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Xbox Live Labels Autistic Boy "Cheater"

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-does-the-PR-dept-have-to-say? dept.

Microsoft 613

Jellis55 writes "Jennifer Zdenek, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who lives with autism, is outraged at Microsoft Xbox Live for labeling her son a 'cheater' and taking away everything he's earned online. She says her son, Julias Jackson, is so good at playing X-Box games, Xbox LIVE thought he cheated. She says her son got online last week to play Xbox LIVE and saw that he was labeled a cheater and had zero achievements. Microsoft continues to ignore her requests to take 'cheater' off of his account."

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613 comments

what if... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018028)

he just cheated?

Re:what if... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018056)

Yeah, MS' comments that they "corrected" his Gamerscore, and their prior remarks on the subject in other cheating cases, imply that they can distinguish between achievements obtained legitimately and those obtained by nefarious means. I doubt they simply looked at his score, said "that's impossibly high" and wiped it.

lol (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018030)

Maybe he actually cheated... LOL. Naturally, the mother is biased in favor of her son.

Re:lol (4, Informative)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018150)

Re:lol (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018210)

Slashdotted...... but I gotta wonder at a site called 'gamingtruth'; who's truth exactly?

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018218)

go journalism go!

Re:lol (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018230)

yeah he cheated, and people realize it's in the agreement when you play X Box live not to cheat "5. How You May Not Use the Service. - exploit a bug, or make an unauthorized modification, to any software or data to gain unfair advantage in a game, contest, or promotion." i think it's funny people think a public facing company like Microsoft would ban this kid without very good evidence, they're not complete idiots, and really don't gain anything by

Re:lol (1)

emj (15659) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018400)

I've been banned from services, It probably was my fault, e.g. leaving myself logged somewhere, so I wasn't that upset. It would have been nice to know where and why I was banned though. Evidence and fairness isn't that important to game publishers, and when you ban a lots of people a small percentage of them will be innocent.

But it's all for the greater good..

Re:lol (5, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018298)

Wait a minute... Microsoft says the boy cheated, mother objects, everyone is outraged, Microsoft sends a Twitter message "he did cheat, we checked", and everyone says "O, that's OK then, carry on". I must be in a parallel universe.

Re:lol (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018326)

I was wondering about that too. I thought there might be a link on that page to some sort of detailed information about how the boy cheated. I'm amazed how easily some people will take a statement from a big corp such as MS for granted. After all big corporations never lie, right ?

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018434)

And neither do 11 year old children?

Come on, this isn't news. This is between the child, his mom, and Microsoft. It's not like they're stealing a bag of money from the kid. If she challenged it and they weren't sure they'd life it because that's easier than arguing and has basically no downside.

If the news attention has done anything it's sully her case because now it provides an actual motivation for Microsoft to stick to its guns (while also providing a motivation for it to keel over and give the kid a boatload of free shit).

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018364)

I was expecting some Truth from Gaming Truth, but I just got a screenshot of a tweet from MS. That's not Truth! Let's see some real data Microsoft!

Re:lol (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018392)

Microsoft sends a Twitter message "he did cheat, we checked", and everyone says "O, that's OK then, carry on". I must be in a parallel universe.

I'm afraid we're all living in a parallel universe where 'tweets' pass for what's supposed to be actual press releases. There's no proving who actually did it, no problem denying or retracting it, and no accountability. I'd like to petition all major dictionaries to add 'see plausible deniability' to any entries for Twitter or 'tweets'.

Re:lol (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018384)

That mom needs to tiger up.

Re:lol (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018430)

Bad choice of words.
Although Tiger would probably do anything, especially if the mom's a MILF.

.

I hope they sue (-1, Troll)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018032)

I hope they sue and crush that crook! The feds couldn't fix him but be sure some angry mothers of disabled children will decimate him! I can't WAITTTT to see that! I say that as an antisocial mensa member with Asperger's that went undiagnosed into his late 20s.

Re:I hope they sue (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018448)

I hope they sue and crush that crook! The feds couldn't fix him but be sure some angry mothers of disabled children will decimate him!
I can't WAITTTT to see that!
I say that as an antisocial mensa member with Asperger's that went undiagnosed into his late 20s.

After that rant, I can't imagine why it took over 20 years.
Well, apart from the smart thing; who should crush who and why?

flooost ploost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018036)

ho ho ho green giant

The highest level of achievement! (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018044)

Well, obviously 'Cheater' is the highest level of achievement in the Microsoft Universe. It makes perfect sense in terms of the One Microsoft Way.

