Seattle’s Q13 FOX News reports that Microsoft is accusing an 11-year-old autistic boy of cheating on Xbox LIVE.
Jennifer Zdenek isn't happy, and for good reason. Last week her autistic son Julius Jackson booted up his Xbox 360 console, jumped onto Xbox LIVE and quickly discovered that the gaming network had labeled him as a "cheater." Even worse, the network revoked every achievement he had gained since signing up with the service, leaving him with nothing but false accusations.
According to Zdenek, Julius is extremely good at playing video games, "mastering" individual titles within three to four days. She said that Microsoft's gaming console serves as a means for Julius to interact with others outside the school environment, and all the work and long hours he put into earning his achievements was done honestly, not by cheating.
"It disgusts me that they did this to my child," Zdenek said. "It's pretty much his only outlet, his only friend because of the autism."
Her son devastated, Zdenek said the she allowed the boy to contact Microsoft to resolve the issue. Unsurprisingly, they reached a brick wall thanks to a statement issued by the legal department.
"The only actions that we take are to correct the player's current Gamerscore, and to label the player as a 'cheater,'" the statement said in an email. "This label can be observed on Xbox.com and through the player's view of their Gamercard on a console or computer that is connected to Xbox LIVE. The player can still legitimately gain future achievements. The player's experience does not change in any other way."
Essentially Microsoft has branded an autistic child with the "cheater" label for the entire Internet to see (both on and off Xbox LIVE) without providing his legal guardian with any proof of such actions. Q13 FOX said it made an attempt to contact Microsoft to discuss the issue and received no response.
Zdemek said that she will cancel the Xbox LIVE subscription at the beginning on next month if Microsoft continues to ignore her requests.
Did Julius cheat, or is he just that good at gaming?