Microsoft bans 600,000 360s from Live, plans for more

By Justin Mann on November 10, 2009, 12:06 PM
People in the console modding community are well aware that in general, console manufacturers look down upon them. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have all stated numerous times they do not endorse modding, and with the advent of online play becoming so important, keeping the playing field equal for everybody is an important concern. Instead of "Punkbuster for the console," the typical approach is to ban people from service. As of this week, Microsoft has done just that on a mass scale, banning over 600,000 Xbox Live accounts in the U.S. and Canada.

The bans won't stop there, either. Rumors indicate Microsoft is aiming to shut off upward of 1 million consoles before the end of the year -- it seems likely that the company may target Europe or another large region next. This hasn't made things easy on Microsoft's call center, which is getting inundated with calls from angry customers. Microsoft's goal is to get all modded consoles off their network to cut down on piracy.

Not all hope is lost for the shunned, though. It seems that Redmond has gone after the console itself, and only prevented it from connecting to Xbox Live. The consoles still function, and the accounts in general appear to be still active, so if you are desperate for online play and don't want to fight Microsoft on it, you can always buy another 360. That's certainly not what many people want to hear, particularly those who view console modding as a right.

This mass banning will undoubtedly renew debates about whether or not hardware modifications should be permitted. Of course, since Xbox Live is an extended service, Microsoft certainly does reserve the right to kick people off -- and this is an example of them demonstrating they are willing to let people go.




User Comments: 80

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow...600k is a significant number. But I'm not up on XBox mods - what are people doing to these? And when they talk about piracy, are they talking about counterfeit game DVD's?

Guest said:

Currently, the modding consists of flashing the DVD drive with a firmware that basically ignores the authenticity check. This allows "backup" copies of games to load as though they were authentic.

I have to say, banning 1 million consoles is going to bring in even LESS money for Microsoft, not more. I have a modded console, but don't pay for a Gold account. (don't play online) However, I have spent upwards of $500 on DLC for the games I DO own. Let's say that half the people banned play online, that is 500,000 people who will no longer be paying their monthly fee for the Live service. Let's say that half the people purchase DLC for their games. Another 500,000 people who will no longer be buying Rock Band songs, or whatever else from Live. We are talking millions of dollars GONE. The main reason people pirate games is because they cost too damn much. If I pirate a game today and you ban me, do you honestly think I can afford a new console and a new copy of the game? Good luck Microsoft.

Guest said:

I cant wait till the "you bought it but you dont own it" business model applies to everything. This is a bunch of BS. Microsoft wants to control what and how you use your XBOX360.

Guest said:

M$ wants people to buy more crappy 360 so they can up their numbers on SONY. The current number is already flawed due to re-purchases of 2-6 360s by every RROD, E74, overheat and disc-burning customers.

Guest said:

i think you guys are missing the point, this is about stopping game piracy, which is important. the cost of game production these days is immense and if people are not buying genuine copies the production companies cant invest in new titles. it's very short sighted of modders to think its ok to not buy games they like to play.

if the modding community was modding them for other purposes and not copied games, i'm sure it wouldnt be such an issue.

Guest said:

It's like bitching about getting a speeding ticket. Don't speed you don't get one.

The sense of entitlement on the behalf of the people whinging about getting punted is laughable.

You're buying a service from M$ and they do get to set the rules. You got caught breaking the rules which you agreed to when you signed up for their service so suck it up princess.

Guest said:

I have to agree with the comment above me - i'm not for or against modding or piracy - my xbox isn't modded for this very reason - i was scared to get caught up and not be able to use it on live- someone made a comment about - not really owning what you buy - you do own your xbox and are free to do whatever you want to to it. You can still play "back-up" games. but you do not own xbox live service - which is what microsolft is controlling. That is thier's to do with as they will just as you are free to do as you will with your xbox - you pay to use their service - and if you break the rules - then they should be able to bann you.

Guest said:

People will continue to pirate, this will only prevent them from playing on live. Imagine there are also a ton of people who mod their xbox and DONT use live. Think about it, if they are pirating, then they wouldnt buy in the first place, or it would be seldom for them to buy a new game or they would rent. MS tries to push that modding the console allows people to cheat, but there is nothing people can really do to cheat with a modded dvd drive. Game files are encrypted and they really cant be messed with. Its all about the $.

