Mom Admits Autistic Son Cheated On Xbox Live, Meriting Label

After complaining to a Seattle news station that her autistic 11-year-old son was unfairly labeled a cheater by Xbox Live, the mother has admitted that her son solicited help in racking up his copious achievements, meaning Xbox Live was right to reset his Gamerscore and affix a “cheater” label to his account.

In an updated to an earlier story, Q13 Fox reports her son gave out his login and password online, allowing others to help him boost his score:

“My son did give his Gamertag. I did warn him about this but seeing it wasn’t a bank password or anything big, it’s just a game we didn’t worry about it too much and the boy just offered to give him Recon Armor, which he did.”

Microsoft says it discovered the cheating because achievements were unlocked out of order, online and from different cities.

Xbox Live Labels Autistic Boy “Cheater”
[Q13 Fox via The Escapist]
(Thanks, Sean!)

Previously: Xbox Live Assigns Scarlet ‘Cheater’ Label To Autistic Boy


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Surprised, anyone?

    • nbs2 says:

      I was worried I’d defended the mom in the earlier thread. Fortunately, I’d only hedged based on what was in Phil’s article (which may have been my first mistake) and took the stance that MS may have been in error, pending the release of more information (which had already been released but wasn’t included in the original post).

      • common_sense84 says:

        That means you were flat wrong and on the wrong side. They don’t flag accounts as cheaters in error. There hasn’t been a single documented case.

        Microsoft not releasing specifics to anyone but the account holder did not weaken their case, it strengthened it.

        You were defending the mother in the first post.

        • Pax says:

          “They don’t flag accounts as cheaters in error.”
          Microsoft is not infallible.

          “There hasn’t been a single documented case.”
          … that we know of.

          It is always possible that Microsoft may be in error, any time they ban someone for cheating. Because, and I repeat: Microsoft is not infallible.

          • Chaosium says:

            The method that they use is reliable because when users are flagged, people manually check the account before taking action. No system is perfect, but that doesn’t justify how annoying devils’ advocacy is.

            This situation was fraudulent. The system is very reliable. The end.

      • Chaosium says:

        “took the stance that MS may have been in error, pending the release of more information (which had already been released but wasn’t included in the original post).”

        Why not just look up more information on how the users get marked as cheaters? It’d help explain why there are so few false positives.

    • jnads says:


      And it’s even more apparent the “mother” was lying the first time around.

      She really should stop trying to milk her son’s disability for attention, grow up, and be a parent. The kid cheated. Teach him that cheating in life gets you nowhere.

    • dourdan says:

      nope, i assumed he did one or 2 things that he assumed diden’t matter. i hope he restarts his account with new knowkage of what is allowed. there is allot to see on xbox, no reason to abandon it forever

    • Pax says:

      Surprised, no.

      Disappointed, yes.

      • Griking says:

        Cause you wanted to blame big bad Microsoft oh so much

        • jefeloco says:

          I’m disappointed because I hoped that it was just a case of the autistic kid really being good. I have a friend who is black-native american who gets angry when people talk about either group getting slammed for negative activity and then she carries out that activity with aplomb. Be proud, be ashamed, don’t be both. I call her a walking hypocrisy.

          I didn’t “want” MS to screw up, I hoped it was a mistake.

          • vaguely says:

            People who are different than you have no obligation to you or to anyone to act in your ideal of the perfect “other”. They are humans and allowed to fail. One person’s failure should not speak for the entire community they belong to, though that concept is clearly beyond you.

        • Pax says:

          Not at all. In fact … “What jefeloco said, right below this comment.”

  2. danmac says:

    I did warn him about this but seeing it wasn’t a bank password or anything big, it’s just a game

    I see…so it was a really big deal when she thought Microsoft was in the wrong, but now that it’s obvious her son cheated, it wasn’t really a big deal in the first place; it was only “light cheating”. Right…way to have your cake and eat it too, lady.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      +1. Just because it’s “just a game”, that makes it okay? Ethically challenged, much?


      • caradrake says:

        Depends on the game. If it’s Monopoly, it’s basically an assured thing that everyone will be cheating. It’s what makes the game so much more fun! ;)

        And Canadian laser bears in Age of Mythology are just chocked full of win and awesome.

        But on the whole, if the people you are playing with aren’t aware of it, if you’re doing it to give yourself an unfair advantage… yeah, it’s not good.

