Thousands of gamers using Microsoft’s online gaming service Xbox Live may have had their accounts cut off by modifying their consoles to play pirated games, BBC News reported.
Microsoft confirmed that it had banned a “small percentage” of the 20 million Xbox Live users worldwide and several online reports say as many as 600,000 gamers may have been affected.
“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,” the statement said.
Microsoft has equipped the Xbox 360 with Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies to detect pirated software.
However, many gamers modify their consoles by installing new chips or software that allows them to run unofficial – but not always illegal – programs and games.
But some chips are specifically designed to play pirated games.
The company did now say how it was able to determine which gamers to disconnect.
Gamers with any modifications were met with a message during the login process that read: “Your console has been banned from Xbox”.
The ban does not stop the console from working and only affects a gamer’s Xbox Live account, according to reports.
The banning is part of an annual November sweep that Microsoft carries out each year to remove modified Xboxes from its online gaming service.
So-called “modding” or “chipping” is popular among people who want to play pirated games and games bought in other regions.
On the Net: