Hundreds of modified Xbox 360 consoles seized in UK

Xbox 360 consoles with mod chips were the targets of a new police raid in the UK today. According to a report from The Economist, an apartment in Birmingham was the center of "a joint operation by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and the UKIE (Association of UK Interactive Entertainment)." The result was that hundreds of mod-based Xbox 360 consoles were seized along other related items with a total value of over £500,000.

In addition to the 250 Xbox 360 consoles with mod chips installed, the raid also seized 450 units of unnamed pirated Xbox 360 games. The police also seized five PCs as well as other machines that were used to modify the Xbox 360 consoles. The raid started with a tip from an unnamed person that led police to a web site that offered modified consoles for sale. The report does not say if the individuals responsible for modifying the consoles and copying the Xbox 360 games were arrested.

It's clear that this kind of pirating operation is not taken lightly in Birmingham. The article quotes Neil Eustace, the chairman of the city's public protection committee, as saying, "While some may think 'chipping' or 'flashing' is a victimless crime, the truth is that such activity directly supports the black market in counterfeit games, which in turn endangers legitimate jobs and businesses in Birmingham." He added, "I hope this operation sends a clear message to those involved that we will not hesitate to take action against them in this city, and more generally that operating online does not provide counterfeiters with the safe haven from the authorities that some seem to think it might."

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31 Comments

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"While some may think 'chipping' or 'flashing' is a victimless crime, the truth is that such activity directly supports the black market in counterfeit games" ... REALLY!!!! so I'm not allowed to make and play a back up copy so I don't ruin a $100+ game disk I just bought well get stuffed then I'll not buy a single game from now on, maybe that'll learn ya ( I also Image PC games I play aswell so I don't bugger the disk and I make mp3 copies of any audio Cd's I buy aswell to play in the car)

Athlonite said,
"While some may think 'chipping' or 'flashing' is a victimless crime, the truth is that such activity directly supports the black market in counterfeit games" ... REALLY!!!! so I'm not allowed to make and play a back up copy so I don't ruin a $100+ game disk I just bought well get stuffed then I'll not buy a single game from now on, maybe that'll learn ya ( I also Image PC games I play aswell so I don't bugger the disk and I make mp3 copies of any audio Cd's I buy aswell to play in the car)

Microsoft will replace any broken discs free of charge for any of the games it publishes. I'm not sure how other publishers go about replacements but I'm pretty sure they'd have something simular.

Activision USA replace xbox 360 games @ $20.00 a disc. PC dvd at $15.
EA UK replaces PC games for £10

sagum said,

Microsoft will replace any broken discs free of charge for any of the games it publishes. I'm not sure how other publishers go about replacements but I'm pretty sure they'd have something simular.

Activision USA replace xbox 360 games @ $20.00 a disc. PC dvd at $15.
EA UK replaces PC games for £10

Why should I pay more when what I do is absolutely free and works better than paying for replacements

sagum said,

Activision USA replace xbox 360 games @ $20.00 a disc. PC dvd at $15.
EA UK replaces PC games for £10

And why should pay/being robbed just to do this? i always have at least three different backup of all my data and guess what? I do not have to pay anybody for the sevice, just the cost of portable HDs, DVDs or HDs.

Personally I never understood the reason to buy a crippled, locked down device as consols. I always play PC games that run on hardware I can upgrade and modify at will.

Fritzly said,

And why should pay/being robbed just to do this? i always have at least three different backup of all my data and guess what? I do not have to pay anybody for the sevice, just the cost of portable HDs, DVDs or HDs.

Personally I never understood the reason to buy a crippled, locked down device as consols. I always play PC games that run on hardware I can upgrade and modify at will.

The option to get a replacement disc from the people who own the rights to make copies is there. A lot of people assume once the disc is broken they need to go back and pay an extra $100 or what ever for another copy.

Personally, I look after my xbox game discs and if one was damaged I'd be willing to send it off for a replacement if it was relatively new. If not, then I'd blame myself and get cheap copy of ebay or the pre-owned section/discount section as the chances are the game will be pretty old by the time I'd managed to let it become damaged.

As for PC games, they're either on a download service such as steam or I've installed the game, used a no-cd patch and put the game away safe. As most PC games you pay for the CDkey these days for online game play, you can pickup a used copy on ebay of a lot of games for the price of postage lol.

Personally, I support people who want to make backups of their games, and I do think that game replacements are expensive from the publishers.

What I'd like to see is publishes excepting games in return for digital copies. I'd send in all my games for say a steam gift code to redeam them as a digital copy. Publishes wouldn't have to worry about me selling the game on as well -_-

The same goes for many of my xbox 360 games that are now on-demand games. Ah well. there loss I guess.

This is just ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, they're right, this isn't a victimless crime and shouldn't go ignored... but I can think of 1000 more important things the police could have been doing but weren't because they were to busy seizing xboxs.

LordBattleBeard said,
This is just ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, they're right, this isn't a victimless crime and shouldn't go ignored... but I can think of 1000 more important things the police could have been doing but weren't because they were to busy seizing xboxs.

