Microsoft apologizes to Halo 4 players with free DLC then bans them

halo 4 banned

Halo 4
has gotten more than a few Xbox Live members banned from Microsoft’s gaming network. Weeks before the game officially came out, retail copies of the game had leaked out to many stores and gamers took to their consoles hoping for early matches only to have their accounts permanently blocked from Xbox Live.

On Dec. 10, Microsoft saw another Halo 4 of sorts when the Crimson Map Pack downloadable content was supposed to be made available for download. Intended for owners of specific versions of the game or those that purchased an online pass, the Crimson Map Pack was freely available to all players. Then Microsoft started banning some of them for playing the downloaded content online.

A brief recap: Access to the Crimson Map Pack was supposed to be available to Halo 4 Limited Edition owners and anyone that purchased the $25 Map Pass via Xbox Live Marketplace. Many people weren’t able to download the content and so Halo 4 creators 343 Industries offered a solution to access it which in turn made it available to all players, even those that didn’t pay for it. Sensing an opportunity for some positive PR, Microsoft in turn said the content was free on purpose.

“As an additional reward to those customers that participated in out ’14 Day, Buy and Play’ program, we are providing complementary access to the Crimson Map Pack for a limited time,” reads Microsoft’s statement, “There were some initial complications with the distribution of the ’14 Day, Buy and Play’ reward tokens, and so we decided to provide the additional reward of complimentary access to the Crimson Map Pack as a ‘thank you’ to our customers that contributed to the success of the Halo 4 launch.”

Trouble struck over the weekend, though, as by Monday morning players were reporting on the official Halo 4 forums that they were receiving permanent bans from playing Halo 4 online because playing the free Crimson Map Pack equated to “violating the terms of use and/or committing a code of conduct violation.” It would seem that no anti-piracy measure is perfect!

According to Microsoft, though, these bannings were accidental and isolated. “There was a situation (on Sunday) in which less than 200 Halo 4 users were being incorrectly banned from accessing certain parts of the game (not banned from Xbox Live as a whole), and we have since resolved the issue,” said a representative, “All player accounts impacted are working as normal.”

The days when playing a game on a video game console made putting in the game, turning the box on, and playing are officially dead.