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Xbox 360 Very Unstable 1113

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-say-anyone-is-surprised dept.
fmwap writes "There have been several postings over at Xbox-scene complaining of crashing Xbox's on new games, with default settings on single player. Crashes on Xbox Live and on startup have been reported too, and Project Gotham Racing 3 crashes before finishing the first lap. Screenshots and Video are available showing the crash."
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Xbox 360 Very Unstable

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  • by Beatbyte (163694) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:31AM (#14099520) Homepage
    for every smirk on the /. readers' faces who read this article and have preached against Microsoft in the last few years.

    but seriously.... I wonder why Sony takes it's time developing their console as opposed to rushing it out the door to try to gain marketshare like some other greedy corporation does...[/sarcasm]

    I hope this costs Microsoft DEARLY
  • upgrades (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tezbobobo (879983) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:31AM (#14099523) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know if these things are upgradable? or what the process is? Microsoft has a history of being first to markwt with buggy software. In the past it has been a strategy which has worked for them. Still, I long for the days of cartridges. Just reminissing - please don't flame me. But do answer if you know about upgradability/
  • by pjh3000 (583652) * on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:32AM (#14099529) Homepage
    So half a dozen out of the hundreds of thousands of new Xbox 360 owners are having problems. Why does Slashdot have to state "Xbox 360 Very Unstable"? I've had bad installs of Linux too. Would we see the headline on Slashdot "Linux Very Unstable" too?

    This is normal. With the massive number of parts in the Xbox 360, it's to be expected that some are defective on a few units. Microsoft will give them a replacement. Move along, nothing to see here.
  • see....... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xao gypsie (641755) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:32AM (#14099530)
    This is why I never buy technology when it is first released on the market...
  • by Kazzahdrane (882423) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:35AM (#14099548)
    You won't be getting a dollar from me then. If this is a big hardware problem I feel bad for the developers who had to work long hours to get their product ready for launch date.
  • by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie@@@semiaccurate...com> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:37AM (#14099565) Homepage
    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=27893 [theinquirer.net]

    80 or 110W CPU (I have heard both ways), a GPU equivalent to the ~100W R520, a HD, RAM and a constantly spinning DVD in a box how big?

    And people wonder why they crash. Anyone who has one want to comment on how hot they get?

              -Charlie
  • by Bill the Bilby (787404) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:38AM (#14099581)
    ... You know they won't. The problem with today's software (and combined hardware/software) manufacturers and vendors has nothing to do with the programmers themselves. Companies have simply responded to the paying public's demand for new toys with no wait. We want our toys NOW, not later. And buying trends for YEARS now have indicated that computer and computer program buyers are more then willing to purchase a program and then spend a significant amout of time patching and updating it- often right out of the box.

    Microsoft responded to this in the way that gained them the most extra profit- they rushed the system to market without (apparently enough) random batch testing or other beta testing. People (lots and lots of people) bought the systems. They are crashing. Microsoft will now start to release patches (probably over Live) that correct this bug or that. The paying public will accept this and install them. People who buy XBox 360s down the road will expect the patches to be installed before they buy the system- but they'll still expect to have to install more at some point.

    It's NOT the computer companies fault things have grown this way. They- like all companies- are a FOR-PROFIT venture, and will do whatever they think is the thing that will garner them the most profit. Period.

    Welcome to Capitalism, enjoy your stay.
  • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:39AM (#14099586) Homepage
    We whine when they delay and push back release dates of their OS over and over again but when they finally do come out with something "on time" (whatever that means) and it's not up to par we give them shit.

    So they can't win. Everyone knew that already but seriously it's not going to cost them anything.

    Consider their "limited release numbers" early adoption beta testing. They got them out there into the real world without having to give the units away and now they are getting the feedback they need to add to the new "revisions" that will still be out before the PS3.

    It's a good thing though, the *only* reason I could ever see purchasing an XBox with Live would be for racing online. Now that I can't do that I might as well wait for Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 w/o network play ;)
  • by xbrownx (459399) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:40AM (#14099595)
    Is that all it takes?

    I would hope people would take more of a wait and see approach to see how widespread the problem is.
  • Re:upgrades (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:41AM (#14099608)
    Um MSFT has gotten away with selling buggy software because they were easily upgradable. Considering how one has to upgrade windows and he fact you need third party software to install all the updates smoothly before you go online. With this MSFT is going to have to either force users to hook it up to the Net(at extra cost probably), or download and burn ISO files.

    yea MSFT is going to learn the hard way selling cheap hardware is a lot different than selling cheap software.
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BillyOcean (933372) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:48AM (#14099651)
    As usual, doesn't take much to tickle the AntiMicrosoft fanboys. Apparently, all u need is a sensational "MS product sux" headline, no gathered facts required.
  • by Phybersyk0 (513618) <phybersyko@@@stormdesign...org> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:49AM (#14099667)
    somebody mod the parent post up.
    At work we get large quantities of hard drives from various manufacturers and out of every batch we usually get 1 or 2 that just will not spin up, or have other errors prohibiting their use.

    Considering the condition of some of the boxes I've seen people carrying out of the stores, it's no wonder there isn't a few machines that have had parts wriggle free.

    They probably make sure the system boots to the dashboard and then send it on for packaging.

    I seriously doubt that ANY video game console company does burn-in testing for 24-hours before shipping the unit to market. The costs would be (more) astronomical.
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:54AM (#14099707) Homepage
    Well, I don't know about you, but if I buy systems with a *pre-installed* OS, no matter whether it's Linux or Windows or OS X or Plan 9 or whatever, I expect the system to be in a usable state. There is such a thing as quality control.

