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Microsoft's bricking of modified Xbox 360 consoles may bring the company its latest class action suit. Microsoft tells the over 1 million banned customers to buy a new Xbox 360 or deal with their crippled unit.
Legal firm is looking for banned Xbox owners to participate in suit

Gamers are really into tweaking their gear for fun and to achieve the best performance during gameplay. PC gamers overclock their hardware to get more performance for less money and console gamers have modded their Xbox 360 consoles for many reasons (some for innocent reasons, some for nefarious reasons).

Microsoft appears to feel that the only reason to mod an Xbox 360 is to allow the console to play pirated download software. A law firm based in Texas that specializes in IP has launched a new website to gather Xbox 360 users who have been banned for modding their consoles. The main goal of the firm is to find out whether there are enough console owners that were banned to start a class action suit against Microsoft.

The law firm wrote on its website, "Microsoft has chosen to use one of the most indiscriminate "weapons" in its arsenal in an effort to combat piracy -- as a result, use of this "weapon" has resulted in a great deal of collateral damage -- many people were affected who had nothing to do with piracy."

According to the law firm, AbingtonIP, the bans were strategically timed so that they didn’t interfere with the sales and new Xbox Live registrations that were seen around the launch of HALO ODST and the recent launch of Modern Warfare 2. AbingtonIP states that had the bans happened before the launch of these games the profits reaped by Microsoft would have been diminished.

So far the Xbox 360 ban has led to more than 1 million consoles being banned from the network with the official recourse for the banned players being to buy a new console and not mod it this time around. A potential fix for banned consoles that doesn't involve buying a new Xbox 360 surfaced. The workaround is called iXtreme LT and the goal of the workaround is to provide a minimum amount of security checks and make the firmware as close to stock as possible to avoid detection and the resulting ban.

The fix arrived but was rather complex and required that the Xbox 360 not have been updated or the player to have access to the CPU key of the console. DailyTech has also spoke with an attorney -- Jeffrey Johnson -- about the banning of Xbox 360 console form the Xbox Live network.

Microsoft's official statement on the banning of certain consoles reads, "Our commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of our Xbox Live community remains a top priority,” he wrote. “All consumers should know that piracy is illegal, and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs, violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live."

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By Targon on 11/23/2009 10:29:59 AM , Rating: 3
The agreement for online use is that you use the hardware "as is", and this sets a level playing field. If you want to mod your device, you have to accept that you are not following the rules, and online play SHOULD be disabled.

On the flip side, if a company "bricks" a modified device, this is an area where people have a legitimate complaint. Companies set many rules to try to protect their customers from cheating, and allowing modified units to go online through the Microsoft service opens the door to all sorts of potential problems that some people just don't understand.

Again, you have an Xbox 360, you compete with others with a Xbox 360. It is a level playing field, and there is no need to level the playing field between those with a faster or slower machine to make things fair. That is why some people prefer consoles over PCs. The moment you allow for overclocked machines with a hacked BIOS or other modifications, that harms the experience for those who have an unmodified unit.

Nothing here says that I disapprove of modding, but in the console world, if you want to go online, you need to understand the rules of the online service in the first place.

By phattyboombatty on 11/23/2009 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
Your comment seems to imply that the reason for blacklisting the modded 360's is to prevent cheating. I was under the impression that the mod that was targeted by Xbox was a DVD mod that allowed users to play copied disks, so the real reason for the blacklisting was to punish pirates.

By prenox on 11/23/2009 11:19:08 AM , Rating: 2
When Left 4 Dead came out people found a way to edit certain files and burn those edited files onto the disc and then they could cheat by spawning weapons or enemies. They could do this on xbox live also not just single player.

By powerincarnate on 11/23/2009 10:51:35 AM , Rating: 1
I don't see how this is any different than the Cable company sending a "bullet" to your modified cable box, or to your cable card and disabling it. Or how Direct TV use to do that for those who would use software to hack their cards and allow all the channels to come through.

I seriously can't think of ONE reason why there is a legit complaint here. Lets all be real here, just about all of use have done something to the fashion of either downloading music or modifying game consoles. Remember HD Loader??? Remember the multitudes of mod chips that were available for the PS1. Remember chipping away at your SNES to allow the japanese games to fit and play in your system (i believe that hack worked for the genesis as well, i'm a bit hazy on that one). Or simply the multitudes of PC cracked games or fake CD keys, or No CD keygens, or even emulators to play all the games up until the PS1 era on your PC.

When the companies fight back, either via a rootkit, or limited activation like in Bioshock, or lawsuits in music companies or now Bricked consoles, people complain.

We all know these things will continue to happen, so instead of complaining, when you know you are in the wrong, you either STOP, OR evolve in more complex way or doing it. Like HD loader vs. the mod chips of the PS2 era. Like Bit torrent, instead of sites like Napster. It's the never ending battle of content companies vs. pirates.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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