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Microsoft Cuts Off Hacked Xboxes, Ships Wireless N Adaptor

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Cuts Off Hacked Xboxes, Ships Wireless N Adaptor

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 may well have raised the spirits of Xbox owners around the globe (and rightly so from my playing time to date), but there's now controversy in the air...

The BBC reports Microsoft has begun to cut off gamers from its Xbox Live service for modifying their consoles to play pirated games. 600,000 gamers are already said to have been affected by the move, something Microsoft described as a "small percentage" of the overall 20m Xbox Live users.

"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," said Microsoft in a statement. "The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive from manufacturers, retailers, and the third parties that support them."

Blacklisted consoles still operate, but without access to Xbox Live.

A £750m figure has been placed on the cost of piracy to the video game industry, though that covers all platforms. Piracy is also far more prevalent on the PC as it simply requires a modification to a software install compared to the hardware hacking required in the console arena.

In related news Microsoft has begun shipping its much anticipated Xbox 360 Wireless N adaptor in the US where it is retailing for $100. Unofficial shipments also seem to be turning up in some UK stores priced at £59.99, but Microsoft has yet to officially confirm this.

Like all Xbox accessories the adaptor is expensive when compared to equivalent PC hardware (a USB wireless n dongle is around £10/£20), but if you can't wire up an Ethernet connection to your console this is the next best thing.


via BBC News


November 11, 2009, 5:39 pm

In regards to cutting off 360 owners who have hacked their Xbox's to play dodgy games, it seems perfectly acceptable to me. I'm surprised at how low that number is to be honest. If it was that easy to cut off PC pirates the forces that be would have done it a long time ago.


November 11, 2009, 5:45 pm

@but if you can't wire up an Ethernet connection to your console this is the next best thing.

I'd say the next best thing is a HomePlug. :)


November 11, 2009, 7:44 pm

So, Wireless N Adapter: £50, yet they'll be selling the Natal camera for £50?! (Current hot internet rumour/fact/leak). Confirms my suspicions they'll be selling it at a loss...

Regarding the cut-offs, I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner. And stop calling us PC gamers pirates, you're starting to sound like Cliffy B :P. We're a decent bunch really *AngelicHaloSmileyGraphic*.


November 11, 2009, 9:40 pm

@Simon: don't the pirates with a bit of common sense keep their hacked XBox 360s offline to ensure they remain undetected? It's not like a 360 is particularly expensive so you might as well buy one for hacking and an un-modified one for those few online games that you do purchase. You only have to pirate 4 or 5 games and the hacked 360 has paid for itself?


November 11, 2009, 9:57 pm

Some people, like me, actually hacked their 360 to prevent their genuine games from getting scratched like hell by the nasty 360 drives. Trust me, this has happened to several titles amounting to a significant amount of cash.

I buy my games and buy a copy from a source as I am legally entitled to. Offline I play the backup. Online I play the original.

Will my 360s Live account now end up black listed or will this only happen if I have the copy in the machine when online as that has always been the case!

Anyway, Im hardly ever online in any case. Just curious. And before anyway starts getting cheeky, I am genuine in that I buy the original!!!


November 11, 2009, 9:57 pm

@BobaFett, This bans you from XBoxLive, if you not going online it's irrelevant anyways.

Sir Stuie

November 12, 2009, 12:49 am

If there was a genuine reason to mod your console I would be slightly sympathetic, but since there isn't I'm actually disappointed that it doesn't brick it entirely.

Not sure if its allowed but here's a funny article about someone who got banned http://bit.ly/1dHnh4


November 12, 2009, 1:59 am

@Keith: Yes, that is why I was suggesting that if you do want to play games online then you need an unmodified 360. And if you want to pirate games, make sure you keep your chipped 360 offline.

I'm guessing that this has only hit the news because mod chips have been claiming XBox Live compatibility (i.e. are undetectable) when in fact, Microsoft has been able to detect them for some time and has been quietly monitoring usage. Whilst all the time, a false sense of confidence has developed among modchip users only to be abruptly dispelled yesterday.


November 12, 2009, 12:35 pm

@ Sir Stuie. There IS a genuine reason to hack your console other than to save £35 a pop - as I described above. There are widely reported 360 problems (especially earlier models) that resulted in discs ending up scratched and unplayable from the slightest of vibrations and even just randomly. This may not be as big an issue as the RROD but it was sufficient enough an issue for me to mod my console in order to prevent the problem leaving me £40 out of pocket. I can remember it happening to a PES disc some time ago after a week, simply infuriating.

