Xbox 360 upgrade 2.5: Modders beware

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.

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Daily Gaming: January 19, 2011

91 Comments

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There's been reports of legit users not being able to play some games. (Although, I believe they've had their xbox's repaired and had their drives replace)

I could care less about XBL. In the old days, I modded my original XBox just to use it as a media server. I was hoping they would have done the same with the 360.

Hopefully this will this will prevent a few hackers and modders out their enjoying their days of cheating, hope they all get caught, Lol, Unlikely, But it's a dream come true if it did.

I didn't connect to XBL last night but a lot of my friends were chating with me on WLM and saying that the chaos was set on Live. A lot of pirate kids are being banned.

bruNo_ said,
I didn't connect to XBL last night but a lot of my friends were chating with me on WLM and saying that the chaos was set on Live. A lot of pirate kids are being banned.

Really? Haven't seen any other news about bannings due to the update.

nub said,

Really? Haven't seen any other news about bannings due to the update.

Yep, it might be coincidence, but two friends of mine were banned.

Still won't stop those damn hackers. Already evident on leaderboards. Why game companies still do leaderboards is beyond me. Showing epenor that just gives modders the chance to 999999 it all

kazuyette said,
pwned ! lulz ! Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is AP 2.5 too.

Yes. But it is not affected because the AP 2.5 was previously patched using abgx. Actually MS got pwned in this one.

The article is incorrect. Anti-Piracy 2.5 (or AP2.5) is not new, it has been around since November. Fable 3 was the first title to use it.
All today's update does is make some older games use it as well. The existing FW that works with AP2.5 will prevent modders from being detected providing they don't leave the disk in their drive for more than 3mins. Chances are, the games that now use ap2.5 will just need to be reburned.

Kushan said,
The article is incorrect. Anti-Piracy 2.5 (or AP2.5) is not new, it has been around since November. Fable 3 was the first title to use it.
All today's update does is make some older games use it as well. The existing FW that works with AP2.5 will prevent modders from being detected providing they don't leave the disk in their drive for more than 3mins. Chances are, the games that now use ap2.5 will just need to be reburned.

Correct!

So far only 3 games are affected - BO, Halo Reach & MW2. The firmware still protects against a ban and does so brilliantly. The above games will get patched within days and so problem gone.

scaramonga said,

Correct!

So far only 3 games are affected - BO, Halo Reach & MW2. The firmware still protects against a ban and does so brilliantly. The above games will get patched within days and so problem gone.

I like how you guy consider protection a "problem," when you are the problem.

Kushan said,
The article is incorrect. Anti-Piracy 2.5 (or AP2.5) is not new, it has been around since November. Fable 3 was the first title to use it.
All today's update does is make some older games use it as well. The existing FW that works with AP2.5 will prevent modders from being detected providing they don't leave the disk in their drive for more than 3mins. Chances are, the games that now use ap2.5 will just need to be reburned.

I thought it was strange that this wasnt reported on Xbox Scene.

If this is what you are talking about then this has already been fixed in a custom firmware so no big if you arent into the scene.

Just a minor annoyance that I have to re-download those games now to play them IF I want to update to this new patch, but I have no reason to yet since I don't play online anyway. I mostly just use it as an extender for all my pirated movies.

INC NEOWIN BAN LAWL, DON'T RAISE MY WARNING LEVEL BRO

buckhole said,
Just a minor annoyance that I have to re-download those games now to play them

Not necessarily, you could create an image from the disc you have and patch it.

So the update pretty much kills the xbox? I don't see how that's legal.... banning the user from Live is one thing but killing the console is something else

Rudy said,
So the update pretty much kills the xbox? I don't see how that's legal.... banning the user from Live is one thing but killing the console is something else

It doesn't brick your box. It bans you from XBL and doesn't let you play pirated discs. Its a good thing.

spenser.d said,

It doesn't brick your box. It bans you from XBL and doesn't let you play pirated discs. Its a good thing.

Are you sure? That's been done before... but from reading the article it seems to disable the dvd drive

Rudy said,
Are you sure? That's been done before... but from reading the article it seems to disable the dvd drive

They did this by blocking some of the custom DVD player firmwares that players use to enjoy their pirated games.

It's not that they're disabling the DVD drive, so much. It's disabling the custom firmware that they replaced in their DVD drive. So it more or less would disable use of DVD's, since they're using a blocked firmware to run games, pirated or no.

