Xbox Gamer Says He Was Banned Online For No Reason

Jeff can no longer play his two Xbox 360s online because Microsoft has banned him with no explanation. When he calls customer service, he says he’s accused of modding his consoles, which he insists he hasn’t.

Yet he’s guilty until proven innocent, and Microsoft isn’t willing to hear him out. He writes:

My console and my fiance’s console were caught up in the Mass Banning going on by Microsoft in their latest Pirate Witch Hunt. My fiance is a chef, and plays games like Viva Pinata, Arcade Games, and can’t figure out how to remove the battery pack, much less tear apart her system to “mod” anything.

I have purchased (2) Xbox 360 consoles (one for each of us), 68 games, several hundred dollars worth of Live content and DLC, another several hundred on disks that were scratched by faulty first gen consoles, a faulty 20 gig drive that Microsoft refused to warranty, and extra controllers / etc. All together I have dropped over $5200 supporting Microsoft, which I don’t have a problem with … what I DO take issue with is that yesterday we downloaded some content for the game Left 4 Dead and played it a bit, this morning I turned on my console and when I tried to log in, it stated my console was banned. What? The only “mod” I have ever done to my Xbox 360 was replace the crapped out 20 gig drive with an official 120 gig drive I purchased at Best Buy (I know, don’t hate on me for buying at Best Buy…) and that was almost 5 months ago. Of course I had a RRoD, but that was over a year ago (whic was another horror story all together).

Of course I tried to figure out what happened, but the outsourced “support” team refused to give me ANY information other than their investigations were very though. At one point a man who called himself “Charles” told me that it was my problem and I should learn to follow the rules, then hung up on me. I checked the Xbox Live Forums and while I am sure that some of the people posting in the Account Suspension and Player Feedback forum have probably done something to their consoles, I find if hard to believe that ALL of the people posting in there have modded their systems or whatever it is Microsoft has been flagging for.

One forum post shows exactly the type of sub-par support I experienced: A supposed Microsoft Support Rep named “StormShadow425″ belittles a concerned customer and at one point tells him “But this is what you get back for tampering the console.”

Here is the thread if you are interested in seeing what type of support you can expect from Microsoft now.

As it will take several weeks for Microsoft to check my system / account / whatever black magic they do to determine if they made a mistake, I have pretty much written off any more Xbox Live and online gaming on my Xbox for a month at least, if ever. My fiance never actually played on Live, we would either System Link via Wireless to play Left 4 Dead with each other, of if a friend came over and we wanted to play 4-way split screen, or she would just play her little games, so not a big deal there. Our accounts were going to revert to Silver in February I think so not a big deal anyway. I think I am more angry with the spectacular terrible support Microsoft has, and the way they treat their customers… especially right before the Holiday season when people are looking to spend on gifts? I was considering picking up an Arcade bundle for my nephew, but I think I have pretty much crossed that off the list, ha ha! He will have to settle for a Nintendo DSi or possibly a PS3 now that they are cheaper.

Has anyone been banned by Xbox Live for accused modding and managed to get the ban lifted? Other than buying new consoles and starting new Xbox Live accounts, there must be some way for Jeff to get out of this mess.

(Photo: jim699)

Comments

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  1. Willow01 says:

    Hence the reason I love my PS3

  2. gerrylum says:

    I highly doubt he’ll be able to get the ban liften. He probably should just give in and get a couple new Xboxes and pray it doesn’t happen again.

    Or just get PS3s.

    • zibby says:

      @gerrylum: Nah, having a trouble-free system like that would be waaaaay too easy.

    • Razor512 says:

      @gerrylum: the reason why this happens is because microsoft is going crazy about people pirating games and there just hurting the legit customers instead

      when you use the xbox 360, microsoft scans the data on it and compares it with what their server has and then it bans you if it is different,

      the problem is the data can be different is a packet is dropped or corrupt (a ISP throttling can cause packets to be dropped which can be mistaken for modding because for example, if a game server does acd key check, or windows update does a cd key check and the packets keep getting dropped or corrupted, it will just allow you to get the update or connect to the game server because it doesn’t want to wrongly lock you out but because of this, these connection problems can be simulated and microsoft will then see it as modded console activity and ban the console (they only check once and ban)

      many modding groups get around it by soldering a serial connection directly to the motherboard and re-flashing it with a different id and redesign their mods until they no longer result in a console ban, then when all of the work is done, the update is released to the world, so the modders have no problem while the legit users suffer through false positives and unhelpful tech support

      • BWoodle says:

        @Razor512: I’m sorry but that’s not the way connunication over the internet works. If packets are dropped using TCP the protocol immediately recognizes it and resends it. By the time the data is gathered on the other end it is guaranteed to be the same as it was on the other end. If they are using UDP to transfer the data they will have the packet detection built into the application layer.

  3. eskimo81 says:

    EECB?

    DRM sucks, and it sucks even worse when the company refused to fix it when it goes wrong.

  4. Awjvail says:

    I wonder how many times Xbox support has heard that one… “BUT I DIDN’T MOD MY CONSOLE! THIS IS A SCAM! I SWEAR!”

    So… if I read correctly, Microsoft is going to look into the issue? Sure, it’ll take a few weeks. With the mass bannings of consoles lately, you can expect it to take a little while…

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Awjvail: Oh, yeah, sure, that’s fine that people can’t play their online games or otherwise use their legitimately purchased system for n number of weeks/months. It’s not like a very popular online game just launched or anything.

    • Cyco says:

      @Awjvail: While he is upset about the bannings, I think the biggest issue is with the treatment he has been receiving by customer service. The employees are acting like MS is infalible and everyone is guilty period, no chance for innocense. While I’m sure 99% of the bannings were spot on, mistakes can and, I’m sure, were made. They should treat everyone with the same respect, no matter what they did to their personal property that they bought, not rented.

