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Microsoft Unleashes Banhammer on Xbox 360 Modders

By - Source: Tom's Guide | B 27 comments

Reports have begun rolling in from numerous sources that Microsoft has once again unleashed the banhammer on Xbox Live subscribers with modified Xbox 360 consoles.

The latest batch of bans represents the second major sweep by Microsoft, and may have ties to the release of Gears of War 2. The first wave took place during the Halo 3 launch, perhaps revealing an anti-piracy strategy by Microsoft which is tied to major product launches.

At this time, the exact number of consoles banned are unavailable, however the current wave of bans has yet to finish. Administrators and members of a number of communities dedicated to the modification of Xbox 360 consoles are scrambling to identify just how Microsoft was able to identify their modifications. Several users have claimed that they had made numerous efforts to avoid detection through the use of hardware and software based "stealth patches." Some users who have been banned even claim that they had disconnected their network cables while playing pirated copies of retail games, but were still targeted in the sweep.

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson thus far is the only one to comment on the situation officially, stating on his blog "In our our continued effort to keep gameplay safe and secure for our community of more than 14 million members, Microsoft has taken action against a small percentage of Xbox 360 consoles that have been illegally modified in order to play pirated games." He continues "The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive, both from manufacturers and the local companies that support them. We will continue to employ and bolster anti-piracy security measures to counter piracy in the gaming industry and improve security in the Xbox LIVE community."

While the "modding" community thus far has been unable to determine the exact method of detection used to single them out, theories related to the use of recently leaked press copies of Fallout 3 and Saints Row 2 seem to be a common factor in those that have been already banned. The bans enforced are reported to be permanent, with no method available to contest the decision through Microsoft.

Related Links: http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/11/11/xbox-360-console-banning.aspx

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  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 13, 2008 1:01 PM
    Doesn't the 360 log when you played a game? Play a game before launch and well, wouldn't be too hard to see who is pirating and who isn't. I'm not at home so I can't check...
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , November 13, 2008 1:08 PM
    Way to go Microsoft!!! This is the first time I've seen them do something right for a long time!!!

    Developers will start to feel more confident that their games won't be pirated and release more titles!
  • 0 Hide
    enforcer22 , November 13, 2008 1:10 PM
    All i can say is good. Valve started doing the same thing years ago. Hope it catchs on. Though valve was more vs cheating which is more what i care about. Pirating a game to try it first is fine by me. Me like alot of people are sick of spending $50 for a game that sux since there are more bad games made now then good ones its nice to find out before you buy it. Though if you know your going to like it and your a "fanboy" so to speak of a game just buy the damn thing.
  • Display all 27 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 13, 2008 1:32 PM
    Embedding a Trojan in a recently released game that will auto install but remain inactive unless the console detect hardware mod in which case the Trojan will "switch on" at a pre-determined date.
  • 5 Hide
    Heyyou27 , November 13, 2008 1:48 PM
    @ EnFoRceR22

    Pirating a game because you don't think it's good is not a legitimate excuse. If you can't afford to buy/rent games, you shouldn't play them. I'm glad Microsoft is banning users who pirate games, and I wish they'd get them all. Who knows, maybe the NXE will even help combat piracy.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , November 13, 2008 1:48 PM
    only if we could have gotten some sort of system to work with pc...=[
  • 0 Hide
    enforcer22 , November 13, 2008 2:00 PM
    Last time i checked i couldnt rent PC games. i wouldnt own a console for any reason i was just stating a opinion. I wasnt making a excuse i made it pretty clear i didnt care if they thought it was bad. Im just not going to spend $50 a month buying a game for 2 years to finaly buy one worth playing for more then 20 minutes. Sorry but i could care less if people think thats a bad thing.

    I suppose if i wanted to i could just simply burn $50 here and there for the same enjoyment i would get out of buying a box of crap but yeah just not going there.

    Here is a nice thought though. I know alot of pc games have demos something that has dropped off to much and i know they made demos for consoles. Maybe some time limited full fetured demos are in order ;)  If i had a game i could sit down and play for say 3 hours to try the baby out that could be all i needed.

    Sorry to all the bleeding hearts that think you should buy every game you think might be good but give me a break. I could buy up to 8 give or take games a month as it is. Why do you people insist people buy every single thing they try for a hour or two. I miss the days of freeware and shareware were you could try everything before buying it. Course in those days almost everygame was worth buying and always had replay value in its own way. Now its a gamble if its even worth putting in the tray to begin with. So im sorry but im not much for gambling :) 

    On a side note if its a game that says securom im sorry but im a evil pirate downloading the none securom version of that one game that has it thats good. if EA dont like it i got something they can kiss.
  • 0 Hide
    crockdaddy , November 13, 2008 2:27 PM
    Frankly I agree somewhat with Enforcer.

