How to pirate Microsoft Xbox 360 games

In the world of the pirates copied games are called “backups”. The technique to allow your Xbox 360 to play backups is called “flash” and there is a very good tutorial of how to do it here. And obviously it gets discussed on the forums. There are even videos. Once you have flashed your 360 you no longer have to pay $60 per game which is a massive saving. It is really cool that Microsoft have made piracy so easy.

Piracy is also really easy on the Sony PSP which is one reason why hardly any games are sold despite a massive user base. You can download everything you want for free using Bit Torrents. The Nintendo DS is also very, very easy to use with pirated games. Using flash memory to hold a whole pile of games on the DS has rocketed in popularity in recent months. This is saving end users a fortune. There are companies out there who specialise in helping you make backups on any console.

Of course the grand daddy platform for piracy is the PC, where most games can be downloaded for free long before they are even available in the shops. Nobody in their right mind actually pays for a PC game. Which may explain why developers have largely stopped making boxed PC games.

The thing is that piracy, ultimately, leads to the death of the activity that the pirates crave after. The production of new games. They destroy what they love. Also they are ignorant enough not see themselves as the thieves that they really are.


  1. Really what this shows is that we are seeing symptoms, but what is the cause. How can we treat the cause?

    Mabey its by adding value to the purchase by using things like steam, where i can purchase my games and then redownload them to any machine I own and play them while “I’m” logged in.

    Piracy is and has been a fact of life, now is the time to find ways to make it less appealing than buying the products.

  2. I don’t see how steam adds value, having an original cd/dvd will install much quicker, Although value can not possibly be placed on a $0.10 cd/dvd. The only solution is to lower prices to make piracy not worth the effort.

  3. I agree with Bperry entirely. Digital game delivery to applications such as Steam (which must be harder to pirate, if possible at all?) seems to be the best avenue for PC. Lowering the prices wont make a difference in my opinion. Quite simply why pay when you can get it for free? Why even bother travelling to the shops to buy it when you can download it etc etc.

  4. This is scary. As a game developer, I’d like to continue being a game developer for the rest of my life, providing people great new titles… but how can I do that without any revenue?

    It’s simply impossible to run a company without revenue. I just released my first game, Lex Venture, and it is already pirated. Not expensive, 20 dollars, but pirates don’t care if I have to pay employees and infrastructure.

    I think we will have to think over our business model. Which is pretty difficult considering the sea of low-quality freeware/flash games on the Internet.

  5. Personally I love steam. I would purchase all my games on steam if I could. I’ve been buying video games since high school and have a lot of game cds and dvds laying around. I’m hesitant to throw it away because I might actually want to go back and play some of the classics. Steam allows me never have to worry about that, if I want to replay an old game all I have to do is re-download it. The recent announcement from Gabe Newell that he hopes to have all games ever made available on steam is extremely exciting. Steam is the future of PC gaming and it actually makes me sad when I have to purchase a game in a store.

  6. I don’t think “added value” is the benefit of Steam- at least, not for me. (I only have one games computer. I doubt I’m unusual in that respect.)

    Standing in a busy high street shop with three £20 notes in my hand in a neon-lit shop with bad music playing and a bunch of Nintendo dogs isn’t a good way to get me to spend my hard earned money. Sat at home, in front of my computer, maybe having just watched a trailer or played a demo for a really cool looking game, maybe after a couple of beers/glasses of wine, while I’m relaxed and comfortable- that’s the perfect time to get me to type in my credit card details.

    And if I’ve already done the hard work (entering all those 16 digits, billing address etc.) in something like Steam, and it’s just a case of clicking a button to buy it, then you’ve got a winner on your hands.

    Actually, I can’t remember the last time I bought a game that wasn’t through Steam or Amazon… Oh yes I can- it was Lego Star Wars (Original Trilogy) on the Nintendo DS, the day it came out (I was on holiday at the time.) I thought it looked great, but it turned out to be an absolute dog. Which, if I’d been online, I would have looked up some reviews and found that out before I bought it…

  7. Game piracy has always been with us. Back in the 80’s, I remember hearing some friends talk about copying an Apple IIe game between themselves.

    Today’s problem is that the internet has magnified piracy to the point that it threatens the very life of the industry itself. The people who are pirates are immature and selfish people who only care for themselves.

    How do we stop it? I’m not sure, but better laws and software protection is a good start. Outlawing torrent software is another good step.

  8. 80% of all internet traffic is torrents. And nearly 100% of that is IP being stolen. Frightening.

