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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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By ZimZum on 5/18/2007 7:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
You couldn't play backup games on Live at all with the 1st Xbox. If you even connected to live with an Xbox that had a mod chip that wasn't disabled or a modified bios your Xbox would get blacklisted as well. In many some ways the XB1 was tougher to hack than the 360.

By nayy on 5/18/2007 10:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
I think the timing is perfect, Microsoft gave people who had their 360 hacked sometime to get hooked on their "backed up" games. And as if that wasn't enough, you have the Halo 3 demo, which is for sure the largest XBL event so far. This is going to have ton of hackers getting a second 360, core would cut it since you all ready have a HDD, but then again you may want to upgrade to elite.
It's brilliant

By Christopher1 on 5/20/2007 7:27:04 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I think that is EXACTLY what is going on here. They are trying to make people buy a second XBox360, to make their bottom lines look better.

By jadedeath on 5/21/2007 1:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, it's not MAKING anyone do anything.

There's an old saying, "he who has the gold, makes the rules" currently that's Bill Gates, he's got the gold and he is making the rules, if you don't want to play with his rules {only main disks and unmodified 360's} then that's your problem, not his.

If you want to make copies of the games, go nuts, he probably doesn't care, just don't go on Xbox Live with them otherwise you could be in trouble {stick with the main disks on Live kiddies, let that be a lesson to you} and if you modified your 360 then don't go on Live at all.

Bottom line is: He's not MAKING you buy a new 360, you took it upon yourself to break the rules. There's no conspiracy theory, no "MAN" looking over your shoulder and waving his finger at you that he'll spank you if you step out of line. There is only the man with the rules telling you that if you want to play in his sandbox you need to use HIS shovels not one's that you've "pimped out".


By Christopher1 on 5/21/2007 8:27:04 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that some of those 'rules' violate OTHER laws, like fair-use laws, freedom to do with property as you wish laws, etc.

When a law or rule is in violation of OTHER laws and rules, that law is null and void unless the legislature specifically DELETES the old law while making the new law.

Some people forget that little technicality, and also forget that they have a right to modify, enhance, etc. anything they wish in any way they wish, as long as they are not breaking any laws.

In this case, the fair use laws SPECIFICALLY say that you can break encryption and modify computer equipment, of which a console is just a fancy name for the former, in order to back up games and play backed up games.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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