One of the groups working on a mod chip for the Xbox has pulled the plug on its project following legal consultations. The group, Enigmah-X, had hoped to create the second Xbox chip to go into circulation, following the release of the first working chip, the Xtender, for the system in May.
However, earlier this week their site was replaced with the following message: “After speaking to lawyers we feel that we must not do this project anymore. There are many other chips and methods for guys to play with anyway so have fun and good luck to everyone out there.”
Microsoft is known to have looked into legal methods to shut down mod chip production in the past. However, only Sony has successfully taken on the creators of mod chips in court – the company forced Channel Technologies, the makers of the Messiah PS2 mod chip, to shut down its activities before the chip was commercially released.
However, it was a somewhat incomplete victory for Sony, and Microsoft would be unwise to celebrate the closure of the Enigmah-X project too soon either. Messiah chips are currently being mass-produced in the far east, and several companies and individuals in the UK have stock of the chips and are prepared to install them for a price. Similarly, Xbox mod chips aren’t going to go away any time soon; plans for devices like these achieve a kind of immortality when they are uploaded to the Internet.
Xbox mod creators, however, claim to have the moral high ground in this discussion. Similarly to the Dreamcast hacking teams, they focus their efforts on creating chips which can run homebrew software rather than pirated games, such as the Xbox version of MAME (designed to emulate old arcade machines) and the recently released DivX video player.