Yesterday, Xbox Live's Major Nelson admits that the Xbox Live Account scandal involved pretexting. For those of you that haven't been following this situation, Microsoft has had numerous complaints of people having their Xbox Live accounts closed, changed, or charged for things the account holders didn't do. Until this week, Microsoft has been hiding behind the security of their network, blaming end users for the problem, and has flatly refused to investigate any of these issues. Then, someone decided to record a call to Xbox Live support, where they sucessfully misled the support personnel into gaining access to an account that wasn't theirs. That recording was then posted on the internet, and Microsoft couldn't do anything but admit there was a problem.
So Major nelson said that they're now retraining support staff to prevent it from happening again in the future. While that's all fine and dandy, that's only half of the solution. Microsoft needs to make take some serious steps to rectify the problem with their CUSTOMERS as well, and they need to do it immediately. It should happen in two parts:
- Anyone who has been affected by this issue should have their accounts restored, any charges reversed, and either a year of Xbox Live Gold for free, or 5000 Microsoft points. Microsoft will lose a core gamer audience if they don't make it right with the victims, and then some.
- I've seen several reports online about the people who hacked the accounts. Since pretexting is illegal, Microsoft should open a criminal investigation, find those individuals, and charge them with the appropriate crime. That would send a clear message that Microsoft is not screwing around, and will not tolerate that kind of behavior on their network.
But Microsoft, the clock is ticking. You guys have a finite window to make this right before it has a serious impact on current and future sales. If you want to be #1 in the console market, you can't afford to lose any existing converts. Please, do the right thing, and do it quick.