Banned Xbox 360’s – boon or bust?

We’re sure you’ve heard about Xbox 360s facing an other round of bans from Xbox Live last week. It seems that living in a hole, or even in Grenora, North Dakota couldn’t help you escape hearing this from every news source possible. Apparently, this has caused a slew of banned consoles to go up for sale in a buyer-beware quagmire. This is a joke in several ways; didn’t the hardware problems of the machine already make the used market risky enough? Now consumers will be even more wary, losing game sales because less people are buying used consoles.

If you have just the right kernel, and a copy of your CPU key, and a second unbanned Xbox 360, you may be able to reactivate your machine. But how many people have those things available to them? Undoubtedly an Xbox 360’s desirability is greatly diminished if Xbox Live is removed from the equation. This is something Nintendo could learn from when it comes to the Wii (no online multiplayer with New Super Mario Bros Wii?… Really?). So whether you are the one who was banned, or you decided/were tricked in to purchasing a banned console, what are you going to do with it now that online play is out of the picture?

We’ve seen the console emulating SNES games and even XBMC run with the help of Ubuntu. Leave us a comment and tell us if you are planning to just go without Xbox Live, use the machine as a desktop running Ubuntu, or spearhead the effort to repurpose this powerful (and flawed) hardware platform. Will you go out and capitalize on cheaper hardware, or have you been burnt by the grim reality of a crippled rig?

Comments

  1. nate says:

    On the plus side, honest sellers might sell their banned consoles cheaply, which would be great for people who want a 360 but who wouldn’t be using Live anyway. Of course, the intersection of the set of honest people and the set of people who mod their consoles to play pirated games might not be so large.

  2. Tyler says:

    The method to ‘unban’ a console is simply copying the hwaddress of an unbanned console. If the unbanned console gets banned again, then both consoles will cease to work.

    Use at your own risk… seriously.

  3. frenzy says:

    i want to find a pile of these things and fix them up as high grade ubuntu computers

  4. darksim905 says:

    For those who are rocking modified firmware and are thinking about going on LIVE and banning yourself, follow this guide first:
    http://www.eurasia.nu/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2483&mode=&order=0&thold=0

    Had I waited one day, I would not have corrupted/lost the ability to install Modern Warfare 2 on my console. I am going to play as much of that game as I can stand till I get a new console. I will probably not mod that one since MW2 will hold me over for a while. I deserve it I suppose. The money I saved, I’m only paying back half that roughly for a new console.

  5. 0x808080 says:

    Imagine like 400 of those in a Beowulf cluster

  6. Rd says:

    I just want a way to get back my console to play the games from HardDisk again!!!
    If someone know how please tell us!

  7. Dennis Booth says:

    So, how do we design good games of our own,and leave Tinyflacid Megacorp alone?

  8. Wolf says:

    It sucks that Microsoft has started disabling offline features on banned consoles, but apparently I’m the only one that doesn’t see the point in saving games to the HDD. Even with the hack you still need the disk (or backup) to play, and for most games the loading time isn’t even reduced.

    I got banned for the second time in this most recent ban wave, which is a bit disconcerting since I’ve been carefully checking all my rips since my last ban about a year ago. Either I slipped up somewhere, or Microsoft’s added a new check. I’ll probably wait a while before buying a new xbox to see how things play out.

  9. Modembug says:

    These things have been gigantic piles of scrap from the get go! Yet another reason to not waste money on one…

  10. seamonkey420 says:

    yea, i’d prob try to sell it on ebay if i had one. the kicker is that the media center features are disabled/killed too! dang, that is viscious!

    however, a wii w/a broken disc drive? i’m all in then! softmodding a wii is pretty easy these days esp when you can run backups from a usb drive :P

    usb loader gx ftw!

  11. tj says:

    There is no way I’d publish a game for x360 if I owned a studio. You’re guaranteed to lose a lot of money. If I was going to publish on PC I’d use themida or a hardware fob.

  12. XD says:

    And I wanted to run Linux on my box… but my xbox was already updated before I knew the Ltag thingy.
    Now I dont know my cpukey and for now, there is no way to know it.

    I have a release date Xbox, and Love Xbox Gold. No pirategames on my 360. not yet. not yet….

