If you tamper with your Xbox Live Gamerscore, you might lose it and everything in it forever, administrators of Microsoft's online game service want you to know.
Specifically, Nelson was following up on an October post in which he warned that, "I strongly urge you not to tamper with your Gamerscore and achievements. If you do decide to employ some nefarious techniques to artificially increase your Gamerscore or obtain achievements by manipulating the Xbox software without playing the game, bad things will happen."
Well, it appears that the Xbox Live team has begun to implement whatever bad things they had in mind for those who cheat when it comes to the oh-so-socially-important Gamerscore and achievements that show what players have done on the service.
On Tuesday, Nelson wrote that the team had taken steps against those caught cheating. Among the lashings administered were: resetting Gamerscores to zero; canceling all registered achievements, even if some were fairly earned; and labeling the account "as a cheater for the community to view" on both Xbox.com and in the Xbox Live dashboard.
For those curious exactly what the Xbox Live team is looking for, Nelson helpfully provided an FAQ detailing the specifics.
This reminds me a lot of massively multiplayer online game companies like World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard Entertainment or EverQuest publisher Sony Online Entertainment telling their communities that players will be banned for all kinds of illegitimate activity, including buying or selling gold or weapons on the secondary market or for sharing account access.
The thing is, the Xbox Live team, much as has always been the case with the Blizzards and SOEs of the world, make these kinds of stern statements, but don't provide much in the way of details of how many accounts have been affected, and how many players punished.
Still, reading through several pages of comments on Nelson's Tuesday post, it appears that the Xbox Live community is pretty happy about the news, much as WoW players always say they're happy about corrective action taken to purify the playing field in that game. But one does wonder just how effective the publishers are at catching the cheaters and whether these kinds of moves are little more than Band-Aids.