According to this explanation, Microsoft not only bans a modified Xbox 360 console from Xbox Live if it is found to be modified, the console manufacturer actively disables the hard drive and Windows Media Center functionality as a consequence of modifying the console.
Read More for the full message being sent to Xbox 360 users with banned consoles.
Update: There are two new updates to the original story below the main article.
- What does this mean for you and what can you do about it?
Firstly, and most obviously, you cannot connect to Xbox Live on this console any more. This means no more game updates (aka title updates), XBLA games, marketplace content, netflix/sky player and so on. There is no way around this, all online capabilities are now disabled PERMANENTLY.
In all likelihood, your gamertag has NOT BEEN BANNED. When your gamertag gets banned, Microsoft sends you an email detailing why, if you have not recieved this email then your profile should be ok, to a certain extent.
Hard Drive installs are now disabled on the banned console. This means any disk-based games you have will no longer play off of the hard drive. If you attempt to play a game, it will tell you that it was installed on a different 360 and needs to be deleted/installed again. When you delete the game and attempt to install it, you are given a message telling you that it is not supported. There is no way to fix this, that functionality is simply gone from the banned 360.
The hard drive itself is left untouched – you can place it in another 360, even an unbanned one, and it will still work just fine. You do NOT need to reformat it to regain any kind of functionality. Any installed games will need to be reinstalled for the console you want to play them on. This is normal behaviour and happens when swapping HDDs on unbanned/legit 360′s.
Windows Media Centre functionality is disabled. It is still possible to stream video/music content via the video library.
Your Gamertag may be corrupted. This does not mean your gamertag has been banned, you can recover it using any live-capable 360, however ANY ACHIVEMENTS YOU HAVE EARNED SINCE BEING BANNED WILL BE LOST. Your gamertag will be corrupted EVERY SINGLE TIME it is used on a banned console. This means you cannot use your banned console to play backups offline just to get achievements – it wont work, the second you put your profile back on a good 360, it will be corrupted and all progress lost. There is no way around this.
The same applies to game saves – if you access a game save on a banned 360, it too will be corrupted when accessed on a legit/unbanned 360! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! There is no way around this, either.
Your XBLA games and DLC will still be valid, however to play them on a different 360 you will need to be signed into Xbox Live. This is normal behaviour on unbanned/legit 360′s as well. They may be corrupted and have to be re-downloaded if you attempt to access them on a banned 360. You can transfer all of your downloaded content to a new 360 here: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/systemuse/xbox360/licensemigration/default.htm however note that you can only do it once every 12 months.
So, in summary:
Your Banned 360:
* Cannot go on Xbox Live
* Cannot install games to the HDD
* Cannot use Windows Media Centre extender
* Cannot be used to get achievements from backups without corrupting your profile
You cannot do anything about this, short of buying a new 360.
There may be more functionality disabled than mentioned here, things are still being discovered.
- So what caused my ban?
There are MANY theories as to what is causing so many consoles to get banned this time, however as of yet there is nothing concrete, just a lot of circumstantial evidence and speculation. Please do not add to this, a full investigation is under-way.
Consumer advocacy issues notwithstanding, this demonstrates how far Microsoft is willing to go to keep people from using their console, usually claiming that it is fighting piracy and cheating in online games when there is no substantial proof of the activity.
Update: Below is a video found demonstrate how to check if the console has been banned:
Update 2: Reports (1, 2) are now surfacing that Xbox 360 owners that have not modified their consoles in anyway have been affected by the latest ban wave, with Microsoft customer service actively refusing assistance on the grounds that the system for detecting pirates and players that cheat as “foolproof”.
Update 3: Another report has surfaced regarding the increased availability of “used” modified consoles on Craigslist for as low as $90, with the caveat that Microsoft is refusing to extend the warranty to used consoles that have been modified and subsequently banned, leaving customers that unknowingly purchase a modified console on their own in terms of help.