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Amid Class Action Suit Reports, Microsoft Defends Xbox Live Modded Console Bans

As it responds to a law firm's attempt to gather petitioners for a class action suit, Microsoft is claiming the number of Xbox Live bans has been over-reported, and defends its efforts to combat piracy.
As it responds to a law firm's attempt to gather petitioners for a class action suit, Microsoft is claiming the number of Xbox Live bans has been over-reported, and defends its efforts to combat piracy. Last week, consumer site IncGamers noticed that law firm Abington IP was seeking information from users who had their Xbox Live accounts suspended by Microsoft because of their modded consoles. Abington's outreach prompted numerous media reports suggesting that a class action law suit may be brought against Microsoft over the banned accounts. The company's Terms of Use prohibits users from making modifications to Xbox 360 console hardware, in an effort to stem software piracy enabled by console mods. Users with modded consoles have found themselves banned from Xbox Live services, although they can still use the hardware online. The company has yet to quantify how many users have gotten the boot because of console mods, but numerous consumer websites have noticed a rise in second-hand console sales on sites like eBay and Craigslist that note banned or modded hardware -- for example, a search for "banned" in New York City's Craigslist section for video gaming reveals numerous recent options. "We didn’t release the number. I cannot explain to you why people would think it was a million people," Xbox Live GM Mark Whitten told VentureBeat. "It wasn’t a million people. Check the veracity of that claim. It was one news source." Reiterating that piracy is illegal and that Microsoft is within its rights to remove cheaters and protect its software partners, Whitten added, "I think we do a really good job understanding what people are doing on the system. That applies to intellectual property (piracy) and how we treat the community in terms of harassment."

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