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Gamerscore Hacking and Its Underground Economy 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the achievement-unlocked-account-locked dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a writeup on SpywareGuide that explores the world of Xbox Gamerscore hacking, and how high Gamerscores are proving to be a big target for hackers and phishers. It also talks about how a recent release of a Gamerscore-altering program onto forums for hacking & cheating is proving to be lucrative business for both eBay sellers and those who want to artificially inflate a Gamerscore before selling that account, or trading it for credit card details."
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Gamerscore Hacking and Its Underground Economy

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  • *Sigh* (Score:2, Funny)

    by thatkid_2002 (1529917)

    Yet another reason that I cannot take console gaming community seriously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by noundi (1044080)
      Yet another reason that I cannot take the entertainment industry seriously.

      Fixed it sir.
    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @03:58AM (#28848767) Journal

      You're not supposed to take anything to do with "gaming" seriously. There's kind of a hint in the name.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Norsefire (1494323) *
        Sport is a game. People take sport seriously.
        • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

          by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte AT drunksnipers DOT com> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @05:02AM (#28849067) Homepage

          If you take sport seriously, can you still call it a game?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            If you take sport seriously, can you still call it a game?

            you cant, but you can gladly call yourself a moron.

          • If someone takes sports serious, can you still call them people?

            Seriously, I can see someone trying to achive something like lifting more weight, running faster or jumping higher. But taking it serious when someone else lifts more, runs faster or jumps higher? Get a life.

            • This statement is unfair. Having an athlete run faster or train harder to push past what other humans have accomplished in their life is not a bad thing.
              Sure, if you play in your backyard, it's just for fun and you shouldn't take it too seriously. But telling someone like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps to stop taking things so seriously and "get a life" doesn't really seem to make sense.

              • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @09:51AM (#28851201)

                I can see someone trying to achive it for himself and finding accomplishment in being able to run faster, jump higher or lift more (read it up, that's what I wrote). I can not see how someone considers it an achivement if "his" team wins. It's not like he contributed anything (besides maybe buying a ticket to a game or buying some merchandize).

                • Ah, then we are in agreement. I misunderstood your original statement as talking about competitors rather than with fans.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Greg_D (138979)

                  Those who can't, watch.

                  And without fan support, there IS no game... certainly not one that brings together world class athletes on a weekly or daily basis. Hence, fans feel they are entitled.

            • by Fluffeh (1273756)

              If someone takes sports serious, can you still call them people?

              Seriously, I can see someone trying to achive something like lifting more weight, running faster or jumping higher. But taking it serious when someone else lifts more, runs faster or jumps higher? Get a life.

              In my books, someone who takes it seriously when they lose, learns from their mistakes, strives harder and goes on to win - is AWESOME. On the other hand, someone who takes sport seriously, gets beaten and then becomes a sore loser, whining and whinging, they deserve to lose - and also need to have a good look at their life.

          • If you take sport seriously, can you still call it a game?

            I hate it when people say this, I hear it all the time (along the lines of "it's just a game").
            Ever play poker for 'fun'? As in m&m's or peanuts instead of money?
            It doesn't work. It's not fun because there is no risk, no 'seriousness'.
            Games are meant to be taken 'seriously'. Competition is what makes them fun.

            I think I understand what you're saying, but that statement is just way too broad.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I once played poker with the Cookie Monster using (gluten-free) cookies instead of money, and let me tell you, it was dead fucking serious. My very life was at risk that night.

          • by donaldm (919619)

            If you take sport seriously, can you still call it a game?

            Err no, but I would not say that to a fanatic. If you do I hope you have good hospital cover :)

        • by Hatta (162192) *

          They do, but they shouldn't. It's still just a game.

    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @04:57AM (#28849039) Journal

      What difference does you taking them seriously make? The fact is most console gamers are sensible individuals who like to put a disk in, sit down and play on their big screen TV. No mucking about with drivers, downloading patches etc... Just gaming with ease.

