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?

102 thoughts on “Banned Xbox 360′s – boon or bust?

  1. @Misfitsman805:

    They only ban the console as far as I know. Your account is safe and I believe you can just move the account over to a different 360. That is what I have read, in any case. And +1 for the Xbox Connect mentioned above; although I think even if you can’t sign onto LIVE you can still do LAN games, no?

  2. Why so many upset about Microsoft, like they only one who does that, ewer heard of PunkBuster, basically same thing, ban you hardware

  3. I’m a little surprised at how many people are complaining about what MS have done. When you think about how much piracy has and could damage the console’s profitability and future (as so much profit is made through games), Microsoft, as a business, had to act. Fair cop I say.

    If I had a banned box, I’d probably keep it for cheap single player games and modding. I’d eventually buy another for online play. For all of the people who paid to have their box modded and said “£60 saved me £hundreds!”, investing another £150 is hardly the end of the world. The worse thing is that they will have to pay for games they want to play online, like everybody else.

  4. This was the exact reason I purchased a PS3 instead of an X360… That being said I’ve helped a friend of mine with a hacked console as a media machine and nothing more… He whined about it for a week and still does it… All I say is I told you it would happen… I know how to do it… I just choose not too… Thanx fer listenin…

  5. I’m goin the Ben Heck route and building a new 360 laptop. Up until now I couldn’t justify ripping apart my perfectly good (xbox live capable) 360. So being the optimist that I am, I’m actually looking forward to the next couple months of 360 hacking mayhem!!! At least all have the coolest 360 at the lan party.

  6. I think this may end up in PS3 getting better sales. If anything why buy a system that has a 50% chance of failing when you can pick up a PS3 for not much of a difference and play online for free. Thats what I’m going to do. M$ is definitely going to loose money on this massive banning either people not getting live altogether or people jumping to another platform.

  7. @Maddox I don’t understand the 50%chance thing? It’s either banned or not, same as it either working or not. If you mean second hand consoles, then you find out if it’s banned or not before you buy it.

    The PS3′s free online is a huge advantage, but one that has been there since day one. This shouldn’t change anything.

  8. i think it is a matter of time that either some coder some where in the xbox commuity will come up with something to unban banned xboxs and that will be that with that whole thing because there is only so far Microsoft can go with that whole thing. or they being Microsoft will piss off someone with tons of money and this banning thing will be drop and the people that are banned will get unbanned or there is the possibility of something totally different all together happening who knows what will happen. i mean look at what happened to the whole fact of the psp 3000 and gos at first not being hackable that seems to be changing.

  9. Microsoft seems to be seeeing how far they can go with their stupidity before getting sued.
    I very surprised their banning offline features has not gotten them busted under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty act.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson%E2%80%93Moss_Warranty_Act

    Turning off the media center and HD functions is a clear violation as this is effectively self destructing hardware you own.
    No matter what they write in the EULA should not allow this level a scumtastic behavior.

  10. On a side note…seeing as they apparently retrieve access time information off your console to determine most hacks, what’s to prevent from someone sending false positives in order to ruin legit consoles?

  11. @Danukeru I expect that a new hack will soon be available that will be harder for MS to identify, but who would go there now knowing that MS are actively seeking ways to ban modded consoles?

    As I am aware, the hacks are based on firmware on the DVD drive. If MS can retrieve response time, who knows what they can retrieve? Firmware file size? Date written? The firmware itself?

    I think the 360 is better left untouched unless you don’t mind buying another in the future.

    Hats off to Sony who allow users to install their own operating systems, no modding necessary.

  12. M$ just wants exclusive control of their online market, rememember what happened to halo onlne, that game tanked after ppl started cheatng. right now i think the360 is ok 4 playin comercial games and a 30$ xbox is a great media cenrer….do u want a red ring on your “i watch eveything box”…. the system is 2 fragial for me 2 want 2 hack 2 shit. im happy usin it for comercial games. although watchng bluray disc burns on the360 wll be sweet once it is fully cracked, i also agree that banned consols just gave the hrdware tester more reason to tinker on cheeper thrown out consoles

  13. It’s what you get for purchasing from a company that has a proprietary hardware AND software platform. This is why you don’t want Microsoft branded PCs.

  14. I don’t think anyone mentioned this surprisingly. I bought 2 rrod consoles without dvdroms and had to dump the nand/boot xell to get the cpu key, which is the same process for running linux on the 360.

    All these new banned consoles, they will have been updated to the newest unhackable firmware. Hence no xell, no cpu key, and certainly no linux.

    Anyone going to go buy a bunch of these keep that in mind, you will have to wait for someone to hack these newest ones. That could be tomorrow, or years from now. All the while they will simply sit around as paperweights.

  15. They’ll probably find a way to get linux on the banned consoles soon esp now that the hardware to experiment on can be had nearly free.

