Report: 600k Accounts Banned From Xbox Live

Microsoft has once again taken out its ban stick, this time in an effort to prevent modified Xbox 360s from accessing Xbox Live.

A story on estimates the total number of banned accounts at around 600,000. Total Xbox Live accounts number over 20 million. Modded console owners will still be able to use their 360s offline.

The BBC (thanks beemoh) has reaction from one of the banned gamers, a 25-year old gamer dubbed “Raz.” Raz had his 360 modded in the back of a shop for £75 (approximately $125.00 U.S.). He estimated that the ability to pirate and copy games “saved” him about £600 (approximately $993.00 U.S.) and that he copied 30 or 40 games in all.

Ironically, Raz then had the temerity to complain about the high price of games:

I still think they should lower the prices. There are 16-year-old kids out there, they don’t earn money so they go screaming to their parents saying, ‘Can you buy me this game?

So Raz, are you going to buy another Xbox?

To be honest, I’ve contemplated whether to move to PlayStation 3 or buy another Xbox. I wouldn’t do it again [chip the 360] but I really don’t know if I’m going to get the Xbox again now."

It’s always fun reading the Xbox Forums after such a widespread ban.

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  1. ZAR says:

    Yeah, yeah, they won today.

    And tomorrow there will be another – maybe even better – hack.

    It’s the Hare and Tortoise story all over again.


  2. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I’ll admit I used mind to run copied games but hell I went and bought half of them anyway. IMO doing more than medicore stuff to protect the system and software(and media in genreal) is doing way to much and infirnging on the consumer far more than they think it is.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    And useing xna and a offline trick you can run full backups off the HDD >>

    There is no 100% fix they can do to allow one and block the other, they want to go overbaord the the protection.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  4. Neeneko says:

    Not really.

    Region coding is just a bit, it is trivial to deactivate that and still maintain the rest of one’s DRM.

    Homebrew is a bit tricker, but not undoable.  The simplest way is to provide an alternate path of development and execution so homebrew games are run in some fundementally differnt way then offical ones.  Limited instruction sets, interperted language, etc.  It takes more work, but it has been done in the past.  Microsoft is part way there with XNA.

  5. Neeneko says:

    Ah, but what do you base the 99% off of? Suspision?  People you have known?  This is the problem when statitics do not exist, people make up numbers based off what they think they should be.

    In my case, every person I knew who had a modded console did it for either homebrew (I hung out with software engineers and amature game devs) or imports (I also hung out with otaku), thus from my personal experince, 100% of mod chips are used for non-piracy.  I modded most of my consoles, and have never once had a pirated game.

    I am at least aware enough to admit that my personal knowledge is not complete knowledge.

  6. ZippyDSMlee says:

    For the most part you are correct it dose do soem data damage but for the most part it just makes that unit incompablie with live.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  7. ZippyDSMlee says:

    So? "piracy" comes about due to 3 things,price ability and popularity don’t make pirates out to be sub human or worse just cause something is popular, not very easy to get or expensive. Also consumption is a core part of the modern man you can not remove it without changing the world one is forced to live in.

    It dose not matter what modchips are used for their existence is not an absolute link to "piracy" because both the WII and 360’s drives can be software modified to run backups making any claim to the direct linkage of "piracy" moot at best. Hell the industry has practically said that a disc image being read by a console is infringement, my point being  "piracy"(the non profit kind) is a natural part of the business were one has to compete with ones self in order to maximize profit , if you can;t do that go out of business and let someone else try it.


    I think your the one deciveing yourself….

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  8. Pug says:

    As far as I can see MS has the right to stop anyone from putting moddified hardware onto their live network.  Regardless of whether modding a console is legal/illegal where you live, or whether it is used for legal/illegal actions… its their online network, the terms of service state this and therefore people can complain and argue the rights and wrongs of modding all they like, this is a service provided by them for cash, they set the rules of entry, if you disagree with them… tough!  As long as they aren’t taking your money you dont have a right to the service and they have every right to refuse to take your cash

    As to the "does this effect offline use" MS are stating no… they have not done damage to hardware owned by people, you can do what you like to your own hardware you own it… you just can’t come online to play.

    Where exactly is the arguement here?

  9. Bennett Beeny says:

    When you try to play a game on your Xbox 360 console, you receive the error message: "The region code for this game does not match your console’s region"

    Until this changes, I will always support console modders.  The fact that I happen to live in the USA should not preclude me from playing Ashes Cricket 2009 on the Xbox 360.

  10. Craig R. says:

    I smell a class-action lawsuit if the reports are accurate that this restricts your ability to play legal games offline.

    "the fact remains its against MS terms of use to mod the console in any way."

    Microsoft, and any other company that thinks that they can do this, can go to hell.