      I have an Xbox 360 myself, and don't understand why people get so hyper about their gamer score. It's basically a number that the higher it is, it says "I have less of a life than you do, and can afford more games than you".

      Didn't even know there was a way you could hack it. I'll get right on that and hack mine (right after I've cured world hunger and ended war.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by iainl (136759)

        The raw achievements number is indeed just a mark of how much time you've spent playing games. What I do look at, however, is the list of individual achievements on a game my friends have in comparison to me - being able to get some difficult achievement is a handy high-score proxy.

        Which is one reason why gamerscore hacking is so utterly pointless - the idiots that do this just grant themselves 100% on the games, so it's pretty obvious what's up.

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @05:46AM (#28849285) Journal

        I used to make the same argument, but it seems to me like that isn't true any more.

        Ever since they got hard drives, console games routinely get installed to hard drive first. I.e., there goes that "just want to put the disk in and play." It's only true in the same way as for a PC game.

        Second, console games routinely get patches too nowadays.

        Third, since a heck of a lot of games are launched for both PC and consoles nowadays... if you think your XBox copy of Fallout 3 is somehow magically better quality than the PC version, no offense, but then I have some logging rights in Sahara to sell. They're the same codebase, with the same bugs, and if you're lucky they'll get the same patches.

        Fourth, you may not have heard about it, but PC drivers have gotten a lot more stable in the meantime. The days when you had to muck with different driver versions for different games are over, and have been over for some years now. E.g., I don't think I actually installed any new drivers on my gaming rig since I put the GTX 290 graphics card in it. (And I'm not saying that in the sense that I had to do it with the old ATI card either, but merely that that change was a point where I had to install a new driver.) I've yet to see any game which shits itself because I don't have the latest beta +0.0.0.1 driver release.

        Fifth, you can hook a PC to a big screen TV or beamer too, if that's what floats your boat. TV out connectors have been pretty much standard for some years.

        Sixth, it's not the size that matters, it's how you use it. At least that's what my SO keeps telling me;) Ok, joke aside, what matters isn't how big your screen is (except maybe for willy-waving rights), but how much of your FOV it feels. A 20" TFT screen at 3 ft distance fills just as much of your FOV as a 60" screen at 9 ft distance. Things look exactly as big. It's elementary geometry, see?

        • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:24AM (#28849461)

          1. No they don't, only a small minority of games do that. Even so it doesn't negate the original point, that it's not "does it work with my hardware", "have I got a good enough gfx card", it just works and is a damn sight cheaper than a PC.

          2. So what?

          3. It only has one set of hardware to target. It'll be much more stable and much better tested on my hardware than yours.

          4. Good, glad for you.

          5. Call me when PC games routinely have multi-player through a single machine.

          6. Sure, whatever.

          I'm not trying to say that PC gaming is "inferior" in any way, it's just not the same. There's no technical reason why the cool console stuff with multiplayer local co-op etc couldn't run on my PC either. But it doesn't and there is a huge appeal to having a machine that is dedicated to gaming, comes on in seconds and is (mostly) guaranteed not to choke on the games you feed it.

          • by MogNuts (97512)

            1) But there is the *option*. And you would be silly not to--it makes the 360 much quieter and in some games, gives better load times. And you're forgetting all the downloadable games from PSN/Live that--oh, wait for it--are saved to the *hard drive.*

            2) Well it's true, that's what. Gone are the days of not having game-stopping bugs on consoles. GTA IV anyone?

            3) Bugs are still ironed out with patches on the PC. They *both* become stable.

            4) Yes, it is true, and just because you choose to ignore it doesn't mea

            • by Nursie (632944)

              1) There is an option on *some* games for PS3, and no games for the Wii. Downloadable is all stored on built in memory. Please explain how this affects the issue that all PC games need to be installed and many come with crippling DRM, as compared to "put in and play".

              3) The PC will become stable slower if at all. It remains that a single set of target hardware and OS/firmware is a lot easier to test.

              4) You clearly never played Spore.

              5) and 6) What am I ignoring? That he can use a big screen? I know that.