    This is even more true when you consider that a console is not like a PC - from a customer's point of view at least, it's much closer to any regular home appliance. To give an example, if you bought a new toaster and it didn't work, would you then say "that's OK, it might not have worked if I had installed NetBSD on it myself, too"? I don't know about you, but if I buy a toaster, I kinda expect it to be able to produce toast. And if I buy a game console, I kinda expect to be able to play games.

    And seriously, how many console models have you seen in your life that had this kind of failure after the initial launch? I've been buying consoles ever since the mid-80's, and I don't recall something like this happening ever, so I definitely would say that it *is* news indeed, in the truest sense of the word. Or is it just that it shouldn't be reported because it's Microsoft and you're a drooling fanboy who cries "M$ bashing! unfair! everytime he sees something that might be construed as being critical of M$?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:55AM (#14099713)
    How can you call the XBOX 360 'very unstable', based purely on a couple of sporadic forum posts, by anonymous people with no real media credibility. While I'm certainly not saying they are fake, I am saying some people have an agenda. And frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if some "hyper-ultra anti MS zealots" that frequent this site would do such a thing purely for kicks and a lack of maturity, such is the nature of those with a religeous devotion to something. Also, who says these people havn't opened up the XBOX, had a fiddle, tried some modding etc...

    Furthermore, with the exponentially increasing complexity of electronic products these days, it's to be expected that there will be some software bugs that need ironing out. A console as complex as the XBOX 360, with advanced networking features and a system such as Live will of course have some bugs to iron out. Microsoft will replace faulty units, because they wish the XBOX 360 to succeed and public outcry wouldn't be to there advantage.

    Finally, When Slashdot posts an article about the XBOX 360 launch, with links to sites effectively praising the console as an excellent product, with respected sites such as [H]ardocp giving it the thumbs up, it's poor journalism to immediately follow up with an instability article with poor sources. Common sense tells me if the XBOX 360 was 'very unstable', sites such as [H]ardOCP and GameSpy who would be testing and evaluating it extensively would also have run into issues, yet I see no mention of this on their sites.

    Very unstable? Rubbish. Editors need to be more responsible and ensure articles have an appropriate headline.
  • Heat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by captaineo (87164) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:56AM (#14099721)
    The graphics glitches in those screenshots look like what happens when a modern graphics card overheats. For some reason the contents of the video RAM tend to get corrupted (covered with checkerboard blocks or rainbow colors) right before the system halts altogether.

    I don't have an Xbox, but maybe you could try running it with the cover off or a fan blowing on it?
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:57AM (#14099724) Journal
    I wonder why Sony takes it's time developing their console as opposed to rushing it out the door to try to gain marketshare like some other greedy corporation does

    Are you suggesting Sony isn't some greedy corporation?
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @09:58AM (#14099734)
    We whine when they delay and push back release dates of their OS over and over again but when they finally do come out with something "on time" (whatever that means) and it's not up to par we give them shit.

    So they can't win. ...


    Ahh, but they can win...it's called proper project management.

    Delays can and do occur, but to be years off target is inexcusible. Rushing a product to market to meet the project deadline is also inexcusible. Microsoft has way too much experience in software development to not be able to estimate how long a project will take. When projects are chronically late by significant anounts of time, your means of estimating time to complete projects needs to be re-examined.

    Longhorn is estaimated to ship when, 2008 is it? This is several years behind schedule? (I don't know for certain.) Microsoft's project manager knew (or whould have known) what was going into the new OS and the developers should have been better prepared to provide a more reasonable estimate of the time needed to complete the project.

    Of course, the MS Marketing Dept. may be setting timelines and not the engineering/R&D department....no shock there.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:01AM (#14099751) Homepage Journal
    For all we know, it could be just bad game programming.

    The biggest problem I have with Microsoft OSs is the security, maintainability and usability.

    Under no circumstance do I believe that the NT line is unstable except for third party crap. Since 1998, I've had fewer BSODs with the NT-derived OSs than one every two years. The ones that I did get were actually because of bad hardware or a bad driver.

    Besides, no .0.00 release should be trusted to be stable, wait for an update.
  • by Raumkraut (518382) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:02AM (#14099762)
    It's NOT the computer companies fault things have grown this way. They- like all companies- are a FOR-PROFIT venture, and will do whatever they think is the thing that will garner them the most profit. Period.

    I wish people would stop peddling this line. A company's purpose is defined by the people who run it, not by some mystical property of company-ness. It just happens to be that most, but not all, companies seem to be run by people who desire money over anything else.
    Actually, perhaps not so much "just happens" - people driven to run a company are probably more likely to have money as their aim for doing so, because of the culture we live in.

      So I say it IS the companies' fault, at least partially, that we're in the state we're in.
  • Oh, They Can Win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:07AM (#14099804) Homepage Journal
    They could give us a correct estimate of how long it will take them to actually do the job correctly. Or better yet, not talk about their new product until it's actually out the door, which IBM had to do for a long time under their consent decree with the DOJ, since they used to regularly abuse their monopoly power in the mainframe market by claiming their new mainframe would have millions of new features that their competitors never even dreamed of and would be out in just one more year. So naturally everyone would hold off their IT purchasing for another year. Then IBM would push the release date back or release a product with far fewer features than they originally said they would. That was the original anti-competitive practise that IBM invented. Yes, Microsoft can't even be innovative in business process.

    Of course, they've also shown that they can win with their anti-competitive practises. Too bad there's not some sort of legal entity that will call them on it...

