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Microsoft foils Xbox hackers with new Config 445

randomizer9 writes was among several readers who noted that Microsoft has changed the configs on the XBox and really messed up the hackers who have been trying to coax the box into being divx players, linux boxes, microwave ovens, white noise generators and so on. Kinda doubt the conspiracy angle, but it certainly is annoying.
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Microsoft foils Xbox hackers with new Config

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  • by HEbGb ( 6544 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:38AM (#4318689)
    You, of all the people, are giving Microsoft benefit of the doubt?! Not had your coffee yet, Taco?

    Nonsense. If *course* they made changes to the system to foil hackers (described as 'security' chances).

    Even the article says "Microsoft has tried several tactics to discourage such hacks."

    Microsoft has a *LONG* history of doing this sort of thing, going back to the Dr-Dos days. And, for them, it is a legal and legitimate response to a threat on their business model.

    An arms race will ensue..
    • by AdamBa ( 64128 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:43AM (#4318725) Homepage
      I don't think it is necessary or fair to try to tie this back to alleged stories like ensuring that each release of DOS wouldn't run Lotus 1-2-3. We're not talking about an open environment where anyone could write apps, like on DOS/WIndows. Xbox is a closed system, Microsoft retains complete control over which games are certified for the platform. I'm sure all existing games for the platform will keep running, it's just the mod chips etc. which won't run. So as the poster above said I don't see any reason to think this wasn't done to foil hackers -- but I also don't think they have any right to complain. The new system will get hacked eventually, and the battle will continue.

      - adam

    • Now don't get me wrong, I despise Microsoft for it's shady practices as much as the next guy, but really, is this one of those "shady" practices? If you think about it, Microsoft has every right to do this.

      The XBox is thier creation. They put many hours into the design and building of the machine. Okay, how convenient that it runs on x86 hardware. The rest of the programming is thier own.

      I understand that most OSS programmers would likely be willing to let others mess around with thier creations, but look at it from the other point of view.

      Microsoft has clearly, from the beginning, shown that they are in in for the money, and not to let others mess around with their products. As much as many of us do not like the idea of that, It is perfectly legal, and valid. Car makers void warranties if you modify them past a certain point. (besides that is could be unsafe) It is becasue they don't want you messing with their products, and spending money with other after-market compaies.

      When you hack an XBox, and put linux on it, you are now using the box as a computer. You likely won't be playing XBox games on it anymore. Thus, Microsoft is loosing business becasue you are not buying games. True, they are still making money from the box itself, but they still want more, which i guess is thier perogative(sp).

      If you were also in it for the money, and created a very good system, would you want others hacking into it, and possibly loosing business becasue of it. Okay, you are still making money from selling your product, but you want more. That is your choice, and your a FREE (yes, Freedome still exsists in America) to do that.

      Microsoft is simply trying to protect thier products, and business. Yes, we have the right to critisize them for it, and maybe we can make a difference, but by saying "this is illegal, MS can't do this, etc.." I dont think we that the right to say THAT.

      Now, great, I am all for hacking or moding the XBox, but if something goes wrong, it's your fault, and MS has nothing to do with it. Don't blame them for putting DRM in the box, or anything like that. Blame you for not listening to thier warnings about what could happen if you mod it.

      Again, dont get me wrong, I am far from MS's #1 fan, and I dont agree with most of thier practices. They are free to do that. It is one of the great ideals of capitalism. Now, Monopolies are not, but is the XBox really a Monopoly? With the sales of GameCube and PS2 what they are, I would say not. If you really want to have a game system running on x86 hardware that is free for everyone to hack, then be innovative and create one, and sell it.

      I'm not trying to Troll here, and this whole thing is probibly redundant from the last ten Articles on /. I just don't see where all the "illegal" and "this aint right" voices are coming from. There goes my Karma....
      • you're implying that because they sell crippled hardware that they should be able to control what you do with it thereafter. If I buy a CD player, am I only able to buy one label or band or independent record store or so on's music? absolutely not! Hacking an xbox to run Linux is nothing more than a legitimate modification to what is essentially a computer, and as it is owned by you, your property to modify as you see fit. This is no different from me dropping a Cobra engine in my Crown Victoria because I choose to do so.
        • Re:business model (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:45AM (#4319183) Homepage Journal
          you're implying that because they sell crippled hardware that they should be able to control what you do with it thereafter.

          By the same token, Microsoft should be able to do anything with the hardware before you've bought it. If, for whatever reason, that prevents you from "hacking" it after you've bought it, then don't buy it!

