Microsoft reverses Xbox Live bans for extremely small percentage of innocent members

Microsoft appears to have taken its online policing a step too far last week when it lowered the banhammer on a large number of Xbox Live accounts suspected of operating modded consoles. In a recent post on Major Nelson's blog, Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse, head of Microsoft's Policy and Enforcement admitted an “extremely small percentage” of those swept up by the ban were wrongly accused, and the company is offering free Gold memberships and Microsoft Points as compensation for their troubles.

“It was brought to our attention that a number of customers had concerns about the validity of a recent ban of their individual consoles, which they feel had been triggered inaccurately,” wrote Toulouse, explaining, “We’re still conducting our review but the cause appears to be a software issue, not an error on the part of the enforcement team’s normal actions.”

Toulouse emphasized only a small number of accounts were unfairly deactivated in last week's bans, and that Microsoft has since reinstated their accounts. He also offered his personal apology for the service hiccup, and promised three months of Xbox Live Gold and 1600 Microsoft points to all those affected by the 'software issue'. Addressing the entirety of Xbox 360's online community, he added:

“I’d like to take a moment to personally apologize for the inconvenience this has almost certainly caused to the affected customers. You have my assurance that we are investigating how this error occurred and have since discontinued use of the software that was used. The Xbox LIVE community is the best out there and we regret the inconvenience this may have caused for our loyal members.”

Microsoft claims it has already reversed the bans for innocent account holders, so if you're still without service, that means the Microsoft police still consider you an honest-to-goodness threat. Mercifully, Toulouse and his team are still open to reviewing disputes via email at Stepto@Xbox.com.

Sep 26, 2011