  5. akuma_x says:

    They only ban your system, not your Live account. He can switch consoles with his fiance and setup his Live account on there. This doesn’t solve the real problem that he was banned to begin with but at least gives him a way to play online again.

    • Madjia says:

      @akuma_x:

      I think he said that both consoles have gotten banned, so he can’t do anything right now

    • Android8675 says:

      @akuma_x: …nevermind the fact that he already spent $5k on MS products, and then MS bans him as soon as he slacks off on his monthly shopping spree of MS products.

      Convenient timing? or conspiracy!?

    • Stephmo says:

      @akuma_x: With the mod bannings, MS has gotten stricter in the last few years. If you have one modded system in your home, but play on two or three machines, they’ll ban all the machines.

      This was in response to complaints that heavy duty cheaters that were banned pretty much kept spares around for this very reason and were up and running within 30 seconds of a ban. Basically, you do have to come up with an unused box never tied to the original box now.

      The bannings were over 600,000 accounts by all reports. And people are going bonkers – a certain corner of the internet got a visit from an executive in their chat area asking that the death threats stop:

      [paste2.org]

    • trrwilson says:

      @akuma_x: In addition to banning the console, the user’s gamertag is also tagged. Their saves and stuff under that gamertag can still be used offline on teh banned console, but if they try and load it one that isn’t, the gamertag gets corrupted and the saves become unusable.

      A friend of mine was banned and explained this to me. I hope I got the info right.

  6. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    I’ll have to check my 360.

    I opened the HDD enclosure once my warranty expired to see what sort of drive they had in there since I only have a 20GB drive, and was considering a back end upgrade. If they banned me they’ve lost a customer for life. I 100% understand the need to control access to the hardware when the appliance is under warranty, but once the warranty is expire that mthfckr is MINE!

    • Rask says:

      @TakingItSeriously is Simon: The console may be yours but they still can refuse the hardware from accessing the service if they determine that it’s been modified in any way, shape or form.

      It’s all about preserving the integrity of the online experience on XBL.

      Did the original poster buy the 360’s on ebay or other meant where the console may have been modified before purchase? Used from GameStop perhaps? Do any of the 68 games that the OP owns have the title of the game written with a sharpie on the disk?

      Or is Microsoft starting to have some false positives with their monitoring system?

    • parad0x360 says:

      @TakingItSeriously is Simon: They ban modified consoles because of piracy not because of warranty issues.

      • strayxray says:

        @parad0x360:

        It is likely that when his original Xbox RRoD’ed, the “fixed” replacement sent by Microsoft was a refurbished unit (the revived carcass from someone else’s RRoD’ed Xbox). That unit could have been modded in the past without his knowledge and triggered his ban.

        Sadly, the most cost-effective way around this is to purchase a brand new $199 unit and transfer your account over to it. You could spend hours and hours on the phone, sending emails and complaining in support forums.

        This is win-win for Microsoft, win-lose for Consumers.

  7. PriceIsWrong says:

    I wonder if the OP got his system used or refurbished? I’ve heard stories about some stores like Gamestop not doing an actual check like Microsoft does, so it’s possible someone modded the one he has, an he didn’t even know about it.

    I logged in to find myself banned the other day, and I bought mine off of Woot about a year ago, so I’m wondering how “Refurbished” my system was.

    I’ve honestly been waiting to hear something more about it, but my kids can still play their games, and I don’t let them play online anyway, so until I hear more info, I’m just gonna wait.

    • dp05 says:

      This isn’t so much of a DRM issue as it is an issue with proper use of the banhammer. MS decided to crack down big time on modded consoles (i.e., ones that allow you to play burned games that you didn’t pay for, etc.), and apparently some legit consoles are feeling the wrath as well.

      Kind of stinks for this guy because I happen to know of a couple people who’s modded consoles are still working.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @dp05: It’s completely draconian. They could opt on the side of the customer and let some of the guilty pass through, or they could opt on the side of vengeful greed and take down some of the innocents.

        That Microsoft is not only missing the guilty but banning the innocent is completely sdrawkcab ssa.

        • dp05 says:

          @Applekid: Update: The people I knew with modded consoles felt the wrath of the banhammer over the last couple days, so there is some justice in the world.

  8. skwish says:

    basically what microsoft was doing was when your console logged online they are compairing the firmware found in that console to the list of offical firmware they have released…. If it does not match up then the colsole is banned from xbox live.

    If this guy is actually being honest (but then again how many people in the defendants chair dont plead thier innocence) they only way this could happen is if he somehow got himself a modded “refurbished” console back when he sent his xbox in for repair… but that also depends on if he sent it back to microsoft or another retailer who did the repair

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      @skwish: Sure, sometimes the “innocent” are guilty. But there have been lots of high-profile cases recently where individuals imprisoned for years or decades have been exonerated by new evidence (usually DNA). They protested their innocence for years, but few people believed them until the new evidence came to light.

      I don’t buy that the “only way this could happen” was if his xbox was modded somewhere along the way. Microsoft could just have a screwed-up verification process which give false positives when looking for modded consoles.

      • Lucid003 says:

        @MauriceCallidice: You should probably consider that your “DNA” comment directly applies to the situation at hand. Microsoft has a way of directly checking if the console’s “DNA” matches the standard “DNA.” It’s pretty hard to have false positives.

        Odds are that the people involved either bought used consoles that were modded… OR they took them in for repairs somewhere. In other words, the user may not have known, but ignorance is no excuse.

