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360 Hacked To Play Backups

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-time-for-microsoft-to-enjoy-post-e3-buzz dept.

157

xorkid writes "Microsoft Corps ' unhackable' Xbox 360 console has been hacked. It is now possible to play copied games from recordable DVD DL discs without any soldering or hardware modification. The ingenious hack involves replacing the original 360 DVD firmware with a modified version that authenticates recorded DVD DL discs as original game discs. The hack does not require any modification devices but it requires a 1:1 copy of an original signed disc from the same region as the console. So it does not allow booting of unsigned code, yet. No Linux on the 360 for now, but its a start. There are rumours that there is an as-of-yet unreleased version that allows booting of unsigned code."

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But does it run linux... (-1, Redundant)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336050)

But does it run linux? o wait..

Re:But does it run linux... (4, Funny)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336101)

Tux Racer! Oh joy!

What a great way to spend 300 bucks.

Re:But does it run linux... (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336286)

Tux Racer! Oh joy!

What a great way to spend 300 bucks.

Hey man, some of us *like* Tux Racer. Seriously, if there was an easy no soldering way to run my own code on an X360, I'd probably get one. It'd make a pretty slick little media center PC, among other things.

Re:But does it run linux... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336381)

Ding! He hits it on the head!

XBMC is absolutely the killer app of Xbox modding, with emulation close on its heels.

Re:But does it run linux... (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336694)

> XBMC is absolutely the killer app of Xbox

Why haven't they registered here [xbox.com] , and aquired real developer license then?
If it really is killer application, I'm sure all users wouldn't mind donating few $/ for good cause(say, to pay the neccessary license fee for developers to get their code signed).

If microsoft refuses XBMC as a suitable software, just slap them with monopoly lawsuit.

Re:But does it run linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336850)

They need more than just a developer license to distribute XBMC, wouldn't they need to license all of the codecs it uses as well?

will this hurt game development? (0)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336080)

Might developers see that their games can be pirated now with a double layer disc and decide to develop for the PS3 instead?

Re:will this hurt game development? (1)

AndyG314 (760442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336102)

That seems doubtful, I think they will use more powerful and inconvienent protection means instead.

Sure, just like the GameCube (4, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336135)

[sarcasm]Oh, definitely. The developers will go to the PS3 in droves. Just like developers flocked to the GameCube when it was discovered that the XBox and the PS2 were so easily hacked. It was months before the GameCube could play backups using anything but the Network Adapter hack, and third party developers came to Nintendo in droves.[/sarcasm]

Seriously, there's a lot of lip service paid (especially by marketing types) to piracy and hacking... but piracy is a lot like terrorism (though not in the ways usually tossed around recently by the media).

Both get talked about a lot, but neither one is as big of a problem as "the man" would like you to believe.

Uh, dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336666)

"Easily hacked"?

The XBox and PS2 lacked any way to run pirated games without hardware modifications. Being able to pirate games after installing a modchip is not so impressive. What's really impressive is the ability to just download something off the internet, burn it, and drop it in an unmodded machine. It lets piracy happen incidentally, instead of piracy being something that is limited to those people so dedicated to it that they'll pay money to be able to pirate.

Thus a much better analogy than the one you offer would be not the XBox or the PS2, but the Dreamcast.

Re:Uh, dude... (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336752)

You can't just burn an Xbox 360 game and have it work. Did you read all the instructions? You still have to hook the drive up to your PC, and follow a bunch of steps to override the firmware with the hacked version.

Compare that to two of the popular methods for the PS2 and Xbox. On the PS2, you could apparently just buy a harddrive peripheral that plugged into the USB port or such and allowed booting of backed up games. Not difficult, and no modchip. On the Xbox one could use a softmod, and though that is a little more difficult for the average user, it's still easier than this new hack.

The Dreamcast's security is in a category of its own.

Not so much (1)

SyncNine (532248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337553)

Per your comment about being able to buy the HDD peripheral and plug it into USB and it just 'works (tm)' is incorrect. Utilizing the PS2's HDD adapter requires a lot more work than that. It requires the purchase and installation of the HDD Adapter (which was useless for anything else, unless you're one of the four people alive that play FFXI), it required you to send a specific file to your memory card to allow for an exploit to load unsigned code onto the HDD and be able to execute it, then it required the HDD Loader software -- which is notoriously hard to deal with and doesn't work with every game.

