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.

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  • Bigschloppy

    Good post. What if my xbox live account has bullshit information on it, addresses, names, etc. Can I just get another account with a different ‘gamertag’ and keep playing?

  • AC Slater

    Bigschloppy: The actual information (name, address, etc) don’t matter at all to MS when doing the banning. Some people have been saying that this latest ban wave is banning only Gamertags which means you’d be able to make a new Gamertag on that console and continue to play, but some people are saying that their consoles got banned, meaning that hardware console will never be allowed on xbox live again, no matter what gamertag.

    So I would recommend just being safe and if you are going to be playing Modern Warfare 2 from now until next Tuesday, just don’t connect to Live at all (don’t even sign into your account in the dashboard) until the game is officially released. It would suck if your console got banned right when the game was released and you had to go buy a new system in order to play online.

  • Stupid question – what if the game was purchased “legitimately” and you have a receipt to prove it? (I use the quotes there because, technically, they weren’t supposed to sell it, but the reality is that I purchased a retail copy of the game).

    Thoughts? Just not worth it ?

  • PeterGriffin

    Tim-I am in the same boat. I called XBox customer support yesterday explaining I had purchased the game legally. What the guy told me is that a) If you sign into Xbox live with it in, on their server it will come up as a pirated copy, as the game is not supposed to be released until the 10th. b) If you play campaign, it still creates a time stamp on your xbox, showing the time and date when you play and unlocked achievements. Best bet is to wait until Monday at midnight (which would be the 10th)

  • Johnnyboy

    Thats assinine bull shit i know ilegeal games are bad ut this just shows the MS are a bunch of morons if they where any good they would cause any Xbox modded AT ALL would be insta banned and thus causing people to buy more of there systems which i may add i was being sarcastic

    I modded my xbox with a better Fan and Added an emulation chip And played games such as castlevanina Bloodlines Which i can Physicly prove i have a copy of just lost my sega gennesis Now if i log on to xbox live I get Hardware bant? Your systems already Fail exponetialy really bannign cause i am playing stuff legaly (( i quadruple check to make sure i can do it )) i voided the warrnty yes But i have yet to get the red circle of death and Sweet sweet Bloodlines looks great in Hd

  • zephyr

    I laugh at all those guys with pirated systems getting all up in nerdrage about them being banned.

    Guys, if you can’t afford to pay for a game, getting an illegal copy on a modded 360 might not be the way to go.

    Also, if you signed up for Live, you have agreed to the terms and conditions, haven’t you? So there.

  • Sean

    Most Modders are morons! ffs people,

    Playing pre-realease games will get you a ban,
    Playing Bad Backups will get you a ban,
    Playing a released game in PAL yet using NTSC which isnt released will get you a ban,
    Not Running it through a verified ABGX wil get you a ban,

    You cant Unban (maybe google infectus but very very complex and requires some reverse engineering knowledge.)
    You cant recover you gamertag wiithout MS watching you close from then on,
    playing a legal backup isnt why you are banned, you are banned from breaking MS T&C`s which states that you are not allowed to modify the hardware in anyway, ffs the T&C`s even give MS permission to install software on your personally computer if it would improve lives performance!!, you agree to this when you sign up to live, dont now cry like bitches because your banned through your own stupidity!!

    I am so so very careful about playing backups yet i too have been banned, (i reckon its somethign to do with brutal legend??) am i crying no i am not, i took the thousands i have saved over the last 3 years and bought a new xbox and modded that. and if i get banne dgain next year ill buy another and so unitl MS give up or MS find a real fix or i cant be arsed anymore.

    seriously i cant believe how many of you “modders” are actually dicks!

  • ant

    ok so my cus was playing cod 2 and then hooked his xbox up and they banned his system not the gamer tag but his console has been banned thats crazy he can still get on line with his gamer tag he just has to get another xbox see thats y i dont play my games until they r due to release cause ur achievements will show up live had my system modded for like 2 years and never have i want on live with a game that wasnt suppose to be out yet word to the wise buy a memory card and then play ur games so what u will be getting 2 of every achievements but is it worth u not being able to connect to live with that system r worse buying a new xbox so take my advice do not play with Microsoft they will ban ur system

  • Jay

    ok so I buy a game that the x-box scratches so won’t play past a certain point so i mod my console and burn the game I own so i can play it, that’s retarded that i get banned because of their shotty products this is my fourth x-box the only one I modded and it was only modded because the $70 game I bought is a piece of crap and gets scratched while in the system unmoved

  • Toure

    dude I totally agree because I have halo 3 and play that alot yes I have a modded console but I do the the same burn the game I own, just in case the original gets scratched its ridiculous I mean common why not join in with the modders. They could make a lot more money and they’ll still be selling consoles so we all win ya know?

  • Toure

    and yeah the games aren’t all that great I mean halo 3 is good but damn.

  • “And as far as I’m aware there is no way to get MS to reverse the ban and it’s permanent”

    bull. If someone like Obama had his xbox banned, I’m sure they can fix it.

  • AC Slater

    Cause I’m sure Obama has a modded Xbox… or even time to sit down and play Xbox (although he does have time to play golf so who knows)

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