When it comes to game leaks, Microsoft is no stranger to having their big announcements spoiled ahead of time. The leaks are typically not little things either, but rathe games and interesting features that could bring a lot of attention to the company’s current gaming console. The most recent, and notable, leaks have been TV DVR, a 1TB Xbox One, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, but while the people responsible for the former two have gone unpunished (possibly due to them being rumors or easy mistakes), the Gears leakers are probably kicking themselves for their actions right about now.
As Microsoft demonstrated today, they don’t mess around when it comes to their more popular franchises, and they have a terrifying amount of control over the Xbox Ones that people own.
So, what exactly happened to these people that foolishly showed the world what they were working on? Well, these Gears of War: Ultimate Edition leakers have been permanently banned from Xbox Live, and their Xbox Ones have been bricked until Microsoft says otherwise. Who knew they could do such a thing.
The reveal of these punishments comes from a letter obtained by Kotaku from VMC Games, a company contracted to test the still unannounced Gears of War remake. Initially, one VMC member simply shared a screenshot of the game, thinking it was harmless, but it still went against the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) he signed, as well as the EULA most people skip over when making an Xbox Live account. Of course, neither VMC nor Microsoft were happy about this, hence the harsh consequences.
As the letter explains:
“This being said, as per that agreement with the testers in fault, Microsoft also permanently disabled their Xbox LIVE accounts (as well as other suspected accounts present on their Xbox One kits) and temporarily blocked all of their Xbox One privileges – meaning that for a period of time which Microsoft decides on depending on the severity of the offense, their Xbox One is entirely unusable.”
No one can really fault Microsoft for wanting to take action against the people that released the Gears of War Xbox One footage. These testers signed an agreement basically stating they wouldn’t share any details (especially not screenshots or video), yet knowingly went against it anyway.
That said, it’s unlikely that anyone expected Microsoft to be able to brick anyone’s Xbox One console. Banning from Xbox Live is easy to understand, and its happened plenty of times before, but crippling a console from a distance is rather scary. Lets all take this as a reminder to treat NDAs and the like as seriously as they’re meant to be.
Kinda makes you wonder what else Microsoft can do to purchased Xbox Ones – aside from letting people test new features early.