So, it is still pretty damn hard to pirate games on a PS2 using the HDD adapter. A lot easier if you use the Swap Magic disc and a Slide Card, which costs about $20, leaves your PS2 unmodified, and only requires a small modicum of time every time you want to play a burned/backup/import game.

I'm not really arguing that it's *hard* to pirate games for the PS2, just that it's harder than you made it seem in your last post, especially with the HDD Adapter.

Xbox and Dreamcast still take the cake. Both can be 'modded' without opening the case and without voiding warranties. Hell, you can ftp games onto the Xbox once it's modded. You don't even need those DVD blanks anymore.... A lot easier than the PS2 with any network adapter, hdd adapter, etc. The DC, as we all know, didn't require anything other than a good copy of Padus DiscJuggler -- it could burn all of the content protection required, and self-booting discs were a dime a dozen.

Re:Uh, dude... (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336768)

The XBox and PS2 lacked any way to run pirated games without hardware modifications.

Oh, really [cdfreaks.com] ?

Rob

Re:will this hurt game development? (3, Insightful)

hubs99 (318852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336145)

I doubt this would sincerely come across most developers minds. If past game systems are any indictation it doesn't seem to have any effect. One of the least hackable systems in last generation of systems, the gamecube, had the fewest developers. Also most companies will try to hit both markets if at all possible.

The article also concludes that MS will most likely find a way to detect this firmware via LIVE and force a Firmware upgrade or boot you from LIVE.

Re:will this hurt game development? (1)

antime (739998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336625)

It wouldn't be completely unprecedented - in the late 80s some companies (eg. Cinemaware) stopped developing for home computers due to endemic piracy. However console piracy mostly requires some extra effort (obtaining and installing a modchip) with the result that only a portion of users are actually able to play pirated games. If there's ten million modchip-equipped PS2s you just might decide to ignore them in favour of the ninety million other potential customers.

Re:will this hurt game development? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336170)

They'd be hurt by switching to the PS3, because NOBODY IS GOING TO PAY $600 FOR ONE.

Re:will this hurt game development? (1, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336388)

Flamebait? It's totally true. Nobody is going to pay $600 for a PS3... it only costs $599!

Re:will this hurt game development? (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336630)

No. Since Blu-ray was supposed to be released with burners not far behind. Granted the media will be astronomical in comparison to DVD+R/DL...but it would be hard to sell media for more then the cost of games (about $60).

No one is going to abandon a console simply based on this. If that were the case, they would have stopped releasing PC games years ago.

Yes. Just like Dreamcast. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337327)

You will see quite a few devs not jump on the 360 console because of this alone. Much like Dreamcast in its early life, devs never came because of this. They all went to the PS2 instead. Eventually both the XBox and PS2 were hacked as well, but they were far enough along in their timeline that devs were already too invested in the systems to go anywhere else.

Right now is a very critical time for future devs looking to see what platform they might set sail with. If the 360 is really this easily piratable out of the gates, then you wont see much support down the road.

repeat (-1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336097)

What, again? [slashdot.org]

Wake me up when it can run unsigned code.

sheesh (0)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336168)

I went to all that trouble to look it up, when slashdot (probably automatically) had already linked it as a "related story".

Re:repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336422)

Not 'again'.

A month ago someone claimed they'd done this. Now someone has released an actual firmware patch which does it.

Re:repeat (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336844)

Well, last time someone had a video that said you could do it, but they wouldn't release the firmware. This time someone has released the firmware and full instructions on how to make a backup and everything.

Wow, that took a long time... (0)

leland242 (736905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336106)

What a joke. "Unhackable!" indeed...

Re:Wow, that took a long time... (2, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336684)

From the article they link to that allegedly calls the Xbox 360 hackproof:

But Mr Satchell [MS employee involved with the Xbox design] admitted no system was fool-proof and that, with enough time and dedication, the security on the Xbox 360 would be broken. "There're some really bright people in the world with some really expensive hardware," he said.

