Infoweek reports that one million (!) gamers have been kicked off of Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service, after being suspected of playing illegally downloaded games.\
Hackers are using mod chips to outwit the Digital Rights Management protection system on the console. This isn't new. Check out a book called "Hacking the Xbox," which detailed how to pull off the trick.
Thing is, people aren't just modding their consoles to play bootleg games. They're also putting on their own operating systems, among other things. Of course Microsoft needs to fight against piracy, but the company should consider how the mod communiy has benefited some of the biggest game companies around. id Software, Valve, and Epic are among those who have embraced the modders, even opening up software to allow for greater personalization. People - including some of those inside id Software, for example - thought this was a crazy idea at the time. But the more ideological coders won out, and were proven right. By allowing fans to tinker with wares, they vested an audience and increased the shelf life of products. Is there a way to battle piracy while protecting this hobby?
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.