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Crashing Xbox Kiosks 662

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-pretty-damn-funny dept.
quannump writes "Gaming Age has an article up about some stores, including Toys R Us and Babbages, Xbox kiosk crashing at various places across the country. "Out of five stores that have playable demos within a ten mile area, only two have working units," says one Babbage's employee." It's funny because it's Microsoft. Get it? It's... oh never mind. Is DOA3 still planned as x-box only?
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Crashing Xbox Kiosks

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  • Re:Xbox Crash (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dimensio (311070) <`moc.uolgi' `ta' `ratskrad'> on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:45PM (#2466794)
    I don't disagree regarding the graphics. The only playable demo at the local software stores where I live is Munch's Oddysee. I know that it's a first-gen game but I remember many first-gen PS2 games that looked better (better texture quality, mostly).

    The rest of the disc was just "non-interactive", and I try not to judge game footage based upon console FMV -- there is always significant degredation of the image quality. Still, it didn't impress me terribly, didn't look like anything I'd want to play.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:50PM (#2466856)
    Newer game consoles are shipping with heatsinks and fans, items which weren't needed in previous generations of game systems. What's scary is that this is even though Sega and Sony have intentionally done things to keep power consumption down, like using lower power CPUs like the SH4 and MIPS and keeping the amount of memory reasonable.

    Microsoft is putting in a hot running CPU that was never designed for embedded systems use and twice the memory of the PS2. Sure, that makes it more powerful in a way, but it also may be over the line in terms of what you can do inside of a sealed consumer box. Remember, "more powerful" has never been the mantra of embedded systems engineers, but "cool running" and "rock solid reliable" are.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:51PM (#2466875) Homepage
    The last time I was in Microsoft's retail outlet at the Sony Metreon in SF, two of the six game stations (Win2K PCs, not XBox) had crashed.

    Over at the Sony Playstation store, everything works all the time. (Most of the PS2 games suck, but that's a separate problem.)

    The XBox runs a cut-down version of Win2K, which supports one multi-threaded application at a time, running in kernel mode. It may have been a mistake, to use the architecture of a desktop OS without the protection.

  • by supabeast! (84658) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:55PM (#2466912)
    Demo kiosk units for modern game consoles usually have these problems, especially prerelease systems that use early hardware revisions. The crashing usually results from overheating caused by the machines running 24/7, in small enclosures with poor, if any ventilation. I have seen plenty of the old Dreamcast display units hung up and crashing to a black screen with a little text. It might also be due to the early software revisions in the machines.

    Of course, anyone who had an old NES should remember that many of the system's games were very crash prone. I cannot begin to describe how many time I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crash, to the point that I knew what areas to walk away from when parts of the screen would become distorted...
  • by EnglishTim (9662) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:55PM (#2466917)
    All consoles have a central processor, a graphics chip, some sound hardware and memory. Just because it's 80x86 rather than PowerPC/MIPS/SH4 doesn't make any difference.

    The big difference is that it's the only one using a stripped-down version of a PC operating system. Oh, and it has a hard drive.

    The main thing that makes PCs so vulnerable to crashes is the huge variation in hardware. XBox doesn't have this problem as all XBoxes (at the moment) are all the same.
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @12:57PM (#2466936) Homepage Journal


    With the exception of the dreamcast (which may be the first gaming console with a fan built in), other consoles have used cooler-running chips. Don't know too much about the PS2, but the PSX was using a RISC chip built by SGI. Probably the same for PS2.


    xBox, OTOH, will be using commodity intel-based hardware which has historically had heat and energy consumption issues.
  • by Troed (102527) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @01:06PM (#2467044) Homepage Journal
    Bad usability .. Microsoft should really hire some HCI people. You _never_ ask people to "OK" (a positive thing) an error (a negative thing) .. "no, it's not ok!" ..
  • Re:So, um... (Score:2, Informative)

    by yellowjacket03 (470997) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @01:16PM (#2467144)
    Game systems are often sold at a loss. The games themselves are what the companies make money on. The notable exception is Nintendo, who has of yet to sell a system at a loss.
  • Re:Websense Error (Score:3, Informative)

    by robi2106 (464558) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @01:19PM (#2467164) Homepage Journal
    ::yoink::

    There's an Xbox that's broken and it isn't in any living room in America yet. The Xbox demo unit at a nearby Toys R Us store could not give consumers a taste of the new Microsoft console because of severe loading problems. The Xbox unit had no disc inside and displayed a menu screen to access the hard drive and CD player. But customers who tried to navigate through menus could do little else but wait while the machine tried to load the next menu. The audio that accompanied the menu screen transition skipped severely as well. After a three minute wait, the Xbox reached the next screen but continued to have load problems. Multiple resets also failed to resolve the problem. Soon after, a screen appeared that said the Xbox needed customer service repair. The screen provided a list of customer service phone numbers to contact.
    Several Toys R Us employees did not know what went wrong with the Xbox demo unit that now carried a "Out of Order" sign. The store received their unit on Tuesday. The in-store demo units are believed to be actual finalized hardware that consumers will see at launch.

