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Microsoft Swings Hammer, Banning 1 Million Xbox Live Players

Microsoft cracked down on users believed to be using modded consoles, timed along the release of the year’s hottest game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. One million Xbox Live players were banned in a move to prevent game piracy.

According to Microsoft “All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty, and result in a ban from Xbox Live.” “The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive from manufacturers, retailers, and the third parties that support them.”

Xbox 360 consoles utilize DRM (digital rights management) technology to detect pirated software, but modded consoles deactivate these features and allow users to play pirated games. Banned Xbox Live users won’t be able to access their accounts or play online, but their consoles will still function.

Microsoft did not make clear how they detected the modded consoles. Some suspect that the timing of the bans may be due in part to the report of pirated copies of Modern Warfare 2 surfacing before its release.

It’s estimated that there are 20 million members the Xbox LIVE community.