[UPDATE] Microsoft Devastates Autistic Child By Labeling Him a Cheater

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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[UPDATE] Microsoft Devastates Autistic Child By Labeling Him a Cheater



Microsoft killed the Gamerscore of an autistic child and has labeled him a cheater for an unknown reason.

Unlike Nintendo [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/107185-Nintendo-Belittles-Achievements-As-Mythical-Rewards], achievements mean the world to 11-year-old Julius Jackson. Jackson is autistic and uses his Xbox 360 as his primary form of entertainment. Unfortunately, that outlet has been severely marred by his recent labeling as a "Cheater" on Xbox Live.

When Microsoft discovers that Xbox Live users have improperly boosted their Gamerscores, it puts "Cheater" by their name and takes away every single one of their achievements, which is exactly what happened to Jackson. "Everybody thinks I'm a cheater," Jackson sadly told Q13 Fox News. "They stole my achievements that I got and it took me like 200 days."

Jackson's mother, Jennifer Zdenek, claims he never did anything to deserve the label, and cannot get it removed despite repeated contact with Microsoft. Microsoft says it's confident that someone tampered with Jackson's account to boost his score in an illegitimate manner, and doesn't currently plan to give him his achievements back. The company told Q13 Fox News that Jackson can "still legitimately gain future achievements," but apparently has him labeled as a "Cheater" for good.

Zdenek wants the label off of her son's Xbox Live name so he can go back to doing what he loves. "It disgusts me that they did this to my child," she said.

While I definitely feel for Jackson and hope the situation can be resolved, I wonder if Zdenek is telling the whole story here. Microsoft could have made a huge mistake, but it's possible that someone, or even Jackson, may have cheated to boost his score too. Ideally, Microsoft will investigate the matter to the best of its ability so that Jackson can go back to doing what he loves.

Update: Microsoft's team did indeed investigate this matter thoroughly, according to tweets from Xbox Live Director of Policy and Enforcement Stephen Toulouse. "I confirmed that achievements were illegitimately modified on the account and contacted the customer directly w/ specifics," Toulouse said. Unfortunately, he also said that "the only person who gets the proof is the mom," so we won't be able to figure out exactly why the kid was banned unless the mother shares the information with us. Thanks for the heads up D_987 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/D_987]!

Source: Game Informer [http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-xbox-labels-autistic-child-01252011,0,5767271.story]

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Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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Don't know what I'd do if all my achievements disappeared. You know how long it took to get 87,000 without resorting to shitty movie games for easy gamerscore?!

But if he was actually a cheater...then that's totally fine with me. And I think that he actually was a cheater, myself.

I highly doubt the mother would actually know whether or not her kid was cheating, though.

MS will likely give him the stuff back to save face, as autism is a hot-button issue right now.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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I'm fairly sure Microsoft know when someones cheating or hacking. They're saying someone tampered with it, maybe they're right?

But it still sucks for that kid ._. I hope he gets his achievements back and can go on doing what he loves.
 

Azaraxzealot

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Dec 1, 2009
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might be better to save some face and some PR by giving it back to him. even if he did cheat.
 

Tomtitan

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Jun 7, 2010
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If the kid/his family/someone isn't to blame (which could be the case...) then... damn, when did Microsoft get taken over by Mr Burns?
 
Apr 28, 2008
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At the moment, I'm not sure what to make of this.

On one hand, yeah it sucks this happened to the kid, and he may be innocent. On the other hand, he could just be lying. Kids do that, after all.

Hopefully this all turns out to be a mistake.
 
Oct 14, 2010
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Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask: Why is this a story worthy of coverage from a news station? A game site, sure; but a broadcast affiliate in a major city? Really?
 

Kratenser

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Sep 18, 2010
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Seems a little cruel to me that they stuck the word "cheater" by his name. Understandably, if someone had been caught cheating, then hell yeah they probably deserve it, but in this case it seems a bit overzealous
 

Rednog

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Nov 3, 2008
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Yea I don't think the whole truth is out there, Microsoft just doesn't go flipping through random people's accounts and labels them as cheaters, he was either reported as cheating or raised some red flags by having his score jump high in a short period of time.
Also really disgusted that people run to the media with something like this and parade it as a sob story just because the kid is autistic, and if they do find out that he for sure cheated his mom will still probably raise hell about it.
 

jpakaferrari

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Nov 9, 2009
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Microsoft really has nothing to win by refusing to give an autistic child his achievements back and taking away his cheater label. It's just bad PR and a insignificance of a gamerscore/loserscore to microsoft compared to this child is hardly worth the loss of face to the general public.
 

Lord_Panzer

Impractically practical
Feb 6, 2009
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Pretty sure if Microsoft is aware the guy they're targeting is an 11-year-old autistic they're going to make damn sure he deserves it.

They might not be PR masters, but they've got sense enough to know that the public at large frowns on unwarranted humiliation of kids with mental handicaps.
 

sabercrusader

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Jul 18, 2009
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Azaraxzealot said:
might be better to save some face and some PR by giving it back to him. even if he did cheat.
That would be the smartest thing to do on Microsoft's part. Even if the kid did cheat, the public won't look at it that way, they'll only look at it as "they took away an austistic kid's achievements that meant the world to him, those 'bleep!'"

It dosen't matter to me if he cheated or not becuase achievements usually give you nothing in return.
 

Rednog

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Nov 3, 2008
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Kratenser said:
Seems a little cruel to me that they stuck the word "cheater" by his name. Understandably, if someone had been caught cheating, then hell yeah they probably deserve it, but in this case it seems a bit overzealous
How is it overzealous in this case, it essentially is no different than any other case of a person accused of cheating by Microsoft. He was treated just like any other player and that's how it should stand.
 

Falseprophet

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Jan 13, 2009
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Tim Latshaw said:
Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask: Why is this a story worthy of coverage from a news station? A game site, sure; but a broadcast affiliate in a major city? Really?
Three reasons. One, local affiliates really have nothing to do except for local human interest stories. All the big news is probably coming down the pipe from the same major newswires. If there were no major crimes or car accidents in town that day, might as well roll with this.

Second, old media always jump at the chance to cast new media (including video games) in a bad light.

Third, this is a Seattle affiliate and they can spin anything Microsoft-related as local news.
 

RobCoxxy

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Feb 22, 2009
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Well that should teach him for being autistic a cheat.
Also, I thought XBL required you to be older than 11, anyway?
 

Jack and Calumon

Digimon are cool.
Dec 29, 2008
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Tim Latshaw said:
Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask: Why is this a story worthy of coverage from a news station? A game site, sure; but a broadcast affiliate in a major city? Really?
Hey, maybe it was a slow news day.

Also, is there much point in throwing in the fact that he's autistic? I'm autistic, but I wouldn't want to throw that around or something. Is it meant to make me sympathise with him?

Also, I think he did, but doesn't want to admit it, though labelling players with "Cheater" seems kind of... bad. Doesn't seem like a good way to sort things out. A swift banning or suspension 'ought to whip him into shape.

Calumon: But, then why can cheats be put into games? Jack can't beat that old game without that big code!