        • RedOryx says:

          In college once I was playing Monopoly and when one of my friends left the room to pay for the pizza, the other friend and I started working out deals to exchange properties, specifically ones she really wanted. She was so pissed when she came back. Good times, good times.

          • SkreanAme says:

            Yes. I’m actually very surprised that the game isn’t supposed to be played this way. I thought it was supposed to be a fun analogue of life?

            People cheat. When you let everyone in to how you did it, then every one applauds and says “Bully. Good show”.

        • Pax says:

          I don’t cheat in Monopoly.

          Maybe you need new friends??

          • Wei says:

            Agreed. My Grandparents-in-law do this when we play board games and cards, and everyone just assumes they will.

          • caradrake says:

            I don’t think the choice of friends is the issue. ;) Unless by that you mean that none of us really want to spend 2+ hours playing a board game.

            And we all have a blast at the end when we explain what we did, and how sneaky we were.

          • PunditGuy says:

            They’re just playing it as a realistic simulation of American capitalism.

            • DragonThermo says:

              In that case, if you cheat at Monopoly, like in American Capitalism, you are punished (sued or beaten with fists, whichever).. oh wait.. no.. you get $700 Billlion in Monopoly money (worth about as much in either case)

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      What else are you supposed to do with your cake, if not eat it?

    • Youngfrankenstein says:

      Didn’t she say the Microsoft had disgraced her son?

      • danmac says:

        Even if she did, I wonder which is the greater disgrace for him: getting a deserved cheater tag on his XBox Live account, or having his mother go the the media about it and make it a huge story.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        That was before she and her kid got caught. Now it looks as though SHE disgraced MS.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      lol,,Oh Boy mom is instilling a great set of values in her kid, eh?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    When someone is listed as a cheater in online gaming, I assume they modified the game, using botting techniques, or similar actions to earn accomolades they did not earn.

    I wouldn’t have considered simply having more than one person play your account to be considered a cheater by any regards.

    • thompson says:

      This isn’t a case of him and his brother both playing on the same account. He gave his password out and people all over the world helped unlock achievements. I think that fully qualifies as cheating as it’s very likely specifically prohibited by the TOS.

      • ClemsonEE says:

        “fully qualifies as cheating”? Wow…your moral compass needs some calibration.

        • thompson says:

          Wait, what?

          Are you trying to imply that this wasn’t cheating? Or that he is somehow excused because of his autism? My statement wasn’t normative, it was descriptive. Whether he knew his behavior was wrong is beside the point, the behavior itself was cheating under any commonly held definition and by (I’m assuming) the terms of service issued by Microsoft.

          • Twonkey says:

            In the context of videogames, cheating suggests the modification of a game beyond normal parameters in order to give one’s self an unfair advantage over other players. For example, had he used a trainer program or patched the game in order to make himself invincible or grant himself infinite ammo, then that would be considered cheating. All that this kid did was give someone else his account information so that they could unlock shit for him instead of doing it himself, and none of it gives him any advantage whatsoever over other players, unfair or otherwise.

            Sure, it may have pissed off the subsection of gamers who let themselves get downright frothing mad over the mere idea that another person might have unlocked an achievement or received an item without having to work hard for it like they did. Assuming of course that there’s any chance in hell they would have been aware of it before Microsoft slapped him with a cheater label, which there is not. However, setting aside what is essentially unlikely outrage borne from a rather pathetic connection of one’s self-worth to his accomplishments in a videogame of all things, what the kid did isn’t fundamentally different than it was for us as children to pass the controller off to our brother or sister so that they could get us past that level in Super Mario Bros. 3 that had been giving us such a hard time, and then taking it back to resume play once they made it through. If it wasn’t cheating then, it’s not cheating now. The only thing that anyone lost here is the sense of self-accomplishment that comes with unlocking shit on your own, and besides that clearly not being something that the kid was very interested in to begin with, it would only be his loss. Absolutely nobody else was effected by his actions. At all, even. Everyone who cares enough to do so is free to continue to work hard to mine those oh-so-meaningless achievement points in the never ending quest to add length to their e-penises, and the armor is there on the disk waiting to be unlock by their own bad-ass gamer selves.

