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Microsoft to ban or block fake Live accounts [Updated]

If you’re still one of the few persons that only have one single Xbox Live on their Xbox 360, you can stop reading here. If on the other hand you’re one of the many thousands that have registered a second or third account in another region using region lockout circumvention, you will be interested to know that Microsoft is planning to ban those accounts soon.

Update: Chris Paladino from Microsoft Community Team confirmed that downloads are being blocked from wrong regions but states they’re not actually banning the illegal accounts. Like him, we are now “still waiting to hear back the official word.” Meanwhile our source had to remove his article.

Everyone knew how to do it and many people did. The Xboxic crew actually uses the ‘trick’ frequently to make sure our reporting is correct on when what Xbox Live Marketplace content became available in which region. No more, according to usually quite well informed German site Xbox Archiv (Babelfish translation follows):

For approx. 2 weeks we know that Microsoft will block/delete in the near future Xbox Live Fake account to serve to procure itself e.g. from US the Marketplace of contents. Unfortunately we could not publish these information, since they originated from a confidential discussion. ScrewedSince many sources however already on it report, we can do you the information also admit now to give. What will happen?: As soon as Microsoft notices that US Xbox tries a Live account with a IP e.g. from Germany something of the market place to download, then this account will be blocked/deleted in the future. That applies also to accounts as gold members was put on. This is justified with legal and copyright regulations for films of the content offerers or indicated titles etc.. There will still be updates for games, but new game content or video/demos of the foreign market place probably belong to the past.

Apparently the sudden need to act upon this ‘abuse’ has risen with the release of the video marketplace and its inherent copyright implications. In short, when you log into Xbox Live from an IP address that does not correspond to the correct country for a given account, the account will get flagged for deletion or banning. To check where your IP is located you can go here for example, and read the WHOIS-information that is known for your current IP address.

Although we haven’t received firm confirmation yet of any actual banning, we at Xboxic consider it safe to state that it’s only a matter of time before the hammer gets dropped on some foreign accounts: the video marketplace publishers will make sure of that to ensure their regional copyrights are not violated. Too bad for the legit users that are just curious about content not released in their home region for often dodgy reasons.

Cheers Ganymed for the pointer!

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59 comments on 'Microsoft to ban or block fake Live accounts [Updated]'

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Comment by J1980 on 2006-11-27 15:19:55 | Reply

Yes for some reason my US account states UK when you click my profile even though I chose USA and gave a legit alabama zip code. But my IP !!! lol - Im expecting a ban soon then…

The country that shows up on your profile is your locale, it really doesnt mean anything other than being used by websites to decide what country you are in (e.g. the mgc leaderboards)

Comment by J1980 on 2006-11-27 23:32:29 | Reply

no I meant when you press the guide button!

Comment by CleanSweep on 2006-11-27 15:29:09 | Reply

A proxy server in the other regions would work … oh and so what do I do with my account from the exchange student from Japan we had living with us over the weekend? Will he be unable to use his gamer tag from my account?

I think this is ill thought through and points a finger to the larger problem, A global community limited with regional restrictions.

Yeah the German source is worrying about the same thing: his American neighbor has a US account as well.

Well they had to do something about it eventually. I just hope they don’t resort to blocking the 360 itself from working on Live; that’d be annoying and expensive.

that happenened to me for a different reason. its been blocked from xbl since they did that maintenence. i cant even get the fall update.

Is it possible to change an account from one country to another?

One would hope that should somebody be using a foreign account, they would e-mail that user to advise them. They could then give the option for that user to change his/her region to the correct one to avoid in the account being disabled.

One would hope.

Comment by droptop GP on 2006-11-27 18:02:15 | Reply

yes, it’s possible, but you have to actually call Xbox tech support or Windows tech support to change it.

I tried on the MS website to change all my contact info. I was able to change everything EXCEPT my country…that has to be done over the phone.

Im wondering if this is going to be spread round for every country (the number of people with irish accounts with UK ip’s in northern ireland will mean alot of accounts being banned)

I’m pretty sure the process will be mostly manual based on comparisons of which accounts are used from which machine.

If they only investigate those cases where accounts from multiple regions are used on a single box I don’t expect it to give them too much work, and then it’d be easily verifiable. It would also keep the exchange students and the likes off the hook.

Comment by Silencer on 2006-11-27 16:01:50 | Reply

That’s wonderful. But what about Xbox gamers from countries that are not even in official countries list, like myself? I’m from Latvia, but had to register as from United Kingdom.

Comment by J1980 on 2006-11-27 16:08:20 | Reply

Well the easier solution would be that MS released everything at the same time globally. Cant be that difficult to put something up on a server.

Copyrights and all that jazz are the problem. The video marketplace has a load of stuff never shown anywhere outside the UK for example. Other things like Germany not allowing red blood mean they don’t get stuff until it’s changed or whatever.

I’m sure someone has better examples than that, but the above is basically it.

