It looks as if the recent update to the Xbox 360 UI was more than simply preparation for the arrival of Kinect – it’s also dealt a big blow to the piracy community on the console.
Xbox 360 piracy typically works by altering the firmware for the internal DVD drive, altering the normal security checks that are run when the machine is loaded. Digital Foundry reports that once updated, Xbox 360’s will now check this firmware. If the results aren’t as expected “the console is flagged for banning on Xbox Live and the game refuses to load with a ‘dirty disc’ error”.
Legitimate copies of games will continue to work even once a console has been flagged.
Apparently the checks included with copies of Fable III has already been circumvented by hackers, but the new system allows for every new release to carry a different, piracy-blocking check.
And Microsoft will be free to alter this at will via Xbox Live.
Digital Foundry says that in theory the measures “could mean an effective end to Xbox 360 piracy”. Even is that transpires not to be the case, it may mean pirates are forced permanently offline. They’ll probably also be unable to play future releases or use Kinect.