They never said it was unhackable. In fact, they said the opposite. Slashdot just likes to make up quotes to provide ammo to criticize.

Woo hoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336114)


A reason to buy a 360!

Re:Woo hoo! (1)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336732)

I've been holding out for this very day.

Complex Guide (2, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336133)

These instructions are relatively complex, hopefully there will be a simplified and streamlined step-by-step guide posted sometime soon so most technically-literate people can mod their boxes like this.

Re:Complex Guide (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336595)

The instructions also only work with 1 of the 3 dvd drives the 360 ships with.

Once again... (5, Insightful)

The_Isle_of_Mark (713212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336144)

Never, never, ever say something is unhackable. Someone out there with a much bigger brain than the developers will see it as a personal challenge.

Re:Once again... (3, Interesting)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336307)

Nobody but Slashdot said the 360 was "unhackable.' The quote in the BBC article linked from the summary says: "Microsoft plans to make its next generation games console, the Xbox 360, as difficult as possible to hack." (emphasis added)

I attended a Microsoft presentation last year before the 360's release. The engineers there said that the console wouldn't be totally immune to hacking, they just want (a) to make sure that it's very hard/costly/complex to hack it and (b) to keep hacked 360s off of Live. From the linked article about the hack:

"Can Microsoft detect it via Xbox LIVE? They probably can ... and when they start checking they will probably act like with the Xbox1, ban your Xbox 360 console serial for life from the LIVE servers ... or maybe even more, who knows what they are planning. You've been warned!"

Re:Once again... (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336568)

"Can Microsoft detect it via Xbox LIVE? They probably can ... and when they start checking they will probably act like with the Xbox1, ban your Xbox 360 console serial for life from the LIVE servers ... or maybe even more, who knows what they are planning. You've been warned!"

It's well known that foolproof remote verification of client code from a server [distributed.net] is impossible, so confidence in XBox Live's ability to detect this mod seems misplaced at best.

Screw "Backups" (1)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336524)

I want stuff like the awesome homebrew software that was available for Xbox1. Like the XBMC, for example.

Re:Once again... (3, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336561)

That's not the risk. The problem is thousands of people, some of whom are more perverse thinkers than the engineers, will take it as a personal challenge.

-Peter

Re:Once again... (1)

Hel Toupee (738061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336963)

Precisely. There are 2 things you need to hack any piece of hardware, period.

#1 - Suitable amount of time with unlimited access to said hardware
#2 - Technical expertise

By selling a video game system, computer, car, digital camera, etc, you are taking #1 and putting it firmly in the hands of people with #2.

There are also 2 ways to make hacking a piece of hardware popular:

#1 - Make it easy and profitable. Provide development kits, etc.
#2 - Say it's impossible.

Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come by . (-1, Flamebait)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336148)

Most people don't known dual layer burners unless they bought there computer fairly recently, dropped the extra money for a DVD-RW drive (which is still fairly rare, although its fairly standard on Apple computers ), and then it also has dual-layer support. I've owned two DVD-RW drives in the last three years, and netiher one has dual layer burn capabilities. Needless to day, dropping $300 for a dual layer drive, and $170-ish for an XBox 360 doesn't sound that appealing sadly. Now if I could buy a DVD that would let me run unsigned code (which I bet will be made possible within the next few days) without me having buy a new burner, I'd be all over it.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (3, Informative)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336194)

$300? Where have you been shopping? NewEgg has NEC, Lite-On, Plextor, and other drives for about $40. TigerDirect has a good selection too.

I have two dual-layer burners that, with enclosures and shipping, probably cost me $200 max.

Might as well get 'em while they're hot. Here, linkage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16827152059 [newegg.com]

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336277)

Hell... I want to know where to get the $170 XBox 360!!! ;)

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336288)

I've got a refurb compaq under my desk that came with a dual layer drive. The whole system (including a gig of ram and an Athlon 64 3000+) cost $450.

Also, the two different models of $900 HP laptops my fiance and I bought came with DL drives standard as well.

Dual layer drives were pricey and rare two years ago. Now, every lower-mid-range PC comes with 'em standard.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336206)

That $300 drive is paid for with just 5-6 "backups". That's a small price to pay.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336333)

5 to 6 backups, and your ethics. Small price to pay, eh?