    • KeithIrwin says:

      @skwish: I tend to think that this poster is correct that what’s happened is that Microsoft compared the firmware on the user’s machine to authorized firmwares and found a mismatch. However, there is an explanation which would explain this without anyone having modified the console. It is possible that the flash memory on which the firmware is stored is faulty. Bad bits, although rare, do happen sometimes and this could be the cause of a mismatch. Also, it is possible that the firmware was misread this one time due to a transient internal communication error. These are even rarer, but also occur. There’s also a possibility of a transient external communication error (i.e. the firmware had the correct checksum, but when the X-Box 360 communicated this back to Microsoft there was an undetected error in the communication). These are all possibilities. Each is unlikely to happen to any one individual, but it wouldn’t be surprising if this happened to at least some individuals.

      Essentially, when you’ve got a 1 in a million chance of something happening to someone and you’ve got 20 million users, it’s nearly certain that it will happen to someone. Assuming Jeff is telling the truth then it’s probably been caused by an error of this nature or possibly a bug in the code used for checking.

  9. triscuitbiscuit says:

    If you read his post, he did technically mod it. He took it to a local shop where the person replaced his fan with another one. Although he didn’t do anything else (supposedly), this is in all technicalities modding of the console. In the letter to the consumerist, he mysteriously left that part out….

  10. semanticantics says:

    You don’t have to start a new XBL account. The console is banned, not the account.

    As for why it was banned, if you get through to someone and they are actually willing to take a look, the warranty sticker inside and such will have to be intact.

    I also ask if either / both decks were bought 2nd hand. Consoles / accounts can be flagged months in advance.

    On the plus side, if the deck stays banned, you can mod it to play backups now.

  11. jeffs3rd says:

    If both consoles are banned, then MS probably went as far as to not only ban the console itself but the IP address also.

    As the thread says, the poster had some local guy modify his xbox. Sorry, you lose.

    Also, in the live TOS it says that they can ban as they see fit. Is it right? No. But that is the law set forth by MS on their service and they are enforcing it on this guy. I normally don’t support MS on an issue, but with this it’s kind of spelled out in black & white: you cant do what this guy did.

    • Nicksonc20 says:

      @jeffs3rd:

      The poster in the thread is a different guy. The OP is only using that as an example to show how poor the Microsoft customer service on its forums are.

  12. bigd7387 says:

    First I did the PS3 thing 2 years ago and owned it for a whole 5 months before selling because of the major suckage. With that said I still can’t feel sorry for anyone “claiming” they were banned for no reason. In this day and age with pirating going on with games, music and movies companies are acting to protect their money, which they should. The OP should not take it out on MS and go after the real problem the pirates. Those theifs are to blame, not the companies.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      @bigd7387: So if my house is blown up by a faulty air strike that was intended for some enemy faction, should I blame the enemy faction for blowing up my house? For that matter, if my ISP cuts off my Internet access because another customer is illegally downloading movies on their own connection, should I track down said pirate and berate them? That sort of reasoning is doubleplusgood!

  13. dwasifar says:

    I can’t believe there are people here taking Microsoft’s side, even a little bit. “He probably should just give in and get a couple new Xboxes and pray it doesn’t happen again.” “…the person replaced his fan with another one…he mysteriously left that part out…” I understand the rationale is to ensure fair play, but Microsoft, being Microsoft, goes about it in a completely draconian and intrusive way, behaving as if your property belongs to them. I’d never buy hardware that comes with this kind of strings attached, no matter how cool the games are.

    But then again, I won’t run Windows, for the same reason.

  14. lpranal says:

    “Microsoft is very strict with this because if they will let modded consoles to play online, all they’ll do is just ruin the game and the experience. The modding community might also find a way to hack peoples account.”

    Bullshit. A modded console, for all intents and purposes, plays only 1:1 exact backups, nothing gets “hacked” that could affect the “game and the experience” any more than a stock console.

    Not that i’m condoning modding consoles of any kind, however microsoft needs to stop the deceptive doublespeak and “protecting gamers” stance: it’s about stopping people from playing copied / pirated games, period.

    • skwish says:

      @lpranal:

      you have obviously never played a game of halo online where a guy using a modded console… which by your definition will only play 1:1 copies of games… has a shotgun that shoots warthogs.

      so long story short your Wrong, but the piracy is also a significant portion of why they did this

      • lpranal says:

        @skwish: yes, actually I do play halo online, but I’ve never once run into something like that, mainly because it’s incredibly easy microsoft to detect cheaters. Modding a console does NOT allow it to run unsigned code on live, although there are other ways for people to cheat. Nonetheless, Basically this ban wave is completely unrelated to cheaters; people caught cheating are banned when they’re discovered; people playing backups get their consoles “flagged” throughout the year, and microsoft bans them in huge waves, apparently to send some kind of message.

      • dp05 says:

        @skwish: The picture in my head of a shotgun firing warthogs has made me laugh. Thank you for that.

        A whole new level of deadliness for that weapon…

  15. HazyCloud says:

    The major detail left out in the OP was if he bought the console(s) new or not. If he bought them used or had someone work on them, it is his own damn fault.

    Don’t go around saying you spent X amount on Xbox stuff but then complaining that you’ve been banned for not buying a console new or having an unofficial repairman work on it. Sorry, I’ve got no pity for you.

    Also to those saying MS is banning legit consoles, I highly doubt it. They aren’t looking to ban the guy who pays 50 bucks a year for Live and 60 bucks per game.

