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I just wanted to know how the xbox redeem system works, and if Microsoft recycles previous codes?

For the record I'm not trying to scam, I just came across a guy giving out beta codes for Gears3 but when I searched the codes a number of websites appeared.

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I wouldn't expect them to be recycled - that way lies fraud. –  ChrisF Apr 17 '11 at 12:40
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This is a tough one to find any definite facts on. I would venture a guess that ChrisF is correct. Because the cards can sit on a retail shelf for who knows how long on a card, or inside a box, they are likely all unique. There are codes available for redemption that are allowed to be used multiple times, but I've only ever seen them used for avatar awards (a Bing shirt at one time). –  Doozer Blake Apr 17 '11 at 13:29
    
Yeah thought so thanks guys! –  Tango Apr 17 '11 at 14:14
    
Reuse does not mean fraud. I can track used keys just as easily as I can attempt generating my own. I am willing to bet they have better security measures against fraud then simply not re-suing keys. –  Jesse Webb May 11 '11 at 19:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I would be shocked if they ever re-used a key, ever.

An Xbox key is a 25 character long string which can take letters or number. It does not differentiate uppercase from lower case.

The number of possible combinations is thus: 24+10(25) or 1038.

To give you an idea of how big of a number this is, there are an estimated ~1023 stars in the universe. If each of those stars had 1 planets around them, and each planet was inhabited by 1 billion people, and each person redeemed 1 million codes per decade. It would take 1 million years before they ran out of codes.

For Xbox to reuse codes they would have to implement an entire second system to recycle codes with 0 actual benefit.

I think it's a very safe assumption to say Xbox does not reuse codes.

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Is the 24 accounting for no I's and O's? I'm not sure all numbers are part of the codes, or at least I've never seen 1's or 0's in a code. –  Doozer Blake May 11 '11 at 22:45
    
What about 5/S and 2/Z? But still, even without the 1/I, 2/Z, 5/S, 0/O there would be a ton of codes to go around. –  Crag May 11 '11 at 23:43
    
Even without those 4 characters (and I'm not sure about them), you'd still have more than one code for every two atoms in the universe –  tzenes May 12 '11 at 7:16
    
Oh, I agree with you completely, it's along the same lines of their GUIDs. I was just curious if someone had a definitive list of characters that are accepted and not accepted, I've never been able to find it. –  Doozer Blake May 12 '11 at 10:51
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@Blake I don't know, but I know where I would ask –  tzenes May 12 '11 at 15:44

There is no way of knowing for sure.

My guess is that they do get recycled eventually after being redeemed. I am guessing Microsoft keeps some kind of "pool" of unused keys to use for new things. Once a one-time-use key is redeemed, I am guessing that Microsoft will put it back into the pool.

It is true that keys may be left in boxes or on store shelves for a very long time or even for forever. This means that they can't just use them as they please and they can't just randomly generate ones when they need new ones because they may already be out in the wild.

That all being said, the format they use for their keys is a 25 character, alphanumeric string. This provides enough uniqueness that they could probably get away with using news ones forever. At least in a given region. They may re-use keys between North America and other regions for all we know, the games don't work the same, I wouldn't expect the keys to either.

Bottom line, your guess is as good as mine.

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