Microsoft’s Xbox Live service banned up to 1 million players this week suspected of modifying their consoles to disable DRM protection. The action came the same week as the highly anticipated release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Pirated copies of the game were circulating on known warez sites before the release, leading some to speculate that Infinity Ward, the games publisher, prodded Microsoft to make the move.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles have Digital Rights Management (DRM) mechanisms installed that are intended to detect illegally acquired software, but owners have been known to modify their machines to get around the DRM restrictions. Microsoft did not say how they selected the banned users or identified the modified consoles as belonging to their accounts. Even though users of consoles banned from Xbox Live are unable to log into accounts and play against other players online, the consoles will still work for playing games offline.