  16. shepd says:

    Reasons why you can get banned (highlighted are possibilities relating to the poster):

    - Actual Mods (firmware or chips)
    – HDD Hacking, or purchasing HDD from unusual places which is likely hacked
    – Too many games (especially weird imports) to the point M$ thinks you’re pirating them
    – Unofficial memory cards (although I don’t think this is part of the current ban wave)
    – Network trouble (often resulting in a positive score for the gamer), eg: lag switch type stuff
    – Super low rep and complaints from others that you’re running a modded console
    – Hacked/stolen/keygenned/already-used points cards (could be purchased from online stores and seem to be totally legit–ALWAYS get the real card in the mail)

    Now, I’m not saying any of these are good reasons, I’m just giving a list and which ones you could have, unfortunately, been screwed on. M$ isn’t nice and probably won’t unban your consoles. If you replace them you’re probably OK, though. But your old savegames might not work on the new XBOXes. And, if you manage to make them work, they may ban your new ones. :(

  17. jarhead906 says:

    I got an e-mail two days ago saying I was temporarily banned from my PSN ID for HATE SPEECH in the Playstation Home application.

    This, however, is impossible considering I haven’t used Home since it came out little more than a year ago and that my PS3(s) have been broken for quite some time.

    Gonna have to call sometime tomorrow.

  18. Portalis says:

    This is why it is so important that game companies like Infinity Ward do NOT restrict their PC customers the ability to have their own dedicated servers.

    [news.bigdownload.com]

    This was a running petition to Infinity Ward: [www.petitiononline.com]

    Over 200,000 Signatures, and they still don’t listen. It’s all about control.

  19. Projectneo says:

    I have a feeling we are not getting the full story here. Microsoft doesn’t just ban you because you had your console repaired at an unauthorized repair shop, when my DVD drive died i replaced it myself and was never banned. I didnt notice if he said where he got the xboxes, however if they both were banned and he did not get them from a store perhaps they are from a stolen batch sold on ebay.

  20. jvanbrecht says:

    Microsoft is wrong, end of story. It is not illegal to mod your console, yes it can void your warranty, yes modding permits you to run downloaded games and perform other functions considered illegal and piracy.

    Modding also allows you to run backups of games you own when you made those backups yourself. Lets face it, games are extremely expensive, 3 games are more expensive then the console itself.

    What it comes down to, is MS attempting to control every aspect, similar to Apple with its hardware/software. That is their choice, and their TOS does state they have the right to refuse service, but don’t make the mistake of thinking modding is illegal, its not.

    Anything (whether it be cars, computers, guns, etc etc) can be modified for both legal purposes and illegal purposes, and last I checked, innocent until proven guilty is the way things are supposed to be.

    And before you start spouting the DMCA law, that law has provisions that make it perfectly legal to modify devices and such to make and run legally purchased and backed up data.

    • steveliv says:

      @jvanbrecht: your post is so full of fail, i don’t know where to start. modding a console is a grey area, but Microsoft has a right to police their own service, so you can mod your console, just don’t be surprised when it is banned and you aren’t able to sign onto LIVE. The DMCA doesn’t blindly allow you to legally make backups. Certain devices can get waivers in the DMCA, and last time i checked the Xbox 360 was not one of these devices.

      • jvanbrecht says:

        @steveliv: Eh.. thats what I said..

        “That is their choice, and their TOS does state they have the right to refuse service, but don’t make the mistake of thinking modding is illegal, its not.”

        As for the DMCA, I went back through the rights, and while there are exceptions, for example,
        # Library or educational use
        # Law enforcement or governmental use
        # Reverse engineering
        # Analog tape copying (pertaining to some VHS/Beta videotapes)

        The one I mentioned was not listed, as backups generally fall under fair use laws, and are not part of the DMCA itself, although bypassing mechanisms protecting those devices is a murky situation, and has not truly been tested in a court case.

        There are no specific devices that would be listed under a waiver, they would be classes of devices or products. As for whether or not the 360 is listed under one of those classes is irrelevant, since you are modifying the software on the CD (by bypassing the DRM and encryption used on the CD itself). The modification to the 360 would be just telling it to ignore the lack on protection. That in itself is not illegal, nor does it even require a waiver.

        But again, like you said, and like I said which you apparently did not understand or read, MS has the right to refuse service for any reason, short of violating laws on race, sex and other similar factors.

    • semanticantics says:

      @jvanbrecht:

      Who said anything about “illegal”. The console still works, it just cannot connect to Xbox Live, a service with a giant ToS.

  21. Fishy007 says:

    This is why I’ve given up on my 360. Microsoft has too much control over hardware that I’ve paid for.

    I haven’t modded my system, but I’m not going to invest more $ in the console and my online experience only to be randomly banned in a wave of banning. From now on I’ll be sticking with my PS3 for console games.

  22. Dyscord says:

    I don’t see belittling at the post. Unfortunately, he’s absolutely right. They should have let Microsoft fix the console. According to that link, the guy ADMITS to taking the console to a third party and having them opening it up and add a third party fan into it.

    It may seem stupid, but MS runs a tight ship when it comes to modding. It’s so that their Live service would be (theoretically) more enjoyable.

  23. VagrantRadio says:

    Exactly why I’m going to cancel my live account, sell my games and console. Another addition to the list of reasons why Xbox Live and Microsoft suck as a company.

  24. b4k4 says:

    May wanna get in touch with Steve Toulouse, master of the Banhammer, using his twitter “stepto”. I sent a tweet pointing to this article, we’ll see if that helps….

  25. semanticantics says:

    Xbox-scene.com, a site where people discuss such issues, has a story / rumor that MS is pushing for 1 million bans.

  26. What The Geek says:

    There are too many missing variables from this story for me to side with the OP, or MS. Did they buy the consoles new? Or did they come from Craigslist or ebay? If the console was modded before the OP owned it, it’s still modded, and capable of playing pirated games – hence the ban, even if the OP didn’t know about the mod.