            Now, that all having been said, if he broke Live’s terms of service, then Microsoft is within its rights to label him a cheater if they so choose. When you play in Microsoft’s sandbox you’re beholden to their rules, so that he’s sporting that label isn’t an injustice though silly it may ultimately be. It’s just that I don’t buy that it speaks to a lack of morals that he’s sporting it, as some of our more self-righteous members would like the rest of us to believe. In fact I both understand and agree with where his mom is coming from. Games. Totally not serious business, folks.

            Also, I totally misread that as “racoon armor” the first time through.

            • Chaosium says:

              “All that this kid did was give someone else his account information so that they could unlock shit for him instead of doing it himself, and none of it gives him any advantage whatsoever over other players, unfair or otherwise. “

              They used savegame hacks, goof.

              Neither kid played the game to get the achievements. Hence, you’re wrong and we remain correct.

        • nbs2 says:

          Why? I’d argue that the kid’s course was headed directly in the direction of cheating – no adjustment required.

          Had he argued that this was reprehensible on the scale of molesting baby seals or clubbing children, I would have agreed that his rangefinder needed calibration, but the compass is just fine.

        • ovalseven says:

          Wow… Are you suggesting that our morals are too high and we should try to be more dishonest?

        • manus manum lavat says:

          Why wouldn’t it qualify as cheating?

          If a person enters a triathlon, and after completing the swim portion of the even he trades his number with someone else so that they can do the biking portion, is that not cheating? Even were that athlete autistic, I would consider it cheating. The only reason you don’t think it’s cheating in this arena is that it’s “only a video game” so why does it matter if someone else gets the “gold medal” for him.

          • Chaosium says:

            This is more like the case where someone “does a triathlon”, but drives their car to the endpoint.

        • Chaosium says:

          “”fully qualifies as cheating”? Wow…your moral compass needs some calibration.”

          And you don’t own one!

          This is the same as cheating on a test or plagiarism. You get caught for taking credit for the work of others, you pay the price.

    • ubermex says:

      The person he gave the account to very likely cheated to get the achievements. Nobody is going to actually go through the process of getting a scout armor for someone else unless they have a way to do it without work.

    • Xyjar says:

      He DID cheat. Achievements were unlocked online and out of order. This does not happen when playing games legitimately. Regardless of if it was him or someone else, cheating did occur.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I see. I guess that reasoning didn’t occur to me.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Technically, HE didn’t cheat, this other person in another state did.

        Still, if the account is cheating, it really doesn’t matter who playing the account did it.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          So if I have someone else write a paper for me, that person is cheating, but I’m totally in the clear?


          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            False analogy. The autistic boy did not solicit for someone to cheat on his account.

            • thompson says:

              “Now Julias’ mother, Jennifer Zdenek, says her son did give his information to a fellow gamer online so he could get what is known as “Recon Armor”.”

              Uh, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened. He wanted something, asked someone else to get it for him, and I would be shocked if it wasn’t along the lines of “Hey I know you have this great cheat that can get me the Recon Armor, here’s my gamertag, thanks man!”

            • Rebecca K-S says:

              Er, pretty sure that’s exactly what happened.

            • BBP says:

              Yes, yes he did. THe kid wanted armor he couldn’t get without cheating – thus, he asks another kid to get it for him by unlocking parts of a game that shouldn’t be accessible until certain conditions are met.

              Other people who pay for the service have to play legitimately in order to do this, hence it is cheating and as the little guy got someone to cheat for him, it is still cheating…

            • Chaosium says:


              Nobody stole his account. He asked someone to cheat for him and turned his account over for cheating. He’s autistic, not retarded.

          • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

            Well technically, you would be using words that some one has used at some point. If your boss at work gives you some of their work to do…is that cheating. If you pickup a turtle that’s crossing the road are you cheating….I really don’t know where I’m going with this…but…it’s fun…

          • TerpBE says:

            Only if you’re autistic.

        • pythonspam says:

          I’m am sure that somewhere in M$’s TOS or EULA that an account/lisense/etc is provided for one individual to play on the servers. By giving out login information and allowing another person to access that account, it is cheating according to microsoft.

        • Elcheecho says:

          technically, he wasn’t flagged as a cheater, the account was

      • sqlrob says:

        Achievements were unlocked online and out of order. This does not happen when playing games legitimately.

        Err, yea, it does. You’re assuming bug free games. I have a set of “impossible” achievements because of a bug.

        • Chaosium says:

          “Err, yea, it does. You’re assuming bug free games. I have a set of “impossible” achievements because of a bug.”

