Microsoft not backing down on labeling autistic child 'cheater'

The Xbox Live team is not backing down after it found out a gamer it labeled as a cheater - which reset his Gamerscore and emblazoned a "cheater" symbol on his account - is autistic 11-year-old Julias Jackson.

His mother, Jennifer Zdenek, says that Xbox Live was some of her son's only social interaction outside of school. She told a local news station that her son was devastated when he turned on his Xbox 360 and discovered that his Gamercard had been branded with a Scarlet Letter-like "Cheater" tag and that his Gamerscore had been reset to zero.

"It disgusts me that they did this to my child," she said. She asserts that all of her son's Achievements were legitimate, and that Microsoft mistook playing too well as cheating.

In a story on Seattle's Q13 Fox News station, Zdenek says she tried to contact Microsoft but only got a form letter response. Q13 said they also tried to reach Microsoft but received no response.

Microsoft did eventually step in and investigate the specific case, and it stood by its decision. In a post on Twitter, Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE Stephen Toulouse wrote, "We confirmed there were cheated achievements and gave the parent the details. This wasnt a 'he played too good' situation at all."

[Source: Q13 Fox News and Twitter (Stephen Toulouse)]

Jan 27, 2011