Microsoft Banning More Modded Xbox 360’s With Leak of Modern Warfare 2

This should be common sense by now to those that have a modded Xbox 360 console, but there are are still idiots out there that think that they can get away with playing a game that’s not even out yet, on xbox live and not get banned. I understand that there are stealth patches and all sorts of other ways to make it so Microsoft can’t tell you’re playing a burnt game, but guess what, if you play a game online it attaches itself to your Gamertag whether it’s patched or not, therefore Microsoft can see that you’re playing it. So despite the fact that you took all necessary precautions in hiding the fact that you’re playing a burnt game, you can still be banned for playing a leaked game if your console is signed in to xbox live… oh yeah, you don’t have to actually play the game online either. As soon as you put the game in, if you are signed in to xbox live at all, the game shows up on your gamertag thus Microsoft can tell you are playing it even if you’re not playing multiplayer matches.

If you want to play a pre-release game and not have your console banned, disconnect from Xbox live completely and don’t sign in until the game is released. If you get achievements while offline, as soon as you sign on to xbox live it will send those achievements to the system, thus showing that you played a game you shouldn’t have. This isn’t a huge deal if the game is already out, but if Modern Warfare 2 starts showing up attached to your Gamertag and the game isn’t even out yet MS is going to get a little suspicious.

Now I’m not saying that everyone is going to get banned for playing these games, but Modern Warfare 2 leaked a couple days ago and Microsoft has already started banning people. I’m not saying that they were playing MW2, but this is a pattern with Microsoft, they did it with Halo 3 and other high profile releases so just be smart if you’re playing a game that doesn’t come out for a week.

And this leak is why all of this new information about MW2 is starting to come out like the nuke at the 25 kill streak level and other stuff which I’m not going to post, you can find that elsewhere.

Update 11/11/09: I just wanted to touch on a few things I’ve read over the past couple days and after looking at the logs of how people found this post, I wanted to touch on some of the questions people have typed into google that brought them here. The basic idea behind modding the Xbox 360 to play illegally burnt games is flashing the firmware on the DVD drive. The firmware is basically the software that tells the DVD drive how to work and what to read. There is no “chip” that needs to be installed in the Xbox 360 in order to give it the ability to circumvent the game protection, all you need to do is pull out the DVD drive, hook it up to a computer, run some special software and BAM, modded. So knowing that, it seems as though Microsoft has found a way to read the firmware version off of your DVD drive via the internet, they then compare it to the known legit firmware versions that run on un-modded systems and ban those that don’t match. Now, this information could be completely wrong, but it makes sense. I know there was rumor in the past that MS could detect some weird wobble to a burnt DVD as opposed to a legit one, whether it was an actual wobble or the speed the disc spins or what I’m not sure, but that was the rumor in the past. But this new method seems a lot more precise in determining which consoles have been modified. And if this is the new method MS is using, even if you are playing a legit copy of a game on a modded system, the firmware will still show up as modded and you will still be banned.

With that in mind, some people have been complaining that they have been banned yet they claim to have a legit system that they never modded. Ok, either they are lying, which could easily be the case, or they unknowingly have a modded system, which is more likely. Say you don’t want to spend $200 on a new system because you’re afraid it may die on you (which it most likely will) so you head to Gamestop or eBay instead and pick up a cheaper used one. There is no way for Gamestop to tell whether or not the system is modded short of putting a burnt game into every trade-in system and seeing if it plays, which they do not do. The other way you could unknowingly have gotten a modded system is if you’re console got the RRoD (Red Ring of Death) and you had to send it in to Microsoft for repair. A lot of the times when MS gets a system in for repair, rather than actually repairing the original system they will send out a refurbished system instead and it appears as though they do not check every system for legit firmware. There have been posts on many forums from people who have bought a refurbished system or gotten one back from MS that has modified firmware on it. So my advice is if you get the RRoD and have to send it in, make sure you document all of the serial numbers of your system as well as the one you get back, and if you get banned you may be able to use that information to your advantage, but I really don’t know if that will work. My other advice is don’t buy a refurbished system if you don’t want to risk getting banned, or get a hold of 1 burnt game to test a system before you buy it, just to be sure, there’s really no other way to know.

And as far as I’m aware there is no way to get MS to reverse the ban and it’s permanent, I’m sure they hear people claiming their systems weren’t modded every day, so good luck getting them to believe you. And it is your console that is banned not your Xbox Live Account (Gamertag) so if you were to buy a new Xbox 360 you should be able to use the same XBL Account.