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Firmware Troubles For Old Xbox 360s, Possibly PS3s As Well 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-it-ain't-broke dept.
Several readers have tipped news of firmware updates causing problems for both Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. The Xbox issue was caused by a recent update thought to be preparing the platform for a new disc format that gives developers another 1GB or so of space to work with. As it turns out, the real purpose seems to be piracy countermeasures. Microsoft acknowledged the issue and promised that affected users would receive a new 360S console and a free year of Xbox Live to compensate. The PS3 problem was highlighted by reports of overheating consoles while playing L.A. Noire on the recently-released 3.61 firmware. Rockstar Games initially confirmed that the firmware was causing the overheating, but later backtracked. They issued a joint statement with Sony saying that neither the game nor the firmware was the culprit, leaving users wondering what else it could be.
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Firmware Troubles For Old Xbox 360s, Possibly PS3s As Well

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  • Not the new update (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:20AM (#36189662)

    http://majornelson.com/2011/05/18/clearing-up-some-confusion/ The new update is not what is causing the problem it was a previous update. It also explains this at the bottom of the gamasutra article

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:31AM (#36189702)

    Rockstar Games initially confirmed that the firmware was causing the overheating, but later backtracked. They issued a joint statement with Sony

    So, Sony talked to them nicely, convinced them with irrefutable logic that neither the game nor the firmware was the problem, and they skipped happily, hand-in-hand to the podium to announce it jointly. Sony would never be so evil as to threaten Rockstar Games with new firmware that prevents all Rockstar Games' games from working at all.

    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@[ ]d.co.uk ['spa' in gap]> on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:46AM (#36189772) Homepage

      Sony would never be so evil as to threaten Rockstar Games with new firmware that prevents all Rockstar Games' games from working at all.

      Even Sony wouldn't be that stupid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nyder (754090)

        Sony would never be so evil as to threaten Rockstar Games with new firmware that prevents all Rockstar Games' games from working at all.

        Even Sony wouldn't be that stupid.

        Are you new to this reality?

        Of course Sony would be that stupid.

        • there are strong rumours that GT5 was delayed by Sony forcing the game studio to require firmware 3.55 in order to "encourage" ps3 users to upgrade and prevent more piracy due to previous hacked firmwares.
      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Even Sony wouldn't be that stupid.

        You sure about that? These are the same guys who used rootkits on CD to stop people from copying.

        • No, these are NOT the "same guys". Those guys were over in Sony Music.

          Different set of clueless stuffed shirts.

          And no, I doubt they're stupid enough to do something that would be patently illegal, and result in at least the European Courts cutting them a new one.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            No, these are NOT the "same guys". Those guys were over in Sony Music.

            Right. Keep telling yourself that. That's like saying GM/Buick or Ford/Mercury aren't the same. Same shit, different pile, same people, same mentality.

    • by burnetd (90848)

      The irrefutable logic being that it effects Xbox 360's too.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/may/19/la-noire-overheating [guardian.co.uk]

      Haters, don't you just love them.

      • by JavaBear (9872)
        To be honest, the logic should be that NO game should ever be able to overheat a console, if the console had been build correctly and is able to handle 100% load on all resources.
        • by robmv (855035)

          Every normal computer on the planet could overheat, block ventilation circulation or put it in a closed cabinet and run and intensive process, but the hardware must not break if temperature reach designed limits. That is what happens on the PS3, the system shutdowns itself and refuse to work in that environment. I am sure the XBox 360 must be able to do something like that

          • by JavaBear (9872)
            Let me qualify my statement. In no normal operating environment where the hardware is otherwise healthy and operating nominally, should software not be able to cause the console to overheat. And I'd say it should be up to the firmware to maintain the consoles thermal environment, even going so far as to throttle the CPU/GPU should the cooling be compromised. This brings me to my other complaint about consoles, they are just not easy to clean properly. And certainly not without rendering the warranty void.
        • by erroneus (253617)

          That's a pretty tall order. From an engineering standpoint, logic is on your side. But (and my apologies) if this were a car, then similar expectations should exist such that a crash at any speed should be survivable and that the engine should never be able to overheat.

          In this case, software should never create a 100% load on resources. The speed and snappiness of a data processing system relies on its "availability." If a machine's resources are occupied at 100%, then it is not available for additional

          • by walshy007 (906710)

            So from an management/engineering standpoint, I see your logic. But in a real-world application, that is not the case. We do not and arguably should not design products for "worst case scenario" applications. They should target just a little higher than average use applications.