          And you didn’t get flagged because you’re not as smart as MS.

          The user used savegames and played in an impossible amount of time. You played a game in the normal amount of time, assumedly.

  4. stuny says:

    Let’s wait to see if he ever gets a “prosper” label.

  5. allstar3970 says:

    As with anything, this “correction” will get about 1% of the public attention the original story did.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      2 brothers owned a bar. They got busted: big news, lots of cocaine. local police busted them for possession with intent to distribute.

      At trial, the truth: a band member was in the kitchen with a small amount of coke. Cops only found that, but they added it up with the weight of the PIZZA FLOUR in the kitchen. Result: Lots of coke, purity ~.00001%

      They won in court. But They lost the bar paying the lawyers. Front page news, but on acquittal, it was hidden in the back of the local section. As one brother told me, “I have a mother, you know!”

      The Dolphin, Sodus Point, NY, Earth.
      BEST. BAR. EVER.

      • regis-s says:

        Don’t forget to add that most of the people that read about the aquittal will assume they really were guilty and their shyster lawyer got them off on a technicality.

  6. GMFish says:

    In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz: “Ha ha!”

  7. UltimateOutsider says:

    Why did the mom lie the first time around? From the second story it’s pretty clear she knew the kid was cheating the whole time.

    • seanhcalgary says:

      It’s fun to play the victim. To hell with personal responsibility, everything is always everyone else’s fault.

    • danmac says:

      I noticed that as well…sounds like she was completely aware that he was doing it, and that she knew it was probably wrong. In that light, it’s morally reprehensible of her to go to the media and play the “autistic card” in an attempt to strong arm Microsoft into removing the cheater label.

    • exkon says:

      She knew about letting her Son give out this account information, but most likely she didn’t realize that the stuff he was doing would constitute to him being labeled as “Cheater”

  8. Scurvythepirate says:

    Yea… and what if she let her son attach there credit card or debit card to his account? But I guess that isn’t “anything big”…

  9. tutting4 says:

    it’s possible the son told the mother that he didn’t cheat and the truth came out later…

    • nbs2 says:

      The child is a minor – he would have needed parent permission to access XBL and communications would likely have been directed to her. I suspect they didn’t just send an email and call it a day.

      • RedOryx says:

        If I remember the original article correctly, MS sent her a bunch of documented proof. Probably, as this indicates, the information about the out of order and different cities.

        So no, I don’t think it was just one email.

  10. JakeChance says:

    I really do NOT like that they go out of their way to make it known that the boy is autistic. It’s not even remotely relevant to the case and is only being used to drum up sympathy and muddy the waters. What if the article was instead, “Xbox Live Labels Beer Swilling Collar Popping Frat Bro ‘Cheater'”? Again, the descriptor of the person is completely irrelevant but it already puts people on the other side of the fence … I mean, who defends a “bro?”

    • islandgirl says:

      Exactly, because it implies that a person with Autism is too ‘dumb’ or ‘innocent’ or whatnot to cheat. It seems pretty insulting, because you’re assuming things about them and expecting less from them just due to a label.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        It isn’t impossible. It is, however, typically more difficult for an autistic individual to lie outright. And, if he’d said simply that he gave someone his account info to get the armour, he’d be telling the truth.

        If the individual he gave the info to cheated on his account and lied to him, is he suddenly lying when he says he didn’t cheat, or is he misinformed? If he was under the impression that they were simply offering assistance, and that helping someone isn’t cheating, is he then lying when he says he wasn’t cheating?

        You need to see the world through the eyes of someone who has a developmental disability.

      • slappysquirrel says:

        Keep in mind the story was originally about a kid who claimed to have made a crazy number of achievements WITHOUT cheating. The “autistic kid, through innate ability or crazy amount of practice in a short time achieved so much that Microsoft ASSUMED he was cheating just because he’s so good” storyline was what the reporters were going for.

        This is just a followup story explaining that the above story isn’t what happened.

    • Zed says:

      I think the mother (or perhaps the journalist) was trying to argue that M$ made a mistake because her son who happens to be autistic can finish games “faster” than normal people because of his “condition”. Little did she know that M$ detected some anomaly in the records that is just impossible even for someone who can complete games so fast… (imagine 3 locked doors behind one another that needs to be unlocked sequentially and the kid unlocked door number 2 before number 1) If you read the original article the journalist was explaining that autistic children have specialized intelligence that makes them extremely gifted in one area (math for example) but extremely poor (social intelligence) in others and was the basis for the argument that the boy was super human when it came to playing video games…

      • ZekeDMS says:

        Look, Zed. You might be right, but every time you type “M$” it gives the impression of someone angrily banging on keys while yelling in a drug induced stupor in a basement with cracked, plain concrete walls and mildew.

