Microsoft has confirmed its banning of players with modified consoles from Xbox Live will be permanent. But while some owners are offloading their consoles on eBay, others may have found a way to circumvent the ban.
While some bans from the service (such as those for using threatening language towards other online players) are for a limited period, Microsoft says this week’s ban for owners of modded consoles will be forever.
It has clarified that in these cases the ban is for the console, not the player. It will allow players to transfer their profile to a new machine. That’s a good example of the public relations difficulties involved in the move: while you could argue Microsoft is being reasonable by not permanently banning players, there will be some who assume that the action was issued with the aim of boosting console sales.
The BBC, which reported the bans being permanent, also noted that Microsoft apparently spontaneously brought up Modern Warfare 2 when discussing the bans. While that may simply be the company taking advantage of a chance to plug its products, it gives more weight to the theory that the bannings were deliberately timed to coincide with the game’s release. As well as ensuring its “no modifications” policy gained maximum impact, it may also have proven a useful way of easing server load on what was always likely to be a particularly busy time on Xbox live.
The bannings appear to have prompted a race to sites such as eBay and Craigslist to sell the consoles. As you’d expect, there’s a range of sales tactics, ranging from those who tout the console as modded but omit to mention it’s not useless for online gaming, through those who acknowledge this flaw and promote it as a bargain for offline playing, to those who go a step too far by complaining they only modded their machine to allow them to “back-up” discs before kindly offering to include those “back-ups” with the sale.
It appears not every modded-console owner has given up hope of getting back online however. Today the DailyTech website published an article titled “Modders Release Update to Free the 1 Million Xboxes Banned by Microsoft”.
However, the article promptly disappeared from the site. It’s not yet clear whether the supposed update proved bogus, or if somebody made an editorial decision (with our without external pressure) that publicizing such a modification might not be wise.