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Xbox 360 ban message detailing the user's violation of Microsoft terms of service. (Source: Xbox-Scene)
Microsoft's Xbox 360 now able to sniff out illegitimate copies of games

More than a year has passed since the release of the Xbox 360 DVD-ROM firmware hack to allow the play of backup games and bootleg copies. Those with hacked firmware had the ability to play copied games, mostly burned onto dual-layer DVD recordable discs, even online Xbox Live.

For a while, it seemed that such firmware modifications were undetectable by Microsoft – but that appears to have all changed with the latest Xbox 360 system software released last week.

Word came from the Xbox 360 hacking community that the Spring Update may have the ability to detect those who were playing copied games. More specifically, the system software would be able to determine the legitimacy of the disc in the DVD drive, not necessarily targeting any specific method of modification.

As a pre-emptive measure, hackers released updated disc drive firmware introducing various features, such as disc jitter, in an effort to further the exploit. Such efforts, however, appear to be all for naught, as report on Xbox-Scene indicates that Microsoft is now banning from Xbox Live users with modified DVD-ROM drives, regardless of firmware version.

The banning measures appear to have started alongside the release of the Halo 3 beta, perhaps in what is best described as a crackdown on Crackdown bootlegged copies that contained Halo 3 beta access. Just as it did during the original Xbox days, Microsoft is permanently banning modified consoles from connecting to Xbox Live, but not the user account.

Microsoft acknowledges its new initiative with an entry in its Gamerscore Blog: “As part of our commitment to our members, we do not allow people that we have detected to have modified their console to connect to Live. This is an important part of our efforts to try and maintain a fair gaming environment for the large majority of gamers that play by the rules. This topic is more important than ever given the recent release of the Halo 3 beta.”

The blog continues, “As a result, some consumers that try to login to Live who we detect have illegally modified their console will get an error code (Status Code: Z: 8015 - 190D) when trying to connect to the service. These users will not have their account automatically banned from LIVE, but they will no longer be able to access the service from the console they modified. We have stated in the past that customers can only enjoy access to the Xbox LIVE community through the use of a genuine, unmodified, Xbox console and we will continue to enforce this rule to ensure the integrity of our service, the protection of our partners and the benefits of our users.”



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Tough love
By Bonrock on 5/18/2007 3:28:01 AM , Rating: 5
I'm sure plenty of people will complain about this, but they really shouldn't. Pay for your damn games and you won't have any problems. It's as simple as that. And I don't want to hear any whining about how expensive games are. Video games are NOT a necessity. If you can't afford them, find a less expensive hobby.

The only people who have any right to be upset about this are the three people in the world who actually make backup copies of their games for legitimate reasons.




RE: Tough love
By bunnyfubbles on 5/18/2007 4:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
while not the perfect solution you could always buy a backup console for your backups, only breakout the original copy if you want to play on live


RE: Tough love
By tuteja1986 on 5/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Tough love
By Adahiyast on 5/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Tough love
By Devo2007 on 5/18/2007 6:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
......and you can't spell either, so you have no right to pick apart someone's grammar.

Back on topic though, I also agree that the modders have no right to be upset about this. Microsoft has long-stated that they can do this, and frankly, they have every right to. If you play backups on your 360, then you're banned from XBox Live -- sounds fair to me.


RE: Tough love
By Adahiyast on 5/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: Tough love
By oneils on 5/25/2007 5:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
embarrassing, not embarressing.

McDonalds = McDondald's

McDonald's also pays quite well


RE: Tough love
By jacarte8 on 5/18/2007 8:51:21 AM , Rating: 3
Also, emoticons are for the weak. Australia should be capitalized, as it is a proper noun.


RE: Tough love
By KaiserCSS on 5/18/2007 9:48:16 AM , Rating: 5
lol, grammar fight.


RE: Tough love
By Spivonious on 5/18/2007 10:00:18 AM , Rating: 1
By your logic, I should be allowed to use someone else's Ferarri, because as a poor entry-level programmer, I can't afford $400,000 cars. It's not my fault, it's Ferarri's for pricing their cars so high!


RE: Tough love
By jadedeath on 5/18/2007 11:35:55 AM , Rating: 1
But if your analogy were true, it wouldn't involve borrowing someone else's Ferarri, it would be stealing it.

Logan


RE: Tough love
By Scrogneugneu on 5/18/2007 7:33:23 PM , Rating: 3
More like instantly creating a copy of someone else's Ferrari, so you would end up with a Ferrari you didn't pay for, but nobody lost one.


RE: Tough love
By abhaxus on 5/20/2007 2:10:44 AM , Rating: 2
You could put your stem cells next to someone else's ferrari... and then they could create your very own ferrari! Turns out those 33 aborted fetuses didn't go to waste afterall!