Re:The highest level of achievement! (-1, Troll)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018054)

is that like how Microsoft cheated when they stole WINDOWS from Jobs who previously stole it from Xerox?

Re:The highest level of achievement! (-1)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018308)

Didn't they use to work on OS2 for IBM? A project they cancelled to work on their own gui OS? I wonder howmuch of the first windows is in fact based on the os2 foundation.

Re:The highest level of achievement! (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018460)

Wow. You messed-up your history. Windows 1 existed long before OS/2 did. It was released in 1985 and was essentially a DOS shell.

1985 was also the year Atari released a windows-based OS, ditto Commodore Amiga, and ditto Berkeley Softworks (GEOS for the C=64). Everyone was trying to copy the 1984 Mac look/feel.

Re:The highest level of achievement! (1, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018476)

MS: Hey, Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, Borland, etc. There's this great new OS which will replace Windows, which you should be developing for, OS/2. We're really behind it, all the way!
Suckers: Cool! Let's go for it!
(MS goes off in a corner to do a science project, returns sometime later)
MS: We're announcing Windows 3.0, and a bunch of applications, called Office, to go along with it!
Suckers: Hey, wait, what about OS/2? You said that was the future, and we put all our R&D there!
MS: Oh, yea. Guess we forgot to tell you. Never mind OS/2, Windows 3 is where it's at.
Suckers: (exit stage left)

Re:The highest level of achievement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018334)

Let's face it: most computer games are repetitive crap once you've seen their latest gimmick a few times. With all but a few really interesting games, anyone who doesn't eventually get bored of the grind/RSI and start cheating just to see the end sequence (assuming they don't just watch it on youtube) is clearly a moron.

Statistical Model Fail (2)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018046)

Statistical Model, you failed my Outlier.
What do you have to say for yourself?

Re:Statistical Model Fail (2)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018070)

It's beyond the whiskers! that doesn't count!

Also red-haired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018050)

What has the fact that the boy is an autist have to do with this? Or is this about the old myth that all autists are extremely good in some thing?

Re:Also red-haired? (1)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018068)

Exactly so. Anal retentive attention to game details do highscores make.

Re:Also red-haired? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018076)

Yes, it's the old savantism thing. My understanding is that the tasks that profoundly autistic individuals display an unusual aptitude in are mostly related to memory and recall.

Re:Also red-haired? (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018092)

The kid may be a savant. I am Aspie and I have some analytical abilities i cannot test to demonstrate nor explain. If this kid's entire world is interrupted because of this, I hope Gloria Allred sues and gets his mother 100million!!

Re:Also red-haired? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018280)

Not to sound like a dick, but also I've heard a lot of psychics who claim to have abilities they cannot test, demonstrate in a controlled situation, or explain. You might want to consider whether your abilities are demonstrable, and as unusual as you suppose.

Re:Also red-haired? (5, Insightful)

Kiraxa (1840002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018472)

No you're not an "aspie" if you're going to call yourself anything its an Autistic Psychopath. Yes thats its proper name. And being an antisocial narcissist who can pay attention to detail doesn't make you special. And its completely "fixable." giving it a special label and saying LOL MENTAL DEFECT IT MAKES ME SPECIAL just pisses off the people who work with people who have real autism and see you cocks diluting the term and drawing negative attention with your narcissism.

Re:Also red-haired? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018200)

What has the fact that the boy is an autist have to do with this? Or is this about the old myth that all autists are extremely good in some thing?

In this case, I'd say it looks more like an appeal to sympathy, and possibly an implication that he lacks the ability to cheat (either cognitively, or in terms of not understanding/caring about the social concept of getting a high score for bragging rights). As for his having unbelievably high scores... Not the best example to try to dispel the "savant" myth.

Red hair just proves that his disease results from his status as the Spawn of Satan, and has no relevance to this particular discussion.


/ Still waiting for my italics to work again, Slashdot!

Doesn't the law help? (2)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018060)

IANAL, (and IANAUSC) but the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 may offer some sort of legal redress, if the mother (or son) are convinced that it is his disability which is affecting his game play.

Re:Doesn't the law help? (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018182)

Even in a general sense it seems rather close to libel to label someone like that. Zeroing out scores or limiting functionality is one thing, attaching a label to them publicly seems like asking for trouble.

Re:Doesn't the law help? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018290)

Pretty sure libel or slander has to be done in public to be pursuable - does Xbox Live make your status in these circumstances public or just to the account holder? If it's just the account holder then they have no case.