Rudy said,
Are you sure? That's been done before... but from reading the article it seems to disable the dvd drive

What? I think you better read it again, they said nothing about disabling the DVD drive. That would be ridiculous, it wouldn't work if they did that. lol

TRC said,

What? I think you better read it again, they said nothing about disabling the DVD drive. That would be ridiculous, it wouldn't work if they did that. lol

They do block specific parts of custom firmware. Following the underground some people trying to play AP 2.5 protected games (there are a few) get a black screen indicating the check is failing.

Anyways there used to be an issue where if they banned you all content on your hard drive was no longer transferrable and void the digital signature on the hard drive. It also prevented you from being able to play drm-encoded files and certain features didn't work. That issue was resolved in update 9199 when they introduced the ability to use a flash drive as a memory unit and relaxed the restrictions on hard drives.

This update doesn't ban anybody. It simply adds AP2.5 to three new games and prevents copies of them from being played (until you patch the game and reburn it)

Does the text on that picture really basically say:

"You are banned for something you did.
No, we wont tell you what you did.
Don't even try to ask." ?

This really makes me want to go and buy a 360 LOL.

CyberDragon777 said,
Does the text on that picture really basically say:

"You are banned for something you did.
No, we wont tell you what you did.
Don't even try to ask." ?

This really makes me want to go and buy a 360 LOL.

It says you're banned for violating the Xbox Live ToU, in which it states they can pretty much ban you from Xbox Live for any reason they want. If you don't already know that, you've been living under a rock. Its also not just a Microsoft thing. That's pretty much how all ToU's go.

CyberDragon777 said,
Does the text on that picture really basically say:

"You are banned for something you did.
No, we wont tell you what you did.
Don't even try to ask." ?

This really makes me want to go and buy a 360 LOL.

It really does sound arrogant to me as well. I'm sure SOMEONE who didn't modify their XBox will probably be banned on accident or software fluke. There are millions of XBox 360's out there.

Well this isn't Microsoft Genuine Advantage. They'll know if you changed something to a closed system, because well... it is closed.

Shadrack said,

It really does sound arrogant to me as well. I'm sure SOMEONE who didn't modify their XBox will probably be banned on accident or software fluke. There are millions of XBox 360's out there.

You can call and appeal a ban and have them look into it, you just have no recourse if you actually have violated the ToU.

CyberDragon777 said,
Does the text on that picture really basically say:

"You are banned for something you did.
No, we wont tell you what you did.
Don't even try to ask." ?

This really makes me want to go and buy a 360 LOL.

Yea it says that more or less. You can ask in the forums though in a very specific room. Most bans are temp bans unless you modded your console or are a repeat offender. In that case you already knew what you were being banned for. They do what they can to avoid a ban. You can sometimes try to repeal the issue but if you lose then your console isn't the only thing perma-banned. Your account gets the treatment too for wasting their time otherwise it is only ever affecting your console.

CyberDragon777 said,
Does the text on that picture really basically say:

"You are banned for something you did.
No, we wont tell you what you did.
Don't even try to ask." ?

This really makes me want to go and buy a 360 LOL.

Yea it says that more or less. You can ask in the forums though in a very specific room. Most bans are temp bans unless you modded your console or are a repeat offender. In that case you already knew what you were being banned for. They do what they can to avoid a ban. You can sometimes try to repeal the issue but if you lose then your console isn't the only thing perma-banned. Your account gets the treatment too for wasting their time otherwise it is only ever affecting your console.

One of the reasons i never did any mods to any 360s that i owned was simply because Live to me is the most important part of the Xbox. So risk getting banned and having to go buy another console wasn't worth it to me.

Can't want to get a 360 again, you hear that neoadorable!?!

is there any other reason (besides piracy) to mod an xbox? Like on the iPhone there's Cydia with useful apps (MyWi, PhotoAlbums+, Locktopus, Activator, SBS, etc etc...) is there something like this on the xbox?

0sm3l said,
is there any other reason (besides piracy) to mod an xbox? Like on the iPhone there's Cydia with useful apps (MyWi, PhotoAlbums+, Locktopus, Activator, SBS, etc etc...) is there something like this on the xbox?

I don't think so. My understanding is its still not possible to run homebrew apps on the 360, the only thing hackers have managed to crack is the DVD drive firmware that allows them to play illegal copies. Although I thought they locked down the dvd firmware on all new 360's.

Pc_Madness said,

I don't think so. My understanding is its still not possible to run homebrew apps on the 360, the only thing hackers have managed to crack is the DVD drive firmware that allows them to play illegal copies. Although I thought they locked down the dvd firmware on all new 360's.