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336572)

Is it unethical to make a backup for personal use?

It wasn't always illegal. It might not be illegal currently, depending on local laws. Legality aside, ethically I think backups are acceptable. Discs aren't indestructable, and the publisher won't replace damaged media.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336617)

Except the post I responded to used "backups" in quotes, and referred to the cost of the setup ($300) paying itself off through 5-6 "backups". $300 / 5 = $60... the post was implying software piracy.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

spezz (150943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336722)

5 to 6 backups, and your ethics. Small price to pay, eh?

Depends on how much you paid for your ethics.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

moo083 (716213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336960)

The best way to do this and not give up your ethics is to "illegally" burn every fifth game. Thats because 360 games cost $65 new. So to make up for it, just rip every fifth game and while it will still be illegal, your saving money and not giving up your ethics. This is why I look forward to the Wii. Its supposed to be low in development costs, and they want to keep game prices down.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336254)

Umm.... what?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16827106014 [newegg.com] - dual layer burner: $35.99, free shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16874100001 [newegg.com] - low end xBox 360: $399

Maybe it's time to upgrade that DVD burner of yours, and tell the rest of us where you got an xBox 360 for so cheap :)

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336510)

That's not the low-end 360, that's the premium bundle.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336256)

$300 for a dual-layer drive? What are you smoking? Check www.newegg.com, and you'll see that dual-layer burners start at around $30.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336301)

What kind of dual-layer DVD burner are YOU buying? I bought my DL DVD+/-RW drive for 50 dollars nearly a year ago.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336327)

I'll stave off the urge to exclaim "Bullshit!" in case there is something I am missing:

http://ebuyer.com/UK/product/98442/rb/19065232550 [ebuyer.com]

Dual Layer, +R(W), -R(W) for 25 quid ($40ish?) - what am I missing? I've had one for about 2 years, and thy were only 50 quid when I bought that one.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336331)

I paid 30 bucks for my NEC Dual Layer DVD+/-R in June of 2005. Where the hell do you shop? And can I sell you a DVD Dual Layer burner?

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336336)

Bullshit. Nearly all dvd recorders in the last two years are dual layer. I bought my NEC-2510a just under two years ago and it cost me around $70 then (iirc). You'd be an idiot if you dropped 300 bones on a dvd recorder. Even $170 is ridiculous. I'm assuming you transposed those numbers as you're not going to find an xbox 360 for $170 either.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336345)

I have several, so thanks for sharing!. What is your point?

I'd bet anyone with a 360 has one or more, since it's a pricey tech toy -- literally.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336414)

I bought my DVD burner that supports DL last year for $30. Piece of junk I'm sure, but it works. Burners are as disposable as printers anymore.

What main drag when it comes to DL is the media cost, not finding a burner.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336555)

Please don't misuse the word anymore.

Wrong:
Burners are as disposable as printers anymore.

Right:
Burners are now as disposable as printers.

Also right:
Burners aren't that expensive anymore.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (2, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336454)

Most DVD burners I see on the market nowadays have DL support. I even got mine two years ago for $150.

NOW, DL media on the other hand... that stuff is still ridiculously expensive. ($5/disc? No thanks.)

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

crwulff (588491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336593)

Discs aren't quite that bad any more. $1.80/disc for the 2.4x DVD+R DL over at www.supermediastore.com. Not that that's cheap compared to the single layer ones, but not 5 bucks anymore at least.

Re:Dual layer DVD burners are still hard to come b (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337601)

$5 a disk is a lot better then $60 a game.

Coming soon in Xbox720 (5, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336151)

Me: "Xbox, report."

Xbox: (sounding suspiciously like Majel Barrett) "Working... Verifying disc integrity with Microsoft servers."

Me: Um, hey. How about you open up the tray and let me have that back?"

Xbox: "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that."

(cue blaring klaxons, pan to to the horrified expression on my face as MS agents repelling through the windows with drawn MP40s)

Re:Coming soon in Xbox720 (1)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336624)

Call me nit-picky, but i think what you meant was MP5's. MP40 is funny though, considering it was the weapon the carried throughout WWII by Nazi Germany...

