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Hacked BIOS makes XBox MOD-chips obsolete?

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 05 Jul 2002 15:30 User comments (2)

More worrying for Microsoft than the resurfacing of this particular mod project is the claim that no mod chip at all is required to play pirate games on the Xbox.
A number of our sources have pointed out that in fact, what most Xbox chips in development do is to replace the standard retail Xbox BIOS (the chip on the motherboard which tells the Xbox how to behave when it is powered on or rebooted) with a hacked version of the BIOS found in Xbox development kits – which, of course, will happily boot gold discs, copied DVDs and games from all regions.

This requires no hardware modification to the console – someone with the appropriate equipment can open up the machine, alter the BIOS program in a procedure known as "flashing", and voila – one "chipped" Xbox, except with no chip.

Unlike chipping PS2s, this process is innately illegal since it requires the use of a modified version of Microsoft's BIOS program and the encryption keys held within it, thus constituting a breach of copyright. However, legal issues aside, this loophole in the Xbox's security is a headache for Microsoft and, indeed, for any publisher or developer working on the system. So far, the relative expense of chipping a PS2 (it can cost upwards of £100 to install a Messiah chip) has kept the number of chipped machines to a minimum; however, should Xbox modifications become as cheap and simple as PSone modifications were at the height of that console’s success, a similar level of chipping and hence piracy can be expected.


I think MS is going to pay a big price for using regular PC technology as the platform of the XBox console...

TheRegister

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2 user comments

17.5.2005 11:15

I don't think Micro$oft is going to be hurt by this at all. XBox 2 is on it's way so it's back to square one for hackers. Also, the fact that you can do more with the Xbox than is intended makes me want to go out and buy one now even if it is getting old.

25.4.2007 3:33

yeah no doubt i think that ms wanted their xbox to be hacked that way its popularity would grow and their sales would last longer giving them more revenue to put into their next release and being so easily hacked due to its platform would keep game designers on their toes making more releases to stay ahead of the hack track right????

-WZ-

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