Microsoft?s move to disconnect pirating gamers comes right on the heels of yesterday?s release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Online reports have indicated that approximately 600,000 gamers could have been affected by the recent disconnects. Microsoft?s policy is that they will disconnect you from their Xbox Live service by banning your console if you "violate" their service?s terms of use. This violation is usually caused by the installation of firmware and software that allows them to run programs not sanctioned by Microsoft. In either case, they are voiding their warranty and violating the terms of use agreed to when they signed up for Xbox Live. If you?re worried that you could get banned, the easiest way to be sure is not to install anything on your Xbox that doesn?t come off of Xbox Live.

The people who have been affected by the disconnects are mostly people who have been using soft mods to modify their Xboxes to allow them to play games that they have burned on their computers and then play them on their Xbox. What Microsoft does is that they ban your console from the Xbox Live service, and some isolated cases they also ban your Xbox Live account from ever being used again. In which case they will send you an email notifying you of the fact that your account has been banned and why. In addition to that, if your console has been banned you will have trouble accessing installed games that are located on your hard drive and they will not be accessible while that hard drive is installed on the banned console.

Microsoft explained; "All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live," Microsoft has said in a statement.
"The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive from manufacturers, retailers, and the third parties that support them."

Considering that Xbox games now a day?s run at about $60 a pop, it comes as no surprise that more and more people are beginning to pirate their games. I just believe that the timing of this most recent banning of people?s consoles comes extremely closely to a game that has been much awaited by many console games and that this recent occurrence was timed in order to make sure that piracy of this game had been severely decreased. The biggest worry is that Microsoft is banning those who are actually violating the terms of service and not accidentally banning people for not reason. And since we don?t know their methodology, we can?t really make any assumptions about its accuracy or anything.

At the time of publication, Microsoft had not responded to our requests for comment.

Update November 11, 01:28AM GMT - Microsoft has provided us with an official statement and the interesting thing is that we did not even mention Modern Warfare in our email. It looks like their statement further validates our beliefs about the timing of this action and the future cooperation between Microsoft, Activision Blizzard and Infinity Ward:

?While we don?t comment on specific numbers, Microsoft?s commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of the Xbox LIVE community remains a top priority. All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and modifying their Xbox 360 console violates the Xbox LIVE terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox LIVE.  We can assure you that if an Xbox LIVE member follows the Xbox LIVE terms of use, purchased a retail copy of ?Modern Warfare 2? and played the game on an unmodified Xbox 360, no action will be taken.?