Gears of War Xbox One leakers have their consoles bricked, Xbox Live accounts suspended permanently

Microsoft did not take this morning's leaks kindly and have exacted a mighty vengeance on those that violated their NDAs.


Microsoft did not take this morning's Gears of War leak very well. When a surprise of that magnitude is spilled, perpetrators should expect to feel some wrath. And wrath they did feel, as Microsoft has reportedly flipped a kill switch on the leakers' Xbox One machines, as well as suspended the offenders' Xbox Live accounts.

"Recently, multiple leaks were perpetrated by several GBTN community members," reads a letter from third-party teesting service VMC, sent to Polygon earlier today. "In one case, a member who was participating in that test shared a screenshot on Snapchat with their friend, who wasn't part of the project, but tricked his friend by saying he didn't believe him when he said they were working on the same project. Upon reception of the screenshot, the friend who received the Snapchat leaked it online, betraying his friend as well as his NDA with VMC Games. While the tester who first took the screenshot didn't think he was doing anything bad, he was still going against the NDA, and was part of the cause why the information got leaked. Because of this, both members were permanently removed from the community and addressed to our legal department, as per the terms of the NDA.

"Now, new wording is about to reach the community regarding this particular event. The nature of the leak having had occurred through Xbox One, actually also went against the Microsoft EULA, which is agreed upon when creating an Xbox LIVE account, or any other type of Microsoft account. This being said, as per that agreement with the testers in fault, Microsoft also permanently disabled their Xbox LIVE accounts (as well as other suspected accounts present on their Xbox One kits) and temporarily blocked all of their Xbox One privileges - meaning that for a period of time which Microsoft decides on depending on the severity of the offense, their Xbox One is entirely unusable."

To sum up, the offenders have had their Xbox Ones temporarily bricked and all associated accounts have been permanently suspended. The idea that there's a kill switch on a console at all is eyebrow-raising in itself, effectively rendering a consumer-purchased product completely unusable. That may be concerning to a number of Xbox One users. However, few will likely weep for the leakers. After all, companies take non-disclosure agreements very seriously and if these penalties were detailed in the contracts signed, Microsoft appears to be within their rights to take this action.

With such severe action being taken, it is also reasonable to conclude that there was indeed something to these leaks. Look for more details to come in a more official capacity soon.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty
    • reply
      May 14, 2015 3:18 PM

      The nuclear options seems a little extreme...

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        May 14, 2015 3:24 PM

        Indeed. But I also remember the penalties for violating NDAs during my QA days. There were testers that were sued for seven figures if they leaked info. Compared to that, this isn't quite soooo bad.

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          May 14, 2015 3:28 PM

          So, are their not options use the console off-line?

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            May 14, 2015 3:41 PM

            Nope. The consoles are pretty much bricked until further notice.

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              May 14, 2015 3:49 PM

              And they wonder why people didn't trust them with an online only console.

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                May 14, 2015 7:35 PM

                This isn't like Microsoft had a bad day and just tried to randomly take it out on someone. They violated an NDA they agreed to and shutting the consoles down is the best way to prevent further leaks.

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                  May 14, 2015 8:16 PM

                  It's moot since the systems apparently aren't 'bricked', but it doesn't matter what they did. The specifically sold the systems, after an enormous shit-storm, as only having to be taken online once for a system patch, not as, we can brick it any time we want if you're online.

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                    May 14, 2015 8:25 PM

                    the hardware ID was banned on XBLive. This is *EXACTLY* the same thing MS did with the original Xbox and the 360.

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          May 14, 2015 3:33 PM

          I hear you. But it's a friggin remake of a game that sold millions of copies. IDGI.

        • reply
          May 14, 2015 7:29 PM

          the article also mentions that the matter was turned over to the legal dept, so that may still be yet to come.

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            May 14, 2015 7:31 PM

            polygon updated their article with a resonse from MS saying that the xboxes were never bricked, and they're fully functional off-line, just no XBL access ever again

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              May 14, 2015 7:34 PM

              oops, meant to reply to OP

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              May 14, 2015 8:23 PM

              this sounds exactly the same as the original xbox and the xbox 360. the hardware id has been banned on Live.

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              May 15, 2015 8:49 AM

              That sounds fair.

    • reply
      May 14, 2015 3:50 PM


    • reply
      May 14, 2015 3:53 PM

      That letter from VMC is horribly written. Filled with outright grammar mistakes and poorly chosen language. Embarrassing.

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        May 14, 2015 4:07 PM

        Its VMC. If you don't know them, that's par for the course.

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      May 14, 2015 3:57 PM

      Lol, wrecked.

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      May 14, 2015 4:14 PM

      Some typos: teesting service?

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      May 14, 2015 6:56 PM

      Always online. Love it!

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      May 14, 2015 8:02 PM

      I have read on multiple articles that they were only cut off from Xbox live. They can still be used offline.

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      May 15, 2015 6:29 AM

      Dang! Over a screenshot! Thank God I don't own an X-Box One!

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      May 15, 2015 6:43 AM

      Can't wait for the first time this is used against consumers in a case that isn't quite to clear as this one. Banning from Live is one thing, bricking the entire thing for SP games as well is another. The odds of the console manufacturers never abusing this aren't really high in my head.

      Even in this case, sure, breaking the NDA is bad. But does that really give MS the right to fuck up something that has been paid for? I'm guessing the NDA specifically allows for this.

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      May 15, 2015 6:48 AM

      According to Microsoft they didn't "brick" them- they only disabled online use. They are still usable offline:

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        May 15, 2015 8:15 AM

        Have those who got punished said differently about xb1 usage?

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      May 15, 2015 8:50 AM

      I'm curious as to how the stories got misconstrued to the point that it was reported as "These consoles are bricked" Instead of a Live ban.

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      May 15, 2015 9:23 AM

      The idea that there's a kill switch on a console at all is eyebrow-raising in itself

      It shouldn't be. This is part of the security mechanisms that were designed into both the XBO and PS4 from the very beginning. Microsoft only went forth with it because they had every reason to believe Sony would do the same. They revealed first, giving Sony the opportunity to gain PR face by reversal. But anybody paying attention to the design phase of both of these consoles wouldn't be surprised in the least by this, even if it were on PS4.

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