Last week, the internet lit up with the news that an 11-year old autistic boy had been accused of cheating over Xbox Live. His Gamerscore had been reset, and all of his achievements stripped. His mother, Jennifer Zdenek, claimed that playing games on Xbox Live was son Julius’ only social outlet, and that Microsoft had unfairly branded him a cheat.
This week, however, Jennifer has changed her tune, admitting that her son actually was involved in less-than-honest activities, and that perhaps the cheater label was appropriate.
The original claim was that Julius played Xbox games online for 12+ hours a day, and so had unlocked all of his many achievements legitimately, even if it was quicker than many other gamers.
Jennifer explains this wasn’t totally the case, revealing that her son had given his Xbox Live gamertag log-in information to an online friend in another city, who logged in and “used forbidden methods” to access unlockables in Halo 3.
This all came to light after Jennifer received an email from head of Xbox Live enforcement, Stephen Toulouse:
“The account Zombie Kill67 transferred from the Xbox it is normally seen on, to an Xbox in another city. 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.”
To make things worse for the family, Jennifer admits that she knew about Julius handing over his log-in details, but didn’t think too much of it.
“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.”
…it’s interesting that this week, she considers the console to not be “anything big”, while last week she was tearfully referring to it as her son’s “only friend”…
Either way, Jennifer and Microsoft can be friends again, with the software giant handing over a free month of Xbox Live access, and setting Julius up with a new Gamertag, this time without the “Cheater” logo.
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