29,000 pirated Xbox games seized in UAE

Microsoft Gulf has announced that the UAE authorities have seized 29,000 pirated copies of games for its Xbox 360 console.

A series of 21 raids on resellers in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi also resulted in the arrest of three people who are now awaiting criminal charges.

“The ramifications of piracy and the distribution of pirated goods will always negatively impact any economy and hinder growth,” said Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, managing director, UAE Ministry of Economy. “It does no justice to the businesses that are operating legitimately and complying with all regulatory and UAE laws. The Ministry, in collaboration with private rights holders such as Microsoft, will take all necessary actions to clamp down on piracy and the distribution of counterfeit products in the UAE.”

One store that was raided in Sharjah – a known supplier of pirated games – was found to be in possession of 25,000 pirated DVDs, reportedly housed in specially built hidden shelves.

“Not only do pirated games seriously affect our customers, they also threaten our partners and resellers that do business legitimately,” said Jawad Al Redha, anti-piracy manager, Microsoft Gulf. “Most pirated games don’t deliver a high quality experience. They also require the console to be modified or ‘chipped’, which voids the warranty.”

Last year Microsoft banned thousands of modified consoles from using its online community Xbox Live meaning users could no longer update their machines, download content or play over the internet. A total of one million consoles worldwide are currently banned from Xbox Live.