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Microsoft denies disabling Xbox Ones for terms of use breaches

Following reports today that it had disabled Xbox One consoles belonging to individuals who broke a testing agreement with the company, Microsoft has denied that it does so for Terms of Use violations.

"To be clear, if a console is suspended from Xbox Live for a violation of the Terms of Use, it can still be used offline," a Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpot. "Microsoft enforcement action does not result in a console becoming unusable."

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Microsoft

The question then becomes what warrants a console being banned from use online. "Suspensions for both consoles and accounts are determined by looking at a number of factors," the spokesperson continued. "To avoid enforcement action including suspension from the service, users should follow the Xbox Live Terms of Use and Code of Conduct."

This statement comes on the heels of a report from Kotaku that Microsoft had "bricked" consoles belonging to people testing the remastered Xbox One version of Gears of War. These individuals were allegedly responsible for the footage that's appeared online from the as-of-yet unannounced game.

An email sent out by the company employing these testers, VMC Consulting, indicated that these testers had violated both a nondisclosure agreement and Xbox Live's End User License Agreement. The email said that, as a result of violating Xbox Live's EULA, the offenders' Xbox Live accounts had been permanently banned and their consoles "temporarily blocked." According to the email, this meant their systems were "entirely unusable" until Microsoft decided otherwise.

This prompted concerns from Xbox One owners that Microsoft has a killswitch that allows it to completely disable any Xbox One console. Microsoft's statement suggests violating the terms you agree to when using the system will only result in the console being banned from use online.

Microsoft did not directly address the bans supposedly handed out to these testers, so it remains to be seen whether their consoles have been rendered unusable offline -- something that may have been stipulated by the NDA they are said to have broken. The NDA remains an important wrinkle, as these individuals were subject to rules that ordinary Xbox One owners are not.

We've followed up with the company to find out if it possesses the ability to disable a console altogether, but have not yet received a response.