Re:Coming soon in Xbox720 (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336675)

I actually just found an old laptop with Rise of the Triads on it, and MP40 is the super-soaker-like machinegun :)

An iceberg? (5, Funny)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336156)

Hah! Nonsense. This ship is unsinkable!

Re:An iceberg? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336226)

Prepare to evacuate. Rookies and Master Chiefs first!

That's a terrible analogy... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336508)

their security is SOARING, like the Hindenburg

Interesting.... (5, Interesting)

caffeinatedOnline (926067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336160)

As E3 just gets over and the next-gen console wars start to heat up, a hack for the 360 comes out allowing for 'backup' games to be run. Now, I realize that MS loses money with each console sold, but how many people wait to buy a console till a way comes out to play 'backup' games?

I know many people that didn't own an original Xbox till they found out how easy it was to hack it, then ran out to get one. I am sure that MS will shut down Live for any systems that are running this hack just as they did for the Xbox running the softmod hack, but could this be something that MS planned on to sell more systems?

Re:Interesting....bigger losses (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336322)

I realize that MS loses money with each console sold...could this be something that MS planned on to sell more systems?

You mean so that Microsoft can lose even more money? Money they won't make up in game royalties since people will be running backups? Doesn't make sense to me.

Re:Interesting....bigger losses (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336411)

You must understand, in the Conspiracy Theorist domain, no big company or government EVER has an "Oh shit." moment where they're caught with their pants down. Every action and apparent mistake is actually a carefully planned plot to make us eat Dorittos.

Re:Interesting....bigger losses (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336781)

Every action and apparent mistake is actually a carefully planned plot to make us eat Dorittos.

Ha ha, you missepelled "Doritos"!

Man, I sure could go for a bag of Doritos right now, though...

Re:Interesting....bigger losses (1)

caffeinatedOnline (926067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336441)

I know very few people that don't own at least a couple of 'bought' games even if they bought the console to hack in the first place. Sure, they aren't going to go out and buy every game that they want to play, but there is always the games that don't 'backup' easy, or games that they do really like and buy to support the developers/publishers.

It's done that before (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336689)

MS has no problems losing money on something, when it fits their world domination plans in some perverse way.

E.g., they never had a problem giving away IE or MS Media Player, and even arguing in a court of justice that they can't stop giving them away withot breaking the OS completely, if it served some other plan. In both cases the plot was about owning the media format (HTML is a file format too), and in Media Player's case owning the DRM for the next generation of media. There's some real money dumped into developping those, too.

E.g., see the relatively recent (last year?) story about them starting to give away a pretty complete version of their latest compiler, to keep people from getting started on GC and the like.

Etc.

Now they're not the only ones, and I'm not going to argue either pro or against MS there. Just saying it does happen.

In this case, we don't know if MS planned their console to be hackable. Maybe or maybe not. (Relying 100% on DVD drive firmware, and not even trying to authenticate that firmware, seems surprising... _weak_... for a company also trying to push DRM. It could be stupidity not conspiracy, though.) However, it certainly won't be the end of the line for MS. They could:

A) realize that, in fact, piracy makes buggerall difference. E.g., see the Galactic Civilizations 2 game recently which made headlines by being _the_ bestseller for a while in spite of being completely unprotected. Some may even say partially _because_ of being unprotected. I'm a legit buyer and I know _I_ enjoy not searching for the freakin' CD each time I want to play, for a change. Plus there's some peace of mind from knowing I won't lock myself out if I get the CD scratched. (Don't laugh, it has actually happened to me.)

And speaking of consoles, I know people who actually own the games for, say, their PSP (and had the original with them), but preferred to hack the BIOS and play off the memory card anyway. It actually had lower load times. Or I know I've enjoyed subverting some of the stupid region protections to play imported games I have bought. Sure, Sony or whoever may regard that as piracy, but as far as I'm concerned they (A) got my money, and (B) got it for some games they weren't planning to sell in Europe anyway. So if they're gonna complain about my forcing them to take my money, as far as I'm concrned they can STFU and go fuck themselves.

So the equation "lack of protection == big $$$$ lost" isn't even that clear cut. You will lose some users' money, but you will gain other users' money. As Gal Civ 2 showed, it can even out or even work in your favour.

