Halo 2 triggers Xbox chip crackdown

Reports of modded console users seeing the boot

Posted by Staff
An Xbox chip yesterday
An Xbox chip yesterday
Following the launch of Halo 2, believed to be the biggest game launch in history, reports have reached SPOnG that claim a crackdown on modded machines has been initiated by Microsoft.

Microsoft has operated a semi-open policy regarding its snooping into the innards of the million or so Live-enabled consoles, stating that it will ?collect data from time to time? but has so far declined to outline what it collects or how it?s collected. MGS has always stated that modified machines would be banned from the Live service.

Cameron Ferroni, general manager of the Xbox software platform commenting earlier this week said the fresh wave of bannings was to protect the integrity of Live and is solely to stop users of chipped machines cheating during online play.

As we reported earlier this year, Microsoft has taken something of a tougher stance regarding the widespread hacking of its console. Following the introduction of bypass chipsets that enable the user to switch between standard and modified modes, MS took to sniffing hard drive capacity as most hacked boxes are equipped with larger storage capacity.

How this latest investigation was carried out was not explained.

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Comments

Joji 16 Nov 2004 19:00
1/8
When will you learn MS, when a customer wants something they will get it wahtever you do. Why not try understanding why they want to modify they Xbox's.

Just imagine buying a car and being ordered not to change the wheels or engine for better ones. Sorry but I have to laugh, they are handling this very badly. It's not about the integrity of Live, it's about them wanting to control us all. People don't chip there machines to cheat at games, that is a lame arse excuse.

I think MS are totally paranoid android about the whole thing, and no matter what they do the people will have they chips and play with them offline if neccessary, it's MS that lose out by chastising and not understanding instead. Jsut like the dodgy copies of Windows that float around of a new one comes out, there is only ever so much you can do. Feel free to try MS, while we laugh at you. LOL.
tyrion 17 Nov 2004 13:41
2/8
This is just more of the attitude that made Bill put "My Computer" on everybody else's computers. He thinks he owns everything.
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fluffstardx 17 Nov 2004 19:29
3/8
Joji wrote:
When will you learn MS, when a customer wants something they will get it wahtever you do. Why not try understanding why they want to modify they Xbox's.

Just imagine buying a car and being ordered not to change the wheels or engine for better ones. Sorry but I have to laugh, they are handling this very badly. It's not about the integrity of Live, it's about them wanting to control us all. People don't chip there machines to cheat at games, that is a lame arse excuse.

I think MS are totally paranoid android about the whole thing, and no matter what they do the people will have they chips and play with them offline if neccessary, it's MS that lose out by chastising and not understanding instead. Jsut like the dodgy copies of Windows that float around of a new one comes out, there is only ever so much you can do. Feel free to try MS, while we laugh at you. LOL.


What?

For a start, people who chip the console are trying to circumvent the necessary region lockouts. The reason it's "necessary"? Because they have to regionalise the language used, and allocate units per location. The region coding is actually on your save, by the way. I know this, because i have Halo 2 SE US edition (more extras) on an unmodded Xbox, and it only works as i have a UK save (i was given a standard UK copy while the next batch of SE copies came in; the first lot got broke). By chipping your console, you are breaking the agreement you entered into by buying the console. You broke the law, simple as.

It's nothing like changing the parts of a car- cars are meant to have changeable tyres, chairs, gear levers etc. Car changes are COSMETIC. A console is made to be used as it is- period. And people DO chip consoles to "cheat"- look at the game-modding community, and at the "nude patch" for Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball. They also chip them to play illegal copies, which is obviously something to crack down on. That, or we end up with what's happened to Hal-Life 2.

Oh, and on the subject of the car analogy- you ARE ordered not to change the engine and other important parts, at least in the UK. Such modifications are considered to void your insurance, as you are no longer using parts that are considered safe for use.

I totally agree with what MS are doing. They sold you one helluva machine, at a price that puts them at a loss. You, in return, con them out of money by fiddling with it and playing dodgy copies.

Think of how a car dealer would feel if you bought a brand new car, and then gutted it and replaced all the parts so it looked like another. They'd wonder why the hell you bought it in the first place- and that is what MS want to know.

I've never used a console chip, and see no need. After all, game releases are pretty close now, and i gain very little from chipping. So i can edit a game- great, just what i always wanted, a game that no longer works and now won't ever again.

It's sad, like that argument.
Joji 18 Nov 2004 02:16
4/8
Well you are entitled to your opinion but I still don't agree.

It's almost like your mother trying to run your life, even if you've move half way round the whole just because she gave birth to you. Not because she cares, but because she wants to control you.

Once upon a time I would have agreed with you, but I own a chipped PSone and I know the stuff I would have missed if I had listened Sony, a lot of games not reaching other nations is why I buy import PS1/PS2 games.

I know the problem with Xbox is different because of it's hard drive, but who designed the console? It wasn't the gamers, it was MS. I hate to say it but if they are feeling the burn of the hard drive issue, that's the downfall of adding a hard drive to a console. If they are losing money it's their fault and they should have designed it better, possibly with an exterior hard drive as an add on like PS2. It's also their fault for (and Sony's with PS2) choosing practically unaltered DVDs for their games. They clearly haven't learned from the PCs that made the rich.