  11. Ambiguous says:

    Haha! Reading the xbox forums is fun after a ban.  All the butthurt Xbox Livers makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

    Honestly tho, they deserve it.  Regardless of what they use their modded consoles for, or if mod chips are legal/illegal/ should be legal/illegal, the fact remains its against MS terms of use to mod the console in any way. 

    Ergo, perma ban.

  12. Afirejar says:

    Realistically, piracy is the only use for 99% of mod chips. It isn’t the only thing that can be done with them, but for most chips, it’s the only thing, that will be done.

  13. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The trouble is in order to run homebrew and any regoin game you bascily make the unit able to run any code it can run thus making it run a backed up game is childs play. I think MS  has the best ieda basic secuirty,basic if random unit bans it keeps everything flowing and as long as thigns are moveing nothing can stanget.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  14. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Odd they don;t normally ban the account itself they ban the unit so you have to buy a new unit if you want live access, game updates, ect,ect.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  15. Neeneko says:

    Or at minimal, if you open up some of the non-piracy functionality that modding is used also used to access, then you are left with piracy being the ONLY use for mod chips, which makes the PR of blocking them MUCH more strait forward.

    Though unless things have changed, region unlocking and homebrew are two of the things that they really want to stop anyway, but they have a harder time selling that idea.

  16. hellfire7885 says:

    Heh, yet another example of using a nuke on a phone booth.

    If they took out region locking and allowed homebrew software then modding would eventually phase out.

  17. Sporge says:

    When I say piracy is wrong I do mean it is generally wrong.  I know there are some exemptions from the rule, but I was still raised beleiving stealing is wrong if you don’t need it.  Some of these companies do try and take advantage of the consumer by charging more and slowly raising the price of their games, but at the same time I can’t help but think of where I will be someday, as I kinda want to make games myself and I do worry a little that I won’t be making the money I should at first in part due to piracy.  Then again I always never cared too much about money, and as long as I am able to feed myself I probably won’t mind too much.

  18. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I would not say "piracy is wrong" to such a existent its a symptom of 2 main problems popularity and price-x-availability,well 3 problems if you want to be fussy. I think MS has taken the best approach mediocre security on the console to cut cost and loose enforcement of it to ensure live fees and content are paid for. Fighting it head on is a lose lose proposition you allow for the gray area and do your damnest to make people pay more to get back online banning units is a perfect way to do it because you pad unit sales/numbers and when units make a profit per sale its even more money for you.


    Frankly we should go back to the 90s backing up is not wrong,mod chips is not wrong, selling copies is wrong. I don’t mind units being locked out of online and genreal updates and support I do mind the insipied attacks on modding and after market stuff.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  19. Drazgal says:

    You can already write code for the 360 as a hobbiest via XNA so there is no need to mod for that. Besides which you can still mod the console all you want, you just loose the privillage to connect to xlive gaming service, if you are modding the console for educational or acedemic purposes then this won’t matter either way.

  20. jedidethfreak says:

    You do realize that region-locking isn’t gaming specific, right?  Your DVD player is region locked, as is the CD player in your home theater and in your car.  How many DVD player manufacturers are doing things to prevent people from modding their DVD players?  None, because a modded DVD player makes no difference as it relates to the playing of pirated DVDs.  Anyone who has a modded gaming system that only uses it for legitimate purposes (all seven of you) can ONLY blame pirates.

    He was dead when I got here.

  21. Afirejar says:

    You have a very skewed perspective of what is and isn’t "mainstream". More specifically, "mainstream" isn’t what only 5% of people do.

  22. Joseph4th says:

    If they hadn’t put in region locking, modding consoles would have not gone mainstream like it did. When modding went mainstream piracy exploded.

  23. ZippyDSMlee says:

    From what I have read the unit wont work online the content on the HDD is mroe or less safe but some saves and any installed game will be broken.

    If you put it in a new unit it all should work fine unless you got your account banned.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  24. Neeneko says:

    Ok, first of all, let us ignore "Raz".  So the BBC found someone to interview that was a perfect example of one specific take on the issue.    He is irrelevent to the larger discussion.

    Now, the banning was done based on the idea that (modded console == pirated games).   People can argue endlessly about what the ‘real’ numbers are, but in the end it is purely anicdotal.  No one knows how many modded systems are used for piracy.  It is not 100%, it is not 0%.  Anything else is speculation based off how one views ‘modders’.

    So this means that, to some degree, the banning was done based of an assumption that they can not back up.  They have no proof of piracy or cheating in these cases, only that the console has been altered.  This is the standard ‘because an illegal use exists, it must be being used illegally’ argument that can be pretty one sided.  While numbers do not exist, it IS known that such mods have non-piracy uses.  Examples include backups (since media producers have weasled out of the normal ‘must provide replacement copy’ clause that comes with a lisence), home brew, unlisenced content, and capbility mods like the cooling changes (which given how many xboxes died due to cooling problems does nto sound far fetched as something desireable)

    The other bit though, which seems to be left out of many of the reports, is that besides cutting the console off xbox live, Microsoft ALSO  alterned the offline functionality of the device.  So one final ‘patch’ to cripple various things like the HDD, which means you loose access to both pirated content AND any downloaded (legally purchaced) content unless you buy a new xbox360.  It also cripples some of the Windows Media Center capabilities.

