September 23rd 2011 12:59 pm PT

A Guest Post from Stepto Regarding Console Suspensions

The following is a guest post by Stephen Toulouse

Hi everyone, Stephen Toulouse here, "Stepto" on Xbox LIVE and the weekly Major Nelson Radio podcast.  Most of you know me as the head of the Policy and Enforcement team for Xbox LIVE.

As I have noted many times on the podcast, the enforcement team exists to help protect the LIVE experience. One of the ways we do that is to prevent consoles from accessing the service that are involved in bad behavior such as cheating, fraud, running unauthorized software on the service, or playing illegitimate copies of games (to name a few). For the vast majority of our actions, our team reviews a lot of data, examines the behavior, and then we take action.  In some cases, very rarely, we use software features on the Xbox itself to help us take action.

Recently, it was brought to our attention that a number of customers had concerns about the validity of a recent ban of their individual consoles, which they feel had been triggered inaccurately. In this case, the bans were related specifically to modded consoles. I take these claims very seriously, and after an initial investigation we have confirmed that a handful of banned consoles did in-fact appear to not have been modified or tampered with. We’re still conducting our review but the cause appears to be a software issue, not an error on the part of the enforcement team’s normal actions.  It’s very specific and occurred between August 29 and September 9, affecting a very small percentage of users.

One of the most serious actions my team can take is to prevent a console from accessing Xbox LIVE.  We make every effort to be conservative when taking that action. If there is any doubt that this step was taken incorrectly, we want to address it while at the same time protecting the service for our customers.

Therefore, while we are still conducting a thorough investigation, the enforcement team is taking the step of reversing the bans for the tiny set of impacted consoles in that time period. Again, while it’s an extremely small percentage of impacted consoles, the good news is that we know exactly which ones. If you believe you are affected, simply try to reconnect your console to Xbox LIVE.  If it cannot still connect, that console was not a part of this issue.

Within a few business days, we will issue the primary account holder on the impacted console a credit for three months of Xbox LIVE Gold and 1600 Microsoft points.  Since we know exactly who is affected, those customers do not need to take any action.  Everything will be applied automatically. No keys or tokens to redeem, no other action to be taken.

I’d like to take a moment to personally apologize for the inconvenience this has almost certainly caused to the affected customers. You have my assurance that we are investigating how this error occurred and have since discontinued use of the software that was used. The Xbox LIVE community is the best out there and we regret the inconvenience this may have caused for our loyal members.

If you listen to our podcast (and I know many hundreds of thousands of you do!) you know I give out my email address in every episode.  I read all the email there, and it’s  Please feel free to give me your feedback. If you feel you have been affected by this situation, be sure to use so we can get you to the appropriate people to help.

As always, you guys are the reason I come into work every day.  Thank you so much for making Xbox LIVE an amazing community and I look forward to hearing from you.

– Stephen Toulouse, head of Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement

Xbox 360, Xbox Live By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • Anonymous

    That’s the way to own up and make good.  I don’t suppose you could give lessons to Netflix?  (And Sony, I suppose…)

  • Anonymous

    That’s the way to own up and make good.  I don’t suppose you could give lessons to Netflix?  (And Sony, I suppose…)

    • Anonymous

      Nice fix Stepto, good to see corrections being made and a little extra for their troubles…

      Keep up the great work guys…

      • Mike Tucker

        Well guess what my friend has been reenabled, he phoned support a few weeks ago and they treated him like a criminal. He has since bought a new xbox whats he meant to do with that now his old one has been reenabled? Wasted £200 on a new one!!

    • Anonymous

      Sony gave everyone two free games and Plus for a month. I think Sony should give lessons to MS.

  • Bennijin Turbo

    Is this pertaining to a few recent bans for “Marketplace theft”?

    Because I imagine it’s harder to shoplift a map pack than, say, a tin of beans.

  • Bennijin Turbo

    Is this pertaining to a few recent bans for “Marketplace theft”?

    Because I imagine it’s harder to shoplift a map pack than, say, a tin of beans.

  • Mike Tucker

    Im pretty sure a person on avforums is one of these preople wrongly banned he only playes the odd games with his kids etc ill let him know to look here

  • Carl Hibbitt

    doesnt say when we will be unbanned

  • pgt1ps77 – xboxlive

    Yes thanks alot for this, ive just spent £200 on a new Xbox, after getting no answers from the support team after alot of emails and phonecalls. 1600 points is no consolation at all

    • Stepto

      PGT1PS77 – We’re still rolling out emails and information to the support folk, but please contact Xbox
      Customer Support later today at regarding your specific situation.