  13. Pilotgeek says:

    Still happily playing my Sega Dreamcast and PC. A 360 just isn’t worth the trouble.

  14. David says:

    I’m surprised no one has brought up a class action suit against Microsoft yet.

    EULA’s may openly state that modifying the firmware is against their condition’s, but EULA’s are not legally binding contracts.

    For Microsoft to disable your system of some of it’s core feature’s is legally malicious attack on a private individual’s right’s of ownership.

    In other word’s what Microsoft did was illegal.

  15. Mateo says:

    I wonder if I can get some of my $ back for the gold account I can no longer use. And I agree with David. I think they’re just being malicious.

  16. Wwhat says:

    |yeah I’m sure good lawyers could make a case, if not in the US then other countries (I assume it was international), but hackers aren’t the type that can afford lawyers I’m guessing, and to start a case you have to expose you hacked it, which IS illegal in many places, they made sure of that with previous test trials and the big boys leaning on the lawmakers and judges, so you’d win and then lose by winning.

  17. the letter d says:

    The cost of the lawyer fees would be negligible. In a class action style suit it is not uncommon for the lawyer to work out of pocket and then take a hefty cut of the winnings. However, as Wwhat pointed out, it is a violation of the DMCA to bypass protection and encryption systems. I wouldn’t be surprised if the EFF took up the cause though.

  18. joejoe says:

    Not to be a jerk, but….

    It’s OK for you to download pirated software and it’s not malicious – but when M$ tries to protect itself and enforces it’s User Agreement, that you agreed to, then they are the bad guys and should be sued??!

    I’m no goody-goody, I torrent also, but I don’t whine when I get caught and my IP is banned from the network or my bandwidth is throttled. Why? Because I’m donig something wrong and expect that I will be punished.

    M$ is a business for making money, are they evil because they don’t have your best interest in heart? You are only a vessel to deliver them money. That is why they exist – not to make the world a better place.

    If you don’t agree with their rules then don’t play the game.

  19. JH says:

    Guess it’s time for someone to reverse engineer the game software and create/setup their own server for it and make some money.

  20. therian says:

    that what you get for not using PC

  21. Xeracy says:

    POINT MISSED!

    can we please stop arguing the moral rightness of pirates/microsoft in this debacle? its moot. What does matter is that there is a flood of perfectly good hardware out there for the enterprising few to buy up and put to good use.

    Like someone said, beowulf. or an ubuntu based MediaCenter. Theres gotta be more use for these, even if banned.

    how long till a tool comes out to enable XBMC support? its only a matter of time.

    does lan play still function on banned systems? if so, i would put together lan parties and shit (sans ms licencing).

    also, heres a plethora of spare parts for your busted system. I know swapping the DVD drive requires flashing, even if piracy is not the intention, but theres gotta be uses for these systems.

  22. I’m a staff member over on Xbox-Scene I own 7 modified Xbox 1 consoles. I own 2 Xbox 360s and I haven’t modded either of them.

    There’s really no good reason to unless you’re into pirating. The Xbox 1 got an enormous boost to it’s functionality, you could mod it for free if you had the right tools, and then you were a spare hard drive away from a small, cheap, TV ready media server, that could also play Xbox 1 games and emulate all the classics from PS1 on back. You had to give up Xbox Live but unless you were a hardcore halo fanatic the choice was simple.

    On the Xbox 360 the console is practically crippled of all the features that make it a great console when you lose Xbox Live, and beyond playing burned copies of games you didn’t get any extra functionality out of it. Setting up something like Ubuntu you had to jump through hoops to make it work and keeping your firmware that old you ended up losing the ability to play most games too.

    MS did really shoot themselves in the foot over how they practically advertised the bannings though. I’ve got non-gaming co-workers coming up to me all day asking me questions, worried that their kids going to get their console banned…

    Now that they’ve finally managed to shake off most of the bad RROD press they’ve got people thinking that they could get bannned from “opening a spam message” or “downloading a virus from the marketplace” (yes those are actual fears I was presented with from people I work with).

    I love the Xbox 360 as a gaming console, it’s just not worth hacking IMO.