            When it comes to items out of your control, I see your point. For instance I would not blame the consoles overheating if they have their ventilation covered, or were operating in ambient temperatures of over 45 degrees.

            You build things to a specification, when going out of this specification things fail, so the spec should entail 99.9% of typical operating requirements.

            Games will and do use cpu and gpus to 100% usage. Consoles should be able to handle this. Is this handling a 'worst case scenario' when it c

    • The problem exists on the 360 too so actually not it's probably not the firmware.
      • by Khyber (864651)

        Considering BOTH PLATFORMS use IBM architectures, I would bet it's a firmware issue.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Rockstar has a lot of clout and rightly so. If they said "Fuck consoles, GTA5 is going to be PC and Mac only" they'd still sell millions. While I think you may be right, I also don't think that Rockstar can be pushed around as easily.

    • But of course, it MUST be the Sony firmware. That explains why 360 owners exhibit the same exact issues. Man, sony is evil and far reaching with that kind of pull. SMH.
    • If Sony do that to one developer, even one much smaller than Rockstar, they lose all ability to offer exclusive console titles. No publisher will release Sony-only titles as they lose their entire business if Sony decide it doesn't like them.

      On reflection, I think this could be a Very Good Thing.
    • Seriously? Did you not even read the HEADLINE of the story? Let me spell it out for you. It's happening on xbox 360 consoles as well. SURELY IT MUST BE SONY'S FAULT AS THEIR EVIL KNOWS NO BOUNDS!
      • by Pluvius (734915)

        Did you not even read the summary? Nowhere up there does it mention that the XBox 360 is having the same problem with LA Noire, not even in the linked articles. While it's apparently true, you'd have to go outside of the Slashdot article to find out about it.

        Rob

    • As others have noted, LA Noire overheating is also happening on xbox 360. Notice that in both cases it's older consoles? What's the game that a high percentage of people are playing now? So the big new game is what people happen to be playing on their dusty old hardware which is overheating. Same thing will happen next year with the big game and the older consoles around then. Anyway, it's the simplest explanation at this point.

      • by milkmage (795746)

        FWIW.. from what I read yesterday (too lazy to find it now). some of those reporting the problem on either console say there are no problems with any other games. (they tested after the LANoir crash.) - same dusty old console, but only one title causes a freeze. OTOH, some with older consoles reporting no problems at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:39AM (#36189740)

    ...but this is how you do customer service.

    Microsoft acknowledged the issue and promised that affected users would receive a new 360S console and a free year of Xbox Live to compensate.

    Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

    No nonsense customer service, and it gives gives them good PR.

    Compare that to Sony...

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:29AM (#36189964)

      Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

      To be fair, Microsoft have had quite a bit of experience with replacing defective Xbox consoles. This is probably the second item on their customer service checklist after turning the unit off and on again fails.

      • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:29AM (#36190348)

        I like that you were modded Funny for that. Having experienced two Xbox failures, that is just about exactly what happened.

        MS left me with a sour perception of their testing/manufacturing standards, but their customer service is pretty darn good.

        • by jesseck (942036)
          Reminds me of Dell. When I work with companies that exclusively purchase Dell, I ask why. I'm usually told because their customer service is awesome when they have a problem. My response is, "Why not go with a system that has a lot less problems?"
          • Because there are no other fully integrated vendors that have significantly less issues across the entire spectrum of business computing.
      • To be fair, Microsoft have had quite a bit of experience with bricking hardware with updates.

        FTFY

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)

      ...but this is how you do customer service.

      Microsoft acknowledged the issue and promised that affected users would receive a new 360S console and a free year of Xbox Live to compensate.

      Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

      No nonsense customer service, and it gives gives them good PR.

      Compare that to Sony...

      You mean fry any old hackable consoles, say "whoops, sorry", replace with unhackable ones, and come out smelling like roses. Brilliant, sneeky, underhanded, but transparent.

      • by tepples (727027)
        All working Xbox 360 consoles are hackable. You just have to pay the $99 per year homebrew tax to Microsoft.
    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Despite all the haters, I agree. I'm surprised that Microsoft is seemingly being so generous with this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peppepz (1311345)

      Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

      No nonsense customer service, and it gives gives them good PR.

      They're not doing anything good. That's the minimum they can do for bricking their users' consoles. Hadn't they done that, they would get sued, lose, and then they'd have to pay both a new console and the lawsuit costs.