          Whats good for the gander, is good for the goose.

        • Re:business model (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DavidBrown ( 177261 )
          While I do agree with you that once you own an X-Box, you should be able to do anything you want with it. But this doesn't mean that Microsoft has to make it easy for you. These boxes are sold for $199 each, less than comparable PC hardware. If people could easily modify the X-Box, then people would buy them for the purpose of having a cheap computer, rather than buy them for the purpose of playing X-Box games - which is what Microsoft wants you to do. So, Microsoft makes it harder to hack the X-Box. Too bad. The only reasonable response isn't to whine about it - it's to hack harder, or give up and don't hack the X-Box. Attacking Microsoft for attempting to prevent the unintended use of its product, which incidentally destroys its business model, is silly.

      • Microsoft is simply trying to protect thier products, and business. Yes, we have the right to critisize them for it, and maybe we can make a difference, but by saying "this is illegal, MS can't do this, etc.." I dont think we that the right to say THAT.

        Don't confuse our rights. Of COURSE we can say "this is illegal, MS can't do this, etc..".

        We'd just be wrong.

  • by capt.Hij ( 318203 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:39AM (#4318691) Homepage Journal
    Let's see... MS updates their bios and changes some of their chips. Now the boxes can't be hacked. The next thing you know someone will post a story about how the new boxes can be hacked which will be followed by the horror that the next updates will defeat those hacks. Oh the humanity.
  • M$ is probably going to do this everytime they start a new production run. The end result however will be that they are going to end up with a whole series of slightly incompatable versions of the xbox. This will be a support nightmare for developers and will in turn lead to yet another buggy unstable M$ product that we all know and loath.
    • Series of slightly incompatible versions? For hackers, yes, but for legitimate developers and end users, most likely not. It's very common for systems to get several redesigns in their lifecycle, including things like firmware updates. The original playstation probably went through a half dozen, and it never had any incompatibilities (other than on hacked systems playing modchip-aware games).
    • by karlowfwb ( 542982 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:03AM (#4318890)
      Not likely. The changes are mostly on the hardware backend, the developers will probably never know the difference. MS may be evil but they are not stupid. The changes will only affect the 'chippers.

      Now, one might say that the 'chippers will just come out with a new chip everytime MS updates. But wait, lack of customer confidence that the chip will actually work in their box, and the cost of developing and more importantly (and costly) producing the new chips will quickly drive the 'chippers out of business.

      So, the question is: is it worse to sue the 'chippers, or just beat them at their own game?
      • There are two presumptions here:

        1: That the changes really are only on the hardware backend, and don't really affect games currently marketed and in development. Sometimes hardware/software interactions can be quite subtle, and don't act the way you expected.

        2: That some customers don't choose and buy a game box precisely *because* it can be 'chipped. At the moment, I don't own a DVD player. But whenever I do choose to get one, it *will* be one that can be and has been readily 'chipped.
        • by stubear ( 130454 )
          on your point 2, DVD hardware manufacturers could not care less whether or not you chip your DVD player. They make back every cent and then some when they sell you the hardware. If Hollywood never sold a DVD it wouldn't matter, in the short term anyway. In the long term it would definitely be less of an incentive for people to buy DVD players now wouldn't it?

          Anyway, my point is, console manufacturers count on games being sold. Sony does it, Nintendo does it, Sega used to do it and not Microsoft does it. This isn't some dirty little secret of the console industry nor it is some new conspiracy of Microsoft's. When you allow consoles to me modded you offer fewer reasons for the users to purchase the games and you wind up losing money. When you allow DVD players to be modded you don't lose anything at all.
    • M$ is probably going to do this everytime they start a new production run. The end result however will be that they are going to end up with a whole series of slightly incompatable versions of the xbox.

      Do you mean the same way Sony did with the PS2? I don't know about other areas but we have 4 different versions in Europe alone. They are called V3, V4, V5 and V6. In addition, I've understood that there might be two different flawors of V3. Latest versions are claimed to be the easiest to mod [].

