Not more than 2 hours after buying my xBox360 it was ‘modded’. The console was opened, and the DVD ROM Drive in the unit had the stock firmware flashed over with iXtreme that allows disks to read while skipping the DRM checks. This allows me to play downloaded (stolen), and then burned games on my xBox360.

Now I didn’t do this because I am cheap, my extensive repertoire of paid for PC games on Steam would attest to this.

I did this because I have been a gamer since Quake 2, and in the last 7 years or so I have been seeing nothing but horribly produced, buggy, junk games fly off the shelves of retail outlets with a ship-now-patch-later mentality. I have probably wasted over $500 in ‘junk games’ that had a lot of hype but never delivered. I was sick of getting burned. After Cryptic released Star Trek Online I damn near quit gaming all together.

For about a year I downloaded title after title playing each for no more than 30 minutes before losing interest, and hardly ever on xBox Live. Even @jr33ca thought I wasted my money on a xBox360 and he was the one who convinced me to buy a console.

But I used the console a lot as a media center. Eventually the console was banned from xBox Live. I didn’t really care, it still played videos and games. But trying to play a game on xBox Live is pretty much baby sitting some bad parents 8 year old kid in Call of Duty.

Then one day a miracle happened. Rockstar Games released Red Dead Redemption… Actually it was before release. This game was so good, so engaging, with amazing single player play. After burning over 40 titles I finally found ONE game, just one, that I liked. I thought right away I would hop down to EB Games and snag a copy on release day.

But then I thought about it. Why bother? xBox Live already banned my console. I wont be able to play multi-player, get expansions. So I never did. I completed the game to 99.93% and then forgot about it.

To me this was bad. I am what I call a ‘Ethical Pirate’.  I download stuff to try it out, if it is good I buy the retail copy. This protects me from wasting $500+ of poor quality games. I honestly feel that if we don’t pay for the good products, there will be no more good products tomorrow. But I also feel that by buying the poor quality merchandise that we are basically telling manufactures that it is OK to produce and sell us garbage.

That being said due to my xBox360 being banned with no access to xBox Live I will absolutely not by a Windows 7 Phone. Rockstar did not receive any money from me (But they will once I get a PS3!), and my view on Microsoft in the game sector has been tarnished.

I do believe xBox Live was in the right with banning my console. But by closing this door they also closed many avenues where they could make money off me. Like a Windows 7 phone. Why bother buying a Win7 phone if it wont work my banned xBox360? For a company desperately clamouring to get into the smart phone game, they sure effed up. With over 1 million banned consoles how many other people like me wont buy the Win7 phone?


Edit April 2011:

I bought a PS3, and bought Red Dead Redemption with it. Also bought all the downloadable content.

Cheers @rockstargames!