As it has done with prior Halo games, Microsoft is handing out permanent Xbox Live bans to anyone it discovers has played the leaked version of Halo 4.

Pirates found playing the game have received an email from Microsoft that includes the following:

“This email is to notify you that your Xbox Live privileges have been permanently suspended due to illegitimate prerelease title play.

“Because your conduct is in violation, the Xbox Live Enforcement Team has issued a permanent suspension. Your Xbox Live privileges will not be reinstated.”

After the Halo 4 leak was made public, Microsoft said it would ban consoles as well as accounts, although no evidence of the former has surfaced thus far.

"Consumers should be aware that piracy is illegal and we take vigorous action against illegal activity related to our products and services," it said.

“Playing pirated copies of games, such as Halo 4, is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use and will result in enforcement action, such as account and console bans."

Those whose accounts are banned from Xbox Live may simply start a new one. A full console ban makes the Xbox unable to connect to the Live service regardless of the account used.

Halo 4 is due out November 6 on Xbox 360.