Tag Archive for 'XBox 360'

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?

Looks like I’m going to be taking “advantage” of Microsoft’s “generous” new warranty program. Again.

Over the Labor Day weekend it seems as if my XBox 360 took upon itself to commit suicide. I got the dreaded ring of red lights. I managed to get the box running for an extra day by switching it from HDTV mode to SDTV mode, but that only lasted one day. My XBox 360 now dies regardless of what graphics mode I’m running it on. It does look like its graphics card got fried.

Funny thing. My Tivo is running 24/7 on the same stereo rack with no problems, and has been doing that for three years non-stop. My cable box is doing the same. My new laptop is running 24/7 as well, and it runs considerably hotter than my XBox 360. My wireless router is on 24/7, no problems, and so is my cable modem.

The PS3 I own runs Folding@Home 24/7 for months in a row. No problems. My Nintendo Wii is on standby (not quite off) 24/7 as well. No problems.

The only goddamn piece of electronic equipment that keeps dieing on me is the XBox 360, and I’m not using it nearly as much or strenuously as my other electronic equipment. What kind of garbage did Microsoft put inside this thing anyway???


Breaking news: Microsoft extends XBox 360 warranty to 3 years

Amazing. Pigs do fly after all.

In a stunning admission of XBox 360 hardware problems Microsoft has announced that they’re extending warranty on all XBox 360s to three years. Microsoft is also reimbursing any costs paid by customers for earlier repairs.

This comes after months of ducking the question about XBox 360 failure rates. It seems Microsoft grew tired of not answering the same question and instead decided to address their quality issues the way they should’ve done it in the first place.

I’m looking forward to my check from Microsoft. I am going to frame it.

Big MegaCorp vs. Customers 0 – 1

Also read Peter Moore’s Open Letter to XBox 360 customers. Quite the change of tune from before.


Me, a game designer

Microsoft is running a game design contest sponsored by Doritos (huh?).

I couldn’t help but enter my most awesomenest game idea in the contest. It puts a player in charge of fixing a video game console with chronic overheating problems. Gee, that sounds awfully familiar.

Somehow I think my chances of winning are quite remote.


Microsoft continues to deny quality problems with the XBox 360

The XBox 360 video game console is built by Microsoft. It was launched November 2005 in the United States and it cost $400.

The early manufacturing run(s) have widely been reported as having pretty serious quality issues. Those early units are failing at alarming frequency, in fact at such alarming frequency Microsoft offered to repair any 2005 manufactured XBox 360s for free, but only until the end of 2006. If you didn’t get a free repair, it’ll cost you $140 plus shipping to get it repaired by Microsoft.

I belong to a large online gaming community called Seasoned Gamers. We’ve got close to 1,000 active members. A lot of us own XBox 360s. The failure rates among the members are nowhere near the 2 – 3 percent range Microsoft wants us to believe, that is when they actually do talk about numbers. Four months ago the SG members had reported over 50 dead XBox 360s. There were several who had had more than one die on them.

If you round the SG members’ numbers up generously (for Microsoft) assuming there are 1,000 active members (there are less), and that everyone owns an XBox 360 (they don’t), you end up with a 5% failure rate within our community. During the past four months more XBox 360 units have died, so the failure rate among the members of SG is much closer to 10% than 5%, and it is probably higher than 10% by now. What Microsoft is saying and what SG members are seeing is statistically significantly different. Microsoft is basically full of shit when they claim the failure rates are not significant and are within “normal boundaries” or failure rates in electronic devices.

Yet Microsoft continues to publicly deny a problem, as is evident in an interview by Dean Takahashi, a well known journalist who has written books about the video gaming industry and the XBox in particular. In his interview of Todd Homdahl, Vice President of Gaming and Xbox Products Group at Microsoft directly responsible for the quality of the XBox 360 product, Dean tries to get a straight answer from Mr. Homdahl regarding the XBox 360 failure rates. The interview is a bizarre game of hide and seek with Dean trying his best to get an answer. Mr. Homdahl isn’t budging though and keeps evading the question with platitudes, half-truths and marketing bullshit.

Mr. Homdahl sums up Microsoft’s position with this wonderful statement:

We continue to say the vast majority of the people are really happy with it.

