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Ban Hammer Frenzy
Operation: Game Over has added more companies to its cause. Joining the ranks are THQ, Funcom, NCSoft, and Gaia Online which removed 2,100 registered sex offenders from online gaming platforms in New York. This announcement came from attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman today through his website. The bannings are part of an initiative, which earlier this year removed more than 3,500 sex offenders from online networks in the state of New York.
These publishers, in addition to an unnamed fifth, join a growing list of firms agreeing to remove registered sex offenders from their online networks. The list already includes Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive, Warner Bros., and Sony.
“The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims.”
All these bans arose from the passing of New York’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), by which convicted sex offenders must register all of their e-mail addresses, screen names, and similar identifiers for the purposes of limiting their access to certain online networks. Operation: Game Over represents the first time the law has been invoked relative to online gaming.
Independent of Operation: Game Over, Blizzard Entertainment has took up the ban hammer to eliminate “several thousand” Diablo III players found to be using bots. Good riddance. A Blizzard community manager elaborated:
“In addition to undermining the spirit of fair play, botting, hacking, and other forms of cheating can also cause technical problems with the game as well as contribute to performance issues with the Battle.net service.”
An upcoming Diablo III patch will add the ability for players to report this behavior directly through the game client, but in the meantime anyone who witness such botting hacks should report any wrongdoings to [email protected].