A new mandatory update for the Xbox 360 has been released over Xbox Live. The update, available upon signing on to the Xbox Live service with a 360, offers a few minor bug fixes, as well as a seal over a minor security hole that would-be system hackers had been experimenting with.
The official list of enhancements and bug fixes offered by the update is a few unspecified improvements to the Xbox Guide, an option to retain saved games when deleting an Xbox Live profile, a more accurate measure of the last time played, improved network configuration for Netherlands-based players, and more informative error messages for unreadable disc or disc region warnings.
Not listed in the improvements is an alleged fix mentioned by a pseudonymous commenter on the weblog of Xbox Live director of programming Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb: "The true purpose of this update was to halt the progress of the modding community. Their 'demo disk' doesn’t work any more."
The demo disc in question was produced for Xbox 360 retail demo kiosks, and was found not to contain any copy-protection when hackers obtained their own unauthorized copy of the software in mid-December, meaning it was possible to run demo versions of the Xbox 360 software on the disc on burned media. Several commenters on website Xbox-Scene seem to confirm that the disc is no longer functional.
Though experimentation with the demo disc had not yielded major advances toward defeating the 360's copy-protection schemes, Microsoft has evidently used the new 360 update as a preemptive move against the possibility of the system's security being breached. The firm will likely continue to do so through further remote fixes and upgrades, in a similar method to Sony's continuing PSP system upgrades, which both add functionality and fix possible security holes.