Major Nelson: We ban modded 360s from Live for the “health of the video game business”

Wednesday, 12th November 2008 07:12 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Major Nelson’s issued a statement on the reason for banning Live accounts for modded 360s, saying the games trade survives on the fact that people buy “genuine products”.

“The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive, both from manufacturers and the local companies that support them,” said the exec.

“We will continue to employ and bolster anti-piracy security measures to counter piracy in the gaming industry and improve security in the Xbox Live community.”

If you do have a modded machine and use it while connected to Live, you’ll be immediately banned: in theory.

Nelson went on to explain that, aside from being an anti-piracy measure, banning in this way was also about keeping Live “safe”.

“In our our continued effort to keep gameplay safe and secure for our community of more than 14 million members, Microsoft has taken action against a small percentage of Xbox 360 consoles that have been illegally modified in order to play pirated games,” he said.

“You should know that modifying your Xbox 360 console is also a violation of the Xbox Live terms of use, will void your warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live.”



  1. morriss

    …and let that be a lesson to yers!

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Gekidami

    They’re doing a pretty poor job, i know loads of people that dont buy 360 games any more; they just download them, and i play on Live with them none-stop. Its all hot air and scare tatics, connect on Live with a modded console = insta-ban? ‘O RLY?’

    #2 6 years ago
  3. patlike

    Fair enough. I’ve added an edit.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Esha

    Gekidami’s right.

    All they really catch are the idiots who pay some poorly skilled electrician to mod their XBox for them, anyone who’s undergone the process of flashing their own drive (including the fun of soldering an RS232 onto a LiteOn) likely won’t get caught, all they have to do is make sure that they wait for any firmware updates from Xtreme before they install the latest XBox firmware releases.

    And that pretty much seems to be the consistent story around the Internet. Microsoft doesn’t catch anyone clever, they just catch the stragglers of the herd, those too poorly informed to know better.

    I haven’t flashed my XBox drive’s firmware though, of course. If I had, then I wouldn’t be using NXE already, now would I? (I’m not a pirate, just well informed. :p) That’s the kind of stupid move that would get a person banned, though. And Microsoft are probably going to clean up with this sweep, because there are probably loads of XBox pirates who don’t realise why waiting before updating firmware is important.

    And due to the nature of the thing, they won’t really ever catch the clever ones either, and the problem is actually worse than on the PC. With the XBox, a simple firmware patch is used and poof, all games can be pirated. With the PC, it’s a much more dangerous game. Any and all pirated games on the PC carry the risk of viruses and things that could potential destroy oneself (by having personal details stolen) or one’s machine at the very least.

    Not to mention that thanks to keys, it’s actually fairly damned hard to play a pirated PC game online.

    If MS really want to stop piracy, just require all their games to log on via Live and have all of them ship with keys, it’s really that simple.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. rainer

    There’s too much work involved in modding an Xbox (plus added fear of bans, bricking and poor reliability) means the masses sitting on the fence will never go for it.

    You may think its simple Esha but you very much over-estimate the skills required, piracy on the 360 is still bottled up among those with the technical chops so its not that big of a problem.

    MS may be sending out a gentle warning as certain news sites have taken it upon themselves to start reporting whenever a game gets leaked.

    Pirating on the PC is a doddle, just type the name into Google and you download it from your favourite file hosting service or a torrent. The risk is tiny compared to the Xbox no hardware modifications required. Imagine if you have to mod your £300 graphics card in order to play a pirated PC game now that would be an effective measure at curbing piracy on the PC.

    #5 6 years ago

    Hackers will be caught.

    Then they will cry!


    You will cry when you are forced to pay £20,000 for your years of crime.

    Oh yes you will.


    #6 6 years ago
  7. Gamoc

    G1gahurtz: That says illegaly ‘uploading’, though. I’ll bet my left arm that there’s a huge difference between the amount of uploaders and the amount of downloaders. Three guesses which way that difference goes (if you don’t manage to guess in THREE guesses you don’t deserve to live. There are TWO options).

    ‘Health of the video game business.’
    ‘Oh, sorry, the health of our income IN the video game business. Sorry about that.’

    #7 6 years ago

    1. Well, silly billy, if the people who make games and consoles don’t make a profit (their INCOME), then they will shut down, and you will be left with only bedroom coders making games on cassette for their own personal pleasure again.

    Won’t you!?

    2. Upload, download, it doesn’t matter. You will be caught Gamoc, oh yes…

    You will pay for your thievery!!!

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Gamoc

    I will? I don’t do it.

    Yes, I know they obviously need income, I just hate that they claim they do so for the ‘good of the industry’ and other such things. You do it so you make money, don’t shove your crap in my face.

    #9 6 years ago

    If they don’t make money, there is no industry!

    What’s so difficult to understand about that?

    The average next gen game costs around £5m to make. If this money is not made through sales then companies will close, no-one will invest in games companies and there will be no new generation of consoles for anyone.

    You seem to be saying that people should make their money back, then not want any more after that!

    If people did that then then the money hungry talented people who make the biggest steps in the industry would go to another industry where they get paid more, and the games industry would go backwards.

    No-one HAS to make games.

    The games industry could die within a year or less, make no mistake about it.

    You are not OWED games by anyone. People do it to make money, and usually, the best paid people are the ones who make the best games.

    No big money = no future talent = no future for the games industry.


    #10 6 years ago
  11. patlike

    Piracy’s a scary business. It’s absolutely fucked music.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. Tonka

    Piracy is fucked music. Read all about it!

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Gamoc

    Tonka: Sure Pat meant…’it has’?

    Giga: Never mind. Christ. It’s like jumping into a piranha tank.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. OrphanageExplosion

    Microsoft is physically incapable of spotting people who’ve got modded Xboxes. They can, however, scan the games being played and check their authenticity – my guess is that with a growing amount of review promos being leaked, MS is simply banning the people who repeatedly downloaded games that were leaked early.

    I’m not sure who this punishes really. The Xbox can still play games, it just can’t access Xbox Live. And the Live account itself remains active. The natural consequence is that some people will simply buy a secondary Xbox for XBLA, Live play and the demos.

    A win for Microsoft, but not the clarion call to the industry that “Major” Nelson says it is.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Gekidami

    To top it off apparently its quite easy to unban your console, then you just need a new Live account, and its back to the high seas looting games.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Psychotext

    That’s not true Gekidami. If your console is banned it’s 100% impossible to get it on Live. You need a completely new machine unless you somehow persuade MS to unban it (which is unlikely as they pretty much refuse to talk about the issue with you if you call them). It’s why you can see a bunch of “No access to Live” machines turn up on ebay / craiglist.

    Your Live account remains untouched though… you can use that on your new machine with no problems.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. Gekidami

    Hum, that does sound right, i’ve never really looked into cracking or chipping, or flashing (what ever else) a console, though when i do talk to pirates and ask them about the risk most of them tend to dish up that ‘unban’ thing.

    #17 6 years ago

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