On Friday we posted the story of Julias Jackson, an 11 year old autistic boy who had his account banned on Xbox LIVE for 'cheating' at Halo 3. Julias' mother took issue with this, contacting the media with the claim that her son was banned unfairly - turns out she's performed quite the u-turn. Apparently Julias did cheat, and his account was modified in order to gain achievements - making the ban legitimate. An email for Microsoft's Stephen Toulouse stated the following...
The account Zombie Kill67 transferred from the Xbox it is normally seen on, to an Xbox in another city. The account earned several achievements for Halo 3 that can only be done online and in succession. It was clear they were unlocked out of order and offline. Earning successive online achievements out of order and offline is an impossible feat, not due to skill, but due to the technology of the system. It can only be done by modifying the account and faking the achievements.
It's an interesting story - banning an autistic child for cheating when it's possible he didn't completely understand the consequences is a little harsh, but Microsoft had no way of knowing, and rules are rules. Jackson's mother, however - unless she had no prior knowledge - appears to used her son's disability to gain sympathy for his cause.
It's a bizarre ending to a compelling story.
Thanks to Jason for the tip.