Re:Doesn't the law help? (1)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018262)

You're asking a really interesting question - and one that the courts haven't really addressed yet, as far as I know. The ADA [ada.gov] specifically forbids discrimination in the enjoyment of certain kinds of activity - notably those defiend as "public accomodations."

(a) General Rule. No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.

. The list of things defined as public accomodations is extensive and seems to be extremely inclusive extending so as to encompass pretty much all social, commercial, and political venues. It hasn't yet been decided websites or online commercial activities - like XBox live - fall under that definition.

I found mention here [ada-il.org] of the following

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, has stated that a web site could qualify as a public accommodation. Specifically, the Court declared that "the owner or operator of a store, hotel, restaurant, ..., web site, or other facility (whether in physical space or in electronic space) that is open to the public cannot exclude disabled persons from entering the facility and, once in, from using the facility in the same way that the non-disabled do." Doe v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co., 179 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 68 U.S.L.W. 3432 (U.S. Jan. 11, 2000) (No. 99-772)).

Re:Doesn't the law help? (5, Interesting)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018414)

If you find that a legless man is hiding items in his wheelchair you can still kick him out of your store.

Re:Doesn't the law help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018452)

awesome example.

Microsoft ignores her requests... (3, Informative)

Myrmi (730278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018066)

...to take cheater off his account simply because there is evidence of cheating. From @Stepto 's Twitter feed:

We confirmed there were cheated achievements and gave the parent the details. This wasnt a "he played too good" situation at all. https://twitter.com/stepto/status/30451173655838720 [twitter.com]

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (-1, Troll)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018080)

apparently they know NOTHING about autism (Despite claims that Gates is an Aspie). Emotionally disturbed children have an immovable moral compass. Wrong is just wrong. there is no "but you'd get a million dollars" type exceptions on their minds. wrong remains wrong. I hope Microsoft loses billions.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2, Insightful)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018162)

Yeah, so if the kid's moral compass is stuck at "cheating in videogames is a-ok in my book" then there's no hope for him in the rest of his gaming life ey?
I know Microsoft is evil, the devil, the anti-christ, etcetera etcetera, but in this case, I'm willing to believe that they are right. The kid's a cheater. End of story.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018196)

apparently they know NOTHING about autism (Despite claims that Gates is an Aspie). Emotionally disturbed children have an immovable moral compass. Wrong is just wrong. there is no "but you'd get a million dollars" type exceptions on their minds. wrong remains wrong. I hope Microsoft loses billions.

Not necessarily. They can have an "I am always right" attitude too, or an "I am entitled to everything" attitude. Also, autism is not generally classified as "emotional disturbance".

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018220)

One presumes that evidence of cheating would be for example getting achievements whilst not logged into the game. Provided Microsoft can back up their claims that there was hard evidence of cheating as opposed to he was just doing well, then their action is fully justified.

Autism is an overused trendy diagnosis for children, especially as ADHD is so passe nowadays.

The original source of the story seems to have accepted that MS had reasonable grounds for the 'cheater' label

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018232)

Apparently, you know nothing about autism.

'Emotionally disturbed children have an immovable moral compass.' is just plain horse-shit.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018234)

Emotionally disturbed children have an immovable moral compass.

"Immovable" does not mean "accurate".


/ Functioning Italics suuuuure would make Slashdot a better place...

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018310)

I agree, Rain Man never hacked any computers, so the idea of an autistic kid hacking an XBox is ludricrous.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018390)

apparently they know NOTHING about autism (Despite claims that Gates is an Aspie).
Emotionally disturbed children have an immovable moral compass. Wrong is just wrong. there is no "but you'd get a million dollars" type exceptions on their minds. wrong remains wrong.

I hope Microsoft loses billions.

Why do you assume the kid thinks that cheating is wrong?

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (3, Insightful)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018138)

So we're just supposed to believe the person who banned him without any details. Is twitter now a reliable source?

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018184)

It is if the twittererer (sorry, don't know this modern lingo - the guy who is twittering) is the head of MS's XBox Live policy and enforcement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Toulouse [wikipedia.org]

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018274)

Yeah, it was clear that policy and enforcement thinks he is a cheater. Otherwise they wouldn't have labeled him a cheater. That tweet adds no new details.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018396)

They can't add details. Thats private information. The information was given to the mother, and she didn't share it.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018432)

Umm, no. It was not clear that Microsoft's policy and enforcement ever considered the possibility that the boy was an unusually good player that made it appear that he had cheated. Now, it's clear that the head of P&E personally analyzed this case, specifically checking for the possibility that the boy may have had unusual skills and put his reputation behind the conclusions that the boy definitely cheated.

