Beware of banned Xbox 360s loosed in ballooning numbers on auction sites and distribution lists featuring online classified ads. In the wake of Microsoft’s ban of “a small percentage” or “around 600,000” or “up to one million players” (depending who you read), the Xbox-excommunicated are apparently leaping overboard to offer their ‘modified’ Xbox 360 systems rife with dozens of games, extra controllers, special revs of custom firmware, all for anywhere from a buck to the price of a new system on up to boutique (perhaps joke) pricing of over a thousand dollars.
Last Wednesday, November 4, Microsoft’s Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb explained the company had been “actively banning consoles from Xbox LIVE that have been modified to play pirated games.” Hyrb also noted that “the warranty on an Xbox 360 console is not transferrable, and if you purchase a used console that has been previously banned, you will not be able to connect to Xbox LIVE.”
The systems haven’t been “bricked,” in other words, meaning they’ll still turn on and players can still use them to play pirated games offline, but their ability to connect online–even employing an unbanned Xbox LIVE account–has been permanently compromised.
The race is on to to offload banned systems, apparently. A search on “modded xbox” run against the the New York City Craiglist portal brought back over 200 listings from November 5. Another through the Chicago Craiglist portal returned 195 listings for the same period.
“[I’m] looking to sell my banned modded xbox 360,” reads one New York Craiglist ad. “[I] own all the originals…but wanted to have extra incase [sic] the originals got scratched.”
The “backups” include games like Forza 3, Call of Duty: World at War, Halo 3: ODST (on two discs), Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Brutal Legend, as well as movies like Up and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
Of course Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs isn’t out on DVD or Blu-ray until January 2010, but who’s counting.
Another seller in Brooklyn admits to being banned, but claims you can still play online: “THIS XBOX 360 IS BANNED FROM XBOX LIVE BUT STILL FULLY FUNCTIONAL! GREAT FOR KIDS AND PEOPLE WHO JUST DONT [SIC] FEEL LIKE PAYING FOR THE EXPENSIVE XBOX LIVE. THERES [SIC] MANY WAYS TO PLAY ONLINE WITHOUT XBOX LIVE!”
One seller in Houston isn’t sure what “the going rate for a banned Xbox is,” but will take offers.
Another in the same area assures “all games work perfectly,” then adds “if u are looking for any specific game just tell me and i’ll get it for u.”
Curiously, most Craiglist “modded” Xbox 360 sellers are forthcoming about their console’s “banned” status, whereas Ebay sellers acknowledge the mod-job but often don’t specify whether their system’s been banned or not.
There’s even a WTB or “want to buy” market for banned boxes. One Craiglist ad reads “I’m looking to buy one of the newly banned X-Box 360’s,” adding that it needs “to come with some new games such as Modern Warfare 2 and what not.”
It goes without saying, but I will anyway: Caveat emptor. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is–now, more so than ever.