Many gamers, us included, were surprised earlier today when reports started showing up alleging that Microsoft was making some Xbox One units "entirely unusable" as punishment for testers breaking a non-disclosure agreement. Microsoft has since pushed back on those reports, seemingly denying that such a punishment is within its power.
The story starts last month, when rumors of a remastered Gears of War collection for the Xbox One started leaking out as the game was apparently sent to beta testers. Earlier this week, off-screen video footage of that test started appearing on YouTube, sourced from some of those same testers.
These leaks drew a stern rebuke from VMC Consulting, a third-party testing service that helps coordinate these kinds of tests for Microsoft through its Global Beta Test Network. In a letter to testers obtained by Polygon and Kotaku, VMC warned of serious consequences for breaking a non-disclosure agreement associated with the test, including punishment from Microsoft that could render an Xbox One useless.