  16. The functionality being removed from banned 360s are services received via Xbox Live. As such any EULA violating systems can and will have functions related to Xbox Live withdrawn or suspended.

    Secondly… Nitori could you elaborate one what the Warranty Act you referenced has to do with anything?

  17. “Even with the hack you still need the disk (or backup) to play, and for most games the loading time isn’t even reduced.”

    @Wolf: I read an article on this way back. It’s to ensure a “consistent experience” when playing from DVD or HDD.

    Intentional! :P

  18. It would be nice if someone made a firmware or piece of hardware that turns a hard drive into a DVD drive. We would only need some way to select the game though. Perhaps through a DVD menu.

  19. @LycaonGrunt – the HDD installs was introduced as part of the NXE and is available on any new game. Therefore it’s an additional feature offered by standard dashboard updates and comes as standard on all new consoles.

    Just a point about functionality of banned boxes: Unless you’d retrieved the CPU key prior to kernel 8498 (back in late July/August), at present there’s nothing you can do in terms of running a XeLL exploit for linux etc.

  20. @DarkFader: Like the WODE for the Wii? (wodejukebox com)
    Probably fairly easy to do for a skilled FPGA programmer with filesystem and reverse engineering experience. Somewhat out of my league though!

  21. @Banned by bill – yes, Tunneling will work to a certain degree. However MS are extremely smart and learned from their previous mistakes with the original Xbox.

    If you’re playing a LAN game (either locally or via tunneling), you need to have a ping less than 30ms in order for it to connect. It’s a moot point that you can connect to an XBL game with a ping twice as high, but MS did this to ensure that only local matches could be set up. You’d be able to connect to someone in your street, or possibly a few blocks away but don’t make any plans in connecting to someone over a larger distance.

  22. This may be a silly question, but why don’t the modders just fundamentally change their approach to modding? Instead of modifying the firmware to read burned disks, why not simply try and figure out a way to burn the disk in such a manner that the original firmware will read it? I don’t know the technical details of how any of this works, I’m just curious.

    As for the whole banning issue in general. I think Microsoft has definitely overstepped their bounds by crippling offline features. In my opinion when you buy a piece of hardware you own it just like any other piece of physical property and can modify it in whatever way you choose. I think Microsoft has every right to ban modded consoles from accessing their services like Xbox Live, but to actually go and cripple the offline features like they do is too much.

  23. @Nexy: Yes, a WODE for Xbox. Probably handy to use a 2-port SATA phy or something. Myself has only done low-speed data modification. A nice challenge.

    @Marty: Don’t know what kind of ping they test, otherwise just insert fake response times. But they probably measure on the long run.

  24. @Marty – The sad fact is you’ll need a Live account to obtain that service via Xbox Live. So it–right or wrong–MS’s TOS that is agreed to when connecting to Live gives them the right to disable that feature.

  25. @Dennis Booth – The Terms of Service for *Xbox Live* I am not talking about anything to do with buying the 360 and using it at home, I am talking about the TOS you agree to on Xbox Live.

  26. 360 is the shiznit compared to ps3
    ps3 linux is garbage
    ps3 blu-ray drives are junk too
    ps3 has a long way to go to catch up to 360 sales
    all you m$ bashers are a joke

  27. I am not mad that they banned me (I was only ever a silver member…and I have over $500 in downloaded content just for Rock Band, Quitar Hero etc…). I am mad that they crippled my box to the point that I can’t even use the extender…something that was inherent to the xbox.

    I mean, they SAY it is to maintain the integrity of Live…fine. So be it. Ban me from Live. I don’t f’ing care…but do not crippled the functionality of my machine. Chevy didn’ limit be to 100km/h after putting a performance chip in my truck! They very well may void the warranty but they don’t cripple what they sold me!

  28. Also, I neglected to mention the install to hard drive feature being crippled which is my most serious piss off…but that was never a “listed selling feature” like the extender was.

  29. Yup, my 360 is banned from LIVE which initially did not bother me as much since I do NOT do any online gaming. I do however like to download demos, trailers and PURCHASE ARCADE GAMES.

    Being banned from playing online is one thing and I completely understand BUT, to ban someone willing to pay money for games only available for download makes me just scratch my head and shrug my shoulders.

  30. many years ago, in a land far, far away, there was a company that tried to clean off your hard drive if you violated some terms of their license, the courts (US) ruled it was illegal to damage the property of the owner, they could make the software un-usable, but erasing the drive was not legal. Had some thing to do with the right of ownership. I see where microsquirt can ban the online version, but not to the point of making the entire console un-usable. Since you buy the equipment and not lease/rent it.

  31. @0×808080 “Imagine like 400 of those in a Beowulf cluster”

    But you’d to buy 600 at least to get 400 working machines…

  32. Called the M$ support and they said that they have saved my gamertag. Hell Yeah!! go fuck with my gamertag M$ i am not gonna buy your new crap 360. XBL get lost, XBC, xlink i am coming!! But yeah i miss the feature of installing games to hard disk. My friends, do you know any way to get it back??

