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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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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.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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