In terms of major console companies, Sony has a reputation for big leaks. The PSP Go, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and a huge number of other games and hardware releases have all been made public well before the company was ready for them to be out there. It even looks like the PlayStation 4 controller made it onto the Web before Sony’s big press conference, scheduled for tomorrow, to discuss the console. For as leaky a ship as Sony is, it doesn’t have as many issues keeping full games from leaking before their release as Microsoft does. The latest major game published by Microsoft to “hit early” is Gears of War: Judgment, and, as the company is wont to do, it’s banning players from Xbox Live when they’re caught playing the game.
“We are aware of isolated cases in which Gears of War: Judgment content has been propped on the Web and are working closely with our security teams and law enforcement to address the situation immediately,” said a Microsoft spokesperson on Tuesday. “Consumers should be aware that piracy is illegal and we take vigorous action against illegal activity related to our products and services.”
Microsoft began banning players from Xbox Live just before its last major game release, Halo 4. Full retail copies of Halo 4 were falling into players hands in October 2012 – a full month before the game came out. Gamers caught playing the Halo 4 were permanently banned from the network, receiving a message that read: “This email is to notify you that your Xbox Live privileges have been permanently suspended due to illegitimate prerelease title play. Because your conduct is in violation, the Xbox Live Enforcement Team has issued a permanent suspension. Your Xbox Live privileges will not be reinstated.”
It’s not clear if Microsoft is permanently banning early Judgment players, though their infraction is seemingly worse. Many Halo 4 players purchased the game early from legitimate retailers and were still banned. Gears of War: Judgment hasn’t been released early, but the game data itself has been leaked to torrent websites across the Internet.