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Microsoft Disconnects Modded Xbox Users 738

S-4'N3 writes "The BBC reports that Microsoft has disconnected approximately 600,000 Xbox users from Xbox Live because the devices they are using have been modified, either with software or with new chips, to play pirated games. 'Microsoft confirmed that it had banned a "small percentage" of the 20 million Xbox Live users worldwide. Microsoft said that modifying an Xbox 360 console 'violates' the service's 'terms of use' and would result in a player being disconnected.'"
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Microsoft Disconnects Modded Xbox Users

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  • 360 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:32PM (#30063324) Journal

    Apparently some people have gone as far as calling death threats [sankakucomplex.com] to a "Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE" and his wife (theres also irc logs where he came to say it on #360banned)

    There has been modded xbox360 bans before too, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to people when they do get banned. And at least it keeps the cheaters off games.

    • No Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hardhead_7 ( 987030 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:37PM (#30063416)
      The great thing about online console play (the only thing, really, that it has over PCs) is their closed nature. It's much, much harder to cheat on a console than on a PC game. Don't get me wrong. I fully support their right to mod their own hardware. But I don't want to play them online.
    • Re:360 (Score:5, Funny)

      by MeatBag PussRocket ( 1475317 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:38PM (#30063434)

      does this make it an "Ex-Box"?

      thank you thank you... i'm here all week.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by coolgeek ( 140561 )

      From that same thread, the director dude out there is quoted there as saying it's no problem to move your hard drive to an unbanned 360 box. It would appear this is a ploy by Microsoft to sell more 360's.

      [00:54] HDD from banned to unbanned is ok, but you might have to reformat to get full access to licenses
      [00:54] etc

      • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

        by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:59PM (#30063820)
        Why would they want to sell more 360s? Don't they still lose money on each one? My understanding was that they did, but made it up on the games and such. Buying an extra 360 isn't going to cause a user to buy more copies of the game, so why would they be trying to encourage more 360 sales that cut into their bottom line?
        • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Abalamahalamatandra ( 639919 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @03:13PM (#30064092)

          Small price to pay for MS to get a user back on an unmodded 360 that won't be able to play torrented games, resulting in more game sales, plus more recurring Live credit purchases.

          Look people, it's not that tough - if you're going to mod your box, then don't put it online where anybody that wants to can inspect it. You can't have it both ways.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KalvinB ( 205500 )

        The HD is not banned as it's not modified. The mods to system are. Of course you can buy an unmodded system and play. They aren't banning "you" they're banning your modded system.

        MS is basically saying that if you want to mod your system then go ahead. But if you want to play on LIVE then you need an unmodded system to do it with. If you want to save some money you can transfer your HD to the unmodded system when you want to play with the rest of the world. With the price of the XBox dropping it is le

    • Re:360 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:41PM (#30063496)

      Which is why so many now mod the controller not the console. It has become very popular to mod the controllers for turbo fire and the like. The reason this sort of thing works is because of the brain dead console development expectations, say it with me "trusting the client is never right".

      More games need to enforce maximum rates of fire and the like.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by v1 ( 525388 )

      And at least it keeps the cheaters off games.

      Not really. All it does is keep the bad cheaters off the games. The good cheaters don't get caught by these sweeps.

      And that's just what xbox live needs, darwinism at work refining a better crowd of cheaters.

      The checks done by live are less sophisticated than say, punkbuster on the PCs. And all that accomplished was to raise the stakes and make the cheaters go into business selling the "undetectable" cheats and taunting those like Activision.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Your logic is...staggering. Apparently so as to avoid breeding a "better crowd of cheaters" MS should just lower the bar to such a low level that any old suck can cheat, thereby preventing people from getting really good at it.

        I think you should suggest this giant leap of understanding on behalf of mankind to prison administrators. If they keep making it harder and harder to escape from prison, it'll only breed, by "darwinism", a better grade of prison escapees.

        Kudos, sir. Kudos.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sofar ( 317980 )

          well that's one way of twisting the issue around, kudos to you too!

          Microsoft should ban cheaters, not people with modified clients. Banning modified clients will cause BOTH cheaters and people who do not even want to cheat to defeat the new measures against them. But you're conveniently forgetting about the second group.

