Remember when we ran an article about Microsoft swinging the ban-hammer
? Well it seems that not everyone
did something wrong, and in fact were banned in error. Xbox Live Director of Policy and Enforcement Stephen Toulouse told Joystiq
that a small amount of people banned between August 29th and September 9th were banned due to a software error. Customers affected are already getting their bans reversed and are in the process of updating them now.
Toulouse noted that "In this case, it was one of those very, very rare circumstances where we were using software on the Xbox 360 to assist [in policy enforcement]." The Enforcement Team knows exactly who was banned in error, and that it was only a tiny fraction of the overall user base. If you were unjustly banned you should be able to just reconnect your console like normal.
So what went wrong? Well, we know it's a software error, but that's about all Toulouse would say. The Enforcement Team has always been tight-lipped and this case is no exception. They do have good reason; "There are entire internet forums dedicated to parsing every word we say about what the console is doing when it is looking for modifications, so that they can figure out a way around it." They are no longer using the software in question.
As a way of saying sorry, Microsoft is giving those who were banned in error a 'welcome back' package of sorts:
1600 Microsoft Points
3 months of Xbox LIVE Gold
Certainly deserving to those who have been barred from LIVE for nearly a month, were denied any sort of appeal from Microsoft, and ostracized by their peers on gaming forums when they pleaded their innocence.
Microsoft will slowly have to rebuild people's trust in the ban process, but admitting they were wrong is the first step, and offering pittance to those who did no wrong is the second. No doubt though, when future bans occur (and gamerscore resets for that matter), people can point to this incident and say that bans have
happened for no reason.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]