If Information Week is to be believed, Microsoft has initiated a purge of Xbox Live that would've made Stalin's head of IT proud--had the Soviet dictator had ever had one. The magazine is reporting that the software giant has suspended as many as 1 million accounts it suspects of using modded Xbox 360 consoles to play pirated games.
While the methods Microsoft used to detect the modded consoles are unclear, the scale of the purge is vast. With a total subscriber base of just over 20 million, a 1-million-user ban would drop Xbox Live's population by a full 5 percent. The mass ban also arrives during the same month that the Twitter, Last.fm, and Facebook-supporting Xbox Live fall update is expected.
GameSpot sibling site CNET noticed a side effect of the ban, which many will find amusing. Currently, some 74 modded and banned Xbox 360 consoles have been posted onto the San Francisco Bay Area edition of popular goods-and-services site Craigslist.
In a sign that the ban has indeed hit software pirates, several listings posted prior to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's November 10 launch tout the fact they come with a "burnt" copy of the game. Last week, a joint private and police investigation led to the arrest of several would-be Modern Warfare 2 pirates.