ANOTHER UPDATE: OK, now even Julius' mom is admitting that he cheated. Apparently the boy gave his account info to a third party who rigged the system to boost his achievements. More here and here.
UPDATE: Microsoft is sticking to its guns. They say little Julius is definitely a cheater. Stephen Toulouse Director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement writes on Twitter:
"We confirmed there were cheated achievements and gave the parent the details. This wasn't a "he played too good" situation at all."
The full Tweet exchange after the jump.
Julius Zdenek is really good at Xbox Live. In fact, up until last week he had 1,500 "achievements" (that's a lot) on his online account from his various feats of gaming skill. He's also autistic. Microsoft, however, says he's a "cheater."
Essentially, moderators at Xbox Live can permanently label someone a cheater if they believe the person has used some kind of shady means to boost their score. The label shows up on the person's profile tag like a Scarlet Letter for all to see.
They also can no longer earn back achievements.
Julius, an 11-year-old from Edgewood, and his mom Jennifer claim the boy can't even comprehend the concept of cheating, much less use a program that could hack the system and manipulate his score.
Jennifer has been trying to get answers from Microsoft, and after getting the run-around for a while, she finally got some e-mails from a lawyer explaining Xbox Live's strip-and-shame policy for people they think are cheaters.
It's a policy first rolled out in 2008. More on that here and here.
Whether little Julius is actually a cheater or not, we may never know. But somehow he seems a bit too adorable to sink to that level.
UPDATE: We still haven't seen hard evidence of Julius' misdoings (not that video-game accusations deserve any kind of official legal treatment). But Stephen Toulouse, aka Stepto, is adamant that the kid's a cheater.
Here's him explaining via Twitter what he found on Julius' account.