      Compare that to Sony...

      ...who only gave away 3 high rated games, one or two months of free premium service, a year of credit card protection, and other junk I can't remember for 3 weeks of downtime of a free service. Those bastards.

      • Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

        No nonsense customer service, and it gives gives them good PR.

        They're not doing anything good. That's the minimum they can do for bricking their users' consoles. Hadn't they done that, they would get sued, lose, and then they'd have to pay both a new console and the lawsuit costs.

        Compare that to Sony...

        ...who only gave away 3 high rated games, one or two months of free premium service, a year of credit card protection, and other junk I can't remember for 3 weeks of downtime of a free service. Those bastards.

        For just 3 weeks of downtime of a free service? You don't think it had anything to do with all that personal information? or because they aren't absolutely sure that the credit card data wasn't compromised? Nice attempt to spin this, but you're comparing apples to oranges here.

        As well, them giving a year of credit protection is worthless. 3-5 years would be more appropriate. The data from ID theft often isn't used immediately. Frank Abagnale Jr. has made an informative presentation about that subject, and

    • Acknowledgment or not, MS needs to stop futzing around with the DVD drive and just design a new generation console with a blu-ray drive. They're still limping along with an increasingly obsolete DVD drive (becoming more and more problematic on newer games like L.A. Noire) because they're too proud to pay Sony royalty rights for blu-ray and because they've been so focused on their Wii knockoff Kinect add-on. So, here we are at the end of the traditional 5-year console lifespan, and they don't even have a new

      • MS released the HD-DVD drive before. I don't see why they couldn't release a Bluray version of the same thing. Well....any technical reason. It would certainly be easier than releasing a new console.
    • ...but this is how you do customer service.

      Microsoft acknowledged the issue and promised that affected users would receive a new 360S console and a free year of Xbox Live to compensate.

      Acknowledge the problem, fix it (or replace it in this case with a superior model), and give compensation.

      No nonsense customer service, and it gives gives them good PR.

      Compare that to Sony...

      A superior model that doesn't work with the original xbox hard drive. That's an annoying little bit there...

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:44AM (#36189762)
    There are millions of game consoles out there - millions - and yet there aren't very many revisions of hardware per model. It's not hard for the manufacturers to test how these required updates are going to affect their hardware. But here we are again, a story about revisions of two major consoles having serious issues with a firmware update.

    These required updates are ridiculous. We wouldn't put up with having to take our cars back to the dealer to have required maintenance done that would take away some feature or option we paid for, let alone having the maintenance leave the car in a troubled or non-working state.

    There needs to be some sort of consumer protection to prevent these types of things. What's next, an update for our phones that prevents us from dialing 800 numbers because they are costing corporations too much money when we call?
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      There is, it is called a Gaming PC.
    • I have a launch xbox 360 (yes, it never RRODed) so they don't get any older and my system appears to be fine. I don't believe we have the accurate story on what is causing Microsoft to replace some systems. I have two theories...

      1) They briefly put out a bad firmware that only a small number of users got and then pulled it, some of those users may be the ones effected.
      2) The upgrades explicitly invalidate or blacklist a very small number of xbox 360s (by their unique IDs) that Microsoft believes were tamp

    • There are millions of game consoles out there - millions - and yet there aren't very many revisions of hardware per model. It's not hard for the manufacturers to test how these required updates are going to affect their hardware.

      To be fair to Microsoft, I'm sure they they wanted to test some of the older XBox360s, but all theirs had already RRODed. Plus, how many first edition 360s are even still out there? Microsoft can easily afford to replace the 7 guys who bought a 360 on day one and it finally failed them during this latest firmware update.

  • It would be funny if it was true.

  • How do you add additional capacity like that? If the drive could always read the higher density disks, why didn't they use them in the first place? Surely it's not that the manufacturing process is more expensive and they only just now figured out how to make it affordable.

    Is there any grain of truth to this or is it pure BS cover for the piracy stuff?

    • by wastedlife (1319259) on Friday May 20, 2011 @01:26PM (#36193482) Homepage Journal

      The discs are still dual-layer DVDs, but the new "format" is a different partition scheme that opens up an extra gig of space for game data, at the expense of space that was dedicated for some other purpose. That seems like it should be a pretty minor change, so the rest of the update probably slips in other changes such as DRM.