I think 360s used to have homebrew, but Microsoft managed to solve the problem (blowing eFUSEs to make downgrading impossible), so there isn't much support for that mod because so few have consoles that are able to use it. I don't really keep up with homebrew stuff too much though, so that may not be true anymore. I do know there was a Linux build being made for the 360 at one point, called Free60 I think.

0sm3l said,
is there any other reason (besides piracy) to mod an xbox? Like on the iPhone there's Cydia with useful apps (MyWi, PhotoAlbums+, Locktopus, Activator, SBS, etc etc...) is there something like this on the xbox?

Homebrew has been possible for about a year now.

0sm3l said,
is there any other reason (besides piracy) to mod an xbox? Like on the iPhone there's Cydia with useful apps (MyWi, PhotoAlbums+, Locktopus, Activator, SBS, etc etc...) is there something like this on the xbox?

Nope, Piracy is the only reason for modding Xbox 360's.
I remember there was some homebrew scene on the original Xbox. But havent heard jack sh*t from 360 homebrew games/apps. Even googling only gets me to firmware hacks and not much info about any homebrew applications or games.

So its MS's right to kickban people who abuse this off their network, its a major drop in their income.

BTW MS only bans piracy when they think the percentage of pirated copies of a product becomes to high. We see the same on Windows and other products.

Piracy is IMO starting to ruin allot of the gaming world. Why would companies make awesome games, if they know the better game they make, the bigger the hacker/cracker community will be. The more loss of revenue they will have. Besides the effort and what not to prevent companies going out of bussiness because of piracy.... Rockstar games for example If GTA4 wouldnt be bought so much, Rockstar would've gone out of bussiness.
Considering that almost everyone i know, played almost every GTA ever released. Almost everyone of them, bought maybe 1 relaese. Even tho they have (had) 1,2,3, VC, SA etc.
This while its not a company that bugs people into piracy. They released GTA1 and 2 as freeware! GTA3 will be released for free someday too (if it hasnt already).

While companies like EA games are almost unaffected by piracy. Its the smaller game producers that are getting hit the hardest by piracy. If any, people should focus on EA games more to pirate from with their lowsy ass half finished game releases while EA is buying out its competition.
/rant

Anyways, Microsoft can combat piracy with ease. however they're not. But considering some of their proffesional line software products are still uncracked, I wonder why Microsoft keeps/kept it so relativly simple on Xbox/windows consumer products.

aftas said,

Homebrew has been possible for about a year now.

Only if you have a jtaggable console. I have one here (old unit) but it still needs some work before I can do the actual jtag.

Shadowzz said,
Anyways, Microsoft can combat piracy with ease. however they're not. But considering some of their proffesional line software products are still uncracked, I wonder why Microsoft keeps/kept it so relativly simple on Xbox/windows consumer products.

What professional Microsoft software are uncracked ?

If Windows was Uncrackable but still at that price. Lots of users would switch to Ubuntu/Buy Macs because upgrading to 7 would be too expensive => Market share vs. Profit.
In the same fashion : When a modder is cracking an Xbox, he had to buy the Xbox in the first place => Profitable for MS.

I'm not saying that they're modifying their software to allow it on purpose. Just that it's not the worst thing in the world for them (moreover, corporate customers can't use pirated software, and that's a HUGE market ^^ ).

SHoTTa35 said,
One of the reasons i never did any mods to any 360s that i owned was simply because Live to me is the most important part of the Xbox. So risk getting banned and having to go buy another console wasn't worth it to me.

Can't want to get a 360 again, you hear that neoadorable!?!

time to put that money where your keyboard is and get back into the scene my friend!

ManMountain said,
Office 2010 remains uncracked, unless you consider having to reactivate cracked.

not ture... guess what I runing... Office 2010 Blue edition... take a guess what that means... No cd-key or onlie activation required.

Your running a version modified to require no activation, so no real cracking involved. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, it's a technical preview / beta build?

Edited by ManMountain, Jan 21 2011, 5:11pm :

ManMountain said,
Your running a version modified to require no activation, so no real cracking involved. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, it's a technical preview / beta build?

Isn't that the point of cracking? With that definition, Windows has never been cracked either.

title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware
I disagree.

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware

Title implies to me that modders should beware updating and NeowinNeowin

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware

No it doesn't.

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin is only publishing the article in order to warn it's modding users of this new firmware

fixed .