    • Oh cmon. Hardware changes don't mean software incompatibilities. Playstation2 has undergone 7 revisions of the motherboard (AFAIK), even merging two of the chips into one. This hasn't broken the games and hasn't hurt the sales. It's only normal and expected for MS to fight back against hackers. Expect more iterations of the modchips-anti modchip hardware revisions war between MS's Xbox team and the Xbox hackers. (GNU-tradition meaning of "hackers", or mass-media meaning of "hackers", whichever you prefer)

    • Right. And what do you bet that despite all of M's efforts to gain an ever-increasing amount of control over the people that are dumb enough to buy its products, people will STILL shell out their money for one because they're too lazy and too spineless to take a stand? I can appreciate the hesitation of a business deciding to drop support for Billdoze, because there are some real costs involved. But the gaming audience could have stopped the X-Box dead in its tracks. It still can, because there are plenty of easily accessible alternatives.
  • Figures (Score:3, Funny)

    by N3WBI3 ( 595976 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:40AM (#4318700) Homepage
    Because god forbid that we actually run custom software on a piece of hardware we supposedly 'own'..
  • Hey you even remeber that your fortunes are directly linked to the fact that your software runs on the worlds most cutomizable and hackable(in the good sense) hardware platform...hell you console is just a hack of that hardware platform....
    get with the program who cares if people hack the XBox...stop pissing and moaning....perhaps you have the next big thing on your hands if you just let people play with it alittle.
    • Hey you even remeber that your fortunes are directly linked to the fact that your software runs on the worlds most cutomizable and hackable(in the good sense) hardware platform...hell you console is just a hack of that hardware platform...

      Not quite. Keep in mind that the Xbox is sold at a loss, with gains realized on the sales of games and accessories. Every Xbox sold for hacking around would not generate the income to cover the cost of the console itself. In this case, its understandable that they would do this to discourage further losses.
  • For once, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tri0de ( 182282 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:43AM (#4318722) Journal
    It really *IS* a case of "It's not a bug-it's a security feature".
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:43AM (#4318726) Homepage Journal
    I really don't like the way the word "security" is being used to mean "preventing the owner of the system from using it as he sees fit."

    In my mind security means only letting the owner use the system as he sees fit.

    • I wouldn't be too suprised if Microso$t just did this because it's cheaper for them and then somebody pointed out to them how modchips didn't work. Then micro$oft, being the not so bright little kid he is, will ask "come again, mod chip?". Somebody proceeded to explain to microsoft what a mod chip is and then microsoft was like "of course, i knew that all along, it's a security feature!"
    • You can do what you wish with the box you own now. Ditto the next one you buy, but it may be a bit more limiting. From the MS point of view, the box itself is just a way to get you to buy more games. If they don't make money from the games, they have no reason to market the boxes.

      Any manufacturer can change the specs on a product any time they wish. It might be a smart thing to do or it might be stupid thing to do, but it happens all the time.
    • They didn't say *whose* security they were improving. They said nothing whatsoever about customers' security.

      I suspect it's really the game developers' security and most important of all, Microsoft's security.

      Don't forget that the XBox is a loss-leader, meant to generate revenue by selling games. If people are buying an XBox for other missions, and don't buy games, then it's costing MS money. If I weren't so cash-strapped at the moment, I would consider doing this. Imagine spending money on a Microsoft product and hurting their bottom line. Brings a grin. In the future I may still consider an XBox for dedicated function, but you can be sure that 'chipability will be part of the decision process.
    • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:59AM (#4319284)
      She meant JOB security, namely hers and other MS employees.

      No, really, security is just their new buzzword. "We're all working on security now."

      If Bill had called for MS to increase their twinkie awareness, then no matter what they were doing, they'd call it a twinkie. "We changed the EULA." Why? "Because we're always working to increase the level of twinkies in our products."
    • If you think about Windows NT the console is highly secure (i.e. an employee without administrative privs. has a hard time making any modification to their system without blowing it away). Its never been super strong on security over the network or allowing you to run questionable code in a safe environment. So while it certainly is good about giving the "owners" power it isn't so good about empowering workers.

      Originally where the Unix security model differed from Multics was that it empowered users not owners.
    • Yes, obviously the major motivation is to cut software piracy, which is a pretty dubious usage of the word 'security'. On the other hand, another motivation is to increase security for online games - if the box isn't hacked, then games can be more secured against cheaters. Personally, I quite like the idea of playing on a gaming service where people can't cheat (or at least, not as easily).
  • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:43AM (#4318727) Homepage Journal
    What the "hackers" really need to do is make use of undocumented features in ways that every home user will want to use. Then Microsoft wouldn't dare remove them -- I remember this happening several times in the old days of the Palm Pilot (Remember all those *Hack programs?)
  • by back_pages ( 600753 ) <back_pages AT cox DOT net> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:47AM (#4318775) Journal
    Ok, let's fancy that Microsoft has permanently prevented their XBox from being customized by clever consumers.