  23. shibathedog says:

    I was actually thinking of buying one of these because I don’t really care that it is banned. If I want to play a game online I will buy the PC version and I don’t really like any of the exclusive titles that are big online (Halo 3, Gears of War, etc.). They are selling for so cheap too, I found a ton of them in the 60-80 dollar range. I already have a media center pc set up and everything too so there is really no downside for me.

  24. Arrangemonk says:

    yup guys, find one who hacked his xbox because of an error or something to be able to run games again, then you have your legal things

    btw, does a banned xbox work with xna?

  25. the letter d says:

    twistedsymphony, i agree with your points but i think you may be looking at this from a fixed perspective. While it isn’t easy to mod an 360, it is still a powerful piece of hardware for the price. Now that there are dirt cheap systems floating around that are “crippled”, those interested in the hardware rather than the software will be able to experiment more easily. For $100, a banned 360 is still one hell of a machine, even if it can’t play games. I tend to agree that the system really isn’t worth hacking, but only if you want it for the intended purpose of playing games.
    I think M$ will soon realize that they have opened pandora’s box. People are more willing to experiment with stuff that is already broken. So if a killer app (like XMBC) comes out that actually has people buying consoles with the intent of using for a purpose other than playing XBOX360 games, M$ will lose a huge chunk of change (assuming they still lose money on hardware sales).

  26. Sam says:

    Well 1 mill bans should be easy for a lawyer to step and get a civil suit going that could possibly destroy m$ altogther.

  27. @ the letter d

    I guess I never really thought of it that way…

    I suppose with the market flooded with cheap hardware it’s worth picking up just to experiment with … now you’ve got me thinking :D

  28. the letter d says:

    Not exactly Sam. If the stars were to align against MS (all banned users filed a lawsuit, won said suit, and were refunded the cost of their 360 w/ 12 months live gold service) it would cost them around $950.5 million (averaging a cost of $350 a console and $50 for 12 months of XBGold).

    According to the last 12 months of stocks, MS has made $13.77 billion in net income. While a suit would definitely hurt them, I think a loss of revenue from game licensing and XBlive subscription revenue would hurt more. The settlement on a suit would be a one shot deal, while loss of XB Live customers is a loss of steady revenue.

    I was wrong before. MS has made money from console sales since 2006-2007 ish time frame.

    Finally, I apologize for this boring financial rant. Yes, I know this is a site about hacking.

  29. the letter d says:

    Correction: M$ would lose $350.5 million in a suit, not $950.5 mil.

  30. Sam says:

    im sure some parties are investing the legal portion of this. i see what your saying. m$ is definately taking some pretty fragile steps, like the danger/sidekick fail in the resent months was a huge ding in the credibility of m$. windows 7 will not recover what they have tried so despirately to gain back in os sales. i apologize about my rant as well but just evaluating the key points of a multi point market that m$ covers. time will tell with what can be recovered. hopefully its not a system ban thats logged in a server somewhere and its just a mode enabled on the box that causes this functions. legally m$ cant obtain information from your system without your consent. so my theory is this is a one way road to your system and internalized. i bet reloading the dashboard to a previous mode might cure a system.

  31. ham sandwich says:

    I will either keep my banned box or trade it to someone who doesn’t go online….I might keep it. With all of these banned boxes I expect to see some cool mods or uses.

    I bought 90% of my games so its a shame I got banned but I knew the risks.

    I bet Microsoft didnt ban xbox live accounts so that they didnt drive people away from their consoles and hopes to increase sales for the holidays.

  32. Nick says:

    Sam: the banning is stored serverside. a known way to check to see if your console is banned without signing in to Live (so that the capability to save games to the hard drive isn’t lost) is to use the online service to request a repair. if your console has been flagged for banning, or banned, the request for service will be rejected. the only known way to unban a console afaik is to copy the .kv from an unbanned console and flash it to the banned one.

  33. Ho0d0o/Heatgap says:

    The only mods I have made to my xb360 are hardware mods. No flashing or softmodding. I have modded just about every console Ive ever owned except the xb360 because the huge waste of money it would pose if MS decided to do this very thing. It’s sad that they would do this to a community that is hell bent on modding there consoles. I would go as far to say that a little less than half the 360 population are modders whether it be soft/hard and this is really going to hurt console sales as I think many people will simply say “fuck you MS” and go with PS3 where you can play mplayer for free.

