Over the last few days Microsoft has banned approximately a million consoles from their Xbox Live network. The wave of bannings comes on the heels of the release of Modern Warfare 2, which is already the biggest selling video game in history…only three days after is launch. The bannings were targeted at players who were using pirated copies of the game, and were requested by the game’s publisher, Activision.
Ok, so, that’s the news bit.
But then there’s what happens when you put pressure on a fungible group like software pirates. Over the past few days, the web has been flooded with banned Xboxes for sale on eBay and Craig’s List. The system still work as a device to play games, but nearly all of their multimedia functions, like streaming from Netflix, were tied into the Xbox Live network. This is something that the purchaser only finds out after the sale has gone through. Brick and mortar retailers are getting hit in the same way, and since they don’t check the machine’s status on Xbox Live in most cases, neither they or the customer have any idea that the system is effectively lobotomized until it is too late.
The aftershock from the ban wave will hit families that are looking to save some money during the holidays in a tight economy. Sure, a $299 Xbox 360 for $100 on Craig’s List may seem like a great deal, but buyer beware. Odds are the system is one of the walking dead. But in a way, that could be a silver lining. If a family couldn’t afford the online component of the system, the banned system would be perfect for them.
If you’re buying a used system and hoping for it to work online – watch your ass.