      • Anonymous

        Stepto, What about the recent account bans, I was banned at the exact same time as the console bans were going around.

        • Benjamin Pickett

          You’ll not get a reply about this, they’re never wrong btw ;)

      • NBA Kirkland (Nick)

        I hope MS can make things right for you pgt1ps77. Not sure that’s even possible at this point after all they put you through.  Even paying you back for the console you bought doesn’t cover all the time/trouble you had to go through.

    • Ben Gaitskell

      If you bought a new Xbox, why don’t you just return it to the store? Problem solved.

  • pgt1ps77 – xboxlive

    i was told a console ban was un revesable on more than one occasion. Hence why i was forced to buy a new one if i wanted to get back online. i feel slightly cheated after spending alot of hard earned money for nothing

  • Gary Jones

    Nice that you’ve fessed up to this and are giving the Gold time and points. However I do agree that isn’t really compensation for those who’ve spent money on a new console because of your error.

  • Adam Hostetler

    This isn’t nearly enough compensation.. What about the cases where a distraught parent was convinced that their child was involved in nevarious dealings?  This is simply not good enough.

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      First, you mean “nefarious”. Second, parents assume their children are innocent 99999 times out of 100000. And the enforcement team probably has a million stories to verify this. Third, how fracking bad can it be when little Johnny can’t play online with his friends? Calm down.
      It *is* good enough, and it’s way better than Microsoft (and even Stepto himself) have done in the past. Way better.

  • Anonymous

    What about some account bans?

  • John John

    “the cause appears to be a software issue, not an error on the part of the enforcement team’s normal actions”

    Well, at least you’re taking responsibility … wait a second …

  • Katie Frazer

    I was perm banned for some bullshit marketplace thief when it was Microsoft’s glitch  

  • ranbir2010

    I recieved the message saying “Marketplace Theft” You guys made up the glitch that banned my account. Gamertag: “xx Zero Dev” You Guys have no proof reason how How i get ban. I didn’t download anything illegal games. I can’t download it on my laptop. So, Unban my account, if not I’m not satisfied with your service. You know I spend alot of money, you don’t want to make customer happy? I have no idea how to mod. Thanks for your time reading. Hopefully will get my message and account back. Thanks.

    • Stepto

      Marketplace theft accounts bans have not been done in error. The issue I posted about specifically relates to Console bans. For marketplace theft, that occurs when people do things like download cracked profiles then share the licenses using unauthorized means, etc. Unfortunately, after a pretty extensive investigation, we confirmed that your gamertag and some of the others here posting about Market Place theft did that. Sorry, but those suspensions will stand.

      • Anthony Nashatka

        So like 40 people just get banned for Marketplace theft at the same exact time i don’t think so please check into because i did nothing wrong.

        • Anonymous

          More like 400 people.

        • Benjamin Pickett

          more like 75’000 actually ;) 

      • Anonymous

        Hey, since we’re doing this, what about my account “kefre”

      • Jose Santiago Melendez

        isnt there a way you can help some of us out?

      • Anthony Nashatka


      • Anonymous

        Thats exactly what you guys said about the console bans. And we see how that turned out. Also, whose to say you guys do have the evidence? You clearly wont show anyone the it.  Not to mention almost every post about marketplace theft has either been deleted or not responded to.

      • Anonymous

        I’m sorry, but I know for a fact that you guys don’t know for sure because you said the same thing about the consoles bans and were using the same exact software for normal account bans as well. Did a little research myself and have noticed that many of the people that were banned for “marketplace theft” were individuals in the update beta that came with the Halo Reach disk. So, more than likely it is a problem with your new anti-piracy method. You can deny it all you want, but I and many other know. And I would highly appreciate it if my GT which is Kamanashi was reinstated. I have filed a claim with the FTC already and they are looking into the banning as well.

      • Benjamin Pickett

        Stepto.. You said the same about the console ban’s? Just admit that some innocent people have been caught in the cross fire for this, Gee.. if i’ve been banned for inappropriate reasons, then give us some way of appealing ALL ban’s either via a recheck of the system or something! 

