Mod chip company in HK back -- without mod chips

A Hong Kong company, Lik Sang International, that had been selling modification chips -- known as mod chips -- which could be used to circumvent region codes on game software for consoles like Microsoft's Xbox and Sony Computer Entertainment's (SCEI) Playstation 2 resumed operations this week, one month after being shut down by a court order.

Region coding on game software is intended to reduce software piracy by regulating which software titles are available in certain markets. Users have been able to circumvent this by using mod chips -- which can be connected by wires or soldered to a game console's motherboard -- to play games imported from other markets.

Mod chips can also be used to convert game consoles into computer systems, utilizing the consoles' PC-like architecture.

In response to a suit filed by Microsoft, SCEI and Nintendo Co. Ltd., which alleged that mod chips and other equipment sold by Lik Sang infringed on copyrights related to their game consoles, Hong Kong's High Court issued an injunction on Sept. 16 to stop Lik Sang from selling mod chips.

After shutting down operations for a month, Lik Sang resumed business on Oct. 15 and no longer sells mod chips for game consoles, instead focusing on accessories such as dust covers and cooling fans. "Lik Sang is now not in a position to sell the questioned products (mod chips) in the immediate future," the company said in a notice posted on its Web site.

While Lik Sang no longer sells the chips, they can still be found online from other sources, such as Modchip.com.