And point in case, look at near history. The PSX and PS2 were trivial to chip, and I don't think Sony made a loss with either of them. The Dreamcast didn't even require any modding: as soon as people figured out how to extract an ISO of those proprietary CDs, you could just burn it on an ordinary CD and the console would cheerfully boot it. Yet the Dreamcast enjoyed a particularly high rate of games sold per console sold. I.e., the average Dreamcast user was actually buying more games, which is pretty much the opposite of the supposed doom-and-gloom effect of piracy on the industry.

B) make a PR win out of it anyway. More consoles sold can be spun into sounding like not only a major console-war win, but as being a huge market for the publishers. God knows the publishers never stopped making PS2 games just because the GameCube is harder to put a pirated game in. Which in turn can further boost sales of consoles, and so on.

C) just care about taking market share from Sony, as usual. Let's face it, I don't think the first XBox actually made a profit on the whole, and that didn't stop MS from making the XBox 360 an even bigger hole to throw money in. MS's plot doesn't seem to be about breaking even, or much less about actually making a profit, but about killing off those who do currently live off their profits in the market. To what end, I couldn't know, but they sure don't seem to mind losing money to that end.

So basically I wouldn't be surprised if they're perfectly OK with the idea of your buying an XBox 360 even only to play, ahem, "backups", as long as that keeps you from getting a PS3.

Re:It's done that before (2, Interesting)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336787)

E.g., they never had a problem giving away IE or MS Media Player,
Bad examples. Does giving IE and WMP away for free cost Microsoft $4 Billion plus in losses like the Xbox did? The Xbox & 360 continue to incur Microsoft expenses with the manufacturing of each new unit. There is no additional cost for Microsoft to make more copies of IE and WMP.

Re:Interesting.... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336748)

how many people wait to buy a console till a way comes out to play 'backup' games?

I dunno... two percent? Three percent?

I'll readily admit that the reason I'm looking to buy a 'classic' Xbox right now is because of all the hacks that have been done on that console to allow unsigned code like Linux, emulators, XBMC, etc. to be run on it. I'll also readily admit that I'm not normal.

From my perspective, the Xbox1 is not a gaming console, it is an affordable general-purpose computer that integrates easily into my living room. Come to think of it, isn't that Microsoft's ultimate goal for the Xbox series too?

Re:Interesting.... (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337134)

I know many people that didn't own an original Xbox till they found out how easy it was to hack it, then ran out to get one.

The fraction of people who actually did this is tiny tiny tiny. All the other people bought an Xbox to play video games and possibly to watch movies. Now I know that a whole bunch of people are going to reply saying "I run XBMC" and "I have all my emulators on it" but that crowd is vastly over-represented on slashdot.

Kudos! (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336169)

Great job hacking Microsoft's Unhackable 360! Looking at the instructions, it seems a rather complex hoop jump, and if that's the case -- I'll stick with KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv] and MAME [mame.net] .

No hardware modifications? What? (1)

ymgve (457563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336172)

Replacing the DVD drive firmware, which involves opening the X360 and plugging the DVD drive into a PC, doesn't sound like a hardware mod?

Re:No hardware modifications? What? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336228)

No, it doesn't. It's not a hardware mod unless a soldering gun is involved.

Re:No hardware modifications? What? (3, Insightful)

Kufat (563166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336245)

I think they meant "no hardware modifications" in the sense that "you won't have to buy and/or solder anything." This is a pretty common idea in the modding community; for example, a modification that requires you to open the xbox and attach the HD to a PC is considered a softmod.

From the freaking-inevitable dept. (0, Redundant)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336198)

I always love it when anything, anywhere is called "unhackable" because in the real world, absolutely nothing is. Microsoft (of all companies) should have seen this coming, having been founded by a bunch of hackers, having tons of highly-paid hackers on staff, and having many of the arguably most-pirated apps out there.

Re:From the freaking-inevitable dept. (4, Insightful)

flooey (695860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336280)

I always love it when anything, anywhere is called "unhackable" because in the real world, absolutely nothing is. Microsoft (of all companies) should have seen this coming, having been founded by a bunch of hackers, having tons of highly-paid hackers on staff, and having many of the arguably most-pirated apps out there.

