Microsoft has irrevocably banned unprecedented numbers of modded Xbox 360’s from its Xbox Live service, stressing that piracy will no longer be tolerated, and happily pointing out that such units have voided their essential warranties.
The official line on the bans, which have been meted out in large numbers in the US, Japan and elsewhere, runs thus:
As you may have read online, we’ve been actively banning consoles from Xbox LIVE that have been modified to play pirated games. Our commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of our Xbox LIVE community remains a top priority.
The health of the video game business depends on customers paying for the genuine products and services they receive from manufacturers, retailers, and the third parties that support them.
This would also be a good time to remind you that the warranty on an Xbox 360 console is not transferrable and if you purchase a used console that has been previously banned, you will not be able to connect to Xbox LIVE.
Considering the situation surrounding Microsoft’s hardware failure rate, a completely voided warranty is a virtual death sentence to many of the units concerned (assuming they could still be passed off as unmodded). Microsoft may as well have disabled the consoles outright…
The non-transferrable warranty and potential flood of banned consoles onto the second-hand market also conveniently double as ways of ensuring a significant disadvantage to buying second-hand units, though whether this is deliberate is of course not clear.
Just what effect all this will have on Microsoft’s somewhat depressed hardware sales remains to be seen. For a significant number of users, the ability to pirate Xbox 360 games was a major advantage to owning the Xbox 360 over the PS3…