This makes the mother's original claim totally implausible. She said Microsoft made a particular type of error that they may never have considered it was possible to make, Microsoft investigated and concluded they did not make that specific type of error. Microsoft says they provided evidence to the mother.

The ball is now in the mother's court. Until and unless she claims Microsoft's evidence doesn't satisfy her or that she has some way to know her son didn't cheat, Microsoft's case is much stronger than hers.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018286)

So the head of MS XBox Live claims that MS XBox Live haven't made a mistake, and we're supposed to just believe him?

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018300)

So, basically, he's the only man in the entire situation with a motivation to lie. Gotcha.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018398)

Your logic doesn't hold water. The kid has an obvious motivation to lie -- he doesn't want to admit to mom he cheated but still wants his achievements back. Mom on the other hand wouldn't want to admit that his child could be a bad apple -- everyone has heard a parent say "my son would _never_ do something like that"...

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (2)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018250)

as opposed to just believing the person claiming "no honestly i didnt do anything wrong"?

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (5, Insightful)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018288)

So we're just supposed to believe the person who banned him without any details. Is twitter now a reliable source?

He sent the details to the parents. Those are the only people he has to convince. Whiny mouth breathers on /. demanding that MS provide proof are not on his list of people he has to convince or impress.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018328)

And just because a kid has autism we are supposed to assume he is an angel and did not fake achievements?

Show me hard evidence. On both sides.Until then this whole thing is heresay.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

staticneuron (975073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018388)

Stephen Toulouse, also known as Stepto, is the Director of Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement at Microsoft. http://www.stepto.com/ [stepto.com]

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018406)

The same goes for the other party. Also it would be highly unwanted to post any details online, even though many have no expectation of privacy.

This is between Microsoft and the family. If the family is willing to share the information, great, but I would not expect Microsoft (or any other company) to do that.

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018144)

Did you look at this Stepto's guy other tweets? Prison lingo and swearing in all his posts. Who is he?

Re:Microsoft ignores her requests... (1)

Myrmi (730278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018376)

Stephen Toulouse [wikipedia.org] , who is the Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE.

To the prior responders... (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018074)

What if he's just a savant (at video games)? Then he'd be exceptional, to the point where it would look, to an observer, like a cheater.

Re:To the prior responders... (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018106)

Since about 2008 MS has had measures in place to establish whether an achievement unlock happened during gameplay, and they consequently delete the relevant achievements and apply the "Cheater" flag. I don't think anyone, autistic, dyslexic, or neurotic, is good enough at Xbox to unlock achievements without actually playing.

Re:To the prior responders... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018470)

Not just during gameplay, but you've also got to be online at the time. I got annoyed with xbox after a load of achievements I earned (shortly after moving house waiting for an internet connection) were never recognised. :(

Re:To the prior responders... (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018112)

god help me im using a 20 year old pop-culture example but some savants can just count cards. they can just group a large array and analyze all available outcomes in a glance. it happens. you can no better punish them for this than you can punish a person in a wheelchair for not bumping their heads on low-overhangs that would foul a person of 5feet.

Re:To the prior responders... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018226)

As the other poster on this thread states, no matter how good you are, getting an achievement unlock outside gameplay would be some trick no matter how autistic or savant you were.

Re:To the prior responders... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018314)

Sure you can punish them for it. Casinos kick out card counters all the time. Skill is not allowed while gambling.

I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018082)

Can someone explain to me how it's even possible to "cheat" in Microsoft's little walled playground? I thought that was the whole point of a closed console network.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018114)

There are various tricks, all the way back to the original Xbox. Microsoft's policy has always been to learn detect them and punish people using them, rather than apply technical measures to fix them that might disrupt other people's gameplay.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

BlogTroller (1723086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018478)

Maybe there are these classic Diablo II sort of glitches that enables duping of equipment etc. For example, in the good old days before the game was patched, i could give you a weapon and then pull the network cable out. When i later came back online, I would still have the weapon and you would have a duped copy.

Gamer points are lame. (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018104)

What benefits do I get from gamer points? Does it give me extra Live hours? More M$ dollars points to buy add-ons? Prizes? A barrel of monkeys? More lotto drawings for free tickets to visit the Naked & Petrified Natalie Portman Exhibit at the Pimple Popper Expo?

