Xbox Live Smashes Mass Banhammer On Pirates

"A small percentage" of Xbox Live users with modded consoles that allowed pirated games to play woke up to find an early treat in their Halloween bag: a banhammer.

IGN noticed scuttlebutt about bannings in technical feedback forums and asked Microsoft about it. A spokesperson confirmed they banzored some modded consoles. Said the spokesperson to IGN:

"We have taken action against a small percentage of consoles that have been modified to play pirated game discs. In line with our commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of our Xbox LIVE community, we are suspending these modded consoles from Xbox LIVE."

Microsoft wouldn't say exactly when the action was taken, although IGN speculates that, from the chatter, it's been happening over the past week.

Microsoft Performs Mass Xbox Console Banning [IGN via Hot Blooded Gaming][Image from KnowYourMeme]


    and rightly so i mean cmon you are commiting a crime by pirating games

    Enough said.

    Are the consoles themselves being suspended- as in they are offline-only, or just the XBL service that they were utilising at the time? In which case a different acct sign-in would solve the pirates' issue...

    Hoping its the former...

      the consoles entirely are not able to connect o xbox live.

      Yeah from what I've seen in the past, it seems to be hardware bans when it comes to stuff like this

    Who said anything about modded consoles for pirated games? Many people mod their consoles for back-ups, and its quite legal in Australia to do so.

    But who cares, you can still play games anyway offline.

      That's the same old lame bullshit excuse all piraters use. "I make backups, or so I can have different functions for my console". BULLSHIT. It's pirates like you who ruin the industry for legitimate consumers

        Come now, you're just being ignorant. Plenty of people use modded consoles for legitimate reasons. For example I have a modded Wii. I have a few import games, that is games I BOUGHT from the USA, that I play on my PAL Wii thanks to a mod chip. I only have three burnt Wii discs and they are a copy of Guitar Hero III, a game I already OWN, with custom songs, a region changed copy of Smash Bros Brawl, another game I OWN and IMPORTED from the US, and lastly a legal backup of Twilight Princess, a game I stayed up until midnight to buy on launch and have backed up to protect my original from scratches (yes I love that game that much. I'm not joking). This is all perfectly legal and no piracy has been committed.

          Are you really that stupid or is that you can't read english? There is absolutely no excuse that can legally justify the duplication of a game CD. The reason being, is that it is ILLEGAL to make a copy. It doesn't matter how many actual copies you own of a game CD, once you make a duplicate, you are breaking the law. Game CDs have this IN WRITING along the edge of the image side of the CD. There's no grey area dumbass!

          OH I see. So you couldn't wait for Super Smash Bros then, hence why yours is a US copy? I see. Also, for the Wii, you don't need it chipped. Just Freeloader.

          Oh and to 'protect from scratches' how about this - don't be a fucking retard with your discs. I've been playing Halo3 and Mario Party8 for AGES and I have got not a single scratch on either of them.

          Ok. Fine. I just destroyed my backups. No joke. I was under the impression that it was legal (as it is legal to make backups of music CDs I merely assumed). And now I know that it's not. Fine. No problems. Thank you for pointing that out. However I will point out that on NONE of my Wii discs does it say that I may not copy them. Also on the topic of imports, yeah I got a freeloader, however because I buy games from the Wii Shop Channel I have to download updates and those updates block out such things as the Freeloader. I got my modchip after that happened. As for scratches, yeah...well I have these things called younger siblings who for some unkown reason ONLY play Twilight Princess. I take extreme care of my discs; they don't. I still haven't forgiven them for what they did to my copy of Wind Waker. I can't be too careful. But as you have pointed out it is illegal to have backup copies so now I will have to just hope that they won't scratch the original. It is still LEGAL for me to have a modchip in my system though that I use for imports which allows me to legally buy games at half the Australian price, or at least a bit cheaper, and get them maybe a month or two earlier.

          I am fine with admitting my mistakes and shortcomings. I have no problems with being pointed out that I am wrong. What I am not OK with are personal attacks on my intelligence and character. I can read, I am quite intelligent and I am not *ahem* "a fucking retard". I am however human and this does entail a level of ignorance to which I have already admitted. That does not mean that you can just openly insult me with no good reason or justification. Doing so does NOT mean you are any more, or less, correct or incorrect. All it does is reflect badly on you.

