Leaks in whatever industry, be it mobile or gaming, isn’t a new thing, but most of the time, these “sources” are able to get away scot-free. However, rare and unfortunate is it for those who have been caught red-handed and have been punished for being too eager to share things covered by NDAs. Microsoft has apparently taken such action against testers of an unannounced but also leaked Xbox One remake of Gears of War. But what would normally be a non-event has been blown into a full scale drama involving claims of bricked Xbox One consoles.
The one indisputable fact in the dust storm rising from the sequence of events is that the leakers have found themselves banned indefinitely from their Xbox LIVE accounts. For what it’s worth, it’s entirely in Microsoft’s purview to impose sanctions on those who disobey its terms and conditions on Xbox LIVE, which apparently covers violations of non-disclosure agreements.
The scandal that broke out, however, was instigated by testing company VMC, whose wayward testers were traced to be the source of the leaks. According to VMC, not only were these leakers’ accounts suspended, but their Xbox Ones have also been rendered totally unusable as a result of the ban, practically bricking the console. There was naturally an uproar over the revelation that Microsoft had the power to lock you out of your console when it deems fit.
For its part, Microsoft released a statement refuting VMC, which is starting to look really bad by now. It admits that it has banned Xbox LIVE accounts but that the consoles can still be used offline and not bricked at all. That said, given how much of the Xbox One’s functionality actually relies on being connected to Xbox LIVE, the two states are practically one and the same. Still, it might be a relief to owners that getting banned, whether justified or not, won’t leave them with an unusable box.
Microsoft actually doesn’t say whether or not it has the power to brick consoles remotely, just that it didn’t do so in this case. It also doesn’t mention how long the indefinite ban on leakers will be. It probably wouldn’t be too ironic if they remain locked out until Gears of War for Xbox One comes out, if and when it does come out.