  • by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:09AM (#14099822)
    It sounds like either the dev kits weren't in sync with production units, or someone as MS decided to add a last minute DRM to the BIOS.

    It sounds like you're just making shit up.
  • by r00t (33219) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:10AM (#14099830) Journal
    In general, a company and/or the executives can get sued by the shareholders if profit isn't the primary goal.

    More specifically, it's "shareholder value", which is pretty much profit except that you might disguise the profit from the IRS.
  • Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paranode (671698) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:12AM (#14099853)
    Things like toasters and other appliances do come defective once in a while. This is not news. If your toaster is defective then you take it back and they replace it. There is nothing (yet) to indicate this Xbox problem is widespread. Slashdot just wanted to post this 'story' because they wanted to be able to laugh at MS and pretend the evil giant was on its knees because all Xbox 360s are defective. MS has it coming once in a while and deserves to be bashed but in this instance it's the MS-haters who sound like drooling fanboys.

    And for what it's worth another poster has already pointed out that Sony had some issues with the PS2 and there were lawsuits over it. These things do happen once in a while, get the replacement and get over it.

  • Waiting to buy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sandman1971 (516283) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:15AM (#14099878) Homepage Journal
    This is reason #1 why I'm waiting about a year to buy a 360. For MS to work out most of the big bugs.I can't say I feel sorry for anyone who's experiencing these problems. It's a risk you take when you rush out to buy untested technology. It shouldn't be this way, but its a fact of technology life. If people wouldn't be so quick to go out and buy, maybe companies might start smartening up.

    Other reasons include:

    -My current X-Box currently still have lots of life left in it.
    -Prices will go down.
    -Won't have to stand in line to get one, or go from store to store.
    -More selection of games.
  • by killtherat (177924) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:15AM (#14099882)
    They are crashing. Microsoft will now start to release patches (probably over Live) that correct this bug or that. The paying public will accept this and install them. People who buy XBox 360s down the road will expect the patches to be installed before they buy the system- but they'll still expect to have to install more at some point.

    I'm curious how Microsoft plans to patch the systems without hard drives. Aside from updates to the BIOS, how can changes to the video games be saved?
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:15AM (#14099883)
    You'd think that a multi-BILLION dollar company could assess a good deliverable date after more than 10 years.

    What were they thinking? Let's see, we missed the last million deliverable dates on all our other products due to not evaluating for enough time to complete the project, rather than actually giving us enough time to do this right, let's put it out on that premature date regardless of whether it's finished or not.

    Seriously, can someone show these people how to timeline and test?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:16AM (#14099887)
    I agree. That much power requirements coupled with an external PSU produced in the millions would probably lead to a significant number of power related crashes.
  • by mausmalone (594185) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:16AM (#14099894) Homepage Journal
    Welcome to Capitalism, enjoy your stay.
    I omitted a lot of your post, but only to save space ... MS will pay for it... they'll pay for it in development time for patches (but more likely it's a defective batch of chips that will necessitate console replacements). The one thing you say though that gets at me is that MS is in this for profit. We know from the X-Box that they're not. They're in it for market share. (The X-Box had 1 profitable quarter in its entire lifespan, and that was only when Halo 2 was released. In terms of profit, it was a dismal failure.)

    MS doesn't care, though, that they're not making any money at all on the venture. Their plan is to get enough market share that they can nudge Sony and Nintendo out of the market and then start making the "real" profits that come from having no competetors. At somewehre around 15-20% market penetration for the original X-Box, they've got a long way to go.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:18AM (#14099909)

    Perhaps you could share with us your incredibly accurate estimation technique? I'm sure many of us would love to know how you've solved a problem that no-one else in the business has managed to solve effectively for years.

    Seriously, estimation is hard. I'm sure you know that really. The best development shops I've worked for deal with this problem by having plans that can adapt to unexpected delays, including putting back the shipping date if necessary. Perhaps we're lucky; for some projects, that simply isn't an option. But it's a lot better than pretending you can estimate a project that's going to take hundreds of man-years accurately ahead of time, and then betting your business on being able to make your predicted shipping date.

  • by Lisandro (799651) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:18AM (#14099910)
    It does seem to be a hardware problem - they crash screen look glitchy instead of the "clean" screen you get when the crash is OS related. Reminds me of and overheated GPU.

        Now, i don't know if the headline is correct (the console is very unstable... but only for a bunch of people), but if true, it has the smell of a rushed product all over it. And i won't make any friends over this, but serves these people right. Yeah, you, the ones that couldn't wait a couple of months and pay 3x the price in order to buy a product before it has been properly reviewed. And i don't mean like Gamespot's "Oooh! It's the second coming of Christ"-kind of reviews.

        Paying upfront for promises is bad buisness. Don't buy into the hype. It's only a console.
  • What.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paranode (671698) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:20AM (#14099924)
    You didn't think Slashdot would miss a chance to link to some guy's photo album of a crashed game and pretend that MS was going to go bankrupt because none of the Xbox 360s worked did you? This kind of Slashdot headline is the bread and butter!

    What was it all those posters above were saying about checking things before pushing them out the door...

  • by 9mind (702505) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:20AM (#14099927)
    And seriously, how many console models have you seen in your life that had this kind of failure after the initial launch? I've been buying consoles ever since the mid-80's, and I don't recall something like this happening ever,

    Funny, I've been buying consoles since the Atari2600 and remember EVERY console having some kind of weird promblem at launch. It's more publicized now with the advent of the internet... but I even remember th Commodore64 having recalls.

  • by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:22AM (#14099935) Homepage
    Why exactly are we modding up comments that are based purely on the random thoughts of some /. reader?

