Today’s WTF: Microsoft Bans a Man for Living in Fort Gay

x-box live fort gayMicrosoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. What, are we playing catch-up to our former WTF King Blizzard now? If you’re not putting down your fanbase or trying to disguise your fairy leanings, then you’re banning people from your online service based on the name of their home town.

While this might not be an issue for most people (unless you have the misfortune to live near Lake Titicaca), an X-Box LIVE gamer recently ran afoul of Microsoft’s stringent “no bad words” policy. Typically these types of epithets are wielded on the internet with the expressed purpose of hurting someone’s feelings, but what if you’re just trying to tell people where you live. Fort Gay resident Josh Moore was kicked off of X-Box LIVE for adding the name of his town, a small 1,000 person hamlet in West Virginia, to his bio. Playing the devil’s advocate for Microsoft, they probably have a program that scours their user base looking for offensive language and auto-bans them without delving into specifics. Surely a phone call to X-Box LIVE’s customer service center could fix the issue? Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Mr. Moore was informed by Microsoft that the word gay was unacceptable in any context, and if he persisted in keeping the name of his town on his account, then his subscription would be canceled without a refund. Fort Gay’s mayor David Thompson got involved at this point, and through a series of interviews with local TV stations and the Associated Press, X-Box LIVE’s Director of Policy and Enforcement Stephen Toulouse stepped in and solved the issue. He reasons that, without context, the words Fort Gay, WV could be misconstrued as an insult. Mr. Toulouse promised to get in touch with Mr. Moore and remedy the situation. He said that keeping a lid on improper conduct on LIVE is a challenge, but he will work to set this particular incident right.

What do you guys think of this latest slip up? Microsoft is no stranger to backlash from heavy-handed maneuvers on LIVE, so this is just one more unfortunate incident. Obviously they were wrong in this instance, but is it better to be safe than sorry?

Source:CSB News

Avert Your Eyes: Halo: Reach Leaks Early

halo-reachSome people are persistent, there’s no doubt about that. Even when games are hidden inside Microsoft’s own fortress of code and priced at over $1250 on Xbox LIVE, pirates still find a way to get what they want. Halo: Reach, which is slated to come out in less than a month, has been grabbed from Microsoft via some skullduggery on their very own servers. The prohibitively expensive version of Reach (statue not included) was intended to be available to reviewers so Microsoft does not have to ship out box copies. Furthermore, even if you manage to scrounge up that many Microsoft Points, you still need a special download code to get it (Microsoft had done something similar with Crackdown 2, which is still not available publicly via LIVE).

While there’s been plenty of debate on this site about piracy and whether it’s good or bad, this is a pretty ballsy move even by Internet standards. Most games are pirated after their release or shortly before, but never from Microsoft’s own website. Spoiler-related threads are springing up all over the Web, so if you’d like to stay pure for September 14, batten down the hatches. Until the Cyber Police get this leak under control, there will be much chaos in the house of Xbox.

What do you guys think about this development? Are you going spoiler hunting or avoiding forums at all costs?

Source – Joystiq

A Spartan Will Rise When Halo: Reach Falls

Bungie has a new ViDoc out that highlights the various Spartans of Nobel Team, giving you an insight into the minds of your squad members in Halo: Reach. Although the video isn’t especially long, I have to say that the character animations for Halo: Reach are much improved over the previous titles, and every Spartan in the trailer seems to have a great deal of personality. As a little treat to Halo fans, the trailer is narrated by a character we’ve read a lot about in the books, but have never seen in a game. Watch the following video to get the run down on your teammates:

We’re almost at September, so the Halo: Reach news will be coming fast and furious. We’ll definitely try to sort out the chaff so we’re not flooding the website with Halo posts, but this trailer was too good to pass up as a fan of Halo lore. I know this sort of video won’t turn anyone around who has decided not to get Reach, but what about those who are? Even more excited now?

Kinect Can’t Recognize Sign Language

KinectMicrosoft’s full-body motion controller Kinect, formally known as Natal, may enable mute players to have better options for communicating with their friends over X-Box LIVE. While the interface previously allowed users to utilize the chat pad to talk to their party over LIVE, this is a fairly clumsy and inconvenient way of chatting. This is set to change with Kinect, which apparently recognizes American Sign Language and can relay the signing to the party.

While this is a fairly unprecedented use for Kinect, it is rather ingenious on Microsoft’s part to include this function. While we all take the ability to talk for granted, there are segments of the gaming population that aren’t so lucky. This could open LIVE to a whole new branch of gamers, so I for one applaud Microsoft for thinking of handicapped gamers in this instance.

Update: Well, I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect, and it seems that I’ve got some backtracking to do on this one. In VG247’s original article, it mentioned that a patent that indicated Kinect’s ability to understand and relay American Sign Language. However wonderful a dream this may have been, it’s not the case in real life. Kinect will not recognize ASL at launch, and will probably never have the ability to do so. In order to reach the $150 retail price, Microsoft had to cut some features from Kinect to “dumb it down”, and ASL capability was on the chopping block. It’s a shame, because this would have been a really cool addition to the motion camera. Mea culpa. Read the whole story here: Kotaku

Source: and Kotaku

Microsoft Declares 1 vs. 100 To Be The Weakest Link

1 vs 1001 vs. 100 was a beast of a different kind, something that we don’t get to experience all that often. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this bold product, 1 vs. 100 was an X-Box LIVE game show based on a TV program of the same name where “The One” would compete against “The Mob” for prizes. As far as LIVE offerings went, it was very original and quite outside of the normal offerings on consoles.

As well received as 1 vs. 100 was, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to pull the plug on that particular endeavor, meaning that the quiz game will not be returning for a third season. When asked about the cancellation, Microsoft Game Studio’s General Manager Dave McCartney stated the he was very proud of the team backing up the game, and was excited to see what could come in the future due to what they’ve learned from the process.

This is kind of a shame, consider that I never got to try it, and I continuously hear from some other GamerSushi staff members how much they enjoyed playing it. What do you guys think of this turn of events? Is 1 vs. 100 gone forever, or can we expect a Kinect re-launch under a different name?

Update: Kotaku posted a farewell letter from the 1 vs. 100 team, as well as a link to some insight as to why the game went under.


What Were the Top 20 Most Played 360 Games of ’09?

We’ve got one more top something of 2009 list for you, but this time it’s a little different as it’s not some publication doling out their “best-of” awards, but rather a unique compilation decided entirely by you the player. Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb recently posted the chart-topping games of 2009 as tracked by X-Box LIVE, and it may surprise you to learn that Halo 3 has once again taken the top spot three years running with Call of Duty 4 riding its coat-tails and Modern Warfare 2 in third.

I know you’re going to say that MW2 was only released on November 11 of this year, and I’m sure that future metrics will show the widely acclaimed First-Person-Shooter rocketing into the lead and leaving Bungie’s mean green machine in its dust. I just think it’s amazing that Halo 3 continues to lead the charts even though it’s beginning to get a bit long in the tooth. If it’s any consolation, Call of Duty titles fill out the remainder of the top four.

The charts also list the most popular Arcade titles (Battlefield 1943) and the most-played original X-Box titles (Halo 2). How do you think 2010 is going to break down? My bet is MW2 will clinch the top spot then fight with Bad Company 2 until Reach comes out.

Source: Major Nelson