    GA has received several reports on problems with in-store Xbox units.

    An Xbox unit in the Germantown, MD Target store is reported to have "freezing" problems that requires employees to open the kiosk every 75 minutes to reset the console.

    An Xbox unit in Software Etc. store in Souix Falls, SD was reported to skip, freeze, and have audio problems.

    An Xbox unit at a Babbages store in Mobile, AL was reported to have similar problems.

    A Babbages employee at the Dearborn, MI store reports that their Xbox unit does not function.

    "Out of five stores that have playable demos within a ten mile area, only two have working units," says the employee.

    Microsoft recently delayed the Xbox launch and will ship an unspecified number of units on November 15th. It's unclear whether load problems were a source for delay. A Microsoft representative was contacted for the story but did not reply at press time.

    We'll have more as it develops, here at GA.

    -- Marcus Lai

  • by Carnage4Life (106069) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @01:32PM (#2467304) Homepage Journal
    If early generation games crash, Microsoft will have a perception problem regardless of who is at fault. The bar is set higher for entry machines these days. PlayStation and PlayStation II were not prone to crashing.

    As someone already mentioned, comparing a kiosk that runs the early version of the console 24/7 in a poorly ventilated environment is different from comparing the final consumer product being used in regular conditions. As for Playstation II's not crashing, you must have a very short memory. I seem to remember headlines like PS2 glitches likely to drag down Sony's earnings [cnet.com], Sony finds glitches in three PS2 games [cnet.com] and more when they first came out and look how successful PS2 is now.

    I say, the jury is out until the holiday season is over before we can tell if X-Box will be a success or failure.
  • Re:Xbox Crash (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @01:39PM (#2467389)
    This is an utter lie. The disk sent out to retailers has only one playable game, and it isn't a driving game.
  • Target Employee (Score:3, Informative)

    by superslacker (520675) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @02:08PM (#2467647)
    I work on the salesfloor at a Target store and regularly work electronics. It seems every time I pass by the damn X Box kiosk I need to unlock it and reset it. The first day we had it the screen showed "Please Wait..." on the screen for the entire day until we managed to get keys to the kiosk to reset it. From what I've seen the graphics don't seem all that great, and the controls are much less than great. I think I'll just stick to my computer.
  • by kdoherty (2232) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @03:06PM (#2468191)
    I tend to keep my gaming consoles running for a long time, and my first PS2 died within a week. I've had freezeups with Gran Turismo 3 (not using the wheel), and Dave Mirra 2 (which has an annoying bug where it'll freeze up and do this odd blinking thing after a long period of continuous use.

    I've seen 3 Dreamcasts fail because of bad CD drives. On one, the motor died, on the others, it was the actual CD logic board. The software was more solid though.

    Really, as we get more and more moving parts into consoles, they're going to become less reliable. That's just how it works. I bought a well-worn SNES on eBay a few years ago and it had over a year-long uptime. Same with my N64. However, my PS2 and Dreamcasts, with CD drives and fans, have been noticably less reliable. When you see hard disks come into the fray, expect this to increase significantly.
  • by dark_panda (177006) on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @03:19PM (#2468300)
    Early PS2 releases were known to be somewhat buggy. Several games like Madden 2001 and Tekken Tag Tourament were known to cause regular lockups way back during the PS2 release. This was later fixed in subsequent versions. The shitty thing is is that you can't tell one version from the next, and I think the license even says they can change the game without notice, so if you get a buggy one, you're out of luck when they release a fixed edition.

    I rented one of the buggy TTTs a few weeks ago. I could barely play an entire game without it locking up.

    The recent Gauntlet title, Dark Legacy, has also locked up my machine on a few occaisons.

    J
  • DOA3? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ashshy (40594) <pooh@noSpAm.poetic.com> on Tuesday October 23, 2001 @06:07PM (#2469319) Homepage Journal
    Oh, you mean Dead On Arrival 3? Yeah, that would be X-Box only.

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