Any New York State-based sex offenders who are into online gaming are about to get an unpleasant surprise when they discover their accounts on Xbox Live and a number of other online gaming services have been terminated. As part of Operation: Game Over, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that over 3,500 accounts tied to sex offenders in New York have been terminated. Xbox Live is the only service mentioned by name in the press release, but the companies Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony are all lumped in as well. They are responsible for other online gaming services like PlayStation Network, Origin, and Battle.net between them.
In New York, sex offenders have to provide the state with email addresses and screen names in addition to the other standard information like physical address. This information can then be shared with online services at which point, the services can close accounts if they’d like to remove sex offenders from their service. Apparently most do. Not all sex offender accounts were permanently closed, however. According to the press release, some services opted to just revoke communication privileges, which seems like a less harsh but effective way to solve the problem. Either way, this marks the first time sex offenders have been purged from online gaming services. Its unlikely to be the last.