People who cheat generally are using DLC from their Hard drive to cheat.

To be perfectly honest the only reason MS does the ban wave in november is to make their console sales for the holiday look better then the nintendo wii and ps3. This whole modding thing is a huge game of cat n mouse. People have been modding their xbox 360 since around may 2006.

Guest said:

You dont even have to buy a new Xbox, you just exchange it for a new one and return your old banned modded xbox. And retail does give a crap about it, they just send it back to M$ as defective and get a new one for no charge.

Very dumb move by M$.

Guest said:

Load of bull. I bought my console second hand, how was I to know it was modded? I don't even own a backup disc! Do microsoft support give a toss? Do they hell! I'm switching to PS3

Guest said:

the big gaming companies do this all the time. Cant tell you the number of times I've seen a ban wave on Warcraft.

Skout said:

I was going to write a nice little rant in contrast to people like the 'princess' comment 4 msgs above me, but I doubt it'll have much effect. People who cling to rules like scared children and laugh at those who choose to act differently all get their due in the end.

FWIW, here in the U.S., we are all granted the right to create, keep, and use a copy of our media. Punishing your customer base for attempting to exercise their legal rights after you've put measures in place to strip them away really doesn't sound like a wise strategy to me, but by all means, defend away.

RealXboxMaster said:

It's there servers... They have every right to ban who evea tries to screw with their online services. It's not fair to the people who pay for it. End of story. If you don't like there services, why you complaining... Switch to PSN...and ill gurantee you , you will come back to MS. Remeber, they have the BEST online no one can touch PERIOD!

You remember Sony? How many people bought thier piece of sht hardware where thier laser burned out in matter of months. People had to buy multiple PS2 systems and thats what gave Sony a edge in numbers.But stupid people like you don't understand. Get your facts straight before you post anything here.

Guest said:

You dont even have to buy a new Xbox, you just exchange it for a new one and return your old banned modded xbox. And retail does give a crap about it, they just send it back to M$ as defective and get a new one for no charge.

Very dumb move by M$.

Tryit......letme know how it worked out. Stores check S/N#, and they fully take out the units to examine...

Guest said:

Load of bull. I bought my console second hand, how was I to know it was modded? I don't even own a backup disc! Do microsoft support give a toss? Do they hell! I'm switching to PS3

Thats your fault for buying a used Modded xbox 360. You should done your research before buyin it just to make sure that you can still be able to play on live.......HAhahaha

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Load of bull. I bought my console second hand, how was I to know it was modded? I don't even own a backup disc! Do microsoft support give a toss? Do they hell! I'm switching to PS3

Sorry, this falls under "buyer beware" and has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, so your rant is misplaced. You'd be hosed if you bought a car with stolen parts off Ebay, and I guarantee you that the police wouldn't care about your "but I didn't know!" arguments, it'd still get confiscated. At least in the Microsoft case, you still have your console, you just no longer get to play on their service with it. If you need to have someone to yell at to feel better, start with the slimeball that sold you a modded unit without divulging that little detail.

RealXboxMaster said:

Vrmithrax,

Nice reply

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"FWIW, here in the U.S., we are all granted the right to create, keep, and use a copy of our media."

That's pushing copyright laws pretty far - there are limitations. And most importantly, you are not entitled to illegal distribution. Or to put it more simply, stealing.

Which apparently is the case here for a million XBox modders.

Guest said:

The comment "It's not fair to the people who pay for it. End of story." is flawed. People pay for the game once and then pay monthly to play it online. They are banning those people, effectively killing their own revenue stream. Now, instead of getting $10 per month from 500,000 people, they are getting nothing. Hmm...$5million per month revenue, or ZERO. Let's also add in the DLC content that will no longer be purchased by those banned users. Micorosoft is shooting themselves in the foot with this...

As for the whiners complaining about getting banned...get over it. You knew the risks when you modded your console. Just feel good knowing Microsoft is losing out on $5million every month in Xbox Live fees.

