So here is the skinny on what is going on. I noticed a little side article on in their news section that read something like ‘Mystery man to pay $200,000 to anyone who can crack the Xbox gaming system.’ Sounds like fun. A bit of tinkering with your Xbox, then a little hacking and you have 200,000 bones! I am sure that was the idea when the mystery man, who was later revealed as Michael Richardson of, hatched it and set the hackers loose on the Microsoft’s new endeavor.

Michael was quoted by CNET News as saying, “I did it because I thought people should have the choice to run the software they want on the hardware of their choice.â€?

This part made me laugh a little. His statement suggests that Microsoft is putting a gun against my head to get me to buy their product. While Microsoft is top of its class in the PC industry, it is relatively new to the console scene. Personally, I couldn’t be any happier with the way the Xbox has been flowing. Microsoft didn’t pioneer online console gaming, but they brought it to a new level. Sure, you can play online with the PS2, but not with the same ease as Live. Xbox Live has brought gaming into a completely new competitive light. People across the country and around the world are tapping into the network with their high-speed connections. They are donning their headset communicators and ripping up the scene in games like MechAssault and Ghost Recon. Not to mention Unreal Championship–which sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it. People want a flat fee and easy handling. Microsoft brought that and it has paid off big.

I recently was able to contact a representative from Microsoft on the situation. Here is what he told me. I asked him some general questions and he said there is no need to fear. While there is no legal action being taken at this time, the Microsoft Corporation is looking into it. For those of you who are addicted to Xbox Live, there is no reason to fear there either. Live is airtight. Anyone who tries to access Live with a tampered Xbox (such as an Xbox with codes for invincibility or ammo, or playing an unauthorized game) will be immediately booted and not allowed to use the Live system. said that they could not answer because this was a personal endeavor for Michael Richards and had nothing to do with the company. I have been unable to get an answer from them on who I can talk to about this.

Looking at it all, and giving one unbiased statement, all I can say is that Richardson needs to abandon this before jail time ensues and loses its CEO. If you really want to do something about Microsoft Richardson, why not build your own gaming console and stop messing with the already established ones. You know that in the end you are going to lose this battle. Whether you lose funding or interest, it is just a matter of time.

By Erik Spatt – 02/03/03

Screenshots for Xbox Under Attack