Report: Microsoft bans a million Xbox LIVE users

xbox-live-logo“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

Information Week is reporting that Microsoft has banned up to a million gamers from Xbox LIVE, claiming the booted users have modified their Xbox 360 consoles to play pirated games.

“All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs violates the Xbox LIVE terms of use, will void their warranty, and result in a ban from Xbox LIVE,” Microsoft said in a statement to InformationWeek.

The drastic action comes after pirated copies of the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 showed up online before its release this week.

Microsoft announced in January that 17 million people subscribe to the Xbox LIVE service, which launched in 2002 on the original Xbox and relaunched with the Xbox 360 in 2005.

Affected systems will still play games offline, but for the time being gamers will be unable to access their online accounts or Gamertags, barring them from interacting with other members. It’s not yet clear whether the banning is temporary or permanent. (UPDATE: It’s permanent, Microsoft tells BBC News.)

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See also: Microsoft store coverage: Windows into media’s Apple bias?

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