Microsoft and VMC strike down Gears of War screenshot leakers

Sean Michael

Xbox One

Don’t mess with non-disclosure agreements. If you do, as leakers of a Gears of War snapshot have now learned, you can be suspended from Xbox Live, and face legal action. Contractor VMC Games and Microsoft have both taken action against leakers of the snapshots resulting in at minimum a suspension from Xbox Live privileges.

Members of a beta test group shared a screenshot over Snapchat and it ended up being shared online. While the initial Snappchatter may not have intended to have the images get to the masses, he or she is being held responsible for the end result. Kotaku broke the story and has obtained multiple emails regarding the situation. Here’s an excerpt from an email obtained by Kotaku specifying the offense

“Recently, multiple leaks were perpetrated by several GBTN community members. In one case, a member who was participating in that test shared a screenshot on Snapchat with their friend, who wasn’t part of the project, but tricked his friend by saying he didn’t believe him when he said they were working on the same project. Upon reception of the screenshot, the friend who received the Snapchat leaked it online, betraying his friend as well as his NDA with VMC Games. While the tester who first took the screenshot didn’t think he was doing anything bad, he was still going against the NDA, and was part of the cause why the information got leaked. Because of this, both members were permanently removed from the community and addressed to our legal department, as per the terms of the NDA.”

In a later part of the same email obtained by Kotaku it was stated that the users in question had their Xbox Live privileges permanently disabled and their consoles rendered temporarily unusable but according to Microsoft, that isn’t the case. Microsoft clarified to Kotaku stating “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. Microsoft enforcement action does not result in a console becoming unusable.”

It isn’t at all surprising that violators of NDAs would be punished and have to deal with legal consequences. The specific circumstances, Snapchats getting shared online, may seem trivial but from the contracting company VMC Games’ perspective, information got out that they need to keep within certain circles.

The banhammer weighs heavily on those that go up against gaming giants and this is a solid example of why it’s important to be careful what you take recordings of and who you share them with.