  33. im sorry but to the people how keep saying quit whinning cause you got caught i think your wrong. we have a right to complain, its our system we should be alowed to do what we want with it. people burn music and cds every day and no one seems to mind. if we were getting online for free too then i could see ms’s reason to interfere with the ban. i honestly think ms is guna just end up hurting themselves with this cause as far as i know, you still have to pay money for a membership.

  34. Right now I have a couple Xbox’s with a firmware mod I wrote to randomly generate GID’s and report them as modded.

    The Xbox can send out as fast as my DSL can send packets. I get a few hits an hour.

    I was originally trying to make a system that would find good GUID’s to fix banned boxes, but even when I find a good ID and flash it to a banned box it gets flagged and banned almost immediately, I’m not sure how they are doing this and have to wonder whos Xbox is getting banned when I do this.

  35. “The functionality being removed from banned 360s are services received via Xbox Live. As such any EULA violating systems can and will have functions related to Xbox Live withdrawn or suspended.

    Secondly… Nitori could you elaborate one what the Warranty Act you referenced has to do with anything?

    Posted at 1:10 pm on Nov 18th, 2009 by LycaonGrunt”


    So what your saying is, even though I bought said 360 from Walmart/Bestbuy etc, opened it up hooked it up to my TV, but never used XBL by not hooking it up to my network to allow it to go online. That all these features that are ORIGINALLY available on the 360 out of the box, W/O ever being connected to XBL is conisidered by your standards something that M$ can and you say are “Allowed” to do if they so please to disable once you do connect to XBL? I have never hooked up my 360 to the internet no need for me to in the first place, I find paying 60$ for a game, and end up having to spend another exorbitant amount of money just so I can play that game on there XBL, to get a chance to play with others. No thanks, thats what my PS3 is for and for that fact thats what my PC is for.

    And on a off note about piracy: Developers/Programmers are paid for the finished product in “FULL” before and after the game is made. As I understand it they don’t get any what you would say “Royalties” for every item sold. The companies(meaning the ones who are givien full right to press and write finished program onto a disc, put inside a container with a flashy cover) that keep getting paid are the ones who sell the finished product through there distributors, the only ones who arent being paid and are on a risk basis are the stores who buy them in bulk, and hope someones buys them before they have to start dropping there prices and ultimately removing them for a loss off there shelves.

  36. LOOK
    XBOX 360 sucks. M$ is here to ruin our lives. i refuse to buy anything that is M$. I have a PS3. yes it has had its problems to, but when it comes down to it. PS3 is so much better in every way. there really is no reason to even need to hack it, yet some have. I run ubuntu off my computer and i have ubuntu on my computer as well. my psp is hacked, with ubuntu, and all works great. M$ IS THE DEVIL PLZ BE SMART AND JUST SAY NO!

  37. @angst

    “I’m not sure how they are doing this”

    Multiple XBox 360s connected simultaneously with the same ID would most likely be the case. I would imaging they are actively looking for that and autobanning if detected.

  38. 3 of my consoles are banned. I am sick of this crap can’t Modders get any love??? I can’t believe we havnt came out with a private server or something yet.

  39. I just bought a 360 from a guy who said it only had a “disk read error”, when I got home and popped the HD off, I see, in bog green letters “NO LIVE” written in marker. Luckily, I only spent $30 on it and only intended to use it for a school report visual aid.(I didn’t want to void my warranty on my elite” I attend TTU and major in EE and have been assigned a “widget deconstruction” paper and presentation. I was planning to fix the disk drive and let my g/f play her games on it but not I’m not sure if it was banned or is simply modded and “no live” was intended as a warning (Im prob not that lucky). Either way, it is very tempting to re-purpose the hardware and see what I can hack out of it, nce I’d only be out $30.

  40. @Scurge : I haven’t tried tinkering with the 360 firmware, but I know that part of the mod requires extracting from the firmware the key that links the drive to the motherboard and inserting it into hacked firmware. If you can extract the key back out of the modified firmware (compare that firmware to a modified firmware with no key) and insert it into a clean firmware, you’ll be able to go online if, as you hope, the console hasn’t already been banned. Might be worth asking the seller firstto save you wasting your time. Good luck!

  41. hmm…
    Just wait until someone comes up with a hardware based cheat that doesen’t modify the 360, such as a box that plugs into the video output and controller :)

  42. Hey….Theres some pretty conflicting info on the internet about his ban!!! Seems like the April 2010 update re-enables the HDD………………………Well, about the ban ppl said that MCE functionality is also disabled…I haven’t bought Xbox yet but am going to mod it and use it as a media extender…..If I do get banned will I be able to play audio/video content from Media Center…And will I be able to use MCE Browser then??? And run other online MCE plugins such as MCE Twitter Client on a banned xbox 360??

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