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
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.”