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware

Too many people seem to think they are Internet police these days. Neowin have contacts inside Microsoft, I think they know what they are doing.

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware
Modding isn't illegal. Nor is MS banning you from XBL because of it.

Jme621 said,
title implys to me that neowin supports illegal modding and is only publishing the article in order to warn it's illegal hacking users of this new firmware

I disagree, but even so.... So What?

Shadowzz said,

good thing we dont have the DMCA in europe \o/

So can I play using an old firmware without the worries of being banned?

Northgrove said,

Modding is illegal per the DMCA if it has to do with circumventing copy protections.

See also: http://news.softpedia.com/news...pted-from-DMCA-162451.shtml

Correct. At this point there are 2 primary mod methods. Replace the drive firmware -- That one only ends up with piracy since it enables backups to play. Or jtag the console. This could be used in a non-illegal manner if you are doing homebrew only. It bypasses the digital signature check though so it also enabled modified retail games as well.

Jose_49 said,

So can I play using an old firmware without the worries of being banned?

You can, but you won't be connecting to Online Services as updates are mandatory for connection to a console's online service.

hawksy said,
So we can jail-break our phones but not our game consoles?

Think you've misunderstood, whilst it's legal to jailbreak a device, it doesn't mean that the device manufacturers have to make it easy/possible for you.

Aaron44126 said,
You're welcome to jail-break your console... Microsoft is just as welcome to kick you off Xbox LIVE.

Which I think is fair enough. Otherwise it opens a big door for cheaters.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple goes this same route with the GameCenter on JB'd iDevices if they are unsuccessful at having a flat-out "it's illegal" decision.

Shadrack said,

if they are unsuccessful at having a flat-out "it's illegal" decision.

Even if its deemed illegal I don't see it stopping the jailbreaking community.

recursive said,
You would be better off getting a PC

And have to use Windows and endless patching and updating drivers?

I'll pass.

Miuku said,
And have to use Windows and endless patching and updating drivers?

And which console or OS out there doesn't have frequent patches or updates? Just curious... cuz I'd really like to buy one. It can replace my 360/PS3 or Windows/Ubuntu boxes, or even my MacBook Pro. Totally looking forward to that, spread the wealth brotha!

g33kb0y said,

And which console or OS out there doesn't have frequent patches or updates? Just curious... cuz I'd really like to buy one. It can replace my 360/PS3 or Windows/Ubuntu boxes, or even my MacBook Pro. Totally looking forward to that, spread the wealth brotha!

+1
I'll have me one of those as well. Whats it called ?

Aaron44126 said,
You're welcome to jail-break your console... Microsoft is just as welcome to kick you off Xbox LIVE.

Playing Live right now using a Friend's Flashed console .

g33kb0y said,
And which console or OS out there doesn't have frequent patches or updates?

Funny, I don't remember ever patching my Atari, NES, SNES, Dreamcast or Playstation 1&2.

Mike Frett said,

Funny, I don't remember ever patching my Atari, NES, SNES, Dreamcast or Playstation 1&2.

Yeah but those console were very simple machine. Now people want more and more from console (Streaming, Internet, Multiplayer online, great interface) and they add on service after service to it. Console are more media hubs now then consoles anyway..

Mike Frett said,

Funny, I don't remember ever patching my Atari, NES, SNES, Dreamcast or Playstation 1&2.

Then go play them and shut up?

hawksy said,
So we can jail-break our phones but not our game consoles?

From my understanding people jailbreaking their phones are doing it so they can use perfectly legal apps that apple/microsoft/whoever say doesn't belong in their app store, while people jailbreaking their consoles are doing so to play pirated games which is illegal, therefore I congratulate MS on trying to stop Piracy.

haha, owned. Glad I have my boot-to-disc again I even contacted @XboxSupport on twitter, and they said it's a known 'bug'. Guess it was a feature, not a bug.

Andrew Lyle said,
haha, owned. Glad I have my boot-to-disc again I even contacted @XboxSupport on twitter, and they said it's a known 'bug'. Guess it was a feature, not a bug.
what is boot-to-disc?

BGM said,
what is boot-to-disc?

It means if you have a game disc in the drive and turn on the console it will immediately start that game instead of starting in the dashboard. The way consoles are supposed to work.

Andrew Lyle said,
haha, owned. Glad I have my boot-to-disc again I even contacted @XboxSupport on twitter, and they said it's a known 'bug'. Guess it was a feature, not a bug.

Yeah, and I even posted a topic in here..... I got scared, then I knew that I wasn't the only one.. .