    Also, it’s hard to really take sides on something like this – if he did mod the consoles, do you really think he’s gonna own up to that publicly? This could be a ploy by a pirate to use the power of the consumerist to circumvent a legit ban. The fact of the matter is, there are software markers to look for to determine whether the firmware on a DVD drive has been tampered with or not. If MS is finding those markers, then the console is most likely modded, even if the customer was unaware of the mod (in the case of a used 360). Accidents happen, and that’s why MS is willing to reinvestigate a ban – but if the reinvestigation turns up the same results, the ban will stand, regardless of the story from the customer.

  27. heltoupee says:

    This is exactly why I haven’t pulled the trigger on any one of a number of great Xbox360 deals I’ve seen all over teh intarwebs lately.

  28. smiling1809 says:

    Sounds like a Microsoft scame to get people to buy new consoles so they can access their live accounts again.

  29. shades_of_blue says:

    The dude said he had the infamous RROD. I would speculate that MS advance RMA’d his system with another, and that one is hacked. He should check the serial number on his original receipt against his system.

    If they’re different be sure to point that out. If they still won’t budge, consider contacting the local media or writing Gates/Ballmer. I’m sure whoever checks their mail would be very interested in learning just how flawed their Live devision support really is.

  30. dutchb0y says:

    If his xbox is unmodded can he offer to send it in to have it checked out and cleared? I think they did this with the original XBOX when people were unfairly banned.

  31. Stupid_Losers says:

    All of the reasons that people have posted here for why you can get banned seem like more than enough to stay away from MS and the Xbox 360. I have a Wii, my kid loves it but I’m pretty much sick of the silly kid friendly games and was thinking about getting a 360. Now that doesn’t seem like such a great idea.

  32. coopjust says:

    I sincerely doubt the fan replacement was detectable. If he sent it in for service, maybe.

    Given that the OP has privacy settings enabled, and he last played Modern Warfare 2, my guess is he played the game before street date. Now, if he’s telling the truth, a retailer may have broken street date- but this is not a problem if you have your receipt.

  33. jlmatthe says:

    Hey, there’s a typo in the photo credits.. That’s MY photo!! W00T!

    But um, it’s jlm699.

  34. Fifth Echo says:

    E-mail stepto@xbox.com and voice your complaint. Stephen Toulouse is the manager over Enforcement for XBL. Explain your situation with him and, given some civil discourse, you will likely get unbanned.

  35. Zagroseckt says:

    Time to get the small clames cort thing going.

  36. M3wThr33 says:

    What’s worse is now if you play on a banned console, it writes to your game save and you can’t transfer it elsewhere, so you’re stuck with that profile or game on it if you use it after it’s been banned.

  37. coopjust says:

    Info from the XBL forums, YMMV:

    Our investigations are very thorough. However if you PM Tatsu24 with your consoleID and serial number we will re-verify our investigation. Your console ID is located in System Settings>Console Settings>System Info

    Before replying, please be sure that you:

    1. Purchased your console brand new and unopened from a reputable retailer

    2. No individual has ever handled the Xbox outside your direct physical supervision.

    3. You have thoroughly reviewed the information and FAQ located at [www.xbox.com]

    Please be aware that if our re-verification is correct, this could result in a permanent suspension of the Xbox LIVE accounts on this console, along with all associated licenses and gamerscore.

  38. ubermex says:

    The really ironic thing is that if he had actually modded his system he might be able to get around this.

  39. Nytmare says:

    Every time I see the phrase “no reason” it translates to “there was a reason but I don’t want to admit what it was.”

  40. humphrmi says:

    But this is what you get back for tampering the console.

    In the immortal words of Truman Capote, “Learn to say your g0@-d@&^ prepositions!”

  41. newfenoix says:

    This is why I will NEVER play games online.

  42. Koinu says:

    I just wanted to say that the guy who responded is not an official Microsoft employee, he’s just a gold member.

    [www.xbox.com]

    He’s a Comp Level 2, and has no badges.

  43. Kaosian says:

    “Our investigations are very thorough. However if you PM me with your consoleID and serial number we will reverify our investigation. Your console ID is located in System Settings>Console Settings>System Info

    Before replying, please be sure that you:

    1. You purchased your console brand new and unopened from a reputable retailer
    2. No individual has ever handled the Xbox outside your direct physical supervision.
    3. You have thoroughly reviewed the information and FAQ located at [www.xbox.com]

    Please be aware that if our reverification is correct, this could result in a permanent suspension of the Xbox LIVE accounts on this console, along with all associated licenses and gamerscore. “

    Taken from the xbox boards. Like anyone could ever verify #2 above, unless oyu keep your console under lock and key when you are not playing it and never go anywhere without first locking up said console, even to go tot he bathroom. I’m glad I don’t have an Xbox nor a sony DRM Machine …..

  44. parrotuya says:

    AHHH! Yet another reason not to deal with Microsoft. The brainwashed MS faithful never learn. Here is a clue: dump the xbox and buy a Playstation or Nintendo! Bonus points: dump your PC and get a Mac!

    DOWn, baby, DOWn!

  45. baristabrawl says:

    This is why I don’t want one. There should be a service that can figure out a way to get them unbanned. Whatever cryptic signature mechanism they use. Clearly I don’t know how it works.

  46. sinfuly Delicious says:

    I had just replaced my barely out of warranty first gen box with a used one from gamestop and aftera few mos (last week) I am not banned on that console.

    I ended up getting the Limited Ed MW2 console set the other day from a store BRAND NEW this time and have that one. But in response to the crap MS is pulling onthis I have no quams in learning how to mod my now banned box and using it to play copies of my games. I fig now i have two that i can lan with. One for my games and the other for copies so can play on two consoles and two screens.