Re:Gamer points are lame. (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018142)

It's a score. You earn points and your score goes up. You can compare your score to your friends. Or you can ignore it. Pretty much the same way games worked in the 1980s, but applied at a platform level rather than a game one.

Re:Gamer points are lame. (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018178)

What benefits do I get from gamer points? Does it give me extra Live hours? More M$ dollars points to buy add-ons? Prizes? A barrel of monkeys? More lotto drawings for free tickets to visit the Naked & Petrified Natalie Portman Exhibit at the Pimple Popper Expo?

For the 11-year-old boy game points may have more value than you can imagine. Apparently you've never been a child (?).
Also, being called a cheater may have a strong emotional impact, with or without autism. Microsoft's attitude towards this child is really bad and shows how much they care about customers in general.

You accept the contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018108)

And agree to their terms. They get to be the final arbiters.

Don't like that? Don't join.

Whatever happened to the informed, rational customer who would walk-away from a proposal? Nowadays people are slavish consumers who accept anything that a corporation demands so they can have their shiny baubles. So, the corporations demand even more next time...

XBL cheating? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018110)

Given the relatively closed state of the Xbox360(some known exploits for rather old firmwares; but not much available for the newest ones and aggressive banning of detected modified units from XBL by Microsoft) and the Xbox Live service, what are the avenues of cheating that would motivate them to use what are presumably statistical outlier detection models?

Are there individual game glitches that are considered to be "cheating" if used? Are there third-party controllers that have some equivalent of the good old "turbo" button(and some game that fails to control max fire rates, now that actual computing power is available)? Is there, in fact, a reasonable population of hacked xboxes running modified binaries that allow any of the classic PC gaming cheaters' tricks(see-through walls, etc.)? Do the requirements of low latency over domestic connections mean that some or most games leave themselves open to packet modification tricks?

Has somebody gone to the trouble of building a machine vision +input emulation system capable of delivering mathematically optimal play for certain games?

I know Microsoft bans modded hardware, and I know unmodded hardware won't execute unblessed binaries or talk to unblessed peripherals(unless, possibly, the correctly emulate the behavior of blessed ones), so why is "cheater" a distinct category from "banned"?

Re:XBL cheating? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018132)

what are the avenues of cheating that would motivate them to use what are presumably statistical outlier detection models?

You assume wrong: the "cheater" flag is for specific technical cheats that they can detect. My understanding is that the go-to cheat for boosting one's gamerscore is to copy someone else's savegame with the achievements unlocked. If it's anything like the original Xbox, the savegame is signed with the console's unique ID, so it's trivial to figure out whether someone's saved game was their own work, or just duplication.

Re:XBL cheating? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018380)

There are legitimate reasons to transport savegames between different consoles. That would need a heuristic or something behind it to work out.

However there are also cases like unlocking achievements in online-only games while the account was offline. That's a pretty solid red flag.

I was looking for background information on this story and saw this: http://whywasibanned.com/ [whywasibanned.com] (some of it mentions the cheater label rather than outright banning). Some of the pithy comments are great. "You were suspended because your bio was talking about using baby blood to paint a house."

Re:XBL cheating? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018426)

Oh yeah, save transferring is totally kosher, provided you don't go about trying to apply the achievements from one account to another.

Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (5, Interesting)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018122)

I once played an online game where you could set the robotic factories to building robotic factories, and then after a while switch them over to building ships. In one turn you could produce a huge fleet out of nowhere. When I did this, the game designers were convinced I had cheated because "there's no other way you could get that many ships." They didn't understand their own game, or how exponential growth works. Explaining this didn't help, I was banned.
P.S. So in the next round I helped my friends actually cheat by hacking the game's database and producing written spy reports of enemy movements. Ha.

Re:Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (0)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018148)

LIKE^

Re:Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (0, Troll)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018348)

Sounds like you exploited a bug which in my mind is cheating and so "there's no other way you could get that many ships" remains true. The punishment for abusing bugs in many games is banning so this isn't a lone case.

Re:Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018394)

Am sorry, but exploiting a bug is not "cheating." Bugs are part of the game engine.

Re:Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (2)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018466)

Except:

Did the OP know it was a bug when he exploited it? Did he think that's how it was supposed to work?

I don't know about you, but I would have done the same thing. It's about using the tools of the game to the best effect. If that's not how the designers meant you to play the game, they should give you a figurative slap on the wrist and tell you not to do it again, and give you some concession for finding the bug.