@Bobafett, so I am basically correct in that as long as I dont play my backups online I shouldnt have a problem with playing the original online, the backup offline?


November 12, 2009, 3:18 pm

@Jones: so I am basically correct in that as long as I dont play my backups online I shouldnt have a problem with playing the original online, the backup offline?

I suppose it depends on what Microsoft are detecting, I think @BobaFett's idea of having another console just in case would be a safer bet.


November 12, 2009, 3:29 pm

@Sir Stuie: Thanks for that link. I loved the timing MS picked, just as MW2 was released. Given my current hatred of Activision,IW and that game, I've just been grinning at the thought of some idiots who bought the game not actually being able to play it.

In fact, I'm considering buying an Xbox just to say "good on yer MS". Anyway, I'm off before I start rambling.


November 13, 2009, 2:29 am

@Jones: my assumption was that if a modchip is released that claims XBox Live compatibility, then it's probably only a matter of time before Microsoft get their hands on said modchip and find a way of detecting it. Thus the only safe thing to do with a modded XBox is never take it online. Of course this means you can't take any firmware updates and it's possible that new games could start incorporating modchip detection and refuse to play.

Saying that, I saw an article just now that mentioned there are a lot of banned 360s on eBay now:



November 13, 2009, 5:42 am

well done microsoft I too am actually disappointed that it doesn't brick it entirely aswell I have no sympathy for anyone who pirates things.

and to stop your discs from scratching don't move the console (esp. horizontal to vertical) with the disc inside while its on and spining, I have an early 360 and that is the only way they get scratched cause I did it with a demo disc but every other game is 100% not scratched because I dont move the console arround when it's on


November 13, 2009, 4:24 pm

@Jay, there's plenty more ways a DVD can get scratched, ask anyone who has a 2 year old. :)

I personally have not modified my XBOX360, but I can certainly see reasons for doing total legit backups something that should be allowed. Eg. recently bought a second hand copy of PES from GAME, while playing every now and again it would fail, luckily the new option of copying to HD got round this problem, but with HD's been stupidly expensive for the XBOX that idea can end up costing a bomb.

I think the XBOX is a pretty decent console, but I'm starting to think the PS3 might be a better option, at least with the PS3 you can buy normal (sanely priced) HD's.

I'm a little surprised by M$ response here, normally there not so stupid when it comes to piracy protection. Maybe making $billions is just not enough for them.

If M$ had given an alternative way to backup, then I might not be so against it. But unfortunately they have not. I use Valve's Steam on my PC, a system like that for copy protection would be much better.


November 13, 2009, 4:45 pm

@Jay: the only thing that Microsoft can prove is that an XBox 360 has been modded. This does not imply that it has been used for copyright infringement. It does not imply that the user who signed on to XBox Live using the machine was aware that the console had been modded (they could have bought it second hand or logged in at a friend's house).

Thus the only action they can take is against the console itself. The console is not the property of Microsoft (unlike the arrangement for some cable/satellite boxes) so were they to 'brick' it, it would probably constitute criminal damage. The only action for Microsoft to take is to refuse provision of an ongoing service to that particular console because it is in violation of the terms of service.


November 13, 2009, 9:13 pm

Thanks for the advice Bobafett. I actually dont have a modchip, my machine has been flashed but I will be careful. To be frankly honest, I couldnt give one about Live, it would not be a big loss to me, I rarely use it.

All these people on their high horses about "pirates" and "bricking consoles" clearly do not know the full picture. Some modded their consoles for a number of reasons. Some users like to crack open games to build their own levels or to mod games to whatever means. Others wanted to use their 360 as a proper media cetnre (something it is partially designed to be) to allow it to recognise larger unofficial harddrives to store all their media. Even these people have been punted off Live for using non Microsoft gear. Having a modded 360 simpy does not equate to guaranteed pirating.

I accept Microsoft have had to tackle the issue head on but please do not be narrow minded about why quite a few of the "600,000 to 1,000,000" Live users out there decided to hack their 360.

One final point to Jay. It has been shown on various shows and articles that moving the 360 from vertical to horizontal is not the only way to ruin discs. For example, the vibrations sent from the drums of Guitar Hero or Rock Band have been shown to be enough to set the 360 off and to ruin a disc. Id imagine it to be the same outcome with a group of the lads round bouncing about on the couch over a game of Fifa.


November 13, 2009, 10:51 pm

I know about the 'homebrew' thing but out of the people who have been cut off how many have been doing that, the vast majority will be for pirate games. perhaps bricking the console was a bit harsh but come on people who pirate dont really diserve to have a console

and on another note apple bricks jailbroken iPhones and they dont own the hardware you bought

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