An 11-year-old boy with Autism has been labeled a cheater by Xbox Live; his gamerscore was also deleted. Due to his autism playing multiplayer on XBL was his only social interaction. Jennifer Zdenek, the boy's mother, is furious Microsoft would do that to her son, Julias Jackson. She thought he was so good at playing games they must have thought he had cheated. Microsoft disagrees and claims "achievements were illegitimately modified on the account."
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Last week when Julias signed online to play he saw his gamerscore reduced to zero and a label under his gamertag; it read "cheater." Zdenek claims her son excels at gaming and can master a game in as little as 3-4 days. She assured Julias she could fix the mistake by talking to Microsoft. After several phone calls she was given an email address that sent her this response, "The only actions that we take are to correct the player's current Gamerscore, and to label the player as a "cheater." This label can be observed on Xbox.com and through the player's view of their Gamercard on a console or computer that is connected to Xbox LIVE. The player can still legitimately gain future achievements. The player's experience does not change in any other way."
Autism is neural development disorder that alters the way the brain processes information, changing how nerve cells and synapses connect and organize. It affects communication skills, social skills and behavior. These symptoms made it difficult for Julias to socialize outside of Xbox Live.
Microsoft's Stephen Toulouse, the Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE, confirmed over twitter the boy had in fact cheated. "I confirmed that achievements were illegitimately modified on the account and contacted the customer directly w/ specifics." No other information was released.
It's possible the mother did not know her son was using a cheating device when she spoke to Microsoft. I am curious what an 11-year-old autistic boy is capable of, whether it be modding, hacking or other forms of cheating. Do you think Microsoft made a mistake? If they were right to take action against Julias, should they have handled the situation differently?