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Microsoft matches Crisp reward, investigators turn to Xbox Live


Brandon Crisp, a Barrie, Canada, teen has been missing since October 13 following a fight with his parents for taking away his Xbox 360. As hundreds of volunteers scour the area Crisp was last seen, console giant Microsoft has matched the reward for information regarding his whereabouts. Upping the reward to $50,000, Microsoft has also caught the attention of investigators who have requested the Xbox 360 manufacturer breach its normal privacy protocol and release information regarding the gamers Crisp had played with prior to leaving home. Since his disappearance Crisp's parents have publicly stated they fear the 15-year-old, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare fanatic, has been lured by gamers and may be held against his will.

"Law enforcement has contacted Microsoft about this matter and we are co-operating fully with them. We are unable to comment further on the nature of our co-operation because of the ongoing investigation," a Microsoft representative told The Globe and Mail.

While it is not uncommon for lawsuits to arise against game makers from parents who fear their children have become obsessed with videogames, Chris Bennett, a Vancouver-based lawyer who runs the Video Games & Interactive Entertainment Law blog, states ultimately the medium is not at fault because ultimately parents are responsible for what their children are watching on television and for the games they play. Crisp's father has made it clear that the family isn't attempting to vilify Microsoft or the console in anyway, telling The Globe and Mail, "I'm not on a witch hunt. I just want my son back."

We continue to hope for Brandon's safe return home.

Barrie teen runs away from home, parents blame online games


For nearly two-weeks 15-year-old Brandon Crisp has been missing after running away from his home. The Barrie, Canada, teen stormed out of his house during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend when his parents took away his Xbox 360, arguing that his excessive play of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was affecting his sleep and social skills.

According to earlier reports, Brandon told his parents he would run away if his system was not returned and, in an effort to "call his bluff," his father helped the teen pack his belongings. Brandon's parents now fear that he has been "lured by gamers" through the Xbox Live gaming service, "It could be organized crime or someone involved in Internet gambling. Pedophiles can stalk kids through these games," Brandon's father told The Star.

While it's easy to argue how Xbox Live is being misrepresented in this situation the fact remains that Brandon, who purchased Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare -- an M Rated title intended for gamers 17 and above -- with his own Christmas money, is still missing and his family is completely distraught. We hope for his safe return home.

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