        It’s the electronics equivalent of “sheeple.” Just sayin’.

    • gparlett says:

      bros always defend bros. Bro Rule #325

    • dogbowl says:

      Once, when making an offer to purchase a house, the current owner countered simply with: ” I need more money because my son is autistic”.

      Pretty tacky all around I thought. I did not offer any more money.

    • SunnyLea says:

      Um… it was the mother who brought the whole autism thing in to play in the first place. This is simply a follow-up on her complaint.

      • JakeChance says:

        I understand the mother brought it out (trying to get sympathy or offering it as an excuse/explanation) and I know Consumerist is only reporting the story. My problem is with the original source who felt it was necessary to make this a story because the boy is autistic. We wouldn’t have even heard of it if it was Joe Kegstand cheating a Halo. If anything is anti-news and fodder for the bleeding hearts and Microsoft haters/fans. If our media is supposed to filter out garbage so we are aware of what important things are going on in the world, we should be annoyed when they serve up this garbage for an equally self serving reason.

    • Chaosium says:

      “I really do NOT like that they go out of their way to make it known that the boy is autistic.”

      The mom said it would be LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE for an Autistic to lie. Who’s the problem here?

  11. GMurnane says:

    Parents who will pointlessly lie to obtain media attention are unqualified to be parents.

    • jnads says:

      I especially appreciated the part where she never admitted to being wrong, instead saying “She’s decided she doesn’t have the time and energy to fight Microsoft.”

      This kid does not have a good role model in his life.

    • LastError says:

      In case you hadn’t noticed, they let pretty much anyone have kids these days. It’s what people do when they don’t have any better ideas for entertainment.

      • jabberwockgee says:

        Except gay people, who have to go through a bigger rigamarole than any straight person ever will to get their pants off and jiggy on.

  12. HoneyB says:

    didn’t someone comment on the first post that this would happen? kudos to them

    • nbs2 says:

      Most of the comments on the original story made this point (thanks to the fact that the facts were already available). For the most part, it was just the initial post that suggested that the mother was right.

  13. rng72 says:

    Far as I am concerned he boosted his gamer score so what? My wife plays games that are easier and she uses my account cause its easier and she doesnt care about a gamer score so she boosts mine. Is this considered cheating? Its not like the kid was using exploits or had his xbox hacked.

    • QuantumCat says:

      They mention in the article the person he had play for him *cheated*. He got achievements that can only be unlocked online and in order… and when his account got them, it was offline and the achievements were done out of order.

    • Scurvythepirate says:

      Sigh… It is different. He was handing out his log in info to other people. By the looks of it, some of those people used hacks to unlock achievements and such.

      Therefore, it isn’t like you and your wife using the same account in the same room.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Its not like the kid was using exploits “

      The out of state kid used SAVEGAME EXPLOITS. Read the dang article.

  14. Red Cat Linux says:

    This was in the article linked in the last post…

  15. erratapage says:

    You have to fight your battles with your kids. In this particular instance, I’m pretty sure the Mom didn’t fully understand that the password issue led to Microsoft’s actions, and I’m pretty sure that the Mom is a helluva lot more worried about what the kid will do with his social security number than about an XBox password.

    Be real, guys…. there’s no ethical challenge here. She thought she was right. She found out she was wrong. She corrected herself.

    • Twonkey says:

      Yup, that’s the way I see it. However, you’re dealing with a group of folks who tend to think the worst of everyone and assume that they’re evil as a matter of course, so there’s no use trying to appeal to them to stop and actually consider things with a less cynical approach.

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      There’s a difference between thinking that you’re right and being so certain you’re right that you call the media and try to drum up some sort of outrage before knowing all the facts.

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      Perhaps, perhaps not.

      The thing that irked me about the original article was her tone. “He could NEVER do this because he’s AUTISTIC!” People like that are infuriating.

      • Chaosium says:

        “The thing that irked me about the original article was her tone. “He could NEVER do this because he’s AUTISTIC!” People like that are infuriating.”