Comment by OldBiddie on 2006-11-27 17:21:28 | Reply

It’s seems pretty pointless to exclude so many trailers from anything other than the US market place given you can point a web browser to a dozen or more websites to watch them, without fear of being beaten with a banstick.

Comment by J1980 on 2006-11-27 23:34:33 | Reply

well Im beginning to think that germans really do have green blood

Comment by ariel on 2006-11-27 16:54:05 | Reply

Thats really bad news - especially for users from Germany. A lot of content is not release here. For example Gears of War and Dead Rising have not been released in Germany, because of their violent gameplay. These Games would have been prohibited - so it’s natural that also the Demos are not released on the German marketplace. If you want to get the Game you have to import it from another country - without any chance to play a Demo first.

Comment by outlyer on 2006-11-27 16:59:31 | Reply

Why not just use the billing address rather than mucking about with the IP addresses? Apple has always used the credit card billing address, which makes much more sense since it’s reliable information.

I use an IP address tool on my own website, and it’s about 85-90% accurate. 10% of Microsoft’s expected 10 million users is a pretty large number of people to be banned.

Comment by Blabla on 2006-11-27 17:35:36 | Reply

Wow, does that even applies to people who had to choose another country because xbox live wasn’t aviable there? that sucks! :(

Comment by droptop GP on 2006-11-27 17:59:04 | Reply

guess i better use all my foreign marketplace points

this bothers me though….i’m in canada and want the video marketplace. i understand all the reasoning behind it but it still pisses me off.

Comment by swoosh bnd on 2006-11-27 18:04:38 | Reply

This will change Microsoft’s Xbox Live rate from 50% to probably around 30-40%. Also, what about all of the people who are in military service with their xbox 360s. Won’t they be banned because they’re not in the US?

Comment by BlabberMouth on 2006-11-27 18:11:27 | Reply

guess i have to delete my 2 diffrent accounts..damn

Comment by BlabberMouth on 2006-11-27 18:12:05 | Reply

hold on..let me get this straight..they will ban your IP?? so that means even ur normal account wont work?? in ur home??

No, the fake account will be banned. No mention of actions against your main account or IP.

Actually it seems as though your real account will be kept. Good.

I really do not approve of the “screwed” picture!
How are you getting screwed, when your violating th rules?

Comment by trj156 on 2006-11-27 21:12:09 | Reply

you are violating [b]pointless[/b] rules

Comment by trj156 on 2006-11-27 21:12:28 | Reply

!! that did not work. ignore the b’s.

Comment by Quickfire on 2006-11-27 19:43:10 | Reply

Problem is that someone will figure out a workaround, and publicise it, and make it simpler, so at the end of the day MS will have accomplished nothing other than piss off a lot of people in the short term… A simple VPN tunnel to a server hosted in the US would get around that restriction.

Comment by Hologuts on 2006-11-27 19:46:19 | Reply

You won’t lose your legit accounts because they use the correct IP. It’s simply the ‘foreign’ accounts that get banned. They will use the ip address to decide if it is legit, but not ban from that IP, just the account itself. If Microsoft ban an IP address from live that would be pointless as my IP address changes every few months (as do most in UK) because it is dynamic, not static.

If Microsoft banned my Xbox from being used over live, I would class that as theft (remember, no money is lost by Microsoft with these accounts)and IF Microsoft stole money from me, There are ways to regain what is stolen , after all, if the box can’t go online anymore, theres no risk of being banned anymore.

Comment by pob on 2006-11-27 20:10:49 | Reply

Can u actually download on demand movies by setting up a fake account?Has anyone done it?

Comment by Hologuts on 2006-11-28 04:43:28 | Reply

It’s the reason for banning the fake accounts.

So will they be deleting the second account I had to make so that UMK3 would let me plug in a second controller?

Did you go to great lengths to make sure the second account is based in another region of the world?

Thought so, my guest accounts are also only based in Europe like my main account.

I put it in as my real address; the same as my primary account. I guess under what is implied in the statements above it’s not considered “fake” then.

Comment by USA1977 on 2006-11-27 20:37:28 | Reply

I’ve read all about the way Microsoft is going to ban accounts whose IP doesn’t match the country where they’re currently playing.

I have two questions here:

a) what does this mean to a portuguese player like myself that bought the original XBOX and the XBOX360 without official Live support in my country until 3 weeks ago? Am I going to have my account banned because I supported Microsoft all these years even if they only started caring about my country 3 weeks ago? So I had to lie on my account information and say I came from Spain… Now what, I’ll just have to throw away the 60 euros I spent 4 days ago with the renewal of my susbcription? Can anyone please explain EXACTLY how this will work? Oh, and apparently this will also happen to a few other countries that didn’t have “official” Live until recently…

b) I know this sounds stupid, but if this process is tag-based does it mean that whenever I take my account for, say, a cousin’s house in the USA I’ll have it banned just for playing the game? Wouldn’t it make much more sense in simply IP-locking the content, not the accounts?

