It’s still relatively early in the promotional push for Microsoft’s next-gen console, the Xbox One, yet things have already taken a turn for the worse. It didn’t start out that way — the console reveal was a decent presentation — but the dialogue after that continues to baffle gamers at nearly ever turn.
While gamers have already heard about Microsoft’s policy on used games and region-locked consoles, there is still much more to be revealed in the coming months. That hasn’t stopped Microsoft from answering a few gamer questions, though, and in turn further digging themselves into a massive hole. The most recent development involving the Xbox One is another in the long line of issues resulting from a 24-hour check-in requirement, and it could become a pretty big deal.
According to the Microsoft Xbox One support Twitter account, which has bee furiously answering questions since Microsoft’s E3 2013 Press Briefing, gamers that find themselves locked out of their account (for any reason) will lose/forfeit access to their game licenses. In other words, if Microsoft bans a gamer from Xbox Live, they are also banning them from playing games period.
@dohertymark If your account is banned, you also forfeit the licenses to any games that have licenses tied to it as listed in the ToU. ^AC
– Xbox Support (@XboxSupport1) June 14, 2013
This announcement is something we probably should have seen coming, but it’s nonetheless troubling. We knew that continuous gameplay required a daily check-in, and that all games required a full install, but we failed to put two-and-two together regarding bans. Or, at least, the connection didn’t become evident until this message appeared.
Game bans aren’t necessarily a regular occurrence, but usually they are involved with piracy or some form of video game-related tomfoolery. A gamer hops online with a pirated copy of a game, Microsoft’s servers recognize the game as illegitimate, and the player loses access to Xbox Live. It’s a pretty standard approach to this issue.
However, with the added online requirements, bans become an even bigger issue, one that may find Microsoft wading through some murky legal water. If Microsoft, for example, issues a ban mistakenly — thereby locking an innocent player out of their game — then they are ostensibly “bricking” a player’s console. Not only that, but they are denying them access to the consumer good that they purchased.
The hope is that Microsoft will be more diligent about investigating players, but there’s no guarantee they will. In fact, there are plenty of Xbox 360 gamers out there who have been erroneously banned.
Update: Major Nelson tells Reddit Games that, contrary to Xbox Support’s message, players will not lose access to purchased games when banned.
“Absolutely not, you will always have access to the games you purchased.”
Do you think Microsoft can legally ban players from accessing their purchased games?