        BRONIX you suck dude! I know of a couple of coders for software firms who aren't paid on time due to the lameness of the company, and it's not the pirates who do this! They treat their coders like crap! Just another number in the employee line!

      It's not legal to back up your game. Nothing in the Copyright Act 2006 supports your argument.

      S.110AA could perhaps support your assertion, but format shifting is only allowed for video tapes to computers.

        No but it IS legal to own and operate a modded console (Sony vs. Stevens, 2005), though I don't think there is anything in the Trade Practices Act 1974 to protect your use of XBox Live when you break the EULA, *maybe* you could argue for antitrust because there are no alternatives to XBox Live on that console, and there are exclusive titles locked to that platform. But IANAL anyway, and pirating is wrong and bad. But so is banning for possessing a modchip.

      "Many people mod their consoles for back-ups, and its quite legal in Australia to do so."


      Also, it's a violation of both the Xbox 360 and XBL terms of service.

      Which basically means that if MS can detect that you've used copied games, they are well within their legal and moral rights to act.

        They can have terms and services all they like and they can ban you for whatever the hell they want if they're in there, but Microsoft doesn't make National laws and modded consoles are legal in Australia.

          Which aspect of our "National laws" allows you to use copy a copyrighted video game, burn it and play it on a modded device?

          Specifics, please.

        Terms of service is effectively a contract, a contract cannot break the law or stand outside the law. Console modification is legal in Australia and it doesn't matter what Microsoft have to say about it in their terms of service.

        Many commenters are overlooking the fact that console modifications are legitimately used to circumvent the practice of regional price discrimination (charging different prices for the same product in different regions), by allowing consoles to play games and movies from "locked out" regions.

        Many owners of modified consoles use them purely for importing games and movies at a cheaper price from other regions and playing them on their locally purchased console. This use is legitimate and legal.

        Microsoft may have serious legal troubles coming their way for indiscriminately banning modified consoles.


    Jeez... It'd have to suck to be suspended from a service you have to PAY FOR!

      Follow the rules and Terms & Conditions and there will be no worry for the service you PAY FOR!

      Cannot believe these people want sympathy for the acts they are doing. It is 101% likely that using a modded console for pirated games and all that crap is not allowed under the Terms & Conditions of Xbox Live.

      Sucked in to those who don't follow properly. If only MS could send out something that prevents their console from even turning on! HEHEHE

      I'm not one for piracy in gaming (dont even get me started on what Luke said - i mean does he have a brain?) but i can understand some point of views for modded consoles. I mean i would consider modding a second console if i had one - but i sure as hell wouldn't use it through Xbox Live & all that hoping to get caught. But using it in ways like people use their jailbroken iPhone or PSP.

    Well if Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo were to drop the prices of games then most people wont resort to piracy and sometimes modding only enables what most consoles should already do. (Cough Chough Wii).

      its a for profit industry now as far as i know they arent making much profit on each unit sold (5 - 10 dollars is my understanding) now if you want to play some freeware non profit games thats fine but id give ya 2 maybe 3 weeks before you come crawling back

        Im sorry... Come crawling back to what?. i have always paid for my games even though some of the are grossly overpriced. In some industries their profit margin is only $2 per unit sold but they sell more units at a cheaper cost. Its just simple economics.

    You mean like the way people paid for world of goo?

    "so I can have different functions for my console"

    My original xbox is modded and i still use it for xbox media centre. None of the other consoles can play as many media types without screwing around with media servers. Once a successful XBMC is up and running on the 360 now that the hacking/homebrew scene appears to be picking up again i'd buy a cheap 2nd xbox for media upstairs for my girlfriend and keep one for gaming (with bought games).

    But banned for outright piracy or cheating and they can prove that.. fair enough and then they deserve it

    To Be Fair,

    It should be noted that this "ban wave" effects less than 1-2 percent of all modded drives. In fact Microsoft cannot even detect the existence of the modded firmware or the abgx sheathed games.

    The folks being banned here on noob modders that play bad rips (non-sheathed games) or pre-release/review copies before the official release. At that point, the console records a log of the unusual behavior and sends the information back to Microsoft.

    So this is hardly a great victory over Modders for Microsoft.

      "It should be noted that this “ban wave” effects less than 1-2 percent of all modded drives"

      The evidence points to a rather different conclusion.