    Here, I got something for you all to waste some +1 Insightfuls on:

    I looks like some Sweatshop worker must have unsoldered the R15 line on 50% of their workload!
  • by Stinky Fartface (852045) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:30AM (#14100017) Homepage
    Obviously they would have caught errors on this scale in testing. This must have been a manufacturing error, not a design error. That still doesn't let them off the hook. They are responsible for their quality control too. But I imagine they will iron this out shortly and offer full exchanges on returned units. Sony had similar issues with flimsy PSP's at launch too.
  • Re:upgrades (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SenFo (761716) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:32AM (#14100032) Homepage
    I'm honestly not sure if it's upgradeable or not; but even if it is, you have to realize that it's definitely NOT the same kind of market.

    I guess after years of working with Microsoft operating systems and just assuming that Windows was part of the computer, many users have grown to accept crashing and the need to run periodic upgrades. However, in the "black box" market, people are much less forgiving of programming bugs that lead to crashes and are much less likely to upgrade to newer firmware versions.

    I work with embedded systems at my job and it's known by all programmers that our firmware needs to be as close to bug free as we can possibly get it. Think of a little "black box" that controls your printer (a print server), for example. How would you feel if you had to reset some idiot box a couple times a day for no reason? For everybody I've ever worked with, it's entirely unacceptable and it's an almost certainty that the IT managers would be replacing the box with another brand as soon as possible.

    I don't know about you, but it's bad enough for me --and most people-- when my computer crashes. I would be pretty upset, however, if my game console crashed after hours of game play to complete a mission.
  • Re:Polls (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:32AM (#14100039)
    apparently team xbox started a poll. Very small sample but 15% of xbox 360's are freezing. It will be interesting to see what happens to the percentage as the sample grows.

    Dude, if I had an X-Box and it was working properly, why would I be answering polls on some "team X-Box" site??? I'd be spending every waking hour (outside of work) playing Call of Duty 2 or something.

    Frankly, I'm stunned that their number isn't far closer to 100%.

    The real number of X-Boxes with problems is something we won't know for a couple weeks yet. It could be everybody, it could be a handful of loudmouths (or Sony astroturfers) trying to turn their bad experience into the next big consumer "crisis", a la the iPod battery "issues." Let's not get ahead of ourselves. If they screwed up the launch, we'll have plenty of time for MS-bashing fun when the dust settles.
  • Smart move by M$ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frankcow (925500) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:34AM (#14100071) Homepage
    I'm 99% sure Microsoft was well aware of the instabilities before the product launch. It actually works to their benefit, as they can now inform gamers that they need to connect to Live to get the software patches
  • Unfair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:36AM (#14100095) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot just wanted to post this 'story' because they wanted to be able to laugh at MS and pretend the evil giant was on its knees because all Xbox 360s are defective. MS has it coming once in a while and deserves to be bashed but in this instance it's the MS-haters who sound like drooling fanboys.
    I think that's a tad unfair. It's a 'story' because the 360 is hyped right now and anything that happens surrounding it is news. We've had months of rumour, speculation and hype. It hardly makes sense to start pointing the finger at 'MS-haters' when a story starts emerging showing the 360 in an unflattering light. Any details will be news on launch day and people will pick up whatever little bits they have and run with a story. That's just a natural follow-on from a much hyped launch.
  • by Dan Ost (415913) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:38AM (#14100105)
    You're (potentially inadvertantly) equivocating profit with value. They are not necessarily the same thing. If a public company is required to make a good faith effort to increase shareholder value, such things as reputation and integrity can be more important for the long-term success/value of the company than near-term profit.
  • What to Watch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winterblink (575267) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:41AM (#14100132) Homepage
    What we should be reporting on, what is MORE newsworthy than just the instability, is Microsoft's reaction to it. If and when they find the problem, will they replace defective units? It's usually at times like these that a company shows its true committment to its customers and product. As an example, when the iMac flat panel line first came out there were lots of customers complaining of fan noise, and Apple was quick to figure out what was causing it and send out replacement parts to affected users. My first Mac was an iMac with such a problem, and their reaction to the problem was entirely reassuring to someone who bought in on a 1.0 version of a product. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on the news of these issues to see what kind of support is there for people.
  • by szo (7842) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:57AM (#14100271)
    Here's an idea: don't announce vaporware. Wait until your product is in reasonable shape, say beta. Then you still have months to hype it and have a reasonable chance to live up to the expectations with the release. Magic, isn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:04AM (#14100327)
    Lucky you, you get to go back to the world of infinite upgrades. I would make some snarky comment about computer games never being released on time, but that's not limited to computer games themselves.

    What really gets to me is the latest anti-Sony kick around here. If it wasn't already perfectly clear to you that all the media companies suck (DRM CDs, getting the DMCA passed, DVD region codes), all the console makers suck (name one console maker that doesn't want to crack down on legitimate mod chips and legitimate emulators), and most PC software makers suck (SafeDisc, product activation, Steam)...

    Well why does one boneheaded move by Sony move them so far to the front?

    Sure, it was an extra-boneheaded move. But look at how the RIAA execs reacted. They thought it was a perfectly reasonable measure, executed poorly. Likewise, all media, software and console companies have the same mentality. They will take your money and try to convince you that you didn't actually 'buy' anything. They will try to stop you from format-shifting your media. They will try to stop you from making backups. They will try to stop you from disabling CD-in-the-drive checks. They will attack the modchip makers, the emulator writers.