              It

              • by MogNuts (97512)

                1) Yes, all PC games have to be installed. I was just pointing out that many games now install to a HD. Whether you copy it for better load times or play downloadable games, where do you think they go? Is it some crazy kind of magic? And please don't even drag a *new* argument into it, like DRM, to make it sound like you are right--it doesn't work. By the way, for every *one* game with a 5-limit SecureROM install, there are hundreds of games that DON'T have it.

                3) Yes, somewhat slower, but NOT if at all. Wro

          • 1) CD/DVD/BD read speeds have a low maximum speed they can cap at, and the latencies have a high minimum they could reach. I suspect we'll be seeing more HDD based games in the future. For the next generation consoles, it'll be necessary just because they can't stream textures fast enough off a DVD.

            2) In my experience, PC games get patched quicker and have less bugs.

            3) In theory, but in practice PC games are often more stable. This is partly due to the XBox360 hardware not being all that stable in the first

          • there is a huge appeal to having a machine that is dedicated to gaming, comes on in seconds and is (mostly) guaranteed not to choke on the games you feed it.

            Riiiiight...

            In Zelda: Twilight Princess, once you cross a bridge that then becomes uncrossable, be sure not to save! Otherwise, when you load, you'd start on the wrong side of the bridge with no way to cross it, meaning no way to progress further in the game.

            There's a similar game-state deadlock in the room with the big contraption; if you save, the archaeology dude starts in the room, and you can't do the thing to the contraption that you need to do to progress.

            In Guitar Hero 3 (for Wii), there's a unidim

        • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:53AM (#28850491)

          I used to make the same argument, but it seems to me like that isn't true any more.

          Ever since they got hard drives, console games routinely get installed to hard drive first. I.e., there goes that "just want to put the disk in and play." It's only true in the same way as for a PC game.

          The biggest advantage for a console is you at least know games designed for the console will run fast as long as you own it. PC games tend to leave your rig in the dust sooner. But consoles are getting damned expensive these days.

          The biggest advantage of the PC is that you can run a more bleeding edge than the console so long as you're willing to pay for it. PC games also have a bigger modding scene. Oblivion, for example, is seen as almost unplayable in the vanilla version and many fans consider the tweaked version to be sublime. And the PC gamer can run it at a higher resolution with more doodads enabled.

          • by MogNuts (97512)

            Yea, I almost forgot about making that point--Mods. I recently got into Oblivion and back into the mod scene, something I haven't done since mods for Doom 1/2. It was amazing. I miss that feature a lot. In Doom, you could basically get all new games, missions, etc. Pretty interesting ones that developers would never think of. In Oblivion, you have the same thing. You can practically make it a new game.

            To any gamer, pop in any game with a heavy mod scene, and just explore what is out there for it. I forgot j

          • The biggest advantage for a console is you at least know games designed for the console will run fast as long as you own it.

            Some console games drop as low as 30fps. On PC, I can lower detail levels to acquire a higher framerate.

            Any game I buy for PC today will run at roughly the same speed as long as I own it. I consider being able to buy the newest games(without an upgrade) a perk, rather than a negative, even if I have to set the detail levels to *gasp* high or medium.

      • by physburn (1095481)
        It teenagers wanting to look more cool than there friends. Hack the gamescore, they can look like there brilliant games, without bothering to play. Of course once there challenged to a game, and have there arse whipped, they'll look even less cool.

        ---

        X-Box Games [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

      • by Inda (580031)
        Without wanting to give my gamertag away, I am current 28th in the world on one game that's been out for a month. I have a head start on nearly everyone else because I played almost the same game on the PC 10 years ago.

        I have about 30,000 points. The guy in 2nd place, who plays a real good game, has about 60,000 points.

        The leader in 1st place has, if I counted the digits correctly, 11 billion points. What a twat! What is the point? Everyone looks at his name and thinks "Fucking Cheat!"

