Microsoft Starts Banning ODST Pirates, Not PlayersS

Microsoft today began permanently banning gamers they describe as "illegitimate ODST players" from their Xbox Live online service.

Earlier today Xbox Live Chief of Police Stephen Toulouse wrote on his Twitter page that he had seen some illegitimate ODST players, referring to Xbox 360's upcoming Halo 3: ODST, online.

"No early play for you," he wrote. "Commencing permabans."

Toulouse later clarified on his Twitter that people who bought the game early and are playing it safe.

We contacted Toulouse for more details about how widespread the bannings are and how Microsoft is differentiating between legitimate owners of the game, which went on sale at at least one store early, and those who obtained the game through illegitimate means.

Toulouse told Kotaku that he can't go into specifics about how they detect and how many they ban because they don't want to tip off pirates to their methods.

"I can be clear however that this applies to illegitimate copies only, the ban covers the Xbox LIVE account and could possibly include their console depending on the results of our investigations (which are ongoing). We do this from time to time with titles to combat piracy," he wrote to Kotaku. "If a user happens to purchase a legit copy of Halo 3: ODST early, then our problem is not with the user but the retailer who broke the street date. Those individuals will not be punished."