Microsoft Disconnects 600,000 Xbox Live Gamers

Posted on November 12, 2009 11:35 AM by Rob Williams

When the argument PC gaming’s demise arises, one of the most common issues discussed falls back on piracy. The fact is, piracy on the PC is easy, and no single person can deny that. Upon release, and sometimes even before, full games are available on various networks that include cracks to bypass protections, and the same goes for applications and other things. On consoles, though, piracy is made a lot more difficult. But, that doesn’t stop many people from taking part.

I knew that piracy on the Xbox 360 was rather common, but I had no idea just how common. Hot on the heels of the Modern Warfare 2 release, Microsoft has banned some 600,000 gamers from its Xbox Live network. That means, no official online gameplay for those using modded consoles. Currently, Xbox Live has some 20,000,000 subscribers, so 600,000 seems like nothing more than a drop in the bucket, but 3% is rather significant from some angles.

I admit I’m not that familiar with Xbox 360 modding, and I’m not sure if the only reason people mod their console is to pirate, but judging by Microsoft’s comments, that seems to be the case. It’s quoted as saying, “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.“. Well, there’s not much room for confusion there.

How Microsoft detects modded consoles, I’m unsure, but given that the console must handshake with its servers, you’d imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult. So the moral of the story is this… if you want to play on Xbox Live, don’t mod your Xbox. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has had a huge sweep of bans, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If you want to mod your Xbox, it’d probably be wise to purchase a second console, while keeping the first one “clean”.

But many gamers modify their consoles by installing new chips or software that allows them to run unofficial – but not always illegal – programs and games. However, some chips are specifically designed to play pirated games. Microsoft has not said how it was able to determine which gamers to disconnect. “We do not reveal specifics, but can say that all consoles have been verified to have violated the terms of use,” the firm said in a statement.

Source: BBC News

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