  47. soccerkrzy says:

    fiancé = boy, fiancée = girl…

  48. Zombie_killer says:

    My concern (excuse me if this has already been posted)is that my Xbox 360, which was a replacement sent to me by their repair center (fter my RRoD (I’ve had 3 RRoD BTW…. my first right out of the box when it was 1st introduced) was modded by someone else or maybe the repair center had been doing something that to Microsoft registers the box as modded. That certainly would explain why there were so many banned. Of course, I am pretty sure they were selling modded Xbox’s on Ebay so I’m sure there are a ton out there.

  49. sjnims says:

    seems like an interesting way to boost console sales this holiday season…

  50. Chaotic Katt says:

    This same thing happened to me. I was just starting to play MW2 on XBL when it started freezing. I restarted the game several times and eventually I got the RRoD. I called MS “support” to request a repair and they told me it was ineligible to be repaired because my console had been banned and that there was nothing I could do. This was my second console (my 1st got the RRoD as well). It was a replacement refurbished unit that I received directly from MS service center. I am the only user on the console and it’s never been anywhere else aside from my apartment. I haven’t the slightest idea as to how one would go about modding anything YET my console is banned. I know for sure that Microsoft’s detection methods are extremely flawed, and it’s outrageous that there is no way that a modification can be verified for people willing to have their consoles physically checked. My only route was to report them to the Better Business Bureau……we”ll see what happens with that.

  51. XyberDAWG says:

    I feel Microsoft was completely in the right with this update, and honestly feel it is a little late. Part of the TOS of xbox live is that you do not tamper with the console in anyway. Yeah I know nobody reads that, they just hit “Agree” and that;s why legally they have the right, you agreed to wave your rights.

    XBOX Live is maintained by MS, if they want to keep modified systems off their service so be it. One reason many people are overlooking is a modified system has the potential to modify gamesaves, account info, etc. Thus a Modded system could technically be a cheater.

    In addition a modded system could play Illegal copies of games both XBLA and Retail versions. Do you think they will allow that to happen. Sure they can make it an offline only XBOX, does that “Brick” the system? No it doesn’t, it only removes the online capabilities that by using a Modded Console violates in the first place. Be happy its not a Wii, they have been Bricked for much less violations.

    And in conclusion BE VERY happy you got the time you did in with the system, your lucky they didn’t do this much sooner. For those who say if it is after the warranty you have the right to take it apart and mod it, sure you do. But the second you break the seal and crack it open, you don’t just void a warranty, you take responsibility for any failures that might occur afterward.

  52. Mema says:

    My special needs grandson found great joy in being on line with his XBox 360 where he was active so much so that for two years he only wanted point cards, games and anything to support his interest. Gifts for his birthdays and holidays, money he earned for mowed lawns and chores all invested in his game.
    One fateful Saturday night he attempted to log on and found that his “file was corrupt”. He was devastated but I encourged him to call the help line believing the problem could be remedied. After ten days of a microsoft and XBox crash course, filing forms and endless two hour wait phone calls I was finally informed my grandson’s account wa now an “F2″ and nobody could give any information to me or anyone else about that account. Special questions had been asked two years earlier to an autistic kid who just wanted to play so he made up answers he never wrote down. Explaning his problem and my involvement made no difference. Now he is not able to retrive his prized “profile” and I cannot bear the thought of one more marathon phone call with no results. Can anyone help me fight my grandsons exile status with Microsoft?

  53. chocobo says:

    @halcyondays: So is spending $5200 on tickets to sporting events, or clothes, or skydiving, or whatever you happen to be into.

    People spend their money in dumb ways that happen to be fun for them. Shockingly, not every dollar earned is used for long-term investments, paying bills, or helping the needy.

  54. tonberry says:

    @halcyondays: i think you meant to say
    “Spndng $5200 n vd gms s rmrkbl wst f mny.”

  55. AnthonyC says:

    @halcyondays:
    Really? I guess you haven’t considered this too deeply.

    All people spend some money on entertainment in one form or another. What forms of entertainment should they choose?

    Certain particularly inexpensive options are friendly card games or network television. TV watched online can be inexpensive as well. Most people are going to pay for their internet access and cable whether they use it much or not, so using it is certainly preferable. But very few people are going to be happy never doing anything fun other than watching tv or surfing the web.

    Night at the movies? For 2 people, $20 for tickets, maybe $10 for snacks, for about 3 hours of entertainment.

    Eating dinner out? Anywhere from $20-$100 for a couple of hours.

    1 good video game? $40-$60 for a new release (less for older or used games), for anywhere from 20-100 hours of entertainment per person, depending on the game and genre.

    Now, entertainment values of different media will vary from person to person, but in terms of dollars per hour, it is difficult to do much better than a good video game.

  56. jaya9581 says:

    @halcyondays: $5200 is nothing. I’ve probably spent close to that on JUST World of Warcraft in the last 5 years, with multiple accounts.

  57. Quatre707 says:

    @halcyondays: Video games are a hobby, and a pretty inexpensive hobby actually. Talk to someone who does woodworking, restores cars, or one of 100 other common hobbies that cost more.

  58. Tiaris says:

    @halcyondays: We thank you for your Judgement, sir.

  59. Mobius says:

    @halcyondays: Trolling the internets is a remarkable waste of time. Repying to trolls is a remarkable waste of time.

  60. SkuldChan says:

    @halcyondays: You probably spend as much on frivolous entertainment as well – just not on video games.

  61. ktetch says:

    @bigd7387: Actually, “Intellectual property” doesn’t exist. Thats a common term encompassing several quite separate areas of the law (copyrights, patents, trademarks) which don’t even interact with each other.

