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Microsoft Reacts to Possible Class-Action Lawsuit over Bans

Microsoft Reacts to Possible Class-Action Lawsuit over Bans
Published by wes213 on Friday, November 20, 2009
Tagged: Gaming, Xbox 360, Xbox Live,
Microsoft Corp. has responded to a possible class-action lawsuit over banning up to one million Xbox 360 consoles from accessing its online gaming service, arguing the company is well within its rights to ban users from Xbox Live.

U.S. law firm Abington IP recently announced on its website that it's considering filing a class-action lawsuit over Microsoft's worldwide crackdown on modified Xbox 360 consoles by booting them from the Xbox Live online network. The firm is asking those interested in joining the suit to contact them.

Microsoft "conveniently" waited until after the launch of two of Xbox 360's biggest holiday titles before banning up to one million consoles from accessing its online gaming service, the firm argued.

A spokesperson from Microsoft reacted to the possible lawsuit on Friday. "Piracy is illegal and modifying an Xbox 360 is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use. Microsoft is well within its legal rights to ban these users from Xbox Live."

The number of bans has not been released by Microsoft, but some media reports suggest between 600,000 and one million consoles were banned.

The law firm is asking Xbox Live subscribers who were not refunded for the time left on their subscription to participate in the possible class action.

A 12-month subscription to the service, which allows players to access the online marketplace and play online with other subscribers, costs about $60. More than 20 million people are members of Xbox Live.

"Although modification of Xbox consoles is ‘arguably' against the terms of use for Xbox/Xbox Live, Microsoft conveniently timed the Xbox console ban to coincide with the release of the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game and less than two months after the release of the very popular Halo: ODST game," argued Abington IP, which specializes in consumer class action lawsuits

Abington IP said the timing might have resulted in more Xbox Live subscription revenues for Microsoft than it would have generated had the console bans taken place before the releases. The firm also argued sales of Modern Warfare 2 -- which launched Nov. 10 and set a new sales record by grossing about $550-million over the first five days of sales -- would have been hampered by the bans. Both Halo: ODST and Modern Warfare 2 have very popular multiplayer modes.

"As an aside, piracy is a legitimate concern for Microsoft and other content producers," said Abington IP. "However . . . Microsoft has chosen to use one of the most indiscriminate ‘weapons' in its arsenal in an effort to combat piracy."

News-Source: financialpost.com
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