Comment by Lee on 2006-11-27 20:37:29 | Reply

Hmm, this has got me worried. I moved from the UK to Argentina(which isn’t a Live supported country). I’m gonna be more than gutted if I get banned/blocked from using live because of my UK registered account which I set up in England before I moved.

HAHA! at the illegal users, thats what you get and I hope you enjoy your bans and deletes!

Comment by Hologuts on 2006-11-28 04:42:05 | Reply

There is nothing ‘illegal’ about it. It won’t bother too many people because they are only silver accounts.

Nice comment though, very intelligent. Did you do a whole day’s education to get that good?

Comment by El $corpio on 2006-11-27 21:31:58 | Reply

I live in Switzerland and I’m British so I set my console to United Kingdom once. I preferred it that way but it changed my Xbox live profile to say UK too…It always used to say Switzerland. I’ve tried changing it many times on Passport.net too

I hope I won’t get banned if I can’t change it -_-

I also hope people won’t get banned for having a weird IP that gets recognised wrongly!!!

Comment by mu on 2006-11-27 21:34:57 | Reply

these are not illegal accounts, and it clearly states you have to attempt to download something from the marketplace to get banned.

Comment by BlabberMouth on 2006-11-27 23:28:49 | Reply

and someone could be using somesort of proxy or what ever to just stay at that account..

some people are gonna get mad about this..specially the people who travel and play live/use marketplace..

Comment by Chambece on 2006-11-28 00:23:54 | Reply

Why ban the accounts, when you could just allow marketplace access to the country from which the IP address originates from? That way you’d still be able to play wherever your account was from…

Comment by me on 2006-11-28 00:32:44 | Reply

“That applies also to accounts as gold members was put on.”

It seems with this comment from the article that it says the main original account will be banned as well when a person uses a fake account to download from the market place.

Question though - can a person still set their locale as being from another country? That doesn’t actually make you see content from another region, so is it safe?

Comment by Hologuts on 2006-11-28 04:45:54 | Reply

It’s just badly translated. It really means that even gold accounts that are foreign will be banned. But original accounts for your country won’t be affected.

Comment by konchu on 2006-11-28 02:46:58 | Reply

Well I dont think they should ban based on IP as if I take my system or harddrive/memory card with me on vacation out of the country I dont want to get banned for accessing my account. Or what about people that live near a border that may have an internet connection across the border.

Comment by scythe on 2006-11-28 03:02:35 | Reply

BOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I’m from a country that only gets the 360 via the grey market (Microsoft Philippines DOES NOT WANT TO SUPPORT THE XBOX 360.) and can only get in Xbox Live via a US account on my Japanese Xbox 360. I paid the yearly fee with a valid credit card and everything (and I got the bill for it and paid MS via the bank). And no, my console is not modded and all my software is legit.

I don’t think it’s fair but I guess I’m in the minority. If this kind of control happens then I guess I’m out of Xbox Live. :( I just wish that MS would realize that their product is reaching places as far off as mine, and that, despite the fact that the market here for 360 is small, we really appreciate the Xbox Live service and would go through all kinds of hoops just to be able to play online and use the service to download movies and TV shows.

plise nooooo fuckyou

Comment by Effervescent on 2006-11-28 13:54:14 | Reply

what happen if I only have US account but I live in the country where XBOX 360 is not officially launch (and not even list on the country selection)

ุนู„ู‰ ุฒู‚ ูˆุฑุงุงุงุงู‡ ุงูˆู„ุงู‡

Comment by The_Glovner on 2006-11-28 15:18:04 | Reply

Eh?

ูˆุงู„ู„ู‡ ู„ูˆ ุชุทู„ุน ุตุฏู‚ ูˆุงู„ู„ู‡ ุงูˆุฑูŠูƒ ูŠุงุงุง ุจูŠู„ ู‚ูŠุชุณ

Comment by The_Glovner on 2006-11-28 15:18:25 | Reply

You what?

ุนู„ู‰ ุฒู‚ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูŠู„ุนู† ู‡ุงู„ูˆุฌูŠู‡ ูˆุด ู‡ุงู„ุนู†ุตุฑูŠู‡ ุนู„ู‰ ุฒู‚

Comment by The_Glovner on 2006-11-28 15:19:13 | Reply

Nope sorry, non comprendy squiggy squiggles.

Comment by quaddity on 2006-11-28 15:41:03 | Reply

Don’t say that about Glovner’s mother!

Comment by The_Glovner on 2006-11-29 17:19:18 | Reply

Why not? it’s probably true.

Comment by dpapa on 2007-05-04 11:04:11 | Reply

Hi all, i’m from greece. MS does’t support Xbox live Servers, so we do the ”trick” of stating that we are from England or Ireland. Majority of us uses these type of accounts. Are we going to be affected as well? I mean , we are in Europe, same Region. Will we get banned?

Waiting on more info!

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