    I might have bought an XBox if I could use it as a general purpose entertainment device. Now I won't buy one at all. That's an odd way of moving units and increasing your market share.

    I don't think it's that insightful, but people buy stuff if they like what they can do with it. Nobody that I'm aware of has a black market XBox manufacturing plant - every piece of hardware is purchased through Microsoft. Nobody that I'm aware of without an XBox is buying XBox games. If I can't get my hypothetical XBox hacked, I'm not buying one, and I'm sure as hell not buying an XBox game or dozen.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, it does these days, anyway. At current prices, and with chips getting cheaper, MS is probably making back the cost of the hardware on this run- but that doesn't cover R&D and marketing.

      They make *that* back (and then some) selling licenses to developers, who go out and sell a lot of games. Sony ate piracy to get mindshare away from Sega and Nintendo; MS really just wants your buck in the end, and maybe a li'l street cred for "innovation."

      So... Pirated games = less license revenue rolling into the console designer. The console designer spends millions on locking-down the console to prevent pirated games, which leads to higher R&D costs to recoup, which leads to a greater need to avoid piracy...

      It's the Netpliance business model. Unfortunately, Netpliance had a niche- it was the perfect product for my grandmother- whereas Nintendo, Sony, and until recently Sega, still do a better job at providing 'fun' than MS. In fact, if MS hadn't "stolen" NVidia, there's little doubt that some 'real' console maker would've forged an alliance.
      • Console hardware selling below cost is a myth. Almost all consoles sell at a profit. Every console ever sold has turned at least a slight profit, with a few exceptions:

        To get a jumpstart, Nintendo apparently accepted a *small* loss on early Gamecubes. They very quickly fixed this problem though, through reduction of manufacturing costs. They did NOT want to sell below cost if at all possible, and it is NOT standard company policy. (Nintendo quickly fixed things to make a tidy profit on GCs, even after price drops.)

        The only exception is Xbox - The Xbox is the ONLY console that was pretty much designed with the assumption that it would be sold below cost. It started below cost, still sells below cost, and according to most analysis, will never sell at anything below cost because the Xbox design is inherently not as conducive to cost reduction as the Gamecube/PS2/etc. (For example, Sony eventually took 2-3 chips from the PS2 and merged them into one, significantly reducing manufacturing costs.) Because almost all Xbox parts are sourced from third parties, MS doesn't have nearly as much flexibility in this regard.

        The only thing MS has going for it in this case is the fact that their initial development costs were probably much less than for the GC or PS2. People seem to leave this out of the analysis.

        Nonetheless, any Xbox that is sold and not used with licensed games is a losing proposition for MS. For Sony and Nintendo, it isn't, although it's not nearly as desirable as having the boxes used for cash-cow game sales.
    • So go build a general purpose device and quit whining about this. The Xbox is a gaming console, that's it's main purpose. It has an option to play DVDs. Most people buy the box to play games, NOT to hack them and use it as "entertainment device", as it already is... unless you don't consider video games entertainment.

      So, before you go on making comments about how to move units and increase market share, perhaps you should look at the market they are targetting first. Last time I checked, they were targetting gamers, not hardware hackers.

    • maybe they are trying to push those people that are close to buying an XBox over the edge..."better get and buy it quick! You can't hack the new one!".

      time passes, hackers get new XBox, hack it, those people who said they wouldn't buy the new XBox because of the limitations it had go out and buy one.

      (the above is not necessarily true, just one way to look at it)

  • by blixel ( 158224 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:50AM (#4318800)
    How long until we see this headline "Hackers foil Microsoft's "new Config" with new Modchip"?
  • I've always found that people hacking on Linux for XBox were on the rong track anyway. Although I appreciate the irony of running an OS that MicroSoft has condemned on one of their own products, I think it works the other way around as well. It's running Linux, while at the same time supporting it's biggest enemy by buying a product that's entirely theirs.
  • Whats the big deal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PerfectDark ( 599380 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:54AM (#4318825)
    Sony do this all the time and its not news. sony have produced many versions of the PSX and PS2 over the years and the mod chip makers have always had update the mod chips to work in the new models. I'm pretty sure that Sony are on their 7th revision of the PS2 hardware.
  • by Niles_Stonne ( 105949 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:55AM (#4318834) Homepage
    Could the X-Box be a prototype for Palladium/DRM-secure hardware?

    They release a product that they consider secure(the v1.0 X-Box), let the public pry away at it for a while, knowing the hacking consoles(especially with one as tasty as the X-Box) is an already established industry.