RE: Tough love
By borismkv on 5/18/2007 6:08:04 PM , Rating: 5
I've learned a cool rule. Whenever someone says something like, "By that logic" in a discussion, you can completely ignore everything that follows. That said, I agree that game piracy is a problem, even though I believe that game companies making crappy games that few feel are worth the money they charge for them.


RE: Tough love
By jadedeath on 5/19/2007 12:15:23 AM , Rating: 1
If you don't feel a game is worth it, there are alternatives to outright copying someone elses game.

Like wait until it comes on previously viewed at your local game retailer or movie store, then buy it when it hits it's cheapest price.

Logan


RE: Tough love
By ViperROhb34 on 5/18/2007 9:02:57 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah.. Im hearing alot of babies..

I've had ONE SINGLE COPY of my favorite games.. and guess what... I take care of them because I PAID FOR THEM..
If you buy them.. all you have to do it that !!


RE: Tough love
By Christopher1 on 5/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Tough love
By kmiller1700 on 5/21/2007 2:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
O RLY? how much? I'll give you no dollars for it

</sarcasm>


RE: Tough love
By nwrigley on 5/22/2007 11:52:44 AM , Rating: 3
You honestly don't believe that there are people in the world who put disks back into their cases as soon as they are done?

I have also never scratched a game enough that it wouldn't play.


RE: Tough love
By jadedeath on 5/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Tough love
By othercents on 5/18/2007 11:55:12 AM , Rating: 5
There are many parents that backup their games because every time their child touches the disc it gets scratched. Even if you tell your child that they can not play without supervision they still will try and scratch the game or DVD or anything else that could be damaged.

To get away from this it would be best if every game or movie had the ability to get a new copy if the old copy quits working. You send the old copy in and they verify the old copy and send you a new copy (with a minimal fee IE. $1 or $2). Then the only people hacking stuff will be those who are actually trying to steal crap.

Other


RE: Tough love
By christojojo on 5/18/2007 1:08:21 PM , Rating: 3
I agree my youngest, now 11, used to pull apart VHS tapes with scary regularity. (Yes, I used child protection locks and tried to hide them; but as most parents will tell you that only works with adults not determined 3yr olds.) He ruined countless dvds, before, he grew up enough to understand that you have to take care of things. I would have loved some sort of "fair use" exchange, like replacement for a small cost. I am willing to pay for the cost of manufacture not the paying double for single use.


RE: Tough love
By Christopher1 on 5/20/2007 7:16:05 AM , Rating: 3
That's what I am waiting for as well: for the game manufacturers to offer replacement at a REASONABLE cost.

Now, Sony and their game developers used to do that, there was a little addendum at the back of the game books included with the game that told you how to get a new copy of a game if your old one got super-scratched and was unreadable.

For the PS2 and PS3 however, that addendum is lacking, and it's a scary sight.

I take care of my disks, burned myself and not, like they are made of GOLD when I buy one, and they STILL get covered with scratches sooner or later!
My parents said that about DVD's they hardly ever played (maybe 10 times in total) that have gotten so scratched they are unwatchable.

They need to make DVD's and CD's more scratch resistant.


RE: Tough love
By jadedeath on 5/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: Tough love
By christojojo on 5/18/2007 1:44:14 PM , Rating: 3
Millions of dollars, and guns and knives.

Really, come on, almost everyone tries to watch and help a child grow. Things happen like cooking dinner, relieving oneself, answering a phone. Sometimes, you just can't duct tape the kid to a wall. A very active curious child will get into things, even when told not to. Especially, when told not to. I have 2 children, both boys. One follows the rules exactly. The other, well, we pray, we correct, we instruct, we reprimand, we love. My children are not PCs you can reboot or change the OS. They are my life and I do everything, (even take reponsibility for their actionsand hold them to high standards); that's everything to ensure they grow up to be strong responsible adults.


RE: Tough love
By christojojo on 5/18/2007 1:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
I should have stated I don't back-up games. I don't because "They break-em they buy replacements". They know the value of money and how to work for it, through chores.


RE: Tough love
By Christopher1 on 5/20/2007 7:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
You should have the right to back up games however, and a lot of people and children do take care of the disks like they are made of gold and they STILL get scratched to hell sooner or later.

My parents told me many times when I was growing up "Christopher, why the hell are these games so scratched?!!!!!!!" I told them "Because they get scratched in the drive!"

They didn't believe me....... until 5 years ago, when my father realized that many of HIS disks, which he BARELY USED, were scratched all to hell.

That's when he finally apologized and admitted that the disks are so flimsy and scratch-prone, that they aren't worth buying.


RE: Tough love
By Axbattler on 5/20/2007 12:50:27 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly, I don't know how teens/adults manage to scratch their discs to "to hell" if/when they are handled with half decent care. Yea, I have seen discs that are scratched to hell, but they are usually just dumped in a stack of disc on top of the console/DVD player what-not.

I still have my original copy of Sam & Max Hit the Road, Command and Conquer and Warcraft II, and they are still in mint condition. That's not to say I never left a single print on any of my discs, or all my discs are scratch free. But the ones I took care of, all have minimum blemish.

