Xbox’s secret trick to catching would-be Microsoft leakers revealed

Back in the glory days of the Xbox 360, Microsoft had an issue with leakers.

It turns out a lot of people want to reveal information about upcoming games before they're officially announced, or before publishers are ready to spill the beans about their secret projects.

But, it turns out, Microsoft had a pretty nifty trick to help the platform holder track employees that were keen on leaking secrets.

A former Microsoft employee revealed on Twitter , in a now-deleted tweet, that the company was able to hide the serial number of Xbox 360 consoles onto the dashboard in a smart design trick that most people never even noticed.

Remember those pulsing rings at the bottom corner of the main Xbox 360 dashboard?

Well, it turns out they weren't just attractive, but ultimately useless, design choices – they were the key to finding out which people were leaking what content.

"One of the most fun jobs I ever had was figuring out how to embed the serial number of your Xbox 360 into rings emanating from the bottom right, so we could track and identify leaks," the deleted tweets read.

The clever designer hid a code that allowed you to figure out a console's serial number in three different ring widths, which combined with various distances from other rings, in order to communicate the serial code of the console you're playing on.

Basically, it mean that a screenshot or video footage from the dashboard could identify who was playing – sort of like a barcode.

This feature was ultimately removed from retail consoles, so your serial number is safe (if you've still got a 360).

Still, this method was effective – it cost at least one Microsoft employee their job !

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