Many people out there will just buy a second Xbox to get passed anything they have planned anyway. Especially with the Live clamp down on modded Xboxs.
Rogue elements will always exist in any industry, but goodluck to MS trying to clamp down on modders. They are your future potential Xbox2 owners after all.

Answer me this then. Why is GC piracy so low? It's not because it's not selling as much as Xbox or PS2, but because of the GC disc format. Now why did MS and Sony not change their disc format slighty, to disrupt potential piracy? Because they got lazy and wanted to sell the consoles on the back of DVD film playback. Dollar signs filling their eyes. GC format still lets you play legit imports via Freeloader, but because of the unique small disc format nothing illegal.

The Xbox hard drive just adds to their problems of the disc format (and the fact that like a PC you can run some games right of the hard drive, once obtain perhaps illegally).

You could never ever convince me they aren't to blame for their own problems. Piracy is more of a problem to them than import games, but that kind of changed when GTA, Halo 2 etc, were online to download. But you wouldn't be able to use these games, were it not for the hard drive to store them on, and the easy as pie DVD format, that they need to get the dodge games on Xbox in the first place. Tell me I'm wrong.

Think about all that for a mo.
Ben Furfie 18 Nov 2004 10:42
5/8
Right, aside from this whole, MS wants to 'ownz yu' bullshit (they're a multinational corp, or course they want to own you, just as Sony, BSkyB etc want to own you), you have to look plain a simply at the facts.

1. To play import games on a modified Xbox you DON'T need to change your old hard disk. From what I understand this means those who have been banned because of the Hard Drive thing probably have been using them for illegal purposes.

2. The Xbox is classed as a consumer electronic, NOT a computer as the Playstation 2 is (the reason for the PS2 being classed as a computer is Sony tax dodging). Computers are freely customisable, hence why you can freely upgrade your components.
HOWEVER, and this is a big however, as I said the Xbox is a consumer electronic and as such under IP laws CAN NOT be altered without express permission from the manufacturers. Look at it this way: You get a Sky box, and modify it. What is the main point? To get free Sky broadcasts, in other words piracy. Any modification of a consumer electronics inards are normally seen by the law as an an attempt at piracy.
Hence why Microsoft have alrights to do this.
fluffstardx 18 Nov 2004 10:51
6/8
Plus, the discs are normal DVDs because of the manufacturing overheads. Sure, the Cube is free of piracy; it's also pretty much ignored by gamers. Those little discs don't hold much data, and as such many a game that's got a good scope to it needs a second disc.

Would FFX fit on an 8mm DVD? No, would it hell. Would Halo 2? No way. To fit it all on you'd need massive compression techniques- and that's a headache for programmers, who, instead, go make games on a format that's easier for them.

Proprietary disc media costs too much, to the point where it just isn't worth it. Plus, until DVD burners came about, it was perfectly acceptable to use, as who the heck would copy them?
tyrion 18 Nov 2004 12:43
7/8
Ben Furfie wrote:
2. The Xbox is classed as a consumer electronic, NOT a computer as the Playstation 2 is (the reason for the PS2 being classed as a computer is Sony tax dodging). Computers are freely customisable, hence why you can freely upgrade your components.
HOWEVER, and this is a big however, as I said the Xbox is a consumer electronic and as such under IP laws CAN NOT be altered without express permission from the manufacturers. Look at it this way: You get a Sky box, and modify it. What is the main point? To get free Sky broadcasts, in other words piracy. Any modification of a consumer electronics inards are normally seen by the law as an an attempt at piracy.
Hence why Microsoft have alrights to do this.

Not calling you a liar, Ben, but this is the first time I've heard of this aspect of IP law. Can you point me in the direction of somewhere I can read up on this?

I'm just curious as consumer electronics, in the shape of TV sets, used to be servicable by private individuals with no problems. Also, no consumer electronic device I own has a "opening this is illegal" sticker, just "opening this voids your warranty" stickers.

Actually, thinking about it, ELSPA wouldn't have much problem going after modified consoles if any modification was illegal. They had to get a specific judgement against flip-top mods to the PS2, if I remember correctly.

And as an aside to that query, the reason to modify a Sky+ box, at least, is to fit a bigger hard drive. Plenty of people do this and BSkyB haven't cracked down on them.

Again, I'm not calling you a liar, or even mis-informed, I just can't see the logic behind what you say, but then that doesn't make it untrue. Nobody said these people had to act logically! :-)
Joji 18 Nov 2004 13:24
8/8
So what you are saying is GC disk hold less than standard dvds, but if that's the case you can use more than one disk for a game. SO WHAT IF GC GOT 2ND OR 3RD PLACE in sales or whatever, that's not what we are on about. You arguement is lame, sir. MS are a very large company and they only have themselves to blame.

After years of Windows being cracked wide open, they produce XBox and piracy soars once again, and then they complain about it. Nintendo had major piracy issues with SNES and N64, but they made sure it didn't happen a third time with GC regardless of the systems success or failure. It's more than likely GC2/Revolution will use a similar Nintendo only format. And you are gonna sit there, and tell me MS couldn't do the same kind of thing. Don't make me laugh. Even if the Xbox or PS2 disks had specific physical design cuts or something in their disks, that only their machines would detect, it would have help cut piracy.


GC has next to no piracy because of the disk format, (I'm sure you'll see the same thing happen to PSP with it's media, no matter how popular it is). Perhaps XBox and PS2 are just victims of their own success.
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