Guest said:

@realxboxmaster

Switch out the internals of Xbox, and return it with original S/N. Retail store will send it back as a faulty unit.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I understand the logic behind people who pirate software as i was in that camp at one point as well. However the problem is exactly what some others have mentioned: Entitlement. The truth is that it doesn't matter how ridiculously priced someone is selling something for. It is theirs and you can pay them what they ask or simply not buy it. Taking it is stealing, plain and simple.

Guest said:

see the problem here is most people who are pirating games are not using them on live!

so modders still win!!

LxTrix said:

I see people trying to justify their modding but it isn't justified. IF YOU MOD YOUR 360 THEY WILL BAN YOU IF YOU PLAY LIVE.

Guest said:

ya a friend of mine tried this - xbox was banned , bought a new one - switched boxes and returned it - store took her info to return it - they checked it later - and she was caught - she was charged with retail fraud - had to go to court and $600 later...... well you get the point

Guest said:

To all of you who agree to the wave of bans going on. Screw you! If Microsoft was smart, instead of banning everybody, they could charge a higher rate for the live account of people using modded systems. Why not go that route. They can still make a lot of money that way and I'm positive peolple will complain but they will still pay to be able to play their games online.

JudaZ said:

Microsoft does not say you cant mod you Xbox 360. Of course its your right to do so, you bought it , do what you want. you of course void warrenties, but that is clear to everyone. MS isn¬'t prosecuting anyone for modding their xbox...all they are saying is that we dont allow modded xbox 360¬'s to connect to Xbox live. We ban the machine from our system. You can continue to use your live account, you can continue to use your xbox 360. You just cant use an xbox you have modded on xbox live.

Its their right to do so. MS have rights as well. Would say their have acted gracefully, they could have acted like the movie and music industriy....but they dont.

freedomthinker said:

Holy crap , 600k , at one point you think its a good idea from modding and to scare the community , but on the other hand if the games weren't overpriced , people wouldn't need to mod , now would they Same with Windows 7 seriously overpriced . Here in Lithuania (shitty country by the way) , it sucks here like windows 7 ultimate costs 1100 LT . If you count that by salary , it would cost 1100 $ for you guys .

Guest said:

To all of you who agree to the wave of bans going on. Screw you! If Microsoft was smart, instead of banning everybody, they could charge a higher rate for the live account of people using modded systems. Why not go that route. They can still make a lot of money that way and I'm positive peolple will complain but they will still pay to be able to play their games online.

Excellent point. Charge $5 more and everyone is happy.

JudaZ said:

There is another aspect of the ban that people seem to miss. MS ban modded xbox 360 consoles, they dont ban you as a user. They just dont allow modded units. .... of course people mod the xbox to play pirated games, and I have no problems with that .I download all the time....i ay cath me if you can, but I also have no problem with MS beeing kind and only banning the console....the media industry could learn form -ms in their kindness.

People who complain about the ban, what if someone mod their xbox to cheat at games and then they decide to play agains you? There have been mods like this before, on other consoles in the old days.

Would you like to get your ass kicked time and time again from someone cheating , messing up your stats? All because MS allowed anything on their gameservers, no control , no regulations ... people would really complain then.

The decision is simple, if you want to use live, dont mod your xbox.....but you are allowed to mod it anyway you want and Ms will do nothing to stop it. They will not hunt you down, an their could, (if they can find out about the mod, they could find you throuh live) they will not procecute you...they dont care.....or they would be banging on your door right now.

...instead of banning they could do like hollywood does, hire a shady thugh company to hunt you down, sue you and ruin your life. ... but they dont ... they are not ******. ...but hollywood and the music industry is..

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well this isn't really anything new, it's also the same thing when playing pirated PC games.

But how about this for a new business model: give away a basic copy of the game for free (or a nominal charge) and then charge more if users want to play online or download DLCs. I think people would be a lot more inclined to spend $50 gradually on DLCs rather than paying $50 upfront. Pretty much all games are going online nowadays and you just have to look at the success of Guitar Hero/Rock Band and the Fallout 3 DLCs, etc.

