Reports of an Xbox 360 glitch epidemic have hit the web in the past 24 hours, with Microsoft’s new console coming under fire from users angry that it has crashed or overheated.
Reports mainly centering around Project Gotham Racing 3 (a crash video of which you can see here
) have complained of lock-outs and other errors, seemingly stemming from a faulty memory unit within the machine.
Other faults have included error numbers E79, E67, E74, E35 appearing on the screen, again thought to be related to RAM problems, have also been reported.
So, is there a widespread problem with the Xbox 360, or is this a mixture of expected hardware fail-rates and post-purchase regret, empowered by the global megaphone that is the Internet?
From what SPOnG has been able to gather, the amount of faulty Xbox 360 hardware shipped to the public is negligible, with much of the evidence anecdotal. Polls cropping up
on the subject, which appear to show a 25% fail-rate at time of press, are quickly debunked by the originating sources as being unreliable due to people registering faulty hardware when none exists.
Microsoft reacted to the claims of faulty goods this morning. “It's a few reports of consoles here and there not working properly," said Molly O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for Microsoft's Xbox division. "It's what you would expect with a consumer electronics instrument of this complexity...par for the course.” And is she right? Well in short, yes she is.
Launch Xboxes were plagued with problems, resulting in the nickname FiXBox being awarded after it chewed up disks and suffered repeated hard disk failures. So it’s a Microsoft issue? No, of course not. The Dreamcast suffered hard reset problems at launch, the PlayStation 2 saw massive returns with a plethora of issues including disc read errors, blown circuit boards and power supply issues. Early PlayStation consoles were also unreliable, resulting in many having to stand on their side to read game discs. Sega’s Saturn also suffered crash faults in its early phase, with the recently released PSP seeing widespread pixel, disc and general manufacture quality-related returns.
Outside of gaming, look at the uproar Apple manages to cause with the portable music player fashionista up in arms every six months or so.
Microsoft outlined its returns policy for defective 360 hardware, explaining that US consumers need only to call 1-800-4myXbox or go to www.xbox.com
If the problem can't be resolved via telephone right away, Microsoft will pay to ship the console overnight to a repair centre and ship it overnight back to the consumer once it's fixed, or ship a replacement. This, compared to the customer service support offered by almost every other manufacturer of cutting edge technology, is pretty impressive.
Which leads us onto the question – if you’re about to buy an Xbox 360, will it break? The simple answer is it might do, because it’s new and some do. If you want to wait six months, the problems that caused the first ones to break will likely have been sorted out. And if you do buy one in the coming days and it does break? Simply call Microsoft and they’ll sort it out. And if they don’t, scream bloody blue murder!
We’ll update you on the situation with all Xbox 360 build issues as the weeks speed by.
For a full report on the US media's reaction to the Xbox 360 launch, the good and the bad, click here.
And click here.
for a photo feature direct from the Xbox 360 launch event Zero Hour, a 24 hour spectacular held in the desert.