        I know my GT was inapropriatly banned, “Marketplace theft” Yeah.. So i stole the xbox live points i PURCHASED from Costco? Or i stole ALL!!!! YES ALL!! MY DLC for which i also (Yup you guessed it) I PURCHASED TOO from the marketplace, But yet i see that there is still no course for appeal on this subject? Every time i have contacted the forum’s that i get directed to, the reply is always an automatic one

        You where wrong on this occasion, but yet still the innocent people from other occasions are still being portrayed as criminals!

        Im sorry but i never stole anything in my life (Ok I lie, I stole some penny sweets as a kid, Meh.. Who’s judging?), if i did why did i not get a console ban? I mean that is actually what they are designed for right? keep the pirates and cheaters, modders ect… off of xbox live? and technically, according to yourself, microsoft are “never wrong”… CLEARLY? well, if your not wrong then console ban us all then? Tbh, i’d actually rather it went down that route, it would give more people the determination to prove there innocence, Instead they just re-buy live and its all fine and dandy…

        rant over, Stepto.. Please look into this? I know there are innocent people caught in the crossfire everytime the banhammer comes down, all i ask is you recheck some console’s? I know i own everything on my console and i have no issue’s with microsoft rechecking my console’s data to prove my innocence.
        Thank you and have a nice day!

  • Anonymous

    So, what about the account bans? Pretty sure you guys messed up with those as well sine mine was banned for ” market place theft” but my console was fine. As far as I know, you need a modded console to steal games.

  • Jeremy Hatajlo

    This problem has been ongoing for 3 weeks and you decide to tell the public now?

    Now people, you can’t start flaming Sony for being slow, Microsoft just got even slower telling the public about this.

    • Nicholas J. Ambrose

      Sony failed to inform customers that their was a very good chance a good portion of their customers could have had their IDENTITIES STOLEN. Microsoft is just delayed in informing people that a small subset of users were wrongly bad due to a software error. Totally different, don’t you think?

  • Jose Santiago Melendez

    What about the people that got banned for marketplace theft huh?
    i got banned for no reason..was downloading resident evil in a background download and when i come back BAM..account banned..please help me out..everything on that account was legitimate..
    almost 90,000 gamerscore isnt easy to get you know..
    My gamertag is reapersoldier13

  • Shawn Humphrey

     xbox360 is still ban come on microsoft really i pay to much money for this crap

  • Shawn Humphrey

     xbox360 is still ban come on microsoft really i pay to much money for this crap

  • Anthony Nashatka

    Notification of Permanent Suspension: Marketplace theft – Please check into that. Thanks!

    • Alexander Buttercup Owen

      I know for a fact there are a lot of people that were suspended due to this and they did nothing wrong. So please Stepto look into this one.

  • Anthony Nashatka

    Notification of Permanent Suspension: Marketplace theft – Please check into that. Thanks!

  • Gabriel Favero

    Well, I wasn’t banned, but I accept the 1600 Points! :D

  • Gabriel Favero

    That’s fair. People that got account banned know what they did to cause that..

    But I have a question: You said that these people where using cracked profiles (I guess that it means that the profile was been in use for more than one person). I have a suspended account that had alot of legit Licences (bought
    with real microsoft points, not related to any kind of fraud). If I use that account for playing games in my other console, will this be considered a marketplace thief? I have this question because the account is mine, and no one else use it, but was suspended some mounths ago..

    • Anonymous

      The thing is, most people, including myself, don’t know what they did wrong.

  • Aidan

    thanks for the mp!

  • antheny meade

    Yeah i was banned in between Aug 29, and i still am which i had my console and the next day after coming home from a doctor’s app. I was Console banned so if you can please unban it or look into it or something please i haven’t been able to play in awhile GT:A MEADE20916

  • richard page

    Stepto Could you please look into mine please i got acount ban and it says marketplace theft i have never ever modded/glitch just look into it plz Gamertag: Dignitize


  • Trey Burruss

    I Have been banned for no apparent reason whatsoever so please look into it? GT: Strobic

  • Marcelo Almeida

    this is fake! i have never modded my console and i got a ban! i’m going to officialy notify Microsoft to follow up my gamertag status.

    • All ColdInside

      good luck…  I’ve spent more than 45 hours talking to tech support, and they told me ‘a Windows Server controls the bans, and there is no human interaction or way to reverse it’…  

      This from the same people who made Windows ME and Vista…

      BTW, my console is STILL banned for over a year now…  happened with the avatar update…

  • Quality Jeverage

    I like how the majority of comments here are “I never did anything but I got banned. OBVIOUSLY Microsoft is at fault.”

