Square Enix bans more FFXI accounts

Third-party hacks spur the MMORPG maker to suspend or terminate more than 2,000 accounts--the second batch of bans in as many months.


Final Fantasy XI

Another month, another set of bans.

Square Enix, maker of Final Fantasy XI, announced Friday it has banned or suspended more than 2,000 game accounts in July due to players' use of "malicious" third-party programs--which the company says can "destroy" the massively multiplayer online role-playing game's economy.

The company did not clarify how many of those 2,000 accounts were banned, and how many were suspended.

"Today, a number of accounts which were confirmed to have violated the user agreement by using unauthorized third-party software tools within Final Fantasy XI to enable abnormal in-game movement were discovered and have been suspended or permanently terminated," the company said in a statement.

"We would like to take this time to remind our players that the use of any third-party tools will not only destroy the in-game balance, but will also encourage RMT (Real Money Trade) activities," the company said. "We will continue to take strict actions against those individuals that we have confirmed to have used such tools."

The news follows Square Enix's crackdown of 250 accounts in June over money-farming and real-money trading, which is the practice of selling in-game currency for cash in the real world. Concerns over real-money trading prompted the Japanese government--particularly worried about large-scale money-mining operations in video games--to launch its own investigation last week.

Earlier this month, a different MMORPG--Ultima Online--received a similar round of account cancellations. Ultima Online's publisher, Electronic Arts, banned 180 accounts and removed 15 trillion gold from the in-game economy--a total whose real-world value ranges from $15 million to $60 million, depending on estimates.

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