Timonius Timonius said:

If the reason for modding the 360 is for playing pirated games (and I believe it is) then M$ has all the right to ban people from their live gaming service. They should be thankful there is nothing in place to shut down the 360 altogether.

Guest said:

Very nice! Very very nice. PS3 rocks.

Guest said:

my xbox isn't modded - but i was reading about the "cheating" during games on live - what are they talking about - how do you "cheat" at games?

Flannelwarrior said:

You are free to mod the hell out of your 360, you just can't play on Live. Microsuck has made this perfectly clear. If you choose to mod, no van pulls up at your house, full of masked MS police who then confiscate your system. They just ban your Live account. You're well within your rights to mod your console if you can handle the consequences.

@ those of you who mod and don't play on live but still benefit from DLC, I guess it just sucks for you can't have the best of both worlds, eh?

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

you can mod your XBOX and your PC.BUT its your PC and XBOX.So if it F,s up its on you not the maker.

Guest said:

That logic is completely flawed. Yes they will lose the revenue you mentioned, but the amount of money lost on illegal back up disks is far far greater. Most modders tend to have very large libraries of backed up games, and "usually" they aren't back ups just for safe keeping...$60 a pop per game with several games per modder times 600k modders...tons of money saved.

Guest said:

You know... this was the dumbest move M$ has ever made. People are not gonna continue to buy their shitty game console just to get back on live. If they do re buy one they'll buy a used one on craiglist or a refurbished unit from game stop or they are just gonna buy a new one gut the insides switch the cases and return them to stores. No way in hell would I ever re buy a brand new console from them if I were banned. I backup my games for 2 reasons. A. because i'm sick of spending almost 100 dollars on terrible games like halo wars and feeling ripped off beyond belief because no effort was put into making the game. B. because I want to try the game before I go and purchase it. Modders generate so much revenue for companies. Not everyone just rips off the companies! Modders still pay an online subscription fee, they still purchase DLC, and if they weren't able to get that game in the first place then M$ wouldn't gain any of that HUGE PROFIT MARGIN income. I'm glad I pay from month to month because if they ban me i'm just gonna go buy a ps3 and say **** you to MS. I work at a Best Buy and you should see the amount of people buying MACS and just boycotting windows because of **** like this. Recently I have been selling about 6 macs to every 2 windows systems.

Ms putting your profit way way way above customers is gonna come back and bite you in the *** and I hope it does you greedy ****s.

tengeta tengeta said:

I've played with at least 1.2 million people who abuse their network to get latency in their favor, so this number is perfectly justified.

Guest said:

lol @ buying a game for $60 and then paying monthly for p2p hosting/matchmaking; Microsoft goes on to harvest a couple extra millions of dollars from those same people when they market a new palette-swapped skin/"horse armor"; then they'll bleed you dry once more to unlock a 'new' map that existed at release and should have shipped with the game that you paid full-price for, etc. Repeat ad nauseam.

Live unwittingly did these folks a service.

rowey rowey said:

LoL what comes around goes around on both sides.

Guest said:

if you buy your games then you have nothing to complain or cry about.

Guest said:

I was banned yesterday for the modded dvd drive. Is there a way to take the xbox apart and replace it with a unbanned used xbox 360 ?

Timonius Timonius said:

Amazing the number of people screaming bloody murder and blaming Microsoft when it is the fault of those who steal, yes steal, games.

Guest said:

Microsoft is doing this to boost holiday sales.

In 2008 Microsoft sold 1.26 million units, topped only by the Wii and had sold approx. 140,000 units more than the PS3. Since then Sony has dropped the price of the PS3 putting it within competition range of the 360. Furthermore, various console sales predictions have had the 360 coming in last for the past months. If Microsoft bans 1 million 360s and even 1 out of 4 people banned by a new console. that is a boost of 250,000 on top of their holiday sales.

This ban wave was planned and executed to falsely raise the statistics for the Holiday season sales, deceiving the public and making them believe that the 360 community is still the best out there. So when the final stats for holiday season sales come out, don't be surprised to see Microsoft rejoicing because they are the "Best Selling Console" because this is just a manufactured dream that Microsoft by banning modders has fabricated into reality.