    That’s a very compelling argument. I’m sure Stepto will get right on that.

  • richard page

    Stepto I would really love to know are you gonna be looking into this whole “marketplace theft” because it happend to me and i would just love to know are microsoft gonna be looking into it or just ignore that thousands of people are getting banned for NO reason at all?

  • All ColdInside

    It would be nice if they admitted to the avatar update that banned some consoles…  I own 4 360′s that work, and an Elite paperweight that got banned trying to do THAT update, with no recourse…  was told:
     ‘a Windows Server controls the bans, and there is no human interaction or way to reverse it’… 

    Anything I can do?  I offered to send in the Elite, but was told NO…  At the time, I offered to PAY to send it in… still told no…  really upsets me…  now M$ won’t get the $60 for the year of gold for my youngest son…
    Shame, really…

  • bushmaster2000

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Anthony C.

    i find it funny that after a total of 4 xbox live “enforcers” banned many ppl from “camping” and after it got reported to Stephen with audio & video of everything… this now pops up and the person who was banning ppl has not been online since the 9th…… wow

    M.S. covering its a**

  • Jose Santiago Melendez

    Just patch whatever is making the theft ..and unban the people ..then you wont loose customers..
    some of my friends got banned for no reason ..and believe i do play with them..and they dont have nothing ilegal.

    • Anonymous

      Jose, perhaps you missed Stepto’s earlier post:

      “Marketplace theft accounts bans have not been done in error.”

      • Anonymous

        You mean just like the console bans?

        • Jose Santiago Melendez

          ^^^^ this

  • Tylerh1701

    Wow I feel like a creep posting with these other guys.  Everything on this comment board feels kinda…..shady.

  • Yassine Mansouri

    my acount is banned ” YASSINE 360 ” 

  • Aye Uno Ladi0

    You guys needd to alot more or put more effort on all this hacking and heating it is still going on. I pay good money to enjoy not tto hhave fear that my account get hacked by a middle school kid. Fix it!!!

    • dan

      They have stopped 99.99% of it! I’m sick of hearing ppl winge when their connection sux because they use wireless (with a huge error-rate) and/or their skill is lacking and then they go about saying everyone is hacking. I think they do an excellent Job (except when they ban ppl who are innocent ..which seems to happen FAR TOO OFTEN!)

      • Aye Uno Ladi0

        I dont use wireless sorry. But it sucks when people spend good money and still get banned for notthin. Im going on my third account.

  • ElektroDragon

    Stepto rocks!  Nice PAX panel too!

    • Oliver Doel


  • Marco Said Ramic

    My GT: VOJNIK ROMMEL got banned from xbl on the 4.September and the only ting that i have done is that my friend has sold his Xbox360 and he gave me his ms points.

  • Paul Steven Briffett

    Can we all have free MS Points and Gold please? lol

  • Logic Squirrel

    And this is why there needs to be a process to appeal against this type of thing because it was once said mistakes do not happen, well clearly that is not true. I am glad to say i have never done anything to warrant being banned but this whole process that does not allow you any rights is wrong especially is this light. 

    • Darkguardian1314

      I agree. There must be due process. I not asking for a full trial but a way to send the box to them to have it checked out instead of relying on buggy software. I do believe it did happened to some innocent player. I want to purchase and mod an XBOX like Ben Heck but I’m afraid the console will show as tampered even when using only the original gear. 

  • Angel Rodriguez Delgado

    I have also been unfairly banned while I was on holidays and was not using my console or my profile for this month. My GT: “SeaL LiMpKiN x”

  • Chris Nation

    has anyone recieved there points yet?

  • Anthony Nashatka

    Unbann Gamertag: Haxxing – i didn’t do anything.

  • G M

    False positives are 100% unacceptable when disabling live access. Toulouse, get your folks in line and do this correctly. This isn’t something to take lightly. 

  • Nick

    We all make mistakes, but it’s how we handle those mistakes that defines us. Good on ya!

  • Ben Gaitskell

    It’s sooo funny how many people claim they were banned unjustly. I love reading the excuses, especially the parents’.
    The post states, “If it cannot still connect, that console was not a part of this issue”

  • Anonymous

    When Kinect Fun Labs was down a month for a month and a half nobody from MS talked about it. Why?

  • Anonymous

    gamertag: sonicz13 , i don’t do anyting and i loose al my things :C my gods and arcasdes because i recent buy a new xbox please!

  • David Sanchez

    GT:dReaMz x Nk


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