        I can't stand cheats.
  • The buyers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nagnamer (1046654) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @03:55AM (#28848749) Homepage

    ...are taking this thing seriously, too. I can't imagine why anyone would steal accounts if people wouldn't buy them. But I still can't imagine why people would buy them either.

    I used to play games to have fun, and achievement was part of the fun. If I just stole other people's achievements, that wouldn't be fun. Or maybe it's all just about the brag factor?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by think_nix (1467471)

      damn where are my mod points....

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They were stolen and sold on eBay

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by maudface (1313935)

      Clearly you have never played on xbox live, 10 minutes of a moronic 8 year out shouting "NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER" only ever interrupted by a cry demanding milk/cookies from their mother every now and then.

      The majority of xbox live players are morons that only care about one upping their friends so they look cool, they just fail to realise that their actions merely have the complete opposite effect.

    • Re:The buyers... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOSpam.spad.co.uk> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @04:27AM (#28848917) Homepage

      Same reason people buy high-level MMO accounts - so they can skip all that tedious playing and get on with the all-important posturing.

      • by nagnamer (1046654)

        Yeah, I kinda knew that... I guess that's why I don't own an xbox.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gravedigger3 (888675)

        No this is stupider than buying MMO accounts. That, although also stupid, I can at least understand. Some people (with more money than time) want to jump into an MMO without all the tedious grinding and have a hi-level avatar that can whoop some ass.

        An XboxLive Gamerscore serves no purpose that I am aware of except to quantify all your wasted time into points that you can use to prove yourself "superior" to other gamers.

        I mean if a high gamerscore gave me extra health in Halo 3 or even special items for off

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by chadplusplus (1432889)
          FYI, in Halo 3, completing certain achievements unlocks new armor which can be used in multiplayer. While the different armor pieces have no practical effect, some certainly look cooler than the standards.

          Someone below me also said that achievements are a way of adding content without really adding content, or saying it a different way, they add replay value. This is very true, at least for me, but I suspect for many others. Even after I complete the standard storyline of the game, I'll go back throug
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            FYI, in Halo 3, completing certain achievements unlocks new armor which can be used in multiplayer. While the different armor pieces have no practical effect, some certainly look cooler than the standards.

            Someone below me also said that achievements are a way of adding content without really adding content, or saying it a different way, they add replay value. This is very true, at least for me, but I suspect for many others. Even after I complete the standard storyline of the game, I'll go back through and

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        Same reason people buy high-level MMO accounts - so they can skip all that tedious playing and get on with the all-important posturing.

        But at least in an MMO the higher accounts can do more. As I understand it, the only possible thing you get from a high gamescore is a bigger e-peen. I suppose there might be some marginal value with having all parts of a game unlocked the moment you plug it in but shit, aren't there already cheat codes for that? The day after GTAIV shipped people were already running around every island. Some of the multiplayer stuff requires a higher score for matchmaking I think but if you aren't good enough to be there

    • by donaldm (919619)
      I do agree with you but there are people who would be quite happy to cheat so they could brag that they actually completed something without cheating.

      I was once showing a friend of my son a game that was challenging and great fun to play but it did take some time to complete. This person asked for a cheat so he could have all the stats and weapons without going to the trouble of getting them for himself. He even explained to me that when he played PC games he always made himself invincible and had the hi
  • It doesn't target anybody I could ever imagine caring a whit about. Still wrong, I suppose, but hard to get worked up about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's still cheating though, and the people that hack and sell these online profiles are likely to also attempt to phish account and credit card details at some time. Play any games with hackable accounts that are worth something? Then you may end up being a target for these idiots.
    • It upsets those that used the achivements as some sort of bragging tool. While it's not my cuppa tea, I can understand that they're upset.

      Take military medals, they're a perfect parallel. You usually get achivements in games, just like medals in war, for doing something that isn't really in the interest of your primary goal, often diametrally against it. In war, your goal is to survive. In a game, your goal is to make it to the end. In war, you get brass on your breast for acts like jumping on a live grenad

      • yea except military medals are given for acts of heroic bravery or bloodthirstiness or whatever, points are given to you for being a fat-ass who plays xbox all day. guess which one gets you laid, gets you a job, or gets you any kind of real world respect? point is, having an xbox Ego currently is worth much to your real-life one.
        • In the end, it's a tool for bragging to peers who consider the award something important. Nothing more, nothing less. The peer group that considers medals something praiseworthy may be larger, but so are the hardships to get them.