I always love it when people attribute phrases to people who didn't say them, personally :) From the article linked to:

But Mr Satchell admitted no system was fool-proof and that, with enough time and dedication, the security on the Xbox 360 would be broken.

"There're some really bright people in the world with some really expensive hardware," he said.

"I'm sure sooner or later someone will work out how to circumvent security. But the way we have done the design doesn't mean that it will work on somebody else's machine."

Re:From the freaking-inevitable dept. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336385)

I always love it when people attribute phrases to people who didn't say them, personally :)

"Rob T Firefly is a really cool guy with snappy dress sense whose posts smell like fresh spearmint." - flooey

Re:From the freaking-inevitable dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15336876)

He did imply it wouldn't be hackable without modding the hardware, though. Whether or not you would consider a firmware change a hardware mod is up to you.

Per-Xbox (2, Interesting)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336266)

It sounds like this hack is a procedure that has to be performed for each 360, not a universal key that can be mass-produced like an Xbox 1 chip. And of course expect a new rev of the 360 that breaks this to hit pretty soon (or, as a stopgap, all 360s start using the Hitachi drive).

Re:Per-Xbox (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336836)

Of course, those chips also need to be distributed and installed - one chip per xbox. Unless I missed something here, this is a no chip solution. You can take your xbox360 to anyone intelligent enough to read instructions and flash firmware, and walk out with a modded xbox360. Hell, everyone on slashdot can do it now as long as they got the right kind. No, this one might be fixed in a new revision but how many vunerable consoles are there? A million or more? Not to mention the method should work on the other drive as well - since there's no firmware confirmation code, all it takes is another firmware job. So I'd estimate all the xbox360s to date will become moddable.

How is this different from the earlier "hack"? (2, Interesting)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336271)

It looks like it's just another "hack the DVD drive to run copies of games", right? Geez. So it's just a way to run pirated copies, not even a way to build a homebrew system -- and it involves opening up the box and reflashing the firmware? And, of course, it's easy to mitigate; bets on whether the next rev of the 360 checks the DVD firmware signature on boot up?

Sad this needed a hack... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336283)

I wonder if it's just me who find it a bit tragicomic that you need a hack to play backups but not just any downloaded ISO's.

The Linux Game (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336291)

Why hasn't anyone ever invented The Linux Game? Create a signed game, pay royalities to the game console provider, scream MONOPOLY at the top of your lungs if the refuse you, and have a running Linux OS on the game console. Might be a best seller.

Re:The Linux Game (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336657)

Just what court are you going to convice that Microsoft holds a monopoly in the game console market when there are 2 other MAJOR players and a handful of smaller companies that produce these products? The mere fact that you could also try and convice Sony or Nintendo to publish your "Linux game" (both of which would probably say no, or develop their own version if they wanted it released) invalidates that claim.

Re:The Linux Game (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337317)

It already happened, Sony published a linux kit for the PS2 which included the hard drive and network adapter, and a hacked up version of RedHat 5. Strangely, it was not a bestseller.

Besides, MS Sony and Nintendo don't want open platforms, because it means people will do what THEY want with the hardware instead of what the COMPANY wants, which is to buy more games at a fever pitch. It doesnt pay for MS to take a loss on a console, make a few dollars on a licensed linux, and kiss royalties goodbye as you use the thing exclusively for a HTPC.

Unhackable? (1)

vandenh (224583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336347)

MS never said it would be unhackable.

Also, this hack is not a real hack to run unsigned code or even something you can put on a mod chip. This doesn't even count...

Future-Proof? (1)

duerra (684053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336366)

Is this hack future-proof for unreleased games? Or will it only work with already-existing games? If this is only a "temporary" hack until Microsoft includes updated code in a future game release, then it doesn't serve much purpose for me.

Somebody "in the know" please provide some insight!

Re:Future-Proof? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15337104)

then it doesn't serve much purpose for me.

Somebody "in the know" please provide some insight!


Yes, quick! Get this guy his info so he can decide whether to start pirating games or not! Please, it is important that he's able to steal! Won't someone help this poor disavantaged gamer!?

