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Gears of War Leakers Get the Harshest Punishment, Microsoft Denies it.

Those who recently leaked footage of the upcoming Gears of War remake have received the ban hammer by Microsoft as well as getting their consoles bricked, but Microsoft says this isn’t true

Yesterday Xbox DVR footage of the currently unannounced but heavily rumoured Gears of War remaster surfaced online and while the clips were short and showed early beta footage, those sharing the videos had violated a legally binding NDA. Their punishment? Not only did they have their Xbox Live accounts suspended, apparently their Xbox consoles were also bricked. What’s most shocking about this is that the leakers were using ordinary consumer Xbox Ones, not debug consoles supplied by Microsoft.

The news surfaced yesterday evening when several publications, including Kotaku, received an email sent to testers warning them of the consequences of leaking this sort of thing. The email originated from a contracting company called VMC Games, a company who’s usually hired to run Global Beta Tests behind closed doors. Testers are required to sign a legally binding NDA which clearly outlines the consequences for leaking game footage ahead of time.

In this email was a reminder of the consequences. Not only will the leakers be banned from VMC’s program, they’ll also lose access to Xbox Live as well as their Xbox One’s until Microsoft sees fit. That’s right, Microsoft has permanently banned the Xbox Live accounts as well as temporarily disabling their Xbox Ones, making them completely unusable.

“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.”

In response to this email, Microsoft has issued a statement to deny that they have a remote kill switch for consoles saying that the users only had their accounts banned and could still use their consoles offline, which in itself is bad enough as games can’t be played online without an account, updates can’t be downloaded, and all Games with Gold games are inaccessible until a Gold account is activated on the console.

“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.”

It’s worth noting that Microsoft hasn’t directly commented on what VMC Games actually said, nor have they commented on whether they have the ability to remotely kill Xbox One’s which is interesting.

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