    FYI to the holy rollers out there. I buy on average 6 to 15 PC Games each year so suck it. I hate getting burned buy crappy purchases so I rely heavily on demos, reviews when I can.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , November 13, 2008 3:05 PM
    This may have been pretty clever.

    If they released games that had been patched specifically to alert Microsoft of the pirated product. You lose one game, and kill a pirate.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 13, 2008 3:08 PM
    I agree somewhat with enforcer as well. I hate wasting my hard-earned cash to support some company that's just going to reinvest it putting out more crapware. Rather than alienate good custumers trying to protect their crappy products, there are some better steps they could take.

    1. Make demos a regular part of the product and release schedule.
    2. Make good games.

    The successful companies have learned this.
  • 0 Hide
    frenchy , November 13, 2008 3:13 PM
    I don't own a Xbox or any console for that matter but was curious what would happen if someone unknowingly buys a used "Banned" Xbox off Craigslist or ebay for example. Is that buyer out of luck? I think that would be a major problem and causes further PR problems with Microsoft on potential new customers.

    Personally, I would never buy a piece of equipment that some third party has power over me an tells me what I can and can not do with it and remotely disables my property.
  • -2 Hide
    malveaux , November 13, 2008 3:34 PM
    If I buy it, it's mine. If there's some corp overhead that will prevent what I buy from working how it was supposed to work after I play around with it, then they don't get my money.

    Open source. Open Mind.

    To hell with the MS's B.S.

  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , November 13, 2008 3:44 PM
    But guys, Microsoft IS THE maker of the console. They're NOT the third party, so they have control, just like how Apple retains control even after you buy their system through closed computer model...
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 13, 2008 3:56 PM
    Yet another reason to not buy an xbox. I was considering it eventually for games like dead or alive volley ball or whatever other DOA game is available (for obvious reasons) and maybe some other games too but if I have to worry about komrade security check every time I start up a game and also the FACT that all the solder melting off the bottom of the circuit boards of the xbox after only a few hours of gameplay then I don't need such a communist waste of time.
  • 1 Hide
    Trialsking , November 13, 2008 6:37 PM
    malveauxIf I buy it, it's mine. If there's some corp overhead that will prevent what I buy from working how it was supposed to work after I play around with it, then they don't get my money.Open source. Open Mind.To hell with the MS's B.S.Cheers,I far as can tell he pirated games still work, but the users are now banned from Live, which Microsoft owns and maintains. The pirates can play all they want, just not on Live. No one said anything about them disabling the console.

    I far as can tell he pirated games still work, but the users are now banned from Live, which Microsoft owns and maintains. The pirates can play all they want, just not on Live. No one said anything about them disabling the console.
  • 1 Hide
    plbyrd , November 13, 2008 8:07 PM

    You obviously know absolutely nothing about the XBOX 360. Practically all games have a demo available through XBOX Live and they give a GREAT preview of what you are going to get. There's not rational reason to pirate games, and Microsoft has given ample information for each game to determine if you like it or not.

    As for the PC, I still don't agree with your argument. Almost all game publishers provide great information about each game through sites like Gamespot where you can watch actual gameplay footage, interact with other people who own the game, and a lot of games even provide a demo (especially those that show up on Steam).

    Also, if you're buying 8 games a month then you've got a bad case of ADHD and need some medical help.
  • 1 Hide
    plbyrd , November 13, 2008 8:09 PM
    Microsoft is banning these system from XBOX Live, not disabling the systems.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 14, 2008 4:36 AM
    This has nothing to do with pirating. Modding does not = pirating. Modding = changing hardware and OS. Pirating = stealing software. The two are not the same. Some of you commenting seem to be confusing the two. Modding = unfair advantage in games, hence "Go Microsoft!"
  • 0 Hide
    enforcer22 , November 14, 2008 9:20 AM
    No i said i could buy 8 games a month but yes i do have a bad case of ADHD. No i said i was pretty sure they had demos for the xbox but your right i dont really know alot about the system its self. But for me words on paper and actualy playing the game its self are two totaly different things. i can hear about it all day or read about it but often times peoples opinions and whats written just hype me and get me to buy a game that was just crap wrapped in a pretty package.

    Like i said though if a game is good and it gives me the replay value i will go buy the game either at the store or via digital download. If its not you really think i need spend upwords of $70 for a game to play it for 3 hours to find out it is crap? seriously?

    Those game stores here dont have playable demos of any PC games which is really all i play anywyas so my argument wasnt to bleed over to consoles where most gaming stores tend to have demo machines.

    But i will say i try and find demos before i go to torrent.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 15, 2008 2:20 PM

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