Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

January 27, 2011 -

An 11-year-old autistic boy named Julius Jackson has been labeled a "cheater" by Microsoft on Xbox Live and has had all of his Achievements points wiped as a result.

As a rule, when Microsoft finds that an Xbox Live user has boosted its GamerScore by using exploits or cheats it marks that user as a "cheater" and wipes their score away. This is exactly what happened to Julius, though what exactly Microsoft says that he did to earn such a dishonor is not being talked about by either party.

Jackson's mother, Jennifer Zdenek, tells a local news station Q13 Fox News that her son didn't do anything to deserve such a label and they cannot get the title removed despite repeated contact with Microsoft. Microsoft said that it is confident that someone using that particular Xbox and Xbox Live account had illegitimately boosted his score. The company is not backing down. So, while Julius can certainly spend time reviving that gamerscore, he'll be marked down as a cheater for good.

Speaking on Twitter, Stephen Toulouse, Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE, said of the situation:

"I confirmed that achievements were illegitimately modified on the account and contacted the customer directly w/ specifics"

He added: "We confirmed there were cheated achievements and gave the parent the details. This wasn’t a "he played too good" situation at all."

Thanks to all our Shout Box members for the additional links, with a special hat tip to Andrew Eisen.

Sources: The Escapist, Game Informer


Comments

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

This is why I don't like playing offline games that require an online connetion. My copy of the game, my rules. I don't need or care for some corporate shill to tell me how I should play a game I payed for.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

Who cares?  It's a gamerscore, the console gaming equivalent of measuring your penis size against other players.  Sure, you might be proud you got a 1000/1000 on your favorite game, but at the end of the day you don't get anything out of it.  Hell, I wouldn't mind getting my entire gamerscore wiped clean.  There are some terrible games that I played for like an hour before I returned them, but I'm forever reminded of them because I got one or two achievements.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 The Cheater tag, IT BURRNNSSSSUSSSS

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

That´s a good question, but it also has an answer: the mother cares, because it was a great way to get attention at expenses of her autistic child, as the commentary on gamingtruth.com showed that she has been tweeting the entire time about it.

Also, Fox News cared, for the sake of TV ratings, of course.

I don´t blame Microsoft or gamers to look for a fair and balanced enviroment for all can play at peace. I say that they did what is best for everybody and don´t let this kid and his idiotic mother get away with it.

It´s a game, sure, but all games has rules. The kid and the mother break them, so now they have to live with it.

 

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

Judging by the punishment he received, it sounds like he locked a bunch of achievements (probably in the hundreds) over a short period of time (probably a day) while offline.  This is usually how this works.

What makes these types of cheating a smoking gun is that many of the achievements are online only that have been unlocked offline.  No amount of "skill" will ever allow a player to unlock an online achievement while offline.  This is the most common way of catching the cheater (as far as I know) and would fit quite well with Toulouse's tweet about how it wasn't a case of "playing too well".

 

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 

According to  www.gamingtruth.com/2011/01/27/follow-up-autistic-boys-branding-justified/ 

--------

On top of that, the mother admitted to buying Halo: Reach Recon Armor, and using cheating tactics to get it, which is a violation of the rules. According to her Twitter, Microsoft says that that is akin to buying a Super Bowl ring, which she responds with, “[Edited for grammar’s sake] …How many people have Super Bowl rings compared to Recon Armor? LOL!”.

She has mentioned on her Twitter that the account was “hacked” by someone out of state named “ItsJ0sh”, but then hours before she said that ItsJ0sh was “helping” Julias get the Recon Armor.

[UPDATE]

Q13 Fox Seattle has followed-up with the news that the boy did in fact cheat, that he gave his information to the gamer I mentioned above so that he could get the specialized Recon Armor for Halo: Reach, which is against Xbox LIVE Terms of Use. We have also received report that Stepto, AKA Stephen Toulouse, has given Julias a 1 month Xbox LIVE credit so he can start fresh. But the Scarlet Letter (Cheater tag) is still there reportedly, which is officially justified.

 

--------

Her Twitter account (apparently closed now, shocking, I know) is ColdAssSunshine.

 

TheSmokey

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 [UPDATE]

The mom is a cheating douche.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

I am not sure what to make of this story.. partly because I am a bit skeptical of the 'nah nah we have proof he cheated!' rhetoric coming from Microsoft.

I can remember a buddy of mine was kicked off EVE with a similiar line.  The person never cheated, but support kept claiming they had 'solid proof', which of course they would not reveal for the standard 'people might use this to get around our methods' type argument.

In other words, I take their claim of proof with a grain of salt....

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

This story was of interest to me because I myself happen to have Asperger's syndrome, a form of mild autism.

At first I did sympathize with the boy - but if he did knowingly and willingly cheat (as Toulouse and the XBox live admins insist that he did), then Microsoft might not have been in the wrong after all. One of the things that bothers me is how they refuse to say how he cheated - Did he hack his memory card? Has he used a GameShark-like aid? Did he abuse some in-game exploit?

Being part of a group of people who are trying to advocate autism awareness and rights for autistic people, I can tell you that people on the Autistic Spectrum have been struggling to be accepted in today's society, and it's been far more difficult for us to find acceptance than it has been for African-Americans, gays and most other minority groups, because of our social and neurological quirks. And if this kid truly did cheat, then all his parents did in making a big deal out of this (and bringing his disorder into it) is just make the rest of us on the Autistic Spectrum look bad.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 Don't worry, this doesn't reflect poorly on autistic people.  It only reflects poorly on Fox news that they exploited this child's autism for an "OMG evil corporation!" sensationalized news story.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

Tolouse said he notified the customer of the specifics. The articles states that neither MS or the client are telling GP (or the original reporter) what those specifics are.

Autism has nothing to do with this article, just an attempt at a rubber stamp by the parents.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

Well, the autism might be relavent.   Autism often comes with obsessive focus that can result in play behavior that is quite unusual and sometimes results in odd looking scores.  I know a girl who is an aspie (so not even full autism) who plays card games on her computer for something like 8-12 hours per day... she ends up with scores and winning streaks that look very unrealistic and if it was an on-line game she would probably be accused of cheating since no 'normal' person could get numbers like that.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

Help! A wolf is eating my sheep!

It's no wonder why large companies have trouble believing false positives. 

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

This kid cheated.  Microsoft doesn't just label someone as a cheater if they were just really good at getting achievements.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 Glad the truth came out. Being autistic doesn't take away the possibility of cheating any more than any one else. In fact, as mentioned in other articles, autistic kids tend to show brilliance with specific activities. For this kid, cheating may have been one of them.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

 He couldn't have been too brilliant a cheater if he got caught.

Re: Microsoft Cracks Down on 11-Year Old Autistic Boy

He wasn't too brilliant period, simply because he cheated in the first place.

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