          Wait, does that mean you're OK with non-cheaters becoming better modders ? My mind boggles...

    • Re:360 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @04:02PM (#30064848) Journal

      You really think this kind of thing has an impact towards cheating? I suspect it has a bigger impact on MS's bottom line, as these are people who are paying a monthly fee to play online. Way to go MS, demonstrating part of the RIAA strategy: let's prevent our customers from being able to spend money on us! Way to go!

      What this probably kicked off was people who had modchips to play overseas games, and absolutely 0 of the "cheaters".

      Oh, and welcome to console DRM at it's finest. You bought into it, now when they kick you out you're pissed that everything they sold you was on a "license" basis and you technically own 0 of it. enjoy!

  • And of course... (Score:4, Informative)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:33PM (#30063350) Journal

    By "disconnecting" it means banning from playing in the "live" online network (which you must pay to play anyway).

    It is still possible to play offline games with banned xboxs

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oddRaisin ( 139439 )

      Very carefully, though, they still keep your xbox live account active and charge you the subscription fee.

      For those who want to cancel, check out http://www.xbox.com/accounts [xbox.com], change your subscription by clicking the link after subscription renewal (the link says "ON"). Then continue to click through the 5 or 6 pages detailing all the reasons you should stay. Click "Next" through all of that, and you're set.

    • Re:And of course... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pens ( 184563 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:47PM (#30063598) Homepage

      Yes, but with this recent ban wave, Microsoft crippled some non-XBL capabilities. For example, you can't install games to your local hard drive anymore

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MaerD ( 954222 )
        I've got to call BS on this. I have a fully updated xbox and a live account and I can still install the games to my HD. You still have to have the disk in to start it (unless you downloaded over live), but after that, the disk doesn't even spin.

        Now if you mean modding it so you can load to and play from the HD.. well, that's what they're out to stop...
  • by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:35PM (#30063370)

    Listen, I hate Microsoft. I think the people who run Microsoft are criminals. I cannot for the life of me believe I'm about to say this:

    You buy an XBox 360, you can do whatever you want with it. Mod it to your heart's content.

    But the Live network belongs to Microsoft. They have a right to disconnect you if they want.

    Now excuse me while I find someone to fulfill my user name.

    • by pens ( 184563 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:41PM (#30063502) Homepage

      I don't believe most of the modding community is bothered by the ban from XBL. But this recent ban wave also cripples some offline capabilities as well. For example, if you've been banned you can't install games to your local hard drive anymore.

  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:36PM (#30063408)
    This should mean I'll never lose to some 12 year old in Halo or CoD again, cause I'm sure they were all modding. Yep, that's definitely it.
  • "a small percentage" (Score:5, Informative)

    by weirdcrashingnoises ( 1151951 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:37PM (#30063412) Journal

    600,000 of 20,000,000

    there are some who would call this "three percent"

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:40PM (#30063474) Journal
    I liked the first hand account one gamer offered the BBC [bbc.co.uk]. His justification for modding is that the games are too expensive.

    I took it into a shop [the Xbox], there was a guy back there and I asked him and he did it for me [chipped it]. He charged £75 to get it chipped but at the end of the day I said to myself I'll pay £75 to get it chipped, after two games I've paid the money back.

    I've probably saved about £600 and I've copied roughly 30 or 40 games. A lot of them I've downloaded or I've taken off friends that have downloaded themselves.

    So at what point do you put two and two together and realize that getting kicked off playing online is not such a bad thing if you've saved £600? Is there really any wonder why XBox Live wants to deny you service? How exactly do you maintain outrage at being banned?

    His sob story was going pretty good until he got up to those last paragraphs of admission and even saying he'd never do it again (implying he is wrong).

    • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:54PM (#30063724)

      That entire first-hand-account is ... annoying.

      I was pulling my hair out thinking, 'No, why me?'

      That's a question easily answered.

      It's like telling someone their dog's just died.

      He likes his xbox too much.

      I still think they should lower the prices. There are 16-year-old kids out there, they don't earn money so they go screaming to their parents saying, 'Can you buy me this game?'

      Their parents should say "No. You buy it yourself. Go earn some money." And why should they lower the prices if people are buying them as it is? I guess normal supply-and-demand isn't good enough for people that don't want to pay for their entertainment. It should be cheaper for the sake of being cheaper...

