360 games hacked – First mod-chip 'within weeks' – Full report

Games and extractors dumped on net

Posted by Staff
As far as SPOnG is concerned, there are two types of hacking. A nice kind and a not so nice kind. Tinkering around with a console in order to sate your geek dreams is one thing. Getting a Commodore 64 emulator running on your Xbox and making the screen spool "I AM COOL" is a pursuit that, as long as you don't want a girlfriend, no one can really take exception to.

Though of course, there is bad hacking. Ripping games, dumping them on the Internet and rewiring hardware in order to make it play the illegally copied goods. There is something of a debate over piracy at the SPOnG office. It's wrong, illegal and you shouldn't do it. On this we are agreed. However, the claims that are made regarding the lost revenues due to copied games each year somewhat undermine this message. If Mr A has ten copied games, software publishers will have you believe that his second hand piracy has cost them ten full-price game sales. This is of course rubbish. It might have cost them one sale perhaps, working on the assumption that Mr A was paying four pounds per game, some people won't buy games if they can't get them cheaply or for free. Understand? That's why the second hand and trade in businesses are booming at the moment.

Anyway, politics aside for a moment, some less than pleasant news has been filtering through to us over the past few weeks, as various message boards claim to have ripped and dumped Xbox 360 game code directly from retail discs. One group – seemingly the driving force behind undoing Xbox 360 copy protection – know as Team PI Coder, has to date released almost the entire 360 catalog and made available an extractor tool with which other users are encouraged to do likewise.

Right now, the rips are useless. When mastered to a DVD-R, the Xbox finds them unreadable. For now. You see, at this very moment, while you are reading this news piece, workshops the length and breadth of China, and other places, are working tirelessly towards a single goal – and that goal is to release a mod-chip for Microsoft's machine that will force the console to accept ripped game software.

From what we have been able to gather, the first mod-chips for the 360 will be available within a month. Speaking to us under terms of anonymity, one source close to the research and development of some well known current-generation chips said, “We've been seeing partial success from some corners [in China] though nothing that could go on sale yet.” This paints a dark picture of the console industry and the aggressive blight it suffers. “Everyone is working on a full-functioning 'do everything' chip that will take apart the 360 and let users do what they will, though we expect a first-generation bypass device that will allow back-ups within weeks. The first on the market is likely to be complex and might not be particularly good, though that's just a stopgap before real chips become available.”

There is some hope for Microsoft however, “Everyone is finding it difficult [to make the chips work correctly] as Microsoft's security is the best we've seen to date for a disc-system. It it weren't for the fact that DVD is used, it's likely that further development wouldn't have been worth anyone's time.”

Reacting to the escalation of IP aggression against its machine, Microsoft released a statement over the weekend reading, “We have made improvements on both the hardware and software side to protect Xbox 360 against piracy and modding. With Xbox 360, we had the benefit of learning from our experiences on Xbox. This allowed us to identify points of weakness that were exploited by hackers in the first generation and to eliminate those vulnerabilities in Xbox 360.”

So will the Xbox 360 escape its pursuers? Right now, it seems unlikely, and as huge resources are poured into cracking the new box, it seems a matter of when rather than if. The 360 does have its online functionality to further protect the retail unit as was released and Microsoft representatives have stated to SPOnG on several occasions that it believes it can second guess the areas it might see targeted and is proactively preparing updates.

We'll keep you updated.
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Comments

fluffstardx 20 Dec 2005 13:07
1/18
I see the 3 USB ports being the first line in cracking the system wide open. No soldering, for a start...

It's never good when this happens, especially when they can't even say it's to allow importing (TONS of the games are region-free). It's a shame, but it was inevitable.

It was the only reason one of the guys queuing next to me was after one, which shocked me.
config 20 Dec 2005 13:08
2/18
"That's why the second hand and trade in businesses are booming at the moment."

...which the publishers want to destroy because they claim it's erroding sales of the full price games.
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tyrion 20 Dec 2005 13:40
3/18
fluffstardx wrote:
I see the 3 USB ports being the first line in cracking the system wide open. No soldering, for a start...

I'll be the USB ports have nothing to do with decoding signed executables either, so it's probably not the way to go. I don't think there were any mod-chips for the PS2 that used the USB ports.

fluffstardx wrote:
It was the only reason one of the guys queuing next to me was after one, which shocked me.

He was buying one at launch because it would get hacked? Or he was buying one to hack it himself? Either way, it's a shame, but it seems to be a common trait these days.
I'll Eat Your Soul 20 Dec 2005 13:46
4/18
Xbox 360 games are region free? Let's hope the PS3 and Revolution follow suit and that's the end of all the stupid region locking nonsense.
kid_77 20 Dec 2005 13:50
5/18
I'll Eat Your Soul wrote:
Xbox 360 games are region free?

