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Microsoft disconnects modded Xbox owners
Lawrence Latif at Wednesday 11th November filed under Games industry
Microsoft in their annual purging of Xbox Live accounts has banned a large number of accounts in what they say are involved in "illegal" actions by pirating games and "breaking the Xbox Live terms of use" by modifying their Xboxes.

Reports suggest up to 600,000 accounts have been banned although Microsoft say it's a only a small percentage of their overall membership. While modding games consoles has been around for many years Microsoft are striking a blow for publishers in the hope that it'll pay off for them in the long term. Indeed the money lost through the banned subscriptions may run into the millions, but if it means publishers see Microsoft's efforts as helping their bottom line, then it could mean more titles exclusive to the Xbox, leading to greater sales of the console for Microsoft.

While piracy is a constant threat to most software companies, gamers will argue that the high cost of titles means they have little choice but to pirate titles in order to play them. However the banning of "modded" Xboxes also aims to level the playing field by stopping cheats who modify games in order to get an advantage over their opponents famously occuring with Halo 2 some years back.

The problem for Microsoft is ensuring that honest customers do not get included in this mass banning of accounts. Few will argue against banning of cheats but the modification of machines for other purposes, such as being able to read standard recordable DVDs will gather a mixed response. There's no doubt that Microsoft has to do something but whether this annual broad stroke will be the solution is something that remains to be seen.