Microsoft is preparing to launch a new and important firmware update for the Xbox 360 home gaming console which will update its piracy protection systems, among other things, and will make a number of old systems unable to play newly released games.
Microsoft has said that it will try to replace all the old Xbox 360
consoles that are not completely compatible with the new firmware upgrade.
At the moment, all those who own one of the devices and have it connected to Xbox Live are set to receive an email message from Microsoft, allowing them to request a free Xbox 360 S console and one year of free access to the Gold tier of the Xbox Live service.
spokesperson has said, “Following a recent update to our system software, we have become aware of an issue that is preventing a very small number of Xbox 360 owners from playing retail game discs.”
He also described how the problem manifests itself, as ”a unique 'disc unreadable' or 'disc unsupported' error on the screen,” saying that those users who encounter one should try and contact Microsoft to make sure that they get a new and compatible Xbox 360.
Those gamers who are not connected to Xbox Live will get the new firmware upgrade via future retail game disks.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Microsoft added the new upgrade, saying it “impacts a sub-system intended to thwart the use of counterfeit games.”
Piracy on the Microsoft
platform has never been as big a phenomenon as on the PC, but making sure that as many people as possible get games through legitimate channels is important for the hardware developer and game publishers that work with it.
A study coming from TorrentFreak, a site that tracks activity on important piracy sites, suggests that big launches on the Xbox 360 were downloaded illegally more than 1 million times during 2010.