        Also the stupid Rain Man myth that autistic people are incredibly smart and get magical powers. Sure, some may be brilliant due to their narrow focus, but there are plenty of them that aren’t gifted by their disability. I have to imagine that the numbers of geniuses are only slightly greater than that of the greater population.

  16. ITDEFX says:

    So what the fuck was the point of all this? The mom knew the boy cheated all this time. MS should just ban his 360 and block his IP address to teach them a lesson.

    • PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

      But then they wouldn’t buy anymore Xbox 360 games, and Microsoft doesn’t want that. Assuming this kid isn’t also into piracy!

    • RedOryx says:

      Actually, if you read the article, MS gave him a month free. (But apparently the log in info didn’t work, according to the mother.)

  17. amuro98 says:

    So…why is “Autistic” so important to this story? It’s in every headline (including here on the Consumerist) and mentioned in every article several times. Are we supposed to feel sorry, or expect him to be treated differently based on this? Are differently-abled people somehow immune from being cheaters, or jerks, or otherwise not-nice-people?

    • GMurnane says:

      I believe in the original round of articles (not just on the consumerist), it was included to explain how the boy was able to achieve seemingly impossible achievements. After all, if you have seen “Rainman” you will know most people see autistic kids as geniuses, able to do what a “normal” human cannot. The idea was Microsoft was branding a kid a cheater, when the “real” story was the kid was autistic and thus had superhuman gaming abilities that just looked like cheating. In the end, it wasn’t important because the kid *did* cheat and being autistic wasn’t didn’t have any relevance.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Are differently-abled people somehow immune from being cheaters, or jerks, or otherwise not-nice-people?”

      Yep, people claim that the autistic have near-magical powers after seeing Rain man and listening to Jenny McCarthy, and that they’re innocent manchildren and lack the ability to deceive. It’s a load of rot.

  18. QuantumCat says:

    The most humorous part of all this to me is this:
    Since all of his data is reset, he’s more likely to be matched up against players of lower skill for a while–allowing him to dominate games (even more) for a while.

    … people actually get new live accounts for this privilege!

  19. dolemite says:

    MS really isn’t in the business of falsely banning people. From what I’ve read, they are pretty good at finding actual cheaters.

  20. eccsame says:

    Maybe if the mom hadn’t gotten her kid vaccinated he would be a normal kid who was good at videogames.

  21. Mold says:

    Depends on the severity of the Autism. Some are not connected to Reality…but since the lad is able to online game…he is ‘normal’ enough to know this is wrong and behave accordingly.
    Some parents (Jenny McCarthy) use Autism as an excuse…not a good idea.

  22. dush says:

    Ok, that seems dumb. Someone still had to play the game to get the achievement. What’s the difference of a having a friend come over and beat a hard part of the game for you or having someone across the country do it for you?
    It’s not really cheating that I can see. Did they reprogram the game or use a hack to get the achievements?
    What this does show me is that MS keeps track of your physical location when you’re playing a game. That’s kind of creepy.

    • Tbdsamman says:

      The difference is that, that someone transfered the gamertag, went offline and earned several online achievements in the wrong order (i.e. 100 kills, 200 kills, 50 kills). There is a excerpt of the email to the mom in the article.

    • amuro98 says:

      Microsoft being able to trace your location isn’t anything new.

      All websites log activity based on your IP#. While your IP# will change due to your ISP using a dynamic numbering service, they’ll still mostly identify what city, or at least what region, you’re connecting from.

      Moreover, Microsoft uses your console’s unique ID# to track what purchases that console is allowed to use (this goes for map packs or other downloaded material.) Seeing a gamertag logging in on different consoles that are in different regions all over the country is going to look down right suspicious.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Did they reprogram the game or use a hack to get the achievements?”

      Yes, they used a savegame hack. Read the article.

  23. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Why is it important whether someone cheats? Was he playing for money or a world champion title? Did his actions hurt anyone?

    • TerpBE says:

      In many games achievements unlock various weapons and accessories that give people an advantage in online play. So yes, it did hurt people who were playing against him and trying to earn their achievements legitimately.

      It’s like if you were playing tennis, and you were only allowed to play with a ping pong paddle while the other guy can use a tennis racket.