    I’ve also yet to see any court agreement which has ever ruled on the validity of these clickwrap agreements, so can you point me to them?

  62. Cyberxion101 says:

    @bigd7387: It voids your warranty at worst, but cannot be used as justification for banning your Live account. Besides, Microsoft wouldn’t have any f’ing way of knowing that you put a case fan in your console in the first place, so that the guy in the link did is coincidental at best, but not a symptom of the problem.

  63. Blueskylaw says:

    @chocobo:

    Points well made. But Damn, it’s still $5200 for video games.

  64. pahncrd says:

    @akuma_x: They also stop you from installing games to the hard drive and using your saves on unbanned systems. It is getting a little too draconian.

  65. tonberry says:

    @Blueskylaw: thats really not that much. i have spent more than that total for all my systems and games, that goes back to the atari 2600 and i own all three current gen systems. it adds up over the years.

  66. Trai_Dep says:

    @Blueskylaw: Sigh. When I think of how far $5,200 will get me at shady Tijuana bars… The booze. The powders. The adorable, winsome sheep with their come-hither looks…

  67. HazyCloud says:

    @Fishy007: Lol @ Shaftoe. I don’t work there.

    It only costs 30 bucks a year to keep your console under warranty. If you are an Xbox 360 user, you know the chance of it dying is pretty good. I don’t see why any 360 user would not want to warranty their console.

    If mine died and was out of warranty, I’d gladly pay MS to fix it as then it won’t ever be banned. MS has been banning modded consoles for years. This isn’t anything new.

    Did the OP seriously expect his console to work on LIVE after he had someone add a fan to it? I don’t know that the cost was to add a fan locally, but I bet it was more than 30 bucks.

  68. shepd says:

    @semanticantics:

    Unless the fan is added in a REALLY stupid way, there’s no possible way for MS to tell there’s a fan in the box without it physically in their hands, or being told about it.

  69. Keen314 says:

    @Colonel Jack O’Neill: Exactly what I was thinking.

  70. Dyscord says:

    @pahncrd: If they let you use saves from a banned console on an unbanned one, that would defeat the whole purpose of the banning

  71. gerrylum says:

    @temporaryerror: As long as he’s honest about it in the description, I don’t see the harm. At least he’d be able to recoup a BIT of his money for the system.

    I have seen a lot of banned X-boxes going up on ebay lately, though. I wouldn’t expect to get more than $50 max for it.

  72. Rask says:

    @Dyscord: The 360 will still work after it’s been modded. Games will still play just fine. The Console will also still work just fine. Microsoft’s stance is just that. Mod the box to your heart’s content!

    Just don’t expect to be able to connect it to Xbox Live.

  73. dwasifar says:

    @Dyscord: I didn’t miss it, you missed it. Think about what you just said. “The Xbox had third party hardware in it.” How does Microsoft know that? By snooping around inside your hardware that it doesn’t own.

    I understand the desire to make sure people aren’t using mods to give them an advantage in the game. I get that. But Microsoft’s way of dealing with it betrays their controlling nature and lack of boundaries. Surely there are ways to catch cheaters without forcing everyone to give up the rights to private property.

  74. Fishy007 says:

    @HazyCloud:
    I didn’t know about the $30 a year to keep my console under warranty.

    While that seems like a solution that probably works, it’s simply too much for me to deal with. $50 Live Fee + $30 Insurance for the console and there’s STILL a possibility that MS will ban you. Add that to the initial cost of the unit and for 4 years of gaming you pay about $640-ish.

    It might be a lure if you’re heavily into Xbox only titles, but with the PS3 it’s $300 for the console and let’s say $100 for 1 repair over a 4 year period. The Xbox just isn’t worth the hassle anymore. I feel like a persecuted criminal when all I did was get my console fixed.

  75. Nintenboy01 says:

    @Cyberxion101: Try to match the Address info EXACTLY with what appears on your credit card statement. My pal had a similar issue. Use all caps if necessary.

  76. Dyscord says:

    @dwasifar: Well how else would they know this stuff if they weren’t keeping tabs on your machine somehow? You own the console, but you use it to access THEIR system. If your system doesn’t seem normal, they have a right to refuse access to their service.

    How else would you suggest they do this? They want the OP to send the system in to double check, he doesn’t seem to want to do that since “It might take weeks”. What more should they do?

  77. SirToast says:

    @dwasifar: @dwasifar: You can’t believe that people are taking Microsoft’s side? Really, as a Xbox live subscriber, I support the banning of modded consoles. If someone with a modded console has the ability to ruin my gaming experience by cheating, then they should be banned. Now I do hope that Microsoft has it’s act together, and that banning bar has a reasonable threshold certainty to doubt. I am not going to blame the op and say his consoles should have been banned. BUT I am going to remain skeptical of both him and Microsoft. I also won’t be buying any used Xbox hard drives or Xbox’s.

  78. Cyberxion101 says:

    @Dyscord: Dude, that’s assuming that Microsoft didn’t fuck up. And given that their own firmware updates have bricked consoles in the past, I’m not willing to dismiss the possibility that their verification process might be faulty.

    Now you, you seem to be going out of your way to dismiss that possibility, and I’m not quite sure why. It’s not exactly unprecedented for Microsoft to fuck up. I mean shit, you have to have at least heard of the whole RRoD problem, right?

    And you’re assuming that Microsoft ever asked him to send his system in in the first place. There’s nothing to suggest that this possibility was ever raised as an option for the OP, and reading the support forums doesn’t suggest that anyone else was given that option either. So you’re judging him for not having done something that no accounts suggest he was ever given the option of doing, and I have to wonder why.

    In fact, something about your posts just doesn’t add up to me. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might question whether or not you work for Microsoft. If I were a conspiracy theorist, that is.