No they're not.

Lik Sang wrote:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that the systems will not play all games from all countries (most titles from America and Europe will not boot because of region-locking).


http://www.lik-sang.com/news.php?artc=3758
fluffstardx 20 Dec 2005 14:30
6/18
A ton of games have no region lock though - RR6 was the last I heard mentioned. AFAIK the 2nd party Rare titles are locked, but most others aren't. Halo 2 was a high-profile game with no region code; I know, my copy's NTSC...

Yes, the guy behind me bought one so he could mod chip it in future. I just kept quiet. I can understand PC piracy to a degree (you never know if a game will work on your system til you try it, by which point many think it's too late; you can return the game, but some people hate to), but console gaming? Not with the preowned market as it is...
LUPOS 20 Dec 2005 17:31
7/18
i will download and play a game only if i have no intentions of buying it... for example if there is a game i am somewhat interested in but really dont feel liek blowing 50 on it i will get it cause its not a lost sale... 99 percent of the game si have played and enjoyed have been paid for... although my college days did lead to a rise in pirating... its difficult when your poor... taking out tons of loands... barely makign any actual money... and everyoen you know has quake3 and plays network games.... sorry id... i owe you guys 50 bucks ;)

which reminds me... i dont think i ever baught worms either... and i playe dthat an awfull lot to... but i never had it on my comp... so it doesnt really count... sorry team 17... i know some of them will read this ;D
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immortal360 20 Dec 2005 18:49
8/18
i have a friend from Venezuela and he told me that where he live they are already selling illegal game copies for xbox 360.
LUPOS 20 Dec 2005 20:50
9/18
immortal360 wrote:
i have a friend from Venezuela and he told me that where he live they are already selling illegal game copies for xbox 360.


tis possible that in a country with less stringent laws (i know nothing of venzuelas gub-ment so i am just guessing) an actual manufacturing plant may exist that is capable of producing exact copies of games... not the rib and burn kind we make on our pc's but printed from the get go duplicates... mind you i have no idea how feasable such a thing is... it might explain it.

corse how many 360's are there in venezuela?
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immortal360 20 Dec 2005 21:33
10/18
i don't know how many Xbox 360 are in Venezuela, but i guess like no more than 150,000 units. Also i forgot to tell you something, he also told me that when you go to the Mall or some places, they have like in a table the original games and in the other table they have the copies games.
LUPOS 20 Dec 2005 22:27
11/18
immortal360 wrote:
i don't know how many Xbox 360 are in Venezuela, but i guess like no more than 150,000 units.


i was sort of kidding on that... seeing as i dotn think the sytem has even been released there yet.
so far US/Europe/japan are the onyl places i know of have them... does canada even? (not sure hwo they breaks down) so i dont think south america has any at all. but then i dont pay much attention to that so who knows.
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Joji 21 Dec 2005 02:01
12/18
I guess this hacking was always bound to happen and while it's wrong in a moral way it is a challenge of the man in the street versus big money bags megacorp.

Wonder if MS will respond with more patches and banning people from Live again?
soanso 21 Dec 2005 02:24
13/18
I wonder how the revolution will get around piracy.
If maybe it simply won't be able to read dvd-rs.
That's the trouble for MS with xobx, they've tried to make it all singing and all dancing that it gives so many options for hacking the thing.

Personally I really wish they'd get rid of region lock outs.
LUPOS 21 Dec 2005 14:14
14/18
soanso wrote:
Personally I really wish they'd get rid of region lock outs.


speakign of which... are than any specific japan only games that have come out in recent years that you guys feel should make the transition to english but have been ignored? seems like alot of suprises have actually been making it over seas... dragon quest and katamari to name a few... but what titles do you still think are being over looked?

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KCKitsune 21 Dec 2005 16:30
15/18
There is another reason to mod an Xbox. That would be to turn it into a media center.
kid_77 21 Dec 2005 17:09
16/18
KCKitsune wrote:
There is another reason to mod an Xbox. That would be to turn it into a media center.


... which is bloody brilliant.
bakerboy 6 May 2007 16:58
17/18
i no that the xbox can be hacked my freind would just rent a game and copy it from the rented disk straight to the console would it be possible 2 do this with the 360, or how would they mod the 360 to do this. one thing.... is the 360 chip in circulation in the uk if yes were would one accuire such a wonderful piece of egineering
kim 2 Jul 2009 13:36
18/18
ftywwjuy
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