      If the achievements are earned legitimately, it’s more like playing a regular tennis game against Roger Federer. Because at least in that game, his advantage (game skill) was earned through hard work, not just handed to him.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Why is it important whether someone cheats? Was he playing for money or a world champion title? Did his actions hurt anyone? “

      Try cheating every time you play a game with your friends. See how often they want to play with you in the future.

      Multiply this times millions of people.

      If you still can’t understand, you should probably never play games with others.

  24. TerpBE says:

    Is anybody actually reading the article?

    “The account earned several achievements for Halo-3 that can only be done online and in succession. It was clear they were unlocked out of order and offline. Earning successive online achievements out of order and offline is an impossible feat, not due to skill, but due to the technology of the system. It can only be done by modifying the account and faking the achievements.”

    So yes, he (or someone else using his account) used a hack to get the achievements.

  25. phonic says:

    nthr hgh qlt Phl rtcl cmpltl rrlvnt t th st. rll hp h dsn’t gt pd fr ths sht.

    • thompson says:

      C’mon, I’ve been as hard on Phil as anyone, and even I think this followup was completely appropriate. Heck, the original article was far from the worst thing I’ve seen on the Consumerist lately, so I don’t know where your particular criticism is coming from.

    • Chaosium says:

      Yeah, this is a non-terrible article because it’s an update/clarification.

  26. lincolnparadox says:

    Dustin Hoffman not available for comment.

  27. MSUHitman says:

    It’s not a bank password …

    Well it is if her credit card was attached to his account for him to buy stuff. XBox Live used to require a credit card on file but you don’t have to anymore but lots of people have it on there to buy Microsoft points, etc. Any once a card is on file, it’s hard as hell to get it taken off the account unless you replace it with another card.

  28. shthar says:

    I don’t believe in anything anymore.

  29. SolidSquid says:

    I’m curious now whether her (apparently false) accusations would constitute libel, and what Microsoft’s response will be (probably nothing, since suing a woman and her autistic kid *would* be a bad PR move and pretty dickish, but still)

  30. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Once again, does it really matter. Kid was in the wrong for cheating. Mom was in the wrong for lying. MS holds itself up there as a righteous entity that never makes mistakes.

    He cheated at video games. More people have been rewarded for cheating bigger on more important things in this life.

    • Chaosium says:

      “MS holds itself up there as a righteous entity that never makes mistakes.”

      What does this even mean?

  31. Jimmy37 says:

    “Microsoft says it discovered the cheating because achievements were unlocked out of order, online and from different cities. “

    Well, DUH!

    We all know how reliable eyewitness testimony is, especially from relatives.

  32. lostalaska says:

    Can I laugh at all the people that said Microsoft was horrible for doing this? The original emotional plea by the mother just annoyed me since her argument was that since her kid was autistic he couldn’t have cheated. Parents that think they’re little snowflake is perfect and beyond mistake annoys me more than just about anything. One of the aspects of being a child is making mistakes and (hopefully) learning from them. Parents that don’t understand that are going to end up reaping what they sow.

  33. pot_roast says:

    Good. the xbox live team had already slapped them down in public anyway, and I’m glad.

    Nice try, lame mom, trying to use ‘autistic’ as an excuse. Weak.

  34. AlphaLackey says:

    For what it’s worth, my daughter is autistic, and despite being only four, she already has a well-developed criminal mind. She hides things, she sneaks into somewhere if she knows it’s off limits, and if she isn’t sure you’re watching, she’ll commit her crime verrrrry carefully to see if you bust her. It’s funny watching a kid take 30 seconds to steal a cookie.

  35. DragonThermo says:

    Everyone wants to blame “evil” corporations. Everyone wants to take pity on the “disabled”. This is exactly how Keyser Söze got away scot free. This kid *almost* got away scot free, if Microsoft hadn’t showed evidence that the kid was a no good darn dirty cheater.

    I don’t care if the kid is “disabled”. He cheated and was easily caught. Like robbing a convenience store but leaving his driver’s license behind.

    The mother deserves all kinds of scorn. She was indignant that that evil corporation was persecuting her poor disabled son for no reason. But now says, that yes he cheated but it was no big deal. No! It is a big deal because you made it a big deal. The kid deserves his “cheater” label.

    If this kid goes to college, he is going to get a job in an investment bank and cause the next global economic crisis, but instead of a “cheater” label, he’ll get millions of dollars.

  36. the_Jenkins says:

    Who cares? Wow, what has the world come to? Yesh!