  9. Piracy is what happens when the poor get screwed long enough. Piracy is a reaction to greed.

  10. ^

    Agreed. Paying £40 for each game is not worth it. Most games now-a-days are crap, and half of them take about 3 hours to complete. I buy the games after playing them. If they deserve my money, they’ll get it.

  11. “killing the industry”… ha. There are a dozen game companies making so much money it’s not even funny. The MMO market is INSANELY rich.. not only does it prevent piracy because private servers are barely populated and never updated/changed, but they charge you for the game AND a monthly rate. The MMO market is where game profits have shifted.. and that’s just how it’s going to be. There are some upcoming games that innovate the MMO concept to previously unmapped genres, and that is where game developers should focus if they want to stay afloat. Like others said.. most games suck these days… not fun to play, not long to play, and no way you’ll ever play it again. The really successful companies are the ones making really great games… and the game industry has been growing finacially at amazing rates.. piracy isn’t killing anything other than crappy game companies and their crappy games. For all the indie developers out there complaining.. create a good game and people will pay for it… some will steal.. but there is a huge niche of people willing to pay for something.. especially if it’s a gem.

  12. If games weren’t so overpriced, piracy wouldn’t be a problem.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to demand an absurd amount of money for your product which may or may not be of any real value, it’s just unrealistic to think people should feel bad about stealing it.

    Most of the stolen material is taken by people who wouldn’t pay money for it in the first place. Pirates steal because they don’t have the money or aren’t willing to spend it in the first place.

    Most pirates will pay for something that’s actually worth it to them. On the other hand, buying a 60 dollar game (or renting it for like 10) and finding out it’s trash isn’t exactly fair either. It’s like a car. As soon as you find out it’s worthless, it’s too late to sell it for anything near the original value regardless of its condition.

  13. I pirate games a fair bit; but generally not ones I am WILLING to pay for, to show with pride on my shelf. I generally pirate older games I can’t get a hold of via bargain bins/re-releases; or that just aren’t that good. Crysis, Oblivion, Company of Heroes, Medieval 2 TW, The Witcher, all sit proudly upon my shelf. And Spore (*cough* probably should have pirated that one)

  14. You know guys….back in 1997 when I was in my 6th Grade, I bought a game ‘Cricket 97’ from EA Sports for $12, it was worth it & 2 years later in 1999, Cricket 99 for $23…but this time it was so lame that i stopped buying games.

    Truth to be told one can buy 10 DVD games for $23 in my country, India. I would rather go & buy games from store if the price is low, rather than downloading. Trust me, anyone would love to buy the real thing & relish it with the peace of mind if the price is low.

  15. Hx is correct! A current example are the Somalii pirates. Europe steals their fish (within their coastal waters) and dumps nuclear waste on their other coast. The shipping lane they are on carries 20% of the worlds oil and they have had enough. They do not have a government because there are no taxes that can be collected. Hx is dead on.

    This and the gaming industry are very similar. The power (Microsoft) sells the product at a loss and commands another power (EA, etc) to charge no less that a high enough amount to cover exorbitant fees. Leaving the powerless (pirate) with a machine that can’t be used, unless they pay to cover all the fees and production value and profit. At that point the pirate is born.

    This is the economic version of the Logic Principle as breading terrorists. The exact same Logic Principle when looked at philosophically. The same Logic Principle as anarchy (in politics) and crime (in sociology). It inevitably leads to war, punishment and law suits (music industry). One would have to be ignorant, amoral or immoral to choose this path. To choose this course of action, willingly, and for profit appears to be the case here.

    Very rarely, a whistle-blower can show the intent. As Bruce does here.


  16. “Nobody in their right mind actually pays for a PC game. ”

    “They destroy what they love. Also they are ignorant enough not see themselves as the thieves that they really are.”

    You seem to be for the pirates and then against, I’m confused…

  17. Two words, product placement. TV makes money because people want to see shows right away and so they watch the ads anyway it is also a hassle to ff through them. If game companies used product placement in their games they could make a lot of extra cash and lower prices, giving people less reason to pirate.

  18. Good Ideas, I must disagree. Adverts compel me to pirate, not to purchase. When I deal with art I want the artists interpretation and not one littered with disturbances.

  19. hey people you shoulds now get worry because blue ray are coming with a complex 256 bit of coding which i now is very very very dificult to break rather than DVD simply copying them.eample A ps3 game you can take

  20. is this guy serious!!!!!!!!!!! “It is really cool that Microsoft have made piracy so easy.” It is NOT flipping easy i have no idea what to do. and i’m not going to bother if i have to do some random x method of wire sata making since the guys can’t explain anything.

  21. @ 21:

    you are just a casual idiot who can’t google.

