Microsoft released an update to the Xbox 360 today in an attempt to appease users of boot-to-disc functionality, while also improving their anti-piracy efforts against modders. The update, which has been dubbed “anti-piracy update 2.5” by many frustrated modders, re-enables the boot-to-disc option that was recently taken off due to piracy concerns. In exchange, Microsoft has succeeding in thwarting many users who play pirated games on modified consoles. They did this by blocking some of the custom DVD player firmwares that players use to enjoy their pirated games. So far, the update seems to be working, as modders all over the Internet complain that they can no longer enjoy their pirated wares. The update is mandatory if you want to log in to Xbox LIVE.
Other minor tweaks in the update include changes to the appearance of Gamercards on Xbox.com. According to Major Nelson, all the information is still there, and the only thing removed was the Gamerzone. Everything else will be minor aesthetic upgrades.
As Xbox 360 continues to reinvent itself as less of a gaming system and more of a home entertainment console, we’re not surprised that Microsoft opted to reintroduce the boot-to-disc mechanism into the featureset of their console. It makes media easier to start, and it’s nice when you just want to watch a movie and not be bothered by the dashboard. It may just be a button press or two, but streamlining the UI is an important factor in any entertainment center. Enabling boot-to-disc reopens a lot of avenues for modders to access restricted content, but that’s why the anti-piracy changes in this update are so pronounced.