  34. Eminem says:

    Only Microsoft…

  35. the letter d says:

    Tyler what you said is a good point. I’m not sure what is involved in obtaining the information you need from the legit 360, but could it be possible to use a dead 360 that is out of warranty? If the box is dead (or dying) a clever person could snatch up a banned box and replace its identifying information with that of the dead/dying box.

    (I realize this all sounds very ambiguous and theoretical but I don’t own a 360 and lack the knowledge to discredit this thought)

  36. babyhewy says:

    Sell your bricked system back to Microsoft by go buy a new one, stick the old one in the new ones box, take it back to the store, and ask for a refund cuzz it don’t work. The store will send it back to Microsoft in turn.

  37. Sam says:

    yea i havent been banned i left my 360 offline for a while and was waiting for mw2. im waiting to see what comes of the research of the ban wave. so luckly i caught the forums before plugging it in, i bought a mw2 console set just to have a newer 360. mny orig 360 was from feb 06 and never went rrod.

    how do you access the kv file?

  38. darksim905 says:

    @Wolf:

    Microsoft has started banning via the response time of the drive. With a modified firmware such as iX, it takes slightly longer, we are talking practically microseconds. The developers originally thought Microsoft would not be able to notice this. I have heard from my friend MS3FGX who I know personally on here, that they can detect this now – he watches #fw heavily. If you modify your drive, it will be banned because of this timing delay/attack. It cannot be rectified/fixed until there is a new release of iX.

    It doesn’t matter how closely you watch your rips. ABGX is just another part of the chain that may or may not have a weakness — many people have stated that may be a problem too because the data on there is user-submitted. I watched closely too, but I was banned with a legit disc. No sense in fighting it – timing respones don’t lie.

  39. sam w says:

    HAHA i have a Hitachi drive so im safe!

  40. jon says:

    Xbox sales are down, ps3 sales are up. :)

    Anyhow, if you are running hacked firmware, you should of unplugged from the internet awhile ago when the bans first started. Don’t plug back in until the new firmware is released, and the ban wave is over. Otherwise you’ll probably end up banned too.

    These ban waves are nothing new, what is new however is how many their banning this time. Like I said, unplug from the net, plug back in when new firmware is out, and the madness has stopped.

  41. Arrangemonk says:

    guys, why dont he banned of you buy one console together flahs the keyfiles on all of them and use your consoles again, without hacks, so everyone is fine with 100 bucks
    unless microsoft bans the id because of multibe entries

  42. darksim905 says:

    @Jon:

    It doesn’t work that way. Even if you are unplugged, they are still able to flag you when you next login — they store the response times in the NAND and it gets uploaded later on. Or at least that is my understanding. If someone wishes to correct me, feel free.

  43. Banned by bill says:

    i was banned week before last, brought new xbox wednesday just gone, reflashed it and signed up another live account, run mw2 through abgx360 let it do its business, rewrote the image and within 24hrs was barred again. took xbox back and said its not compatible with my requirements got a refund and brought another one. have flashed it but kept it offline until liteon lite touch is released. in the mean time i did some thinking now that i have spare time on my hands(banned) ”so long story short i thought to myself well my xbox lan can still connect so why not setup my own game server so atleast my and my family could still play together online. after some exstensive reading i came across this website
    Code:

    http://www.teamxlink.co.uk/

    who had already beet me to it. i can now play cod4 mw1/2 plus many many others online with other people across the world just like i could on xbox live, i had doubts and thought 1) it would be difficult to setup 2) it would be slow n sh*t.. how wrong was i. its great just like xbl ..

    here are a few steps to be online in 10mins.
    but first you need the following things:
    1:desktop pc with internet access(i used my laptop as it was easier
    2: a wrouter
    3: a xbox 360/ or psp and many other consoles. banned or not it dont matter
    4: a internet connection (your reading this so you have one)