    Then, once it is hacked to a reasonable level, they revise the hardware to be more secure...

    Shake well, repeat...

    Basically, MS gets a free hacking team to test (fanatically) their security systems... The only negative point is that some of the hackers release how they did it to the public.

    All of the knowledge/experience that they gain from this security cycle will go directly into their security model for DRM "secure" PC hardware...

    ... enough of conspiracy theories for one day...
  • O'Donnell declined to specify the specific changes but said they include measures intended to boost security. "They (Microsoft's Xbox hardware team) know the hacker stuff that's out there, and they're always trying to increase security," she said.

    Secure from whom? Secure from consumers. Secure from people doing what they want with the hardware they buy. This trend will get worse.

    Please stop buying this product, Slashdotters. Please discourage others from buying it. If people stop buying it, then Microsoft will stop holding the good games hostage and competition will stay alive in the console market. Microsoft will get out of your living room. We don't need a mandated corporate bully in our HOMES for god's sake.

    The games simply can't be so good that you're willing to trade all future choice in gaming and home entertainment for a few plays today.
    • Secure from whom? Secure from consumers. Secure from people doing what they want with the hardware they buy. This trend will get worse.

      Okay. But just to be clear, you'll be boycotting Sony's and Nintendo's consoles on the same grounds, right?

      Please stop buying this product, Slashdotters. Please discourage others from buying it. If people stop buying it, then Microsoft will stop holding the good games hostage and competition will stay alive in the console market.

      Oh, I guess not then. Please explain why Microsoft's closed proprietary console is worse for the games industry than Sony's closed proprietary console or Nintendo's closed proprietary console, because I just don't see it.

  • Here's the thread... (Score:2, Informative)

    by greenrom ( 576281 )
    The thread the article mentions can be found here [] for those that are interested. There's links to pictures of the new Xbox motherboard too. Sounds like all that's needed is a few tweaks to the hacked BIOS image and everyone will be back in business. My bet is that any new protection will be defeated before the new units even appear in stores in North America. Sometimes I wonder why Microsoft even bothers.
  • by hype7 ( 239530 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:00AM (#4318868) Journal
    where there's a damn about to burst, and it keeps springing leaks. All they do is stick their fingers in the leaks... eventually, they run out of fingers, and start using toes. Then the toes run out.

    Eventually Microsoft will run out of digits (as in the fingers & toes). If you want to keep a system secure, you can't be reactionary. You can't wait for a leak to spring up, and then stick a finger in it.

    And that's part of the whole problem with the MS culture - it's not a problem until it's exploited. Then you fix it. This is the best reason I can give you as to why not to use MS products. 'Cause they don't give a fuck until something's seriously broken. And then, it's too damn late.

    -- james
  • I find it depressing that GNU/Linux hackers are paying Microsoft money to get XBoxen and port the OS to it. Now Microsoft has rendered their efforts futile. Guess what - their efforts were futile to begin with. Why not develop a good substitute for MS Exchange so corporate customers have a good reason to switch? Why not do ANYTHING rather than focus on a project that has no useful outcome, all the while pumping money into Microsoft with each XBox purchase? It would be equally useful to write Microsoft a check for the cost of an XBox and spend some time watching TV instead.
  • Testing in progress. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:16AM (#4318974) Homepage Journal
    Xbox is probably containing the exact same technology as Palladium and this is testing ground for the PC version. Thus its of vital importance for MS to show that its unhackable to keep support from music/movie industry on palladium.

    If it shows that Palladium is just another dongle and fail as DRM its going to dissapear.
  • I don't get it?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thorsen ( 9515 )
    The whole point of a console like the X-Box is that they have complete control over what they can do with it. Why on earth should they care if or if not someone uses the box to run something else on?

    Face it guys, the reason the changed something was because they wanted to, and they don't give a shit about caring for the X-Box hackers compatibility. And, might I add, they shouldn't do so. If you want a PC, buy a PC - an X-Box is not a general purpose machine.

    I can't stand MS anymore than most others here, but this story is absolute bullshit. Fight them where the battle is at, not just everywhere.
  • Sony has done this forever... the PSX had several iterations designed to break the modchips.

    They are trying to stop modchips... not Linux installs.

  • Protecting their X-boxen from mods is one thing, but hasn't Microsoft spent enough $ on this?

