were permanently removed from the community and addressed to our legal department, as per the terms of the NDA.”

“Now, new wording is about to reach the community regarding this particular event. The nature of the leak having had occurred through Xbox One, actually also went against the Microsoft EULA, which is agreed upon when creating an Xbox LIVE account, or any other type of Microsoft account. This being said, as per that agreement with the testers in fault, Microsoft also permanently disabled their Xbox LIVE accounts (as well as other suspected accounts present on their Xbox One kits) and temporarily blocked all of their Xbox One privileges – meaning that for a period of time which Microsoft decides on depending on the severity of the offense, their Xbox One is entirely unusable.”

“The reason behind the Non-Disclosure Agreement is not only to protect our clients and our program, but also our community, and to make each and every single one of you aware of the severity of revealing confidential information which you’re entrusted with. One screenshot, message or even conversation shared with someone else can easily snowball into a situation that goes out of control, and not only penalize the offender as well as anyone else directly involved, but sometimes far beyond that.”

“In certain cases, there were consequences which had affected people which had no malicious intentions but ended up entwined within the legal case – we’re fully aware that this also targeted very faithful, hard workers who had been with us from the start, and this situation crippled the entire community. We do not want to go that way ever again and are constantly in search of better solutions to single out perpetrators before too much is at risk. The community itself is growing stronger, and often times leaks are reported by community members to us – and we’re extremely thankful for that as it not only speeds up investigations drastically, but also shows us that this community is tightly knit and merely contains a few bad apples, who unfortunately ruin the experience for too many participants already.”

That part about Microsoft disabling consoles entirely? While one can say the leakers had it coming, it sounds scary that Microsoft even has that ability. However, Microsoft released its own statement, in which it confirmed that nothing was stopping anybody from continuing to use their consoles offline.

“To be clear, if a console is suspended from Xbox Live for a violation of the Terms of Use, it can still be used offline. Microsoft enforcement action does not result in a console becoming unusable. Suspensions for both consoles and accounts are determined by looking at a number of factors. To avoid enforcement action including suspension from the service, users should follow the Xbox Live Terms of Use and Code of Conduct.”

So, there you have it, folks. Personally, I wouldn’t be as afraid of a suspended account or even a bricked console, as I would be of the impending legal action.


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