      Fair enough, one game once in a while but the amount of games coming out, good games, everyone wants to play them all.

      I would love to have a 100 acre ranch near where I work, too. Unfortunately, they're too expensive.

      My favorite quote.

      I play with my mates all the time. It's just a good laugh, we all sit there chatting, playing games. Now I don't know what to do.

      How about sit there and chat with your mates? Or is playing video games the only thing you and your mates know how to do, and you can't actually have fun without it. *sigh*

  • by aftk2 ( 556992 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:46PM (#30063590) Homepage Journal
    There are some very funny, outraged posts regarding this in the official xbox live forums. Microsoft has also banned players for a number of other offenses, including obscenity and racism, and these posts are great. My favorite: http://forums.xbox.com/29600400/ShowPost.aspx#29600400 [xbox.com]
  • by diablovision ( 83618 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:50PM (#30063652)

    Hitler is going to be pissed!

    PISSED! [youtube.com]

  • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @02:57PM (#30063790) Homepage

    This three percent is one helluava mighty pirating engine ain't it? According to Microsoft, it's this three percent that's been the cause of the falling profits all this time. Now that they have been eliminated from being able to purchase stuff from Live... er.... I mean, uh.... now that they've been ejected.... No....

    Can we just jump to the "Profit" step now, quick-like?

  • by denton420 ( 1235028 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @03:06PM (#30063952)

    First of all let me say that the market for used xbox consoles just got extremely dangerous!

    Microsoft needs to set up a system where you can check the status of an xbox console remotely so people can still sell consoles with confidence... 600K Xboxes are about to go up on ebay for a deal that is just too good to pass up.

    Secondly if you assume that you do not mind playing games offline that you have pirated, you can still beat the system. Is that not what this is all about?

    Step 1: Buy an xbox that has been live banned for very cheap off ebay. It has already been modded, so you dont have to pay for that.

    Step 2: Download 50-60 dollar games for free and play them to your hearts content, offline.

    After a few games you have already made your money back from the initial purchase of the console.

    What if you want to play on xbox live? You have a live console that you do not hack and just enjoy online games there.

    You still have to buy games that you want to play online, but there are a lot fewer online games that are worth playing than there are short and sweet single player games that you can just download for free.

  • by Nakarti ( 572310 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @03:11PM (#30064060)

    There are three reasons to mod your Xbox:
    1. Turn it into a cheap PC

    2. Play homebrew software (basically #1)

    3. Steal games.

    All of these rely on the same method: replace or disable protections on the OS or base firmware. It's in the quick start guide(the thing that tells you what is and isn't included) that if you mod your xbox, you will not be able to play Live! and may not be able to play the games you own.
    So why the hell is anyone surprised about the ban?
    And why the hell is anyone even angry about the ban? They expected it!

  • by abroadst ( 541007 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @03:12PM (#30064070)
    This is really simple. You don't like the product, don't buy it. Microsoft hasn't misrepresented a thing here. It's kind of the same thing as the hackintosh, actually. Is Apple evil too? If so you have a real simple remedy -- don't buy it. These companies are within their rights entirely. If someone wants to sell a different kind of game console and a different kind of game network where games are cheaper and mods are allowed, then fine. Maybe there's a business there. Maybe this is your big chance. Go start that business and stop whining.
  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @05:04PM (#30065604)

    Is it no surprise that among those 600,000 users banned (nearly 4% of their users!) that there was some collateral damage?

    One user, who reported having spent over $5200 on the xbox and XBLA, wrote to Consumerist that Microsoft banned his fiancé's unmodded console, and then treated them like criminals when they tried to get Microsoft to fix the problem:

    http://consumerist.com/5402056/xbox-gamer-says-he-was-banned-online-for-no-reason [consumerist.com]

    Linked from there is a story from another user whose xbox suffered a fan-induced RROD. Not wanting to wait nearly a Month for Microsoft to fix it, he took it to the shop to have the fan replaced, apparently tripping some sort of modification flag. Microsoft's response to him? Literally (and I quote) "But this is what you get for tampering the console." (sic).

    What a disaster.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982