  22. to pirate a game is the basic term to rent and copy but it says your allowed to make a copy for your own personnel use so tecnically unless they sell the copys on the internet and dont make more profit from the company its legale the reson they charge you monthly rates is simply becuase their making money tecnically from the software thats transferring the game and not the game it self SO ITS LEGALE BY LAW NOT MORALE!!!


  24. @21:

    It is very easy to pirate xbox 360 games. Once you get your dvd drive flashed on your xbox 360 and get the right DVD drive for your computer, copying them is litterally like a 4 click process

  25. Dude I love playing piraed games man. I probably have downloaded easily over $10,000 worth of wootleg software in my entire life. Do I consider it stealing? yup….Am I okay with not paying $10,000 and having a guilty conscience knowing I will burn in hell. Hells! yeah man! Suck it M$!!!!!

  26. Hi Andy,
    Interesting IP address you have there:
    Whois tells me:
    OrgName: Road Runner HoldCo LLC
    OrgID: RRMA
    Address: 13241 Woodland Park Road
    City: Herndon
    StateProv: VA
    PostalCode: 20171
    Country: US

    OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE10-ARIN
    OrgAbuseName: Abuse
    OrgAbusePhone: +1-703-345-3416

  27. Way to go, Bruce!

  28. woah did bruce just tell where andy lives?

  29. Not exactly right to publish that information even if Andy is being a dick. You yourself are no different than Andy by promoting the illegal enterprise. When googling “pirated xbox 360 games” this page is the first hit. Followed by a myriad of links in detail explaining exactly how to do it.

    Can’t complain about murder when you handing out bullets.

  30. Well… i was never going to buy an xbox but i recently found out how easy it is to flash crack the machine. Ill buy one and download everygame i cant buy on the ps3 or dont want to buy.

  31. Anybody that pirates is nothing but a low life theif. Don’t cry about high prices or that companies like MS already have enuff money. Do you get paid for working!?? That’s what I thought so do I and they deserve to get paid for thier work as well. Do all the theives think we should be able to go in to wall-mart and take anything that they can carry? HAVE SOME HONOR pay for your on suff or don’t play.

  32. Unless I am mistaken, once an Xbox 360 is “flashed” or modded in any way the machine will never again be able to connect to Xbox Live. That alone will forever deter me; XBLA games, Netflix, and online play comprise roughly 60% of my Xbox usage.

    Publishers like SquareSoft are slowly imagining ways to combat piracy on the DS, and I am sure that a large amount of Nintendo’s reasoning behind the upgradeable firmware on the DSi pertains to combating flashcarts.

    As far as the PSP, most games I see released for the system these days are cheap ports. Not that this in any way justifies piracy, but unless the PSP Go! manufactures gold doubloons I can’t imagine a future where the platform can stay more than marginally relevant. Or unless Sony clones the iTunes store, apps and all.

    Sadly, Steam is the only somewhat effective deterrent to PC piracy. EA has enacted such draconian anti-piracy measures that they deter actual sales. Of course, there will never be a pirated copy played of one of the most popular and profitable games on the PC: World of Warcraft.

    It seems that the only effective deterrent to piracy is online play, or at least some sort of online functionality. According to exhaustive research on The Internet, 63% of America is currently connected online via broadband, and most of the U.K. is speedily surfing (with a “commitment” to hit the boondocks by 2012).

    Publishers aren’t winning the war, but game pirates are fighting a losing battle against the most popular games, with even PC pirates rendered impotent by the brains behind Valve and Blizzard. I have hope.

    Movie and music piracy? That war was lost before the turn of the millenium.

  33. Hey bruce..catch me too.BTW blue ray r just a thing waiting to b cracked…and hey noone can win the war against piracy Also…i buy 2 pc games and one xbox 360 game for a dollar back here… and yes piracy rocks,,,,dunt like piracy??? hehe..btw windows 7, pirates are all around you

  34. Piracy cant be stopped…until the prices for game dvd’ are low. Its only because of price that these companies loose out a considerable no.. of buyers. In India the population is more than 100 crore(around 1000 million!!), majority of them are youth. If the game companies reduce their prices much do you think they are going to profit(I think that will make half of Bill Gates empire).
    I live in a remote town in the north east hills. We hardly get any original games here and even if they r available, they are way overpriced.
    What do you think will be the easiest way to get them??
    If i go in the grey market i can easily get bunch of pirated games at 45$.Recently i went to buy RE5, it was around 4-5k INR (N/A, i had to order it if i needed). An average income of a middle class family is around 12-15k INR. Do you think they can afford it!! I am not talking about conscience..coz nobody gives it a dam when they hav to starve to play games.
    And its India where MS is still dumping the rejected xbox crap boxes from around the world(mostly Australia)..and even at double price!! what a joke..NO JASPER here yet!@# all we hav here are repaired FALCON ones. I think they are the the 95nm ones which had RROD probs.what do you people think we should do??

