Xbox 360 Owners Say They Were Banned For Downloading Free GamesS

So, for a while now, and very much on the down-low, some Xbox 360 owners have been downloading free games, taking advantage of a loophole in Microsoft's Xbox Live marketplace. I hope they enjoyed it, because a bunch of them are now saying they've had their consoles banned for their troubles.

Here's the situation: for around five years now, select games have been appearing as free downloads in obscure markets like Oman and Bosnia. Savvy users in places like the USA were able to create fake accounts and download those games without paying a cent.

Having got away with this for years, in the last week users have been reporting that Microsoft has finally dropped the hammer on those found to be taking advantage, issuing Xbox Live bans on the consoles (note: just the console, not the account) responsible.

While refusing to address this situation in particular, a Microsoft spokesperson did issue Kotaku with the following statement when asked for confirmation on the bans:

Microsoft’s commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 48 million Xbox Live members remains a top priority. We can confirm that attempting to exploit Xbox Live for financial gain – for instance, intentionally using false or deceptive information to create an account for the sole purpose of accessing content you would otherwise have to pay for – is fraudulent activity and a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use. However, we do not comment publicly on individual cases.

Sucks for those affected, but hey, they did sign a Terms of Service agreement to join Xbox Live, and they were engaged in "using false or deceptive information to create an account for the sole purpose of accessing content you would otherwise have to pay for", so...such is life.

Urgent Announcement for ANYONE who used alternate region accounts! [Xbox 360 Achievements]

Xbox Banning Discussion [CAG]