Last week, Microsoft started rocking its banhammer in a big way, permanently banning 1 million Xbox Live users from the online gaming service for playing on a modded Xbox 360. But was Microsoft’s choice to ban 5% of the Xbox Live community a bit too conveniently timed?
Boutique law firm AbingtonIP thinks so, and argues that the timing of the bannings – which took place shortly before the launch of Modern Warfare 2 – was deliberate. By cutting users off just before the year’s biggest game arrived, AbingtonIP claims that Microsoft netted a ton of money from potential Xbox Live subscribers, before banning their modded consoles.
Of course, by the letter of the law, Microsoft would seem to be in the right – modding your console does violate the Xbox Live Terms of Service. Yet banning so many users when it did could land Microsoft in trouble for what Joystiq legal columnist Mark Methenitis calls a “deceptive business practice concern.”
AbingtonIP is currently investigating the case before it considers bringing a class action lawsuit to obtain a refund for the sums of money left on the banned Xbox Live subscriptions.