  35. The reason I pirate games is because I simply cannot afford them (my mother is struggling with money enough as is).

    It ain’t that hard either, If a 15 year old can pirate Xbox games, so can you.

  36. I will honestly admit I have pirated games, but as stated before by someone else, I usually do actually go out and buy the game if it is worth my money. There was 1 exception to this. The Sims 2. I bought the Sims 2 when it first came out, lost my game discs, contacted EA to see what the disc replacement policy was and after being hung up and yelled at by different EA supervisors, I decided to just pirate The Sims 2. I had the box still, EA was giving me no answers other than “GO BUY ANOTHER F****** GAME!” and I was like 15 at that time. I couldn’t afford to go buy another copy of the game. So I Pirated it.

    Examples of pirated games:
    Fallout 3 (Bought)
    Oblivion (Originally bought for xbox 360, pirated for pc for different experience)
    Spore (Bought)
    The Sims 3 (Pre to it being Released, Bought (Collector Edition))
    Baldur’s Gate 2 Shadows of Amn & Throne of Bhall (Was given to me when I was like 10, lost and could no longer find it)
    Neverwinter Nights 2 (Bought, EPs 1 and 2, never got to try Mysteries of Westgate)

    All of these games are now or at some point sitting in my desk. It’s a try before you buy type deal. BioWare I trust in their games, however, Obsidian I do not. (Long time fan of BioWare, bought KOTOR2 and it just sucked.)

    Even to this day I am finicky with my money, however, buying games that I truly enjoyed, does this make me an immoral person? I do agree the prices are outrageous. However, lowering the prices does reduce profit margin which couple with the amount of work necessary to produce this game, may not make it worth it. At last figure, I heard that it costs close to $6 million to produce a good game (thats including advertising, E3, production, creation, shipping, etc.). So that means at $60 a game at a retail store, the publisher probably sells for $20 a game. So the Publisher would need to sell 300,000 games to even break even. Thats an astronomical number to have to sell to break even. And under any economic law, thats sheer idiocy.

    However, for the limited utility that games provide, does it warrant higher prices? No.
    Does it warrant current prices? For some games, perhaps. Battlefield 2 was a complete waste of money in my opinion. I returned the game the SAME day I bought it.
    Do most games warrant lower prices? If not all games should lower prices, however, that will inherently increase the amount of product needed to be sold from an astronomical number to a ridiculous number that NO sane businessman or businesswoman would ever invest in.

    So where do programs like Steam & StarDock play into this?
    They allow virtual copies of games, lower publishing costs for publishers (no more shipping costs, no more raw materials costs for discs and high tech capital to inscribe the discs, et cetera). So in my opinion, it is an economic decision for both consumers and producers to move to an entirely digital form of game selling. But that DOES require an internet connection, not something all of the world can afford.

    So then enters the problem of general marketing? Do I want to target lower income families and produce physical copies of the games for a higher cost to me and a higher cost to them (Thus reducing the demand for that product) or do I want to produce only digital copies of the games over programs like Steam for wealthier families who might not be as interested in my games?

    Wealthy families have different forms of entertainment than JUST electronics.
    I’m not talking about impoverished low income families, any businessman or woman looking to make money will not set their focus on the impoverished. That is just bad marketing, good PR perhaps, but bad marketing.

    So then all it really comes down to is what is the producer willing to spend to get a game to be produced at what price? The basic analysis of economics.
    Supply and Demand.
    At what point will I make the most money with the least amount input. Overproduce, and the price drops. However, under produce and the price skyrockets shoving demand down. Its the equilibrium point they must aim for and for an industry where when the game is finally being bought, the entire game is now a sunken cost. They want to at least break even.