      Go and read a modding/warez forum. There's been a hell of a lot of pirates affected by this banhammer, with all manner of mods and supposed "safeguards".

    Those of you on ur high horse i suppose have never downloaded a song or watched a copied movie! These are the times we live in deal with it!!

      @ james d

      All true dude...

    See, what I don't understand about pirating games is what's the point? Sure, you can't afford them, or you'd rather spend the money on crack/fat prostitutes, whatever, but SOMEONE has to support the developers and distributers. If more and more people refuse to purchase a legit retail copy of a game, then it'll get to a point where the companies won't be able to make games because they can't afford to because of boffins like you, and hey presto, everyone ends up with nothing.

    "aww, but I wanna try it before I buy it"
    BULLSHIT and you know it. Umm hi, heard of a demo? Or a video store? Hell, even EB and their 7 day return policy. There are plenty ways of trying a game before committing to actually purchasing it for keepsakes.

    @james d
    Funnily enough, people pirate games more then music and movies.

    And how about this - don't play a leaked pre-release game on xbl, just for the sake of your e-penor with your buddies. Maybe you won't get caught, eh?

      "people pirate games more then music and movies"?

      Have you got anything to back that up?

        @ hmm

        Yeah Mr Flow Chart...

    Just don't play your 'backed up' discs while on xboxlive.

    Most consoles get banned if the user is playing a 'backed up' disc online, or if the modded firmware is out of date.

      That won't work. The next time your Xbox connects to XBL, it will transfer usage data. Then the banhammer will get you.

      See the (very many) whiny pirates on various fora, all complaining of this exact problem.

    @ Morgan Lupson

    even playing a none backup game can still get you banned apparently with a modded drive. brothers friend just got banned tonight while playing a legit copy of halo 3 online. i believe he was running the latest 1.61 ixtreme for BenQ.

    and since everyone here is just probably waiting for another person to flame... here goes.

    Sure, I'll admit to having had a modded console (no longer, sold it a while ago), and yes i had plenty of backups. I also do mods for other people (same with a few companies here in my hometown, hell they even advertise it on billboards and charge $100 to do it). Now, the way i see the money charts for modding consoles and what-not (pirating games vs retail), how much money do you think MS makes from banning consoles? how many people, after they get banned, go and buy a new console just so they can play LIVE again? Id guess a very high percentage. Not only do a high percentage of those people go back and buy a new console, but they usually switch back to buying retail. yes some just go back to the modding stuff, but its basically a scam when you think about it and MS is very smart for doing it.

    They send out banhammer waves every so often so that a percentage gets banned and they are forced to go out and buy a new system for $199-$299 CDN especially right before holidays and big events, basically forcing people (especially little kids begging their parents) to buy a new console, so they can get their fix of LIVE and getting more headshots.

    either way, MS makes money, game developers make money. yes the charts have shown that sales for video games has gone down recently, but is that because of piracy? or is it because its what happens in any industry?! its a wave that always happens in the video game industry, up and down, heck video game sales sky rocketed once the recession hit the states.

    so people just stop complaining about what other people do and just let them do what they want. if they want to mod their console let them. they take the risk not you.

    one more thing, copyright laws in Canada states you are allowed one backup copy of any game/movie/music Disc in your household for personal use, but to sell/download and or even give away burned software is against the law!

    so just leave it at, modding is OK, as long as you want to take the risk, and Pirating is BAD! im not taking sides here, just putting out my opinion.

    and let the flaming begin! :D

    Yeah this is really bad. I modded mine to get a bigger hard drive instead of buying the insanely overprice official one. I dont play pirated games at all, and for a while i played backup discs of my own games as to not scratch the original discs. However I got a bit fed up with doing the backups, so mostly I play the original retail discs. I hit by the ban hammer, but I still fail to see anything wrong with installing a bigger hard drive in a console I bought and paid for.

    What worse is my gamertag has been corrupted, and if I try to migrate my data to a new xbox360, that too will be corrupted. So M$ is hitting it hard, without mercy.

    If they really wanted to combat piracy efficiently, they should go strictly for the pirates or their means of distributing the software (yes i know it is difficult). I see this recent ban wave mostly as a combat for control over the box you got installed in your living room more than anything else...

    U can't burn or use a copied game by law.... But you can own a console that is capable of playing them....... Laws are beyond my conception....

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