    This is why this banning is getting so much attention even though mass bannings occur now and then already.

  25. GoodRobotUs says:

    Hmmmm…. Not sure I like the sound of that, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that a company can cripple your hardware on the assumption of guilt, and then expect you to prove your innocence, I can cope with the concept for X-Box live, you still have fully working hardware, but to deliberately damage the functionality of a product that you have paid money for, that’s worrying if true.

  26. Neeneko says:

    As I understand it, the patch they push down disables most (if not all) hard drive access, so legal content on the drive (such as DLC and marketplace games) is also gone.

    Link to details

  27. GoodRobotUs says:

    What sort of impact does it have? I was going by the report which states that offline functionality wouldn’t be affected?

    I’m not sure how sturdy the legal ground would be over affecting offline functionality, I suppose it might squeeze through legally, but an online-only ban would be far far easier to defend if it came to legal challenges, since it’s not saying "you cannot use what you paid for", it’s saying "you cannot use it on our forum (X-Box Live in this case)".

  28. Chuma says:

    I have a small amount of sympathy for the position.  When I was a kid, I used to tape games for my Commodore 64 from friends.  Despite this, I also used to buy them with my pocket money or for birthdays and christmas.  Ultimately this got me into gaming in a big way, and these days now that I have a job that pays well and a lot of extra income, pirating games doesn’t happen, partly because I like to collect them and partly because forking out £30 here or there isn’t a big issue.

    However, it should be noted that when I was a kid, games on the C64 cost £3 on budget and £10 new and even with inflation, the cost of gaming has increased as the games have improved in quality and budget themselves.  Younger players are simply not going to be able to play some games without piracy, and I don’t think that they should be the focus of any clamp downs.  That said, the 25 year old interviewed has no such defense.

    Anyone who modded their Xbox360 and has been subsequently banned has no sympathy from me (and a friends boyfriend has had that happen to them).

  29. beemoh says:

    He’s right to bring the issue of price up- it is certainly something that pushes people to piracy (and to the used market, and to films etc)- although it doesn’t excuse what he’s doing.

    The problem, though, as I’ve said before, that for most people the problem with the price is that it’s "The Price"- it’s all well and good saying that £40 is too expensive for a game and £30 would have this positive effect and that positive effect etc, but then once £40 becomes the norm, everyone will be complaining about £30 being too expensive and so on- it’s an argument that the industry’s not really in any position to win, especially given how restrained and open-mindedly commentators act when any member of the industry mentions anything to do with money or sales in any way.


  30. GoodRobotUs says:

    I’m a single-player only gamer, so even if I owned an X-Box, it wouldn’t have affected me. That said, I’m not sure where I stand on this, I’ll accept that 95% upwards of gamers with modded consoles probably play pirated games with it, but this strikes me as a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    It may or may not affect this generation of the X-Box, but I’m pretty certain it will have a marked affect on the sales of the next generation of them when appear.


    Edit: On re-read, that makes it sound like I pirate stuff, which I actually don’t, though I will freely admit to getting No-CD patches for some PC games because I got fed up with Starforce refusing to recognise original, but aged discs.

  31. Sporge says:

    Wait I’m confused by some of your argument.  I am pretty sure some people do pirate due to prices, some people don’t have money falling out of their parents wallets.

    But more to the point I disagree with ttheee banning of modded consoles because I think allowing someone to tinker with their toy should be ok.  I’m in computer science and I think being able to invent your own programs should be allowed.  That is why I stick more to PC because they build games to cater to the modding community, games thaht allow you to alter content and even add on something entirely new if wanted. 

    Pirating is wrong, though I do sympathize with pirates because sometimes games ARE too expensive, but it has lead more to me not buying instead of pirating, or playing cheaper games.  Despite the fact that pirating is wrong I do not beleive modding is.  The day microsot makes a computer you aren’t allowed to program or add in non approved programs is the day I completely give up on the company.

  32. gamegod25 says:

    When you mod or pirate you’re accepting the risk you’ll be caught and banned or worse. You also give up the right to complain about cost of games. Whenever you pirate a game, us honest gamers pay the price.

  33. Demontestament says:

    Glad to see them gone. Looking at the forums on I noticed one thing, everyone is claiming they are innocent and were unjustly banned or just targeted by M$.

  34. DarkSaber says:

    The articles a little ambiguous, is GP contemptuous of Raz or not? /sarcasm


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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