    When your product is in a bit of a financial trouble [], common sense would dictate that it's not a great idea to throw away even more money on it when it hasn't shown too much evidence of a potential profit.
  • Maybe Microsoft is just playing with the hackers. How else would microsoft generate interest with the penguin-heads? If they pretend that they get really offended when someone hacks their little black box, more anti-Microsoft hackers will buy one to get in on it. What other company can convince people that they are getting screwing when people purchase their product?
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:29AM (#4319062) Homepage Journal
    The first web page with detailed instructions on "How to hack the XBox MkII" has just been by M. Joe Schmoe, of Peoria, Ill.

    Film at 11.
  • by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:30AM (#4319067) Homepage
    If memory serves, Sony made iterative changes to the PS1 over the course of its run, which negated mod chips that worked in earlier 'generations'. I believe the same is true with the PS2, but someone can confirm or deny that for me. Anyway, hey it's within their rights as the developers of the hardware to discourage what they perceive is hacking. It's also within our rights as consumers to be able to work around anything they do. :)
    • If memory serves, Sony made iterative changes to the PS1 over the course of its run, which negated mod chips that worked in earlier 'generations'.

      Also AFAIK, even the uber-friendly Dreamcast wouldn't boot burned CDs after a certain point in production. I believe if the date on the bottom of the dreamcast was before 09/01 (or something like that... I don't remember exactly) you were good to go, otherwise burned CDs might not work.

      I don't see what the big deal is about this either... it's not like they are arresting people for trying to hack the systems, they are just making it more difficult.

  • What does M$ gain by "out-modding the modders"?
  • What's so wrong? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by matlokheed ( 602233 )

    After reading this topic, I have to confess to feeling a little uncomfortable. Most likely it's because of the sudden urge to defend Microsoft here when all rational thought say not to, but here goes anyway.

    1. As far as the changes go, all systems evolve and change as time goes on. Video game systems are no exception. When I was deciding on what videogame systems to get last year, I decided to get Gamecube and PS2. PS2 was established already and wasn't a real decision on how to go about purchasing it. I would go to the local video game store and make the purchase. Easy.

    The Gamecube though was different. I didn't know how availability would be in the US and the big consideration was "hey, maybe I should import". Was it because I'd be able to get the games earlier? Yes and no. It factored in, but the real reason was that console hackers will all tell you one thing: get the system's first release. The original PS2 in Japan had region lockouts easily disabled. I believe that the early Saturns were the easy to Mod ones.

    This isn't really shocking. Console modding is 50% staying one step ahead of the console maker.

    2. Doesn't Microsoft have a generally good track record hardware-wise? Say what you will about the XBox, but it's certainly a pretty system when played (huge and strangely designed, but pretty). I've generally enjoyed a reasonable amount of reliability from Microsoft mice and joysticks. I don't know how it's been for anyone else.

    Sorry. Just needed to get that out.

  • and Microsoft needs to sell games to make up for the lost money on the console.
  • I'm just waiting for the time when they make one of these changes and it makes it impossible to play your legally obtained, native XBox games completely inoperable.
  • So making a product more secure/solid is alienating hackers?

    Taco mightn't be Slashdot's greatest Troll, but he certainly is the loudest.
  • The X-Box should have been called the Y-Box, as in..

    "Why, Microsoft?"
    "Why should I want one?"
  • by 13Echo ( 209846 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:24AM (#4319465) Homepage Journal
    With everything that they know now, the X-Box hackers won't take long to figure out a way to do this. It's always been this way with all consoles. Someone always finds a way.

    Microsoft may have a lot of money, but they aren't going to keep modifying their manufacturing facilities unless it means saving money on production. I doubt that they are going to churn out a drastically different X-Box every month in order to thwart hacks...
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:15PM (#4319797) Homepage
    The era of modchips is almost over. It's already over for the Nintendo GameCube; there are no GameCube modchips that work. That's because the Nintendo GameCube only has one major IC in it, so no key wiring connections are exposed.

    The PS2 and XBox aren't that tightly integrated and have a bigger parts count. (Nintendo makes money on game console hardware while Sony and Microsoft don't. That's why.) But in the next generation, we should expect to see machines that are basically one big chip inside. This will be the end of modchips.

    Yes, it's possible to open up an IC and modify it. The ATI/Nvidia article shows the millions of dollars of equipment needed. But even that doesn't help much. Now that everybody uses boot-time public/private key authentication, even opening up the chip won't get you the private key you'd need to make content that will load on an unmodified box. So far, no one has been able to get an unapproved program to load on an unmodified XBox.

    There won't be backdoors. Read the license agreement for DVD decoder manufacturers.

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