    Yeah, compromising the system security of tens of thousands of Windows machines is usually left to Internet Explorer. Sony shouldn't have done that. But Sony's move is only a symptom. The problem is the draconian enforcement of IP, and that problem goes far beyond Sony. If you think that avoiding Sony is the right way to respond to the problem of IP enforcement, you're gravely mistaken.

    Just remember, we even had Sid Meier(sp) interviewed on Slashdot, who said that copy protection is entirely neccessary, despite it stopping exactly zero informed 'software pirates.' This goes far beyond Sony. To believe otherwise is ignorant.
  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:09AM (#14100373)
    Wrong.

    Forget your bias against Microsoft; the Xbox 360 design is far better than the PS3, which WILL BE A NIGHTMARE to debug.

    Debugging is not the problem, the rush to market is to blame here, plain and simple.

    As the other reply states, most of these initial games won't make use of multiple cores, anyway, but even so, multiple threads and processes are not really an issue, nor are they poorly understood by game developers. Games can make use of the multiple cores without much hassle, as long as the underlying libraries and compiler optimizations are clean... which is probably the major problem here - the 360 XDK is simply not that mature yet. Debugging is straightforward, and better still, done remotely, which, most of the time, results in cleaner steps through code in this sort of environment.

    Synchronization isn't even that big of a deal, because even in a developer-optimized game, one thread (i.e. running on it's own core) will handle the rendering, the other will handle the housekeeping (disk I/O, user actions, networking, mesh/object manipulation, etc). Most of the time, the housekeeping will be waiting on the rendering. While the CPU arrangement is symmetrical, this doesn't really refer to running a single process, but rather the generic nature of code and memory access. PS3's Asymmetrical system, on the other hand, means games will have to be optimized to a larger degree by the developer, and MORE care is needed to prevent issues.

    I also find it odd that a game would be released that can't make it through the first single player race... simple playtesting should have showed the bug well before launch. This smacks more of a hardware issue, which ANY multi-core system is likely to run into. Blame IBM for that problem, I guess.

  • by Viper Daimao (911947) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:18AM (#14100433) Journal
    Exactly parent poster. Why would anyone do anything unless there was a profit for them? Why do you go to work? Because you get a profit from your work. Why does that guy down the street open up a small restaurant? Because he wanted to make a profit. Why did atari even start the home console market? To make a profit. Why are you living a house? Because someone thought that they could make a profit if they built a house and sold it to someone like you. Why is making a profit a bad thing? its the reason why anyone does anything. And you make a profit by giving people what they want not by cheating them or giving them bad products. Look at those companies who tried to cheat people, Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson (who didnt even get convicted of doing anything wrong), ect, what kind of profit are they making now? None, they are out of business. Look at Johnson & Johnson in the early 80s. Someone had poisoned a few bottles of Tylenol with cyanide and actually killed people. The company knew that if they ever wanted to make a profit again they had to handle this quick and show the public thier responsibility. They quickly recalled over $100 million worth of tylenol and were honest with the public. Afterwards they gave coupons for $2.50 off of tylenol and lowered prices by 25%. They realized that morality and responsibility and honesty is good business, and they are still around because of that.
  • by Generic Guy (678542) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:19AM (#14100436)

    Regardless of Microsoft's "plans", they will find that the consumer elecronics business is _not as easy to dominate as the arena of PC software. Their biggest competitor (Sony) is a veteran of consumer electronics and is having all sorts of financial problems -- ironically, people point to the Playstation division as Sony's sole saving grace. In fact, Microsoft is already finding out because J.Allard's original plan was for the Xbox1 to be turning at least a tiny profit by this point. Instead, they dumped a bunch of money into a new design and rushed it to market.

    If this Xbox360 crashing problem is widespread enough, these things are going to either be shunned by the market, or lose all their profit potential fixing them.

  • Yes the can win. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:21AM (#14100459) Homepage Journal
    "We whine when they delay and push back release dates of their OS over and over again but when they finally do come out with something "on time" (whatever that means) and it's not up to par we give them shit.

    So they can't win. Everyone knew that already but seriously it's not going to cost them anything."

    If they had released it on time and had it work then it would have been a win.

    This is a Video Game console! You are not supposed to have to patch it. It really is supposed to just work!
    Even if the patches where to add new functions or to fix "minor" issues that might be okay but not random crashes.

    If this is really happening Microsoft very well may have to pay for it. I have played some of the demos and while they where nice I didn't feel a need to rush out and buy it. If these start being returned it could be a big deal.
    I am more interested in the Revolution. Right now graphics have reached "good enough" I am more interested in game play now.
  • Re:Unfair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:44AM (#14100686) Homepage
    No, if they reported just the facts in an objective manner it would be a story. It's a "story" because the headline was made grossly inaccurate just to make MS look bad. It could just as easily have been titled "Xbox 360 Problems Reported", but then the slashbots would be jumping all over the editors for "buying into the hype machine".

    I can only hope that next time someone finds a bug in the Linux kernel the story is entitled "Linux Development Process Fundamentally Flawed", but somehow I doubt this will happen.
  • Quality Assurance? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Korexz (915405) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:53AM (#14100758) Homepage
    I am a Software Quality Engineer. I know first had where testing falls on the list of priorities for a business. Microsoft does not value testing and QA the way they should. The game industry as a whole needs to start adopting QA practices if we are ever going to get beyond this current generation of consoles. We keep throwing complexity into the fire and expecting things to be fine... that complexity is the fuel that will halt the industry and send us back to the 1970's.

    You will see more of this as time passes and when complaints start rolling in Microsoft will wiggle its way out of this mess but in the end deliver much less than what they promised.