Timestorm-cR

Guest said:

Microsoft will be releasing a new "XBOX" with enhanced features that will deprecate this old XBOX

they want everyone to move into this "next generation" that gives them higher control, and end support for this old one..., they do have some XBOX on stock so.. what better way to try and choke sell some...

Guest said:

this is a plot made by modders...

they will be releasing their new stealth mod that is not red flaged by microsoft..

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Guest above - I don't have an xbox and so I'm not into the xbox modding scene, but I'm surprised that a "stealth mod" hasn't been developed already. For other consoles like the Wii and PSP, the modders always seem to be a step or two ahead of the manufacturers.

Guest said:

I bought a 2nd hand elite console, I was never told its modded and played only legit games yet few days ago I was banned! The most annoying thing is that no matter I'm banned from live which I paid for , is that MS also BLOCK THE ACCESS TO THE HD! So games can't be installed to the HD anymore and you can't use the Media center too. This is totally unacceptable I'm throwing my xbox to the trash and getting a PS3 instead. Bye Bye MS!

Guest said:

Is it also their right to block any access to the HD and the media center functionality?

Guest said:

Really the RIAA and the movie industry and Microsoft have every right to sue you. Everything has EULA's the reason the price of game's and such is so high is the number of people pirating. Lets say every banned console has JUST two pirated games most have a lot more. So for example 1,200,000 Million games are pirated so 1,200,000 Times 60 Bucks a game.... that's 72,000,000 Million dollar developers, Microsoft, Retail store, etc lose. If we stopped pirating that money could get given to the people that make the games and the prices would go down..... I stopped pirating years ago its not right how would you like someone to just take your video card out of your computer?

Guest said:

Hey all of you need to stop and listen ok,

I see why ms are angry but if you actually knew more about modding you would realise that people modding there xbox360 isnt tampering with live at all. It should be the game developers taking action imo.

The only source of modding for xbox live is gamesave modding, that affects online play yes but hardware modding doesnt so i dont see why they are taking such serious action against it for.

mabye a month to 3 month ban would be reasonable like a slap on the wrist but a lifetime ban :S all i have to say that ms are money grabbing arseholes :D ft bill gates.

RealXboxMaster said:

Guest said:

@realxboxmaster

Switch out the internals of Xbox, and return it with original S/N. Retail store will send it back as a faulty unit.

Yeah... I know that trick already...But MS will catch on because S/N# is embedded within the OS firmware. And all they need to do is track the last IP of where it came from....No matter how you look at they will still find you.....WWWWWoooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhahahahaaaahhaahahaha

lmao......good 1 though

RxM

compdata said:

I understand the logic behind people who pirate software as i was in that camp at one point as well. However the problem is exactly what some others have mentioned: Entitlement. The truth is that it doesn't matter how ridiculously priced someone is selling something for. It is theirs and you can pay them what they ask or simply not buy it. Taking it is stealing, plain and simple.

I totally agree with you Compdata 100%

Guest said:

To all of you who agree to the wave of bans going on. Screw you! If Microsoft was smart, instead of banning everybody, they could charge a higher rate for the live account of people using modded systems. Why not go that route. They can still make a lot of money that way and I'm positive peolple will complain but they will still pay to be able to play their games online.

I don't think sooooo.. they looking at the whole picture for that MASS market. they looking for numbers , not limiting them self to just few thousand users. They really don't care if they lose 1million users. Thats 1 million less hacked users they need to worried about.

JudaZ said:

Microsoft does not say you cant mod you Xbox 360. Of course its your right to do so, you bought it , do what you want. you of course void warrenties, but that is clear to everyone. MS isn¬'t prosecuting anyone for modding their xbox...all they are saying is that we dont allow modded xbox 360¬'s to connect to Xbox live. We ban the machine from our system. You can continue to use your live account, you can continue to use your xbox 360. You just cant use an xbox you have modded on xbox live.

Its their right to do so. MS have rights as well. Would say their have acted gracefully, they could have acted like the movie and music industriy....but they dont.

Good 1......JudaZ

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