Xbox 360 Crashes and Freezes Reported

Posted on November 27, 2005

By now everyone has heard about the Xbox 360 being sold out in stores and about the high bids for Xbox 360's on eBay. But reports are trickling in that some of the Xbox 360s are not working properly. Extreme Tech even asks in an article "Is there enough evidence to shout 'recall'?"

But those who actually got the system in hand are breathing easy and living it up, right?

Some of them are. But others are posting a plethora of problems with their brand-new 360s, from game crashes to hard drives that simply don't work.

One reasonable gamer lays it out like this: "Between my friends and I, we bought six machines at the Zero Hour event. Of the six, my machine has a dead hard drive, another machine is working but is rather flaky (seen some strange behavior-the drive may also be scratching discs, as my friend's copy of Condemned is now unplayably scratched, but we don't know if the drive caused it-the machine has also had problems booting games and being turned off...), one seems to be good, and I haven't heard yet about the status of the other three."

These stories make you want to shout "Tech Support!" But Microsoft has tried to stop the bad press with a statement downplaying the Xbox 360 troubles. Betadot reports that Microsoft issued the following statement:

A fraction of the Xbox 360's that are being sold have problems which could cause graphical errors, freezing or even corruption of the Xbox's drive. Some of the consoles are uncapable of playing any games, and just shut off or show graphical messes when they are used.

Microsoft's report said that these bugs are in a "very minor fraction" of the Xbox's sold. Microsoft expects to have sold up to 3 million Xbox 360's before the end of the year, while Sony doesn't intend on releasing their Playstation 3 for almost another year.

"We are making sure that the people that are having problems are getting their issues resolved quickly," said a spokesperson from Microsoft�s Xbox department.

For a game system that costs $400 with the more expensive model those are some serious issues even if it is only a fraction of the Xbox 360 units that are suffering from problems. An article in the Edmonton Sun says Microsoft has yet to provide data that shows these Xbox 360 problems are isolated.

But many gamers were furious that they didn't get their Xbox 360s this week, despite preordering months in advance or waiting in line outside stores all night. And a small but very vocal percentage of new owners are flooding gaming websites with reports of overheating hardware and crashing consoles.

Few things suck more than getting your new toy home and finding out it's already broken. But every recent console launch has been plagued with technical problems - disc read errors on the Xbox, overheating circuit boards on the PS2, random resets on the Dreamcast and original PlayStations that would only work properly while upside down.

Microsoft claims the Xbox 360 failure rate is on par with any other piece of complex consumer electronics, but since we don't have access to their figures, we have no way to tell.

Whatever the case, the company is offering free repairs or replacements to those whose issues can't be resolved with a call to customer support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX.

Microsoft probably won't be happy with coverage like Forbes article entitled, Xbox 360 Has Nothing On Atari 2600 or blog posts like Joystiq's post about how careful you have to be with Xbox 360 disks. Meanwhile, Kotaku is taking a poll to find out the truth about the Xbox 360 problems. Kotaku does say, "Here at Kotaku we want to know if these crashes are just an extremely vocal minority or if it's something consumers should be concerned with. Our inbox hasn't been "stuffed" with crash stories, but we've gotten a pretty decent number of complaints."

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