At what point was it unhackable? (2, Interesting)

Evil Closet Monkey (761299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336400)

When was is claimed that the XBox 360 was "unhackable"? I recall the several interviews in which it was cliamed that the 360 would be more difficult to hack and that a good deal of effort was put in to closing previously exploited routes (or making them even more difficult to exploit), but I can't seem to remember when a Microsoft rep flat out claimed that the 360 was "unhackable". The linked article linked claiming an "unhackable" 360 doesn't even make such a claim.

Of course, I realize it is cool to take things Microsoft says out of context the company is not made up by idiots (again, despite what many want to believe). They know it is going to be hacked. They're going to make every effort to make it as difficult as possible. But they aren't going to claim the ship is unsinkable.

Although, if I simply missed that article where the "unhackable" claim was made I look forward to a chuckle at Microsoft's expense. Perhaps someone could link that article though, since it isn't in the article summary.

Let The Banning And Bricking Begin! (1, Funny)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336474)

By now it really isn't any surprise that a given console is hacked to play so called "backup" games. I think the interesting thing is that with each new generation, this process is becoming more complex, meaning that the average Joe/Jane who tries these hacks is more likely to totally disable (ie "brick") the console. And many of those who do successfully implement the hack are likely to be banned from the not so optional anymore online services associated with the console. Oddly enough, in the end this probably sells a few more consoles in the form of replacements. Oh and let's not forget those vandals who'll publish fake hacks with the intent of bricking as many consoles as possible, which happened to the PSP a few months back!

Re:Let The Banning And Bricking Begin! (0, Flamebait)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336669)

More and more complex?

Please, tell me which console had an easier mod? (Disc swapping doesn't count.) The only one I can think of is Dreamcast. This hack is fairly simple compared to some I've seen (14 wire mod chips for the PS2, for example).

And many of those who do successfully implement the hack are likely to be banned from the not so optional anymore online services associated with the console

Great. So the minority of users who actually sign up for the online service won't be able to. Oh well.

I'm having trouble hearing Microsoft... (4, Informative)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336738)

...through all the words you put in their mouth. The article linked in the story does not claim that the system is unhackable, just that it's significantly harder to hack than previous systems. Taken directly from that story: "I'm sure sooner or later someone will work out how to circumvent security. But the way we have done the design doesn't mean that it will work on somebody else's machine." That's remarkably pragmatic considering the blanket claim you're attributing to them.

The difference (2, Insightful)

Rowan_u (859287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336758)

The difference this time around is the significant percentage of 360 owners who also use the Live service in some form or another. To put it very simply, an Xbox 360 without Live is a crippled machine, drastically reducing the incentive to use this hack. A piece of hardware can always be hacked; however, a well maintained online service is a moving target that cannot be consistently hacked. The PSP is a good example of this in practice, with hacks being stamped out by firmware upgrades as fast as homebrewers can write them. Perhaps we have finally entered into the era of the unhackable console after all.

How about a tiny shred of honesty? (0, Troll)

seebs (15766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336819)

It's not "backups". It's "copies".

First off, we all know damn well how many people really use things like this for "backups". (It's no surprise that Alcohol Software had to go to online authorization and activation; their customer base is 99% dishonest.)

Secondly, all these people "playing backups" must be awfully incompetent to have lost their originals so quickly. If you're "playing the backup" when you still have access to the original, it's not a backup, it's a working copy. The one that's stored in case of disaster is the backup; the one you actively use normally isn't.

How is this a start? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15336969)

If we were able to run unsigned binaries, we probably wouldn't need this particular hack.

This hack has absolutely nothing to do with running Linux or anything else unsigned. And last I checked, DL media was like $10 per disc, so it made no sense to use it to pirate movies that cost $20 for a legit copy. Wake me up when we can:

  - Upgrade the hard disk in the 360 with a stock SATA one off Newegg
  - Run any game we want off the hard disk, instead of the DVD

That would be seriously good news for both Linux and pirates. Keep a game archived on two single-layered DVDs (less than $1 for both), keep the ones you're playing on the hard disk, delete old ones and copy new ones off the DVDs when you need to.

Check your prices (1)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15337473)

I can get a 25 pack of Ritek 2.4x DL +R disks for $30.
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