    DO THE SMART THING AND WAIT UNTIL THEY GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER!!!

    MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR MISTAKE!!!

    DO NOT BUY AN XBOX 360 UNTIL MARCH!!!


    I smell a recall
  • by sl3xd (111641) * on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:03PM (#14100847) Journal
    Debugging is not the problem, the rush to market is to blame here, plain and simple.

    I recall the original X-Box having similar issues when it was launched. BFD; Microsoft isn't exactly alone in releasing first, fixing later. They're probably not even the worst at the game.

    At least with PC games, it's become par for the course that the game will be quite unstable until the 2nd or 3rd patch.

    Most people I know won't deploy a new verision of Windows until the 1st service pack.

    Welcome to the world of rushed releases of incredibly complex systems.

    Engineer says: "How does it work?"
    Manager says: "When will it work?"

    Manager usually wins, engineer doesn't get his questions answered, and as a result there are bugs.

    Leaving the customer to complain: "Why doesn't it work?"
  • by Solitude (30003) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:10PM (#14100907)
    If kidnapping children and selling them into sexual slavery was overlooked or legal, you bet they would be. The only thing stopping them is laws, and even that some times doesn't. Remember, once upon a time slavery was legal, and there were companies that participated in that.
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#14100923)
    >DO NOT BUY AN XBOX 360 UNTIL MARCH!!!

    that's not making them responsible.

    how about: do not buy one at all unless MS apologises, fixes all problems and compensates the people affected.

    personally, I don't buy anything MS or Sony but even if I did I'd still get a Revolution as it's the most interesting to me.
  • Console problems. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#14100927) Homepage Journal
    This is a lot of the reasons I got out of console gaming and stick with my PC. None of these consoles seem to be reliable.

    A friend of mine is an avid console gamer. So far, he's gone through 2 playstations, 3 PS2's and and Xbox. The only thing he hasn't managed to break so far is his Gamecube, which is a testament of Nintendo building a console to last. Just wait for the PS3 and the revolution to be released, and then lets compare which console has the most problems.

    Sony is betting the farm on a lot of market untested technologies, Specifically Bluray. Bluray doesn't nearly have the 5+ years of refinement that DVD has had, and I can bet that looking at a bluray disk funny let alone getting fingerprints or a scratch on the disk will make it very susceptible to read failure. Meanwhile, Nintendo and Microsoft are using much more mature DVD tech, which will pay off with much less failure in the long run.

    Speaking of Bluray, Yes 50GB is great, but show me a game that uses more than 8.5GB. The only one that comes to my mind is the Everquest series with every expansion they have. Even HL2 and Quake4/Doom III with their mind blowing graphics doesn't crack a single layer of a dual layer DVD, so my guess is that most of that storage will be used for "Sega CD" uses like audio and video, instead of just using the high powered graphics hardware to do the cut scenes for you. Simply put, the only reason they put Bluray in the PS3 is to stronghold the movie industry to make Bluray the High Dev Movie standard, and in doing so, Sony is risking the relibility of the hardware.

    Nintendo wise, it looks like they went the path of refining the gamecube. The Cube's reliability is already pretty high. the only thing in question is the CD-ROM drive. Being a slot loader vs the old top loading design may be a problem, but knowing Nintendo they won't ship until the thing could survive warfare.

    Microsoft biggest problem is it likes to use commodity parts for it's hardware. Yes it make it a lot cheaper but it also bites them because it's not designed to take console level abuse. The Detachable hard drive to me looks like a big failure point, especially if there's no active protection on these drives. The CD-Roms are probably a big failure point as well. I also believe that heat problems are going to plague them as well, but time will tell.
  • by dioscaido (541037) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:17PM (#14100967)
    yes, from the utterly scientific method of a website poll, and one user's pictures, we can determine that the xbox 360 has problems for an inordinate amount of users... sigh... People here are just making a big deal about a few people's issues because it is Microsoft. When you are manufacturing such a complex device you are bound to have a small percentage that may have issues. Does anyone here remember the PS2 launch, and the horrific stability/overheat problems the first gen machines had? PSP with dead pixels? Ipod nanos? etc...

    This is why I will wait for the second or third round of manufactured xboxes. Even with the testing they put the hardware through, some are bound to get by on the first run.
  • by Big_Al_B (743369) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:22PM (#14101002)
    We're taking components and cramming them in spaces with insufficient free air delivery and we're surprised when they crash and burn.

    Consumer electronics should be designed to support consumer use, no?

    A consumer should be able to use AV cabinet "A" and AV device "B" the way both were intended. If not, then one thing, the other, or both were poorly designed.

    As a consumer, I would expect that any AV cabinet I buy is designed to accommodate or dissipate the heat from several devices consuming several amps each at 120 Volts. As a consumer, I would assume the X360 is designed to operate in reasonable temparture and humidity ranges, and also that it is designed to manage the BTUs it generates during operation. What exactly is wrong with this?

    I've lost many hard drives and three computers (one Linux, one Mac and one Windows,) to "heat prostration".

    I've owned and operated Macs, Wintel, and Linux boxen for almost 20 years, and I've run them on or under desks, and in closed, poorly ventilated "computer desk" cabinets. Not one has overheated, even the Mac that spent its entire 6 years as my main machine, in the closed cabinet, and had 3-4 HDDs at times.

    Sometimes the cases are not really capable of handling everything we can shove in there.

    Then why are we able to shove things in there? If there is a valid mounting position for something, the case designer should assume it's going to be used and design accordingly.

    I hate the monolith in Redmond as much as the next guy but... heat is the enemy here.