Way to go Todd! That’s exactly the message people with 100% failure rates need to hear. We know you really care, you’re just one of those shy silent types that aren’t really comfortable in saying you care. We know.


How would you make XBox Live better?

Andre Vrignaud, or Ozymandias, is a Microsoft employee whose job is to help manage the overall gaming platform strategy for Xbox and Windows.

He posted an article on his blog asking community feedback from XBL users on how to make the XBL better in the future.

At the time of writing this, he’s got over 800 responses from the user community. There’re some great suggestions from users about future enhancements to the XBL service. If you have time to read through all those comments, by all means do. It’s a very interesting read.


My PGR3 Tournament elimination round 1 race video

Here’s the video capture of the race. Lots of bumping going on. The first few corners are just impossible.

It was close, but I made a bunch of mistakes that cost me the race, including the big crash at the end.


PGR3 Tournament elimination round 1 completed

7 racers showed up for the 3-lap race. I came in 6th and got eliminated.

Here’s how the race went from my perspective.

I started at last place on the inside. I went into the first corner taking an inside lane and then cars just started coming in from all directions. I’m sure I hit my fair share of cars as well. I use the in-car view when racing, so visibility is pretty bad. I don’t even know how I ended up on the 3rd place after the 2nd corner.

I approach the 4th corner side by side with the 2nd place car. He is slightly in front so I slow down to take the line behind him. The 4th place car catches up on me, bumps me, then starts swerving and falls behind. I’m in the third place and stay there until midway through the second lap.

I scrape an inside wall on a chicane, and the 4th place car gets ahead of me and I fall back to 4th. The 5th place car is WAY back. The race is pretty much in the bag at this point.

That all changed in the first corner of the final lap, however. The 2nd place car screws up the corner pretty badly and I basically get stuck behind him while the 5th place car catches up on us and overtakes me.

We race right at each others’ bumpers until the 3rd last corner where I’m feeling pretty good at my chances of overtaking these two guys. Bad idea…

I go into the corner with way too much speed and collide with the 3rd place car. The 4th place car somehow manages to avoid the brunt of the crash. The 6th place car catches up on us and overtakes me to come in 5th. I finish 6th.

Thankfully my boneheaded move didn’t affect the race results as the 3rd and 4th place cars end up finishing at those positions.

I’ll post videos of the race later. Here’s The Crash footage as an appetizer:

The Crash from Sackamonjaro’s viewpoint

It’s a good one! 🙂


PGR3 Tournament elimination races tonight

I’ll be racing at 12:20am tonight.

All the races are broadcast in PGR3’s Gotham TV Tournament Channel. If you own PGR3, tune in and watch me make a complete fool out of myself racing against all these pros.


The Mad Finn as a pro-gamer?

Bizarre Creations, Global Gaming League, Inc. and Microsoft are running a worldwide tournament in Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3), a racing game for the XBox 360.

Top 64 qualifiers in each of the three regions – North America, Europe and Asia – make it to the elimination rounds for their region. There’re four elimination rounds using a bracket of 64 competitors. Top 4 racers in each elimination race move onto the next round. The top 4 racers of each region are going to the Finals run at the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.

The qualifying was run using a Lamborghini Gallardo on Tokyo Nishigushi Short track. Unlimited amount of laps, best lap time counts.

The qualifying ended last night and I made it to the top 64 in North America!! My best lap time was 53.62 secs in 43rd position with the last qualifier having a time of 53.67 secs. Overall I came in at 149th position of 9,397 total competitors.

I’ve always been good at racing and sports games, but I never imagined I’d be able to compete as evenly as I did with the very best of PGR3. Some of the top qualifiers do this sort of thing professionally and they’re freakishly talented.

Before the tournament begun I thought I’d have a small chance in making the top 64, if some of the top racers wouldn’t participate. But everyone turned up, and the competition was simply fierce, especially in Europe. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d make it as high as top 50 among all these great racers.

The elimination rounds begin this Thursday evening and continue every evening until this Sunday. Let’s see what happens. I don’t think I’ll make it very far. I’ll be lucky, if I make it through the first round.

But it’s been an absolute blast so far. I can’t wait till the real competition starts.