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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 Avatar28 on 11/23/2009 11:08:15 AM , Rating: 5
No, they also "damage" the console by corrupting it's encryption keys (or revoking them or something, I'm not entirely clear). The end result of that is that your hard drive is unusable on another xbox. Or, more specifically, the data on it is. Presumably it could be wiped and reused but any save games or anything are not transferable to another console. At least, that's my understanding.

I have no problem with the banning of the consoles, though their needs to be some sort of appeals process since I have heard of a few cases that people claiming that they were banned with unmodified consoles. I do think that screwing them up so that save games or anything like that can't be transferred is going too far though.

By damianrobertjones on 11/23/2009 11:51:46 AM , Rating: 3
If people can figure out how to mod their consoles, then surely they can figure out how to transfer their hard drive.

One minute clever, one minute dumb.

By xmichaelx on 11/23/2009 4:13:44 PM , Rating: 4
If people can figure out how to mod their consoles, then surely they can figure out how to transfer their hard drive.

False. Modding a console is easy. You might as well say that anyone who can download and install CS4 from PirateBay is capable of figuring out how to get around Adobe's encryption. One could be done by an idiot 8-year-old, the other is not so easy.

By steven975 on 11/23/2009 1:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think the drives *will* work on another console, just one the banned one.

By lightfoot on 11/23/2009 4:43:33 PM , Rating: 1
You're making the flawed assumption that the console owner owns the decryption keys. In reality the content owner owns the decryption keys, and that owner is Microsoft. They are just deleting these keys, not "damaging the hardware."

By dark matter on 11/24/2009 4:48:24 AM , Rating: 1
Inconsequential. The end result is a damaged xbox.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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