Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away.
Microsoft's Xbox Live mods have a heavy banhammer. The Redmond-based software giant will ban players for piracy, swastika emblems in Black Ops, or exposing themselves on camera while playing Uno. By far the most common ban reason, however, is accessing Xbox Live with a modded Xbox 360, whose "flashed" hard drive allows people to play pirated games online. Modders are banned in sweeps hundreds of thousand strong, and there's nothing they can do about it.
Or is there? Yesterday, users with banned Xbox 360s reported on sites like xbox-scene that they were able to log into Xbox Live on their banhammered consoles. I'm not sure how one discovers this short of habitually trying to log into Xbox Live every day, but there you have it.
It's unclear what, if anything, the users were allowed to do. As far as we can tell, they were still unable to buy games, demos, or play online - but they were logged in nonetheless.
Of course, it didn't last long. When notified of the ban lifting, Microsoft swiftly re-banned all of the undead 360s, booting them off of Xbox Live once more.
With Microsoft's rival PSN having more than its fair share of difficulties right now, it's not out of the question to wonder if this blip in the system is the result of someone trying to work their way into Xbox Live and screwing up along the line.
Of course, it's also possible that this was Microsoft messing around with its hardware to ensure that a disaster like the PSN debacle doesn't happen to Xbox Live, and forgetting to push the "ban everybody again" button when all was said and done.