I was going to call you on the "disc getting scratched in the drive", but having read this article (quick Google): http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/news/Xbox-360-Game-D... I'll give you the benefit of doubt. But in my experience, that's more of an exception than the norm. That's not to say I am against backup, but I favour the suggestion earlier of simply paying for a cost of replacement instead.


RE: Tough love
By drebo on 5/25/2007 6:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
I've got to agree with you. I don't take care of my discs and I never have any problems getting them to play. In fact, the only ones that I have that no longer play are my Metallica S&M discs that were in my backpack when I got run over by a pickup truck some years ago. Needless to say, they're broken.

Other than that, I can still use all of my CDs and DVDs, even my original Warcraft 1 discs, which spent a number of years out of its case underneath a pile of other discs...all of which still work.


RE: Tough love
By timmiser on 5/19/2007 12:50:43 AM , Rating: 1
It is obvious you don't have small children!!


RE: Tough love
By RMTimeKill on 5/23/2007 3:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it... Father of 3, its amazing what they can find that hidden away and how fast they can find it...


RE: Tough love
By exanimas on 5/18/2007 1:57:26 PM , Rating: 1
Some electronic retailers do offer plans like this on certain video games. I believe Best Buy offers either a 1 or 2 year replacement plan on certain games for an additional few dollars. Once the game gets scratched or stops working, you just have to call a number, ship them the game, and they send you a voucher for a new one. It's actually a deal directly with certain manufacturers. So your idea is already (semi) in place.


RE: Tough love
By kamel5547 on 5/22/2007 5:46:00 PM , Rating: 2
As does GameStop... if people really are that worried they can pay for the protection. Personally I think the majority of copies are not made as back-ups, and hence the manuf. has every right to block them.


RE: Tough love
By BigLan on 5/18/2007 2:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
You know, microsoft has a replacement plan for their discs, but it's $20 per disc/

http://www.xbox.com/en-us/support/systemuse/xbox36...

EA also has a similar thing, which is $15 for a replacement from them.

I'd imagine most other publishers have similar schemes. It's more expensive than a dvdr, but will let you play on live.


RE: Tough love
By senbassador on 5/19/2007 3:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree. Although I am guilty of having played copied games from time to time and listening to downloaded music myself, which I shouldn't be doing; I be the first one to admit that I wouldn't have the right to complain if the owners did something to prevent me from doing it. So long that their measures don't interfere with legitimate uses, which can be problematic-- take for instance Microsoft's implementations that you can't even change your hardware for your OS to stop working-- which is a whole other topic.

If you can't afford the high prices of video games, then perhaps you should find another hobby. We spend too much time in front of computer screens and TVs anyway. This should be a cue to actually go outside once in a while.

The only semi-legitimate "excuse" for breaking the copyright seals is if you are an enthusiast hacker, more interested in the process of hacking than the freebies. In that case, rather than complaining, the hackers should be greatful for the challenge. In a way, I am glad that they have the extra security features, since for the hacking enthusiasts this would only make the task of hacking the box more fun.


RE: Tough love
By Christopher1 on 5/20/2007 7:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. The reason that people are wanting to be able to play backed-up games is because DVD's are NOTORIOUSLY scratch prone, and they don't want to have to pay 20 dollar apiece for a replacement from Microsoft when it should be free. I mean, they can just mail it to you in a damn first class mail sleeve, I have had manufacturers do that before for me.

Someone should take Microsoft to court over this, and I think if someone did, they would win.


RE: Tough love
By Screwballl on 5/21/2007 12:21:24 AM , Rating: 2
A majority of people with this mod use it simply as a much faster method of loading the game. Generally takes half the time to load the game from the hard drive than it does the disc. At least 90% do it from a game they bought legally. There is maybe 20-25% (for now) actually using it (truly illegal) with copied games from a friend, rental or downloaded hacked version. The rest are using it within the "fair use" act standards (before the rich got their greedy hands on it and added "provided it doesn't break encryption or encoding specifically created to prevent modification or copying or original content").


RE: Tough love
By bldckstark on 5/24/2007 11:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
I must be one of them. I have two five year boys (twins) and they break everything they touch. I have tried everything to get them to handle the disks as little as possible, including banning them from changing the games in the box, until I can come and do it. That just ruined gaming for them and caused all kinds of problems. They play one boys game choice for 20-30 minutes then they switch to the others game. This is the compromise they worked out themselves and I like it. I have tried all kinds of protective devices for the disks and none have worked. So then there are only two solutions to this "pickle". One is to continuously buy new copies of games I already own, and two, to back them up.

My wife, daughter and I like to play on Live, so I guess we are just screwed because it is cheaper to put games on easily damaged disks instead of an enclosed device (cartridges?).

No, I don't pirate games. Not one. Ever. That would not be a good life lesson for these electronically talented little boys to see.


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