  37. I’m also proudly free, thanks to piracy! =D
    (A quote I use on many forums)
    This discussion seems to have been dead for quite awhile, but I just bought an Xbox 360 on eBay (I don’t even have it yet, I do my research ahead of time), so I think we all know why I’m here. I don’t buy software, and I don’t plan to start. Real-world items cause enough as-is. I don’t need other necessities that cost money. To explain the quote I began with, why shackle yourself with the wastefulness of buying a sequence of 1’s and 0’s, when you can get those free and you’re really only paying for a piece of paper that says you have a copy of the game? I’m a practical man, and that’s not for me. Anyway, sure, you can post my IP address for all to see, but thanks for the free advertisement I suppose. You’d be doing me a favor, promoting my home server. =P

  38. easy fix is if game developers want gamers to buy the 5 to 6 games a month like they want to require us to do. then lower the price per game to a reasonable level. 60 bucks is way to much for a majority of games out there. and the fact that a lot of console games don’t get a reduction in price after a couple of years anymore. i just went to my local gaming store this past weekend and there were a number of titles that were released in early 2008 that were still 59.99. what is someone to do when they see the obvious price gouging of game publishers versus getting the game they want without starving for a few days?

  39. “Piracy, ultimately, leads to the death of the production of new games. They destroy what they love”

    I just wanted to comment on the above silly silly statement. The point is there is a cost for ‘EVERYTHING’…A price to pay on both sides!!!!

    Maybe what the software industry asks for its wares is more than what most people can afford.

    Software developers : “Don’t destroy what you love (the customers) because ultimately it will lead to the destruction of the very market you create!

    I mean case in point, why then does piracy exist if it’s not down to cost. I would say look at how forward thinking companies deal with piracy. I would say freeware like ‘spotify’ with it’s millions of subscribers offers choice! and ‘itunes’ and it’s 10bn customers offer choice! …

    Everyone has an annual limit of what they will spend (disposable income) on entertainment, be it movies or games so it comes own to value. In a throw away society there’s little value in anything therefore inanimate objects do not represent any real value at all.

    PC’s and software has not made life any better at all and I would argue that although we might play these games, please do not suggest that we actually love them. We pirate them because we detest the price we pay and as consumers are no longer willing to pay the profits to some fat tax avoiding director any longer. Stop developing and I’ll stop my kids sitting in front of the LCD….suites me…!

  40. Just reading some of the other comments….Software developers: Take a look at what’s happening to the music industry and wake up…Stop ripping people off you fat profit hungry ********….We see what year on year % growth has done to economies !…we borrowed the money to buy the games in the first place…right?…if not then why do I still owe the bank for my house?…

    Back off, wake up and offer value for what little money we have and maybe you’ll get some of it!

  41. I only buy games when I feel the developers have earned it and deserve the royalty. Not because I get a really cool box.

  42. I am a software developer and I believe that paying $60 for a video game is a rip off. Mainly because most game these days suck. And besides 95% of the revenue goes to everyone but the actual developers. By developers I meant programmers.

  43. Hey, I just bought my Xbox. The games cost more than 2k Rs. I heard tht it is possible to use pirate CD only after changing the Xbox stuff. I am not aware of it. Can anyone pl help me. Do i need to give it outside or can i do the reinstallin myself?

  44. I think the real reason that people pirate games is that the vast majority of gamers are kids with no access to a credit card to buy stuff online, and their parents are either too busy or unwilling to take them to GameStop. The obvious solution is to simply go to pirate bay and search whatever you want.

  45. i think pirating games is not nice for small children.It must have a age pg.It gives kidz big ideas!It is a


  46. I spent £40 on one of the Pro Evo games, 2008 i think.
    Biggest waste of money i ever spent on a game.
    The following year i spent £40 on Pro evo 2009 or whatever its called. Another f*****g waste of money.

    Also, games like ‘Prototype’ ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Dead Space’, these are the types of games that i WILL pay for.

    The majority of games nowadays cost ya 40 quid and you end up completing them after about 4-5 hours so its like what the F**K was the point in that?

    I agree to piracy, unless in the exception that the games rocks and the developers actually deserve my 40 pounds.

  47. I used whois and it wasn’t even close for me. While it did get my ISP corrent the address/city/postal code were so far off it wasn’t even funny some other people should test it out and see if it is correct for them.

    Personally regardless of the fact that I don’t do illegal things on the internet I find the idea of something like whois pretty scary considering the ramification not only on video games and the psychos you occasionally run into online but also the psychos you run into on forums (you know the ones that threaten your life because you believe differently or something else utterly ridiculous).

    This also scares me with child predators and stalkers that roam the internet. Personally I would rather something like that only be in the hands of police. Mainly because I can’t think of any good coming from the public having access to this site.

    I guess its good it doesn’t seem to be more popular

    Anyone else agree or am I just a worrywart.

  48. I still have no idea why Bruce posted that comment about Andy’s IP Address..

  49. I live in bali, Indonesia where all they have is pirated games and no orginails. They sell all 360 pirated games for just $3. So i have over 50 games. pretty sick, i also get all games about 2 weeks before their actual release date, which means I have halo reach already yeyah.

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