          Personally, I think both is dwarved by cold, hard cash. But hey, that's the materialist in me.

  • bigger problems in life than getting caught or what people think of you. First of all gamerscore is just a con job by the video game companies to give the illusion of more content without creating content. I mean if you are really worried about your gamescore i'm sure you could use a bit of sun, and maybe a few more friends. It's an imaginary score that has absolutely no meaning!
  • by loufoque (1400831) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:30AM (#28849827)

    Results guaranteed!

    • by Mishotaki (957104)
      My e-penis might be small, but at least i'm not an idiot trying to buy an xbox account because of it's gamerscore!
  • by lyinhart (1352173) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:52AM (#28849939)
    I think a lot of people are missing the real point of Gamerscore - to keep gamers playing a game. It's a surprisingly effective way of adding replay value to a game without actually adding extra content - earning achievements is akin to collecting baseball cards or Pokemon. Developers can also use multiplayer achievements that take time to unlock so that there's more people playing online. That having been said, the word "achievements" for these things is rather inappropriate, since most of these goals don't require any skill whatsoever. There's no skill involved in running around and collecting things in a 3D world like some of these goals entail. And of course, you can't translate gamerscore into any tangible, real world achievements.
    • by TuaAmin13 (1359435) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @09:43AM (#28851117)
      Agreed. I'm posting just a few achievements/trophies from Dead Space, which I recently played:
      • Complete Chapter 1 on any Difficulty
      • Complete Chapter 2 on any Difficulty
      • ...

      • Complete Chapter 12 on any Difficulty
      • Get 30 kills with Plasma Cutter
      • Get 30 kills with Ripper
      • Get 30 kills with Melee

      On the other end of the spectrum, we have the otaku level achievements, such as Cross Edge's "The Hikikomori: Spend far too much time unlocking dozens of titles." Just to let you know, there's at least 140 titles available, each title has requirements such like obtaining items X, Y, and Z, holding some quantity of item X in your inventory, doing over 10,000 damage, or having a combo over 400. Basically you have to 100% a RPG and then some in order to get this trophy.

    • by The Moof (859402)

      [...] you can't translate gamerscore into any tangible, real world achievements.

      For a while, MS was toying around with the idea if rewarding you for increasing your gamerscore.

      http://xbox.about.com/b/2007/02/07/microsoft-announces-gamerscore-rewards.htm [about.com]

      I always thought it would be a good idea to pony up something for the gamerscore (even if it was just MS points, like 100 points for every 1000 or something).

  • Isnâ(TM)t the whole point of owning games and having fun is actually playing it rather cheats your way through the games. I could never understand how someone could find enjoyment out of cheating their way through an online match.
  • by iVasto (829426) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @09:09AM (#28850675) Homepage
    Failing at having fun. 50G
  • 1: MY XBOX HAS 10000 POINTS

    2: YA WELL MY XBOX HAS 20000 POINTS!

    3: Umm. Hey guys, can you like... DO anything with those points?

    1 & 2: ???

    why would you EVER purchase an account for its gamerscore....

    • by ivan256 (17499)

      This one seems as good to respond to as the 100 others asking the same question.

      The accounts with a high gamer score sell well because they typically have a credit card or lots of downloadable content associated with them.

      In other words, you're not buying the account for the score. You're buying it for the stolen (content|credit card number).

  • In those things you can finish every sidequest, beat every optional boss, find every item and anything else you can think of gameplay-wise, and still only have 150/1000 points. I remember Blue Dragon had achievements for getting each character to level 99, something I think I'd still be doing 18 months later if I attempted it.
  • I must admit to a healthy dose of schadenfreude when I read about a cheat program getting cracked. :)

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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