      The theory on why this is requiring a hardware replacement for some users is that this forces a flash of the dvd drive firmware. Some revisions have a dvd drive that is incapable of being flashed, so the firmware may be causing those revisions to be unable to read disks.

  • by bmo (77928) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:28AM (#36189954)

    ... I'll let you come over and play with my Wii.

    --
    BMO

    • by Cruciform (42896)

      I had to return both my 360 and the Wii.
      Nintendo was just as good about the exchange as MS was. 5 minutes on the phone and a new one was in the mail. Nintendo even sends out the new one before receiving the old one, provided they have your CC number on file.

      The early Wiis had issued with the graphics chips which manifested as "sparkle" before eventual failure.

    • by Combatso (1793216)
      what the hell is a Wii?
    • by tacroy (813477)
      Sure you'll be able to find it under all that dust?
  • This would not be a problem for Rockstar if they had developed this title for the PC platform. Gaming PCs have much better ventilation than consoles.

    I would argue that this is exactly the type of game that PC gamers would love, so it would have made a natural home for the title. (As you can guess, I'm rather miffed at not being able to play this one.)

    • Why can't you play it? Does your computer explode if a console is the house? Mine doesn't, maybe it's true for yours as well.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      What is it with you PC snobs anyway? When a PC exclusive title comes out, you don't see scores of console gamers spamming the game's message boards complaining that it isn't coming to consoles (and there are *WAY* more PC exclusives than console exclusives). And yet every time a console exclusive comes out, you see scores of "When is this coming to the PC?", "The PC is so superior to consoles", "How could you bastards NOT release this on the PC?", "WAAAAAAHHH, I'M GONNA TELL MOMMY!!" posts on every one of t

      • When a PC exclusive title comes out, you don't see scores of console gamers spamming the game's message boards complaining that it isn't coming to consoles (and there are *WAY* more PC exclusives than console exclusives).

        I'm not sure that I would quite agree that there are more PC exclusives (unless you include indie titles), but I don't really have any numbers to back this up. All I can say is that on the game review TV shows I watch, only a minority of games reviewed are available for the PC and only a handful are PC exclusives.

        However, I have no problems with console exclusives because a lot of games suit the controllers better. My point about this game is that it does appear to be one that would work well on the PC, and

      • What is it with you PC snobs anyway? When a PC exclusive title comes out, you don't see scores of console gamers spamming the game's message boards complaining that it isn't coming to consoles (and there are *WAY* more PC exclusives than console exclusives). And yet every time a console exclusive comes out, you see scores of "When is this coming to the PC?", "The PC is so superior to consoles", "How could you bastards NOT release this on the PC?", "WAAAAAAHHH, I'M GONNA TELL MOMMY!!" posts on every one of the game's message boards.

        Christ, get over yourselves. Developers don't owe you jack (if you want to blame someone, blame all the PC pirates, not the studio). And, believe it or not, your shit DOES stink.

        Rage much?

      • What is it with you PC snobs anyway? When a PC exclusive title comes out, you don't see scores of console gamers spamming the game's message boards complaining that it isn't coming to consoles

        You mean comments like "I don't think my computer could run this. Here's hoping for a console version." and "Man, this looks pretty awesome. I hope it comes out on consoles." which I just pulled out from a thread under a video of The Witcher 2 [giantbomb.com] which just came out?

        I could probably mine places like Gametrailers, G4 and IGN for more of that, but I think I've proven my point.

        The rest of your 'analysis' if wrong also, but that's another story.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          Those comments are a rarity on PC exclusive forums. On console exclusive forums, they're quite common. PC gamers are actively offended when a game doesn't come to the PC. Console gamers usually just shrug it off.

          Do I wish I could play WoW, Starcraft, The Old Republic, Minecraft, Witcher, etc. on a console? Sure. Do I go over to the message forums for those games and whine about it? No.

    • You dont want a PC port from Rockstar. I am JUST NOW getting GTA IV to run at decent levels on an i5k and a 570 HD GTX
  • My NES doesn't overheat at all while playing Duck Hunt on my CRT TV...

  • Sounds like a smokeout to me. Some older hacked Xboxes are invulnerable to M$'s new anti-piracy countermeasures, so they make a firmware upgrade that totally breaks the DVD drive. Replace the broken Xboxes with new ones. Now they don't have to worry about old hardware that they can't control...
  • I have noticed that after having applied 3.61, the PS3 is running it's fan at a noticeable higher level than with the previous firmwares, regardless of the task.

1: No code table for op: ++post

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