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Microsoft downplays Korean Xbox 360 piracy problem

Microsoft has downplayed the impact of increasing software piracy for its next-generation games console in Korea, confident that the DVD firmware hack will be countered by updates on Xbox Live.

Microsoft has downplayed the impact of software piracy for its next-generation games console in Korea, confident that the DVD firmware hack will be countered by updates on Xbox Live.

Vendors in Seoul have reportedly increased sales of modified consoles over the past month after hackers altered the embedded software on the DVD drive to allow home-copied CDs to run on the machine.

"We will not place too much attention on it," stated Xbox local product manager Do Jung-han, who remains confident that the problem will be neutralised through software updates, which are automatically detected and prompted for installation whenever the console is connected to Xbox Live.

"Microsoft has warned the people who try to spread the knowledge that they will be subjected to the law. The users of pirated consoles will not benefit from the hardware warranty and they will not be able to download important software upgrades through the Xbox Live network. So we don't think many people will try it,'' he added.

According to local magazine Gamespot however, more consumers are attempting to bypass the security of the machine in order to purchase software at a considerable lower price. The magazine reports that the additional cost for a modified console is approximately KRW 70,000 (60 Euro), noting a marked increase in their availability over the past few months.

Pirated software is said to be readily available for as little as KRW 15,000 (12 Euro), compared to the standard retail price of around KRW 40,000 (33 Euro), making the purchase of a modified Xbox 360 an extremely tempting prospect.

Microsoft's original Xbox console suffered heavily from piracy - hackers broke down the security of the system with apparent ease and modified consoles were readily available worldwide.

The company is, for the time being, confident that the security of its next-gen machine is far more robust, relying on the additional security provided through Xbox Live, which is a key component of both the gaming and community features of the machine.

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