Thousands of gamers have been cut off from Microsoft's online gaming service Xbox Live for modifying their consoles to play pirated games.
Affected users no longer have access to Xbox Live, although their Xbox 360 game device is still working.
Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb had warned Xbox Live users last week.
Many gamers modify their consoles by installing new chips or software that allows them to run unofficial programs. Some chips are specifically designed to play pirated games. According to Microsoft, when a console is suspended from accessing the service, it will display the following message:
Consoles can be suspended from Xbox LIVE for a number of reasons including, but not limited to:
- Console tampering: Physically opening the Xbox and modifying it to play illegitimate software.
- Online fraud: Attempting to social engineer users, take over Xbox LIVE accounts, or other fraudulent activities.
- Repeat egregious violations: Multiple actions taken on accounts on the console by the Enforcement team for disrupting the service or impacting users.
In addition, there are some reasons that a console could be permanently suspended from the service, Microsoft added.
The company did not provide details on how the Xbox team detects modified consoles.
"There are many factors that lead to the suspension of a console and we do not publicly disclose any of those details," the company said.
Earlier this month, Microsoft also released an update for the Xbox 360 that made unauthorized third party storage devices cease to work with the console. Apparently, 'authorized' storage devices extend as far as Microsoft's own products.