Re:Or was it a hole in a badly designed game? (3, Insightful)

xnpu (963139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018468)

How are you supposed to distinguish a bug from an in-game trick? Many games are loaded with shortcuts and secrets.

Common accusation case (4, Insightful)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018168)

While we may debate if he really cheated or not,, really has true autism or not and so on, I think there's something else that is worth discussing.

Online games are played by millions nowadays and want it or not, this shapes the society a little bit in it's own ways.

In my experience, anyone losing to the superior minded in any game involving strategy (they almost all do, including FPS and "dumb" RPGs) will eventually call it cheating. I think everyone has experienced that. Eventually, if enough people get pissed and do not understand how it is possible to lose so bad to a legitimate player, they will label him cheater.
Admins and game masters are no different - usually they also play the game. They will find any so-called proof to dismiss the person and have it banned for breaking the rules, even if no rule was broken.
Examples:
- it's statistically impossible to have 60% accuracy, it's a proof of cheating
- it's statistically impossible to win 1v10, it's obvious cheating
- he's going too much damage
- he can't click that fast
and so on - mostly based on lose "stats" and no real reference

Sadly (well - this is human), people also tend to play such games so many hours a day that such reactions are seen also in their day to day offline life.

Re:Common accusation case (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018214)

In that case they should do what MS did in this instance, and only treat specific, outside-of-game manipulation of the score as a cheat, and leave the rest up to game design and balance.

Two words: Libel suit! (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018322)

Incoming in 3 ... 2 ...

Re:Two words: Libel suit! (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018362)

Only if the cheater label was made public by Microsoft - was it? If it's a private label applied to just the views the account holder can see, then there is no case to be made. I'm not sure how MS applies the label.

Why is Autism even included here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018336)

I don't get why "Autism" is included in TFA. Is the child's autism relevant here? Did Microsoft label the kid as a cheater because he was autistic? It's too easy to label this as a ploy to feel saddened for the mother.

I've got nothing against autistic children, but I don't like to see something like this thrown around when it's not necessary. They might as well have included, "Microsoft labels 4'8", 110 pound boy as a cheater" or "Microsoft labels bright A+ boy as a cheater".

Re:Why is Autism even included here? (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018450)

The child's autism is relevant if it gave him some unusual ability to play video games so well that this caused Microsoft to erroneously determine that he was cheating when he wasn't. We now know that this is almost certainly not what happened because Microsoft specifically investigated this possibility and found definitive proof of cheating. They have no incentive to lie about this -- they'd much rather be seen as doing the right thing than picking on an autistic child.

Way to go Microsoft. (-1, Flamebait)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018352)

Picking on a mentally disadvantaged child.

What's next? Stealing candy from babies? Stomping kittens in front of toddlers? Or how about an XBox Live message to all accounts under the age of 7 telling them that Santa Claus is dead because you killed him and sodomized his rapidly cooling corpse?

And just when I was starting to not dislike Microsoft as much as I used to.

Once again parent is out of the loop (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018370)

1) The importance of this game in the kid's life has gotten totally out of control. "This is all he does." Creepy. 2) Kid thinks game achievements actually mean something; they don't. 3) Mother probably does not understand mechanisms for cheating. 4) Response from XBL was poor though.

As if Microsoft really knew. (2)

Lose (1901896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018402)

I doubt Microsoft was really aware they were banning an autistic child from their service at the time. Quite honestly, I'd imagine if you take that factor out of the equation this sort of thing happens all the time.

Unless, of course, the kid had "AUTISTIC" marked on his account.

Wait.. what? (1)

jmb1990 (1979110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018422)

I don't know if he cheated or not, but that seems a bit harsh, removing all of his achievements and branding him a cheater forever (or is it, i only play PC games). MS could at least show some compassion.

Hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018438)

This is hilarious. A boy's mother complains about how he is treated unfairly by a gaming service. Don't these people have any real world concerns? Do we really need the next iteration of the soccer mom?

Warner Bros (3, Informative)

xnpu (963139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018444)

Reminds me how a Warner Bros exec once visited the Netherlands, noticed cartoons were subtitled and demanded they be dubbed instead. Dutch kids can't possibly be that proficient at reading! They are dubbed every since.

Dumbass. Before dutch channels started to broadcast cartoons we depended on the British Sky Channel. No subtitles, no dubbing. Not a kid complained. Ever. And we all enjoyed it just as much.

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