Yes, because Birmingham has only the exact number of police officers that took part in this raid, which meant there were absolutely no other police officers on duty in the city during this time.

I will assume that in the UK police don't need a warrant to come into your home and seize property?

That's one good thing about the USA, if the cops bust in with no warrant and seize ANYTHING legal or not, the court has to throw it all out. Even if they busted it and I had a kilo of coke on the table, if they dont have a warrnt and they take it and arrest me, they will have to let me go bec that is illegal search and seizure. And I could sue them for damages to property, I can sue them for making an illegal arrest and taking of personal property.

The great thing about democracy, people have rights.

TechieXP said,
I will assume that in the UK police don't need a warrant to come into your home and seize property?

That's one good thing about the USA, if the cops bust in with no warrant and seize ANYTHING legal or not, the court has to throw it all out. Even if they busted it and I had a kilo of coke on the table, if they dont have a warrnt and they take it and arrest me, they will have to let me go bec that is illegal search and seizure. And I could sue them for damages to property, I can sue them for making an illegal arrest and taking of personal property.

The great thing about democracy, people have rights.

It's called reasonable suspicion just like when a cop stops you and they think you have drugs or firearms in your car they don't require an warrant to search and seize

Oh dear, do you really think that the UK is not a democracy? The Police do need warrants to enter and search people's property.

What IS worrying is that you think it's a "good thing about the USA" that you can deal drugs and get away with it if the Police are naive enough to not obtain a warrant!

UK - where promoting open hardware access will get you thrown in prison.

I doubt the people involved were just 'promoting open hardware access' and anyone who claims otherwise is a fool. The simple fact of the matter is, chipped consoles are primarily sold to allow people to use pirated content.

Shiranui said,
Why didn't the police just round up 1,000 chavs?

What makes you think Birmingham is full of council housed and violent [chavs] people. Idiot.

Rodovia said,

What makes you think Birmingham is full of council housed and violent [chavs] people. Idiot.


It's a densely populated area in the UK. That's generally where they're found.

Rodovia said,

What makes you think Birmingham is full of council housed and violent [chavs] people. Idiot.

Probably because it is. It's right next door to Chaventry and both are overrun with them. Idiot.

UK - where promoting open hardware access will get you thrown in prison.

While some may think 'chipping' or 'flashing' is a victimless crime, the truth is that such activity directly supports the black market in counterfeit games, which in turn endangers legitimate jobs and businesses in Birmingham.

The same can be said about reselling used games. Are they going to go around as Microsoft's patsy & arrest people selling used games too?

Caleo said,
The same can be said about reselling used games. Are they going to go around as Microsoft's patsy & arrest people selling used games too?

And how sow. I buy used games, it gives money for that person who bought the original one making him able to purchase a new game. And I, purchaser of a used game, purchase many DLC's, and that money goes directly to those who deserve it.

So how is this, in any way, the same as modding your xbox to simply play illegal games that no one purchased and no one will. Maybe 5% of the people use it to play around with the hardware itself. That 5% can easily buy the same parts in the store and make one their own. That other 95% simply use it for illegal gaming, for modding online game experience and so on. They deserve it whats coming to them.

Caleo said,
UK - where promoting open hardware access will get you thrown in prison.

The same can be said about reselling used games. Are they going to go around as Microsoft's patsy & arrest people selling used games too?

yea you didnt think this through did you haha.

But seriously... If i were to buy a game the money goes to the makers/suppliers etc etc....
Now if i pirate a game...well my money goes into a computer that mods it...but other than that, your basically stealing a game..

So in contrast you should be saying that it is no different then selling a stolen game.

auziez said,

basically stealing a game..
So in contrast you should be saying that it is no different then selling a stolen game.

Firstly, lets clear something up with my general responce;

Stealing? really, that is when you take something from someone so that they no longer have it without their permission.

Pirate? Really, thats like the oldest joke around, if you pirate something you hijack a ship. No one is hijacking any ship.

What you and, unfortunatly a lot of people do, is confusing copyright theft (counterfeit) and with stealing something or being a pirate. arr, ya be rattling me bones jimmy!

There is no lost revenue from people who can not afford to buy or simply will not buy the game anyway. They'll only lose revenue because the game sucks.

Now thats out the way, lets deal with reselling of games. Publishers have already said its harming their profits and have wanted to ban or try and charge 2nd users again because the only people making money from 2nd hand games are the reseller stores, absolutley no money goes back to the publisher or developers and some might say they lost out to another sale of a full priced original copy.
The original user no longer has the game, a 2nd user now has it. Local game store makes money on original sale, And resale of 2nd hand game. publishers get only a cut from the original sale.
2nd hand user wouldn't buy the original game anyway, so even if they copied the game via illegal download the publishers or developers wouldn't have see any revenue loss from that.

While I do own a XBOX 360, with the exception of viva pinata (for my girlfriend) I've not paid any more then £12 for a game - they are all 2nd hand and feel ripped off a lot of the time because the price a game store buys trade in games vs the price they sell them for is worse then the black market for profit margins.

