A recent leak for a Gears of War remaster on Xbox One has led to leakers, who were part of Global Beta Test Network, not only being banned from Xbox Live but having their Xbox Ones effectively “bricked”. Bricked how, exactly?
Microsoft has said that if a console is suspended from Xbox Live this does not mean that the console is inoperable, or unusable in any regard.
Originally, VMC’s Global Beta Test Network (GBTN) had addressed the NDA breach which had led to the Gears of War Xbox One leak. VMC reported, in an email, that multiple leaks concerning Gears of War, had been perpetrated by seven members of the GBTN community.
In one case, a member had shared a screenshot of the game via Snapchat with a friend, another GBTN member who wasn’t part of the beta testing project. The friend then leaked the screenshot online contravening the NDA with VMC Games.
The leak took place via an Xbox One and also whilst breaking the VMC Games NDA violated the Microsoft EULA simultaneously. As a result, Microsoft has now permanently disabled the Xbox LIVE accounts, along with other suspected accounts, and temporarily blocked many of the users’ Xbox One privileges.
In VMC Game’s original email, the company said that suspected Xbox One users would have unusable Xbox Ones, but this was proven by Microsoft to be false, as stated above.
The problem is that leakers affect the whole community, as certain members of GBTN and similar programs can easily be restricted and “bricked” due to suspicions. Validating these suspicions and tracing leaks back to the source can be quite difficult in certain circumstances.
A few bad apples can ruin the experience for beta testers involved in similar projects, and that is a sad state of affairs. We feel that communities like GBTN are doing a great job, and NDAs are of central importance for games which have not yet released in full form.
NDAs for reviews are a whole other thing, but in this particular case the NDA was there for good reason. Developers don’t want an unfinished product leaking into the wild creating unwarranted attention.
Although, these types of leaks will continue to occur and we will likely see NDA enforcement like this going into the future. Whether they will be more severe will be up to developers, publishers and console manufacturers.
Source: All Games BetaForum discussion