Earlier this week, we learned that a copy of Halo: ODST had leaked onto the internet. While downloading the DVD-sized image of the yet-to-be-released Halo game won't do most Xbox 360 gamers any good, those with modified consoles made to play backups would be able to burn a copy and even get online.
This, obviously, does not impress Microsoft. Xbox Live Director of Policy and Enforcement Stephen Toulouse wrote on his Twitter page, "Hrm. I spy with my little eye some *illegitimate* ODST players. No early play for you. Commencing permabans."
Toulouse later tweeted, "to be clear, legitimate players (those who bought it early, reviewers, etc) are safe from my team's banhammer."
Microsoft has apparently found a way to differentiate between those who bought a legitimate copy early (from a retailer who did not adhere to street date) and those who downloaded a copy of the game illegally. Naturally, Microsoft would not share its anti-piracy methods, but did want to reassure gamers that those with legit copies of the game could continue to play away.
"I can be clear however that this applies to illegitimate copies only, the ban covers the Xbox Live account and could possibly include their console depending on the results of our investigations (which are ongoing). We do this from time to time with titles to combat piracy," he wrote to Kotaku. "If a user happens to purchase a legit copy of Halo 3: ODST early, then our problem is not with the user but the retailer who broke the street date. Those individuals will not be punished."