  79. Scuba Steve says:

    @ktetch: I’ve seen many courts uphold EULAs.

    [www.playnoevil.com]

  80. lpranal says:

    @Dyscord: I don’t see what the problem in that case is personally, but I’m glad microsoft bans the cheaters anyway. I’m not defending them whatsoever.

    However when you tell people these consoles were banned “to protect the gaming experience” and all you’re doing is banning a huge swath of people playing backups, there’s a disjunct. They’re protecting their profits, not the community – which is FINE, but just be honest about it. It’s like they’re so embarrassed that their security measures have been defeated again and again on what was supposedly an “unhackable” console, they don’t want to admit they have to keep banning pirates.

    In any case, what sucks most is people like the OP, who just wanted the thing fixed, didn’t know better and got banned by M$, all because the damn console is so failure-prone people were actually preemptively fixing the huge design flaws.

  81. jamar0303 says:

    @Dyscord: Well, when modded consoles are capable of getting around the banhammer (Can’t find a single unmodded X360 for sale where I live; can’t find a single console that’s been banned either) what does it do but hurt the legit users caught in the crossfire?

  82. Dyscord says:

    @lpranal: I think MS sees this as a “Better safe than sorry” type thing. Look at it this way. If it was just because people were playing backups then why would they only ban you from Xbox live? That doesn’t stop anyone from playing backups.

    If they cared only about backups, they would probably do the firmware update thing that Sony does with the PSP.

    Is it a little harsh? Yeah, it is. No question. But to many people, Live is superior to the other matchmaking services. Given that they sink money into it, they want it to stay that way.

  83. Zenatrul says:

    @parad0x360:

    They also ban for replacing the HDD with a bigger size.

  84. semanticantics says:

    @coopjust:

    And you wouldn’t be banned because it’s a legit copy and doesn’t send MS the information that a flashed drive does.

  85. coopjust says:

    @semanticantics:
    That’s what they’re claiming, but the modding community is also claiming the firmware itself is not detectable – bad game rips are.

    In any case, it’s information that could not hurt his appeal.

  86. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @Quatre707: Try pyrotechnic, now there is one expensive hobby!

    But you area right, video games are rather inexpensive for a hobby, but like it was said before, if you add up the cost from your first console to now it could be a staggering amount of money. I practice with my pyro hobby and also have multiple consoles(I’m from the intellivision and atari 2600 era), and still tend to play those old bricks for the nostalgic felling.

    Want to do some math? I have been collecting the consoles since atari 2600 onward, so guess how much money has been dumped on that little hobby?

  87. supergaijin says:

    @AirIntake:

    Yes there is. If the new fan uses even slightly different voltage, the motherboard is completely willing and able to report that. “Upgrading” the fan CAN get the banhammer, it IS a mod.

  88. Moonshadow101 says:

    @Zenatrul: They would ban you if you replaced it with a smaller size, too. The size is hardly the reason why they don’t want unauthorized drives hooked up.

  89. lpranal says:

    @MikeGrenade: Live on original xbox = clusterfuck of haxx0rz.

  90. shepd says:

    @nstonep:

    Yes, they could. A fan the size you’d fit in an xbox would draw about 0.5 watts. If you hook it up directly to the power supply, it’s such a low figure there’s no reasonable way to detect that vs. just plain differences between parts. And, besides, there has to be some tolerance on that because you can charge your controllers through the XBOX, never mind power peripherals.

    But if you hook it up to, say, something more critical like the DVD drive power, I suppose the current draw would be more noticeable. But, of course, that’s stupid. :)

  91. Dyscord says:

    @rickhamilton620: I know that. But it was posted to show microsoft’s terrible service. I was just making a point as to why they would say “You should have let us fix it”

  92. GlassWalker says:

    @MikeGrenade @skwish: The original Xbox was hack-able (e.g. Halo 1 & 2).

    Those who figured out how to pirate/mod items on the Xbox back then had obtained the ‘digital signature’ the system used…and that signature could be re-implemented onto copied game discs, thus giving them the appearance of retail code (and crazy Warthog-firing Shotguns, etc).

    That IS NOT the case with the 360, the digital signature hasn’t been forged (yet), or Microsoft is using some other form of code authentication (not sure which). – This is why everything is now done via DVD Firmware tampering, it’s a work-around by that community. And, in a way, shows that MS learned from their security issues last time around…

    In any event, no, Microsoft is not doing this to stop cheaters; It’s a false-flag comment on their part. They’re doing it to stop the pirates that still like to play on Live… Nothing more.

  93. SkuldChan says:

    @AirIntake: Yeah the saves did – hence why they banned all 3rd party memory cards. People were editing them to get achievements they didn’t actually get.

    In my eyes this whole think reaks of bad security on MS’s part. Saves should be encrypted, hard drives should have been encrypted.

    Everyone knows you can use 3rd party hardware on a PS3? I learned how to install a 3rd party HDD on Sony’s PS3 blog!

  94. rickhamilton620 says:

    @Dyscord: I realized that as I scrolled the page and was like “crap!” I guess I was just tired of people blaming him just because the link was awkwardly placed in the OP’s email. Time for me to eat crow I guess! :p

  95. NikkiSweet says:

    @rioja951>Back to basics boys! Fuel, accelerants / oxidizers and fire…: Not just DSL… Cable IP addresses are typically dynamic as well, but on a longer timeframe.

    and just FYI, I have never modded my system, but I was caught in the ban as well because “it appears we have too many systems connected.” I live in a house with 4 other people. We’re all gamers. Every bedroom has a 360, as well as the living room and “computer” room. Yes.. we have 7 360’s in my house. And apparently that is suspicious to MS.