    I'm not specificly digging MS here, they just provided a context for the discussion. This is a fundemental design standard that all consumer products should meet, regardless of the product type or manufacturer.

    Heat is not an enemy, it's a predictabe condition. In this case, MS could easily tell how many amps the box pulls, and could easily compute the BTUs it would be generating. From there it's a risk management question: What is an acceptable mean failure rate, and how hot can we let it operate before we exceed that rate?

    I bet NOBODY who lives in a frozen food section at Safeway is reporting a crash.

    And I bet NOBODY considers that a valid consumer electronics operting specification.
  • by Korexz (915405) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:25PM (#14101021) Homepage
    I predict this will be blamed on hardware. Which mandates a RECALL!!!

    Sorry Timmy Santa had to take your XBOX 360 back to the North Pole so it didn't set the house on fire.

    I DON'T CARE MOMMY... IM A SPOILED BASTARD!!! GIMME NOW!!!
  • by fitten (521191) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:26PM (#14101033)
    Have you *ever* written/debugged a multi-threaded program? Debugging a multithreaded program on three homogenous processors is a ton easier than debugging (essentially) a multithreaded program on a heterogenous set of processors (1 of one type and up to 8 of another type) that have to be accessed by DMA engines and the like. It's basically debugging multiple programs because of the different instruction streams but with the added complexity of the same address space sharing issues of multi-threaded applications. They will effectively be different programs (must be since the PPC and the SPUs are not the same ISA) but all sharing the same address space, complicated by the fact that a lot of the interaction must be handled by DMA engines. This isn't much different from debugging embedded systems that have been around for decades (one such system I used was a board with an embedded PPC with eight DSPs all on the same board called the MAP1310 from CSPI - look it up on google). It was difficult to program and is basically the Cell in 3 chips instead of just 1.

    Also, you say "are used by low level liberaries (well debugged)" and quickly polish over any idea that maybe those "well debugged low level libraries" will be a nightmare to debug. If any of those low level libraries are threads of execution in their own right, as opposed to simply being "load this subroutine into a SPU, call it just like another routine only use basically a RPC, then unload that subroutine from the SPU" then they will be a bit harder to debug. I image that at least some of those SPU "low level libraries" will most likely be programs that run independently of the PPC core and routinely synchronize with the PPC thread(s) and if the amount of interaction between them is much (which it may well be), then it will be far harder to debug than your typical Linux box running multiple threads (on homogenous processor(s)).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:53PM (#14101249)
    ...(hopefully one of them on executing unsigned code from removable media as well) to branch into one's homebrew code on a DRMed machine. ;-)

    Can you already hear the penguins flap their wings?
  • by larien (5608) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:54PM (#14101256) Homepage Journal
    It's a games console... it's supposed to be in the living room. If the designers couldn't figure out that bit and left it with a flaw where it didn't work in a normal living room, they deserve to be shot.
  • by syukton (256348) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:57PM (#14101283)
    Sometimes the cases are not really capable of handling everything we can shove in there.

    Then why are we able to shove things in there? If there is a valid mounting position for something, the case designer should assume it's going to be used and design accordingly.


    Ok, so the designer should make what assumptions? Should he (or she, I'm an equal-opportunity blamer) assume that somebody will install 20gb drives in each hard drive position? How about 200gb? 400gb? Should they assume that each 5-1/4" drive bay will hold a CD-RW or a DVD+/-RW? How about a fanbus? Each of these peripherals have a different heat profile. The same type of components from different manufacturers also have different heat profiles.

    Just because we're able to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea. The speedometer on an average car goes up to 120 MPH. Should the designer assume that the car will be in constant operation at 120 miles per hour? Every car has a first gear and it's entirely possible to drive around everywhere in first gear so should the designer accomodate that method of use? An automobile trunk can accomodate generally about 10 cubic feet of stuff. Should the designer assume that the user will be filling that 10 cubic feet with quick-set concrete? I mean, they've provided space for it, why sholdn't I fill it with concrete? Maybe because that's a totally fucking stupid idea? Hmmmm...that might be it.

    There's a valid mounting position for something, you're absolutely right. Who says what something is? I think that multiple mounting positions exist so that you can flexibly install equipment according to your own best interests and the best interests of the hardware utilized. They don't exist so that you can cram in hard drives and CDRWs in every single available drive bay. A lot of computer chassis provide mounting holes that are used by some drives but not by others, and it's only for the purpose of flexibility.

    The designer shouldn't have to protect the system from the user, it's the user responsibility (a concept often lost on most people these days. le sigh) to protect their hardware. I wouldn't be surprised if the manual for the 360 says not to cover the air vents and/or to leave a certain amount of space between the vents and anything that would restrict airflow.

    I lost a 20gb IBM Deathstar drive one time, on my friggin' birthday. Since then, my hard drives have usually been installed in 5-1/4" drive bays with cooling fans in front of them, for the sake of their own longevity and reliability. I even use a heatpipe cooler on my drives these days, in addition to the fans. [zalman.co.kr]

    Everyone having problems with your 360, try using a vertical orientation outside any sort of cabinet or enclosure (this includes the shelf your home theater stuff is on) and definitely don't set it on top of your heat-radiating 500+ watt receiver (or cd player, or whatever).
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @01:08PM (#14101355) Journal
    when they finally do come out with something "on time" (whatever that means) and it's not up to par we give them shit.

    So they can't win.


    You're setting up a false dichotomy. It is possible to hit promised ship dates with a quality product. Other companies do it all the time.