Edited by sagum, Jun 14 2011, 6:25am : NOTE: xbox information

sagum said,

Firstly, lets clear something up with my general responce;

Stealing? really, that is when you take something from someone so that they no longer have it without their permission.

Pirate? Really, thats like the oldest joke around, if you pirate something you hijack a ship. No one is hijacking any ship.

What you and, unfortunatly a lot of people do, is confusing copyright theft (counterfeit) and with stealing something or being a pirate. arr, ya be rattling me bones jimmy!

There is no lost revenue from people who can not afford to buy or simply will not buy the game anyway. They'll only lose revenue because the game sucks.

Interesting argument. You have a point in some regard. But what about the example of when a legitimate first time purchaser illegally downloads a game instead of buying it? I understand there will be examples where someone might argue that the illegal downloader would've never purchased the game to begin with but we all know there are plenty of lazy and/or cheap people that don't want to go to the store or don't want to spend $60 on a new game. Instead they pirate it. That's a direct loss to the developers of the game. If that's not stealing or pirating then I'd love to know what term should be used. In the end, the people that put their time and money into the development of the game legitimately lose money. The numbers are difficult to ascertain because we have no way of knowing "casual pirates" with no purchase intent vs. "thieving pirates" who would purchase if they couldn't get it for free. No matter what, it's an illegal action that causes a loss to the game developers. Sounds like theft or stealing to me.

Caleo said,

The same can be said about reselling used games. Are they going to go around as Microsoft's patsy & arrest people selling used games too?

Don't think so somehow, GameStation in the UK has over 250 stores (according to wikip) and their primary income is from used games sales.... Surely that couldn't have gone unnoticed if it wasn't legal!

Tim Dawg said,
Interesting argument. You have a point in some regard. But what about the example of when a legitimate first time purchaser illegally downloads a game instead of buying it? I understand there will be examples where someone might argue that the illegal downloader would've never purchased the game to begin with but we all know there are plenty of lazy and/or cheap people that don't want to go to the store or don't want to spend $60 on a new game. Instead they pirate it. That's a direct loss to the developers of the game. If that's not stealing or pirating then I'd love to know what term should be used. In the end, the people that put their time and money into the development of the game legitimately lose money. The numbers are difficult to ascertain because we have no way of knowing "casual pirates" with no purchase intent vs. "thieving pirates" who would purchase if they couldn't get it for free. No matter what, it's an illegal action that causes a loss to the game developers. Sounds like theft or stealing to me.
It's not a loss. You can't lose something that you never had.

bugsbungee said,

Don't think so somehow, GameStation in the UK has over 250 stores (according to wikip) and their primary income is from used games sales.... Surely that couldn't have gone unnoticed if it wasn't legal!

Wait, you mean like this ? http://www.gamesradar.com/ps3/...nned/a-20060524153157765035 - "High street games shops have been told by Sony that there will be no PS3 pre-owned sections in their stores as it will be illegal for customers to sell any next-gen PlayStation games that they've bought."

Or maybe this one http://www.examiner.com/video-...he-sale-of-used-video-games more up to date, sept 2010.

Really, publishers DO think resale of game is just as bad as making a counterfit because of lack of direct sales to them.

Tim Dawg said,
Interesting argument. You have a point in some regard. But what about the example of when a legitimate first time purchaser illegally downloads a game instead of buying it? I understand there will be examples where someone might argue that the illegal downloader would've never purchased the game to begin with but we all know there are plenty of lazy and/or cheap people that don't want to go to the store or don't want to spend $60 on a new game. Instead they pirate it. That's a direct loss to the developers of the game. If that's not stealing or pirating then I'd love to know what term should be used. In the end, the people that put their time and money into the development of the game legitimately lose money. The numbers are difficult to ascertain because we have no way of knowing "casual pirates" with no purchase intent vs. "thieving pirates" who would purchase if they couldn't get it for free. No matter what, it's an illegal action that causes a loss to the game developers. Sounds like theft or stealing to me.

copyright *theft* (not stealing) is when copy something you don't have the legal rights to make the copy. Such as a game, or movie, music or even a motorbike's engine. Counterfeiting is a means of copyright theft for the sole purpose of resale for a profit aka blackmarket. Normally we associate it with things like knock of dodgy designs of chinese "i-phones" or blantent rip off of designer clothing.

Caleo said,
UK - where promoting open hardware access will get you thrown in prison.

If you want open hardware then bear that in mind when you buy it. A generic Windows PC will do the job nicely.

Don't forget guys that when you buy a game, you do not actually "own" that game. You are simply purchasing a license to run that particular software. All the license holders need to do to make reselling of games illegal is to add a line in the EULA (end user license agreement, you know the hundred pages of waffle that you never read and just click OK to) stating that the license in non-transferable.

If they did that, the first purchaser of a game could sell the physical disc to their hearts content, however a subsequent buyer would not have a license to run the software on that disc.

The tricky part is how to enforce it.