    STEP 1:basicaly you put rj45 cable from xbox 360 to router, you put rj45 cable from laptop/desktop to router. you put rj45 cable from modem to router, so basicaly same principles as streaming movies from laptop to xbox360. goto your xbox dash and check network connetions to make sure your xbox can see and connect to your pc, because everybody has differnt hardware im not going to go into too much detail about how to network your xbox. you will have to disable any firewalls etc etc. once you establish a connection from xbox to laptop then move onto step 2

    STEP 2: goto
    Code:

    http://www.teamxlink.co.uk/

    and download 7.4.18 xlink kai software. install software then return to
    Code:

    http://www.teamxlink.co.uk/

    and click sign up link, you need to make an account but dont worry its completly free..

    step 3 goto start menu/xlink kai/ and run the config check through the settings select the network adapter you are using( it maybe possible to use wirelss but i had trouble so hardwired) put in your username and password. change any options you think may suit you. save it an exit.

    step 4: start kai user interface and in the top left hand corner you should have a little magnifier icon click this and it will give you a diagnostic of your connection you want to look where it says connection reachable = if you get a YES then your home and dry and ready to play. if it doesnt say yes unfortunatly you have done something wrong try posting your problems here and as a community we can help solve issues. if it does say yes then goto step 5

    STEP 5: log into a local arena, ive only tried europe/uk rooms i dont see why it wont connect else where, but there has always been games available to play so not needed to try any others, once you have found a room with a few players online, insert your mw2(for instance) and goto multiplayer mode. then goto system link and join game, a list of available games will be presented, join and away you go, online gaming on all banned consoles lol
    you can set up hosts games or join already running games.. its 2:38am sunday and theres plenty of games online, my gf is playing it as we speak…

    sorry if this tut is a little hard to understand but ive only just joined it tonite so a little cloudy as to what to do myself, but i can promise you, you will be online gaming in under 15mins.

    please share this information to anyone who is banned, the more poeple who join the more fun we can all have…also sorry for any spelling mistake, am rushing it so i can get back online..

  44. babyhewy says:

    @Banned by bill
    I used to use these to connect into the web with my hard modded Xbox. The number one thing to keep in mind is that people can cheat while using them, and some of these sites allow it. Others have software on their end that detect, and ban it. This isn’t the normal kind of cheating that you find in a game, but rather trainers that you download to your pc, then when the game console goes through your computer, it also goes through the trainer too.

    I suggest you do your homework on google.com before you just go and use these programs. There are allot of horror stories about them.

    I personally recommend: http://www.xbconnect.com
    Their site will detect cheat programs before you can connect to their site.

  45. asdf says:

    ^^^^SPAM^^^^^^

    also, to Ho0d0o/Heatgap who said “I would go as far to say that a little less than half the 360 population are modders” Are you fucking retarded? That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Almost half? More like less than 2% you fucking idiot.

  46. Paul says:

    DOS attack vector missed. I don’t know enough about the Xbox system mods, but surely the way round this is to setup systems to just change the hardwareIDs to other users valid ID’s. As scores of xboxes fail to work, MS would be forced to back down, to avoid collateral damage.

    Sure you’d be the terrorists of the digital world. To me you’d be freedom fighters.

    The way things are heading though, when you buy an item, you will only have a license to use that item in specific sanctioned ways.

    Surely it isn’t only me that is worried by ownership and freedom being subverted by big corporate powers, and simple consumerism.

    Hmm licences for white goods. Damn I have to buy the enterprise edition toaster or I’m not licensed properly. It’ll get turned off

  47. FlyMysticalDJ says:

    What does it require to get the .kv? Would getting that necessarily void warranty on an xbox 360? I’m just wondering if you could buy a new xbox, get the .kv from it, flash that into your old one, and then return the original. If enough people did that, then microsoft would probably have to change something to keep people from buying totally new banned xbox 360, earning a lot of bad rep.

    Of course chances are what they’d do is tell Walmart and everyone else to stop accepting returns of xbox 360s.

  48. Irish says:

    How many of these things would it take to make up an Ubuntu-based Beowulf cluster?

  49. hc says:

    @Irish
    As many identical units as you can get. That’s why it’s called a “Beowulf cluster”.

  50. Misfitsman805 says:

    did they RROD and ban the consoles or just ban them?

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