    -jcr
  • Re:Polls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @01:13PM (#14101383) Journal
    "Dude, if I had an X-Box and it was working properly, why would I be answering polls on some "team X-Box" site??? I'd be spending every waking hour (outside of work) playing Call of Duty 2 or something. Frankly, I'm stunned that their number isn't far closer to 100%."

    well, the real number is closer to 0.0001%, but apparently a few people did take a second to go on the forums to brag about their working xbox360 which is why it's only 85%. Think it's Cartman syndrome: got a cool new toy = gotta brag about it.

    The people who paid $300+ for a non-working xbox360 have nothing better to do than to bitch about it online so that's where the 15% came from.

    Just the fact that it's only 15% means there's very, very few people with broken xbox360s because when shit breaks the first thing the internet community does is bitch about it 24/7. If there was truly a lot of busted xbox360s out there then this number would be 100%.

  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @01:49PM (#14101750) Homepage Journal
    Quitting the bleeding-edge to stick with mature mainstream stuff has saved me quite a bit of cash and trouble, I'll stick to that.

    You have the makings of a successful IT manager.

  • by Bertie (87778) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @02:14PM (#14101988)
    Maybe, but it won't be. It'll be on kids' bedroom floors, or buried under a pile of DVDs and stinky T-shirts in some student's dorm room, because those sort of people make up a large part of its market. To design the product without taking into account the conditions in which it will typically be used, whether it's advisable to use it like that or not, would be very silly, and I'm sure the product designers had more sense than to overlook something so obvious in testing.
  • Re:Polls (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @02:18PM (#14102030)
    I pretty much take it as a given that the majority of pro-MS comments on a forum like Slashdot are more than likely being made by shills. Everybody I've ever meet in person who was a "fan" of Microsoft turned out to owe their living to Microsoft in one way or another.

    However, if you read my comment a little more closely, you can see that it's not a pro-MS post. It's a "we don't know what the fuck is going on yet, so let's chill out and see" post.

    I don't have a 360, and I'm not likely to buy one anytime soon. I have a Mac to run my media room, and I'm very happy with it.
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <`lynxpro' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @02:43PM (#14102246)
    "You have to admit though. Those are some decent crash screens. Not unlike the screens you'd see when pulling out a Atari 2600 game cartridge with the power on. Hey wait, the crashes themselves look better than atari 2600 games. Oh no!"

    Great. Compare the graphics of a year 2005 console with a platform that debuted in 1977.

    Funny thing is that my Atari 2600 still works. The only game that I ever had issues with was *Air Sea Battle*. Went through 20 cartridges of that and it never worked with my console. Good thing Atari didn't have a shrink-wrapped EULA to prevent the return of those cartridges back in the day.

  • by Secrity (742221) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @02:45PM (#14102268)
    It's a children's toy and as such it gets treated as childrens' toys normally get treated. With a few wierd exceptions, such as the Creepy Crawler maker or the Easy Bake oven (which are usually seldom used and run out of refills by New Years Day); if a children's toy overheats when sitting in a proper position on a normally carpeted floor, then it has a serious engineering problem.

    Every audio or video component (toy or not) that I have ever seen in any entertainment center will work fine and not overheat if it is operated while sitting on normally carpeted floors. The few audio and video components that have bottom ventilation holes have feet that are long enough to keep the ventilation holes above the pile of most carpet. I have seen a few long shag carpets that could possibly block the bottom ventilation on certain components, but even then I am not sure that the component would overheat.
  • by ccarson (562931) * on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @03:19PM (#14102572)
    I bought mine, have been playing for almost 24 hours now and it hasn't crashed once. I've played about 7 or 8 games. I'm very impressed with the system and highly recommend it not only for the gaming but for the media features (i.e. streaming video, music, pics, etc.). Also, it's very easy to communicate with others over xbox live. Microsoft deserves credit for this product. You can tell they put a lot of work into it. I doubt you'll here that here but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.
  • Re:Polls (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cvas (150274) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @04:31PM (#14103143)
    Just the fact that it's only 15% means there's very, very few people with broken xbox360s because when shit breaks the first thing the internet community does is bitch about it 24/7.

    Not saying you are wrong, but a couple things to consider:

    1. Not every person who bought a 360 knows about/participates/would post on an online forum. Also, who is to say they all have internet connections to post with? Even if every one of them had an internet connection, there is no guarantee they would post.

    2. Not every 360 bought yesterday has been opened and tested. It's the holiday season, how many of those 360s are going under a tree or menorah or whatever?
  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @08:37PM (#14104886)
    Is it just me, or are there more people here on slashdot talking about this, than actual posts of the problems on all the sites combined.

    Even following the links provided by the poster and visiting MS newsgroups, out of the posts, it looks like there are maybe 100 people at the most that have encountered a problem...

    Out of the 'how many units', and this is the number of problems experienced to warrant a SlahDot trash thread?

    This is a joke, right? Shall we compaire other product releases, take the iPod, iMac, or many HD units or Dell brands or whatever...

    In comparison, this is a significantly small number of problems reported in comparision to the number of units that were purchased.

    As a side note, my spouse works in the retail gaming industry, and they have had very little reported problems in comparison to the units they have sold.

    For example, PS2s sold last week generate more customer calls and returns for errors and crashing on a percentange then they are seeing with the 360.

    Weird uh, after so many years, you would think Sony would have the PS2 hardware problem worked out. (And you would not believe the percentage each store has seen with the PS2 where customers brought back units that literally caught on fire, well smoke at least.)

    Get off your we hate everything MS does and think for yourself. Go research this yourself if you are considering one, listening to other slashdotters is 'not' a source for news.

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