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A History of the Xbox Red Ring of Death Fiasco

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the defective-by-what,-now? dept.

XBox (Games) 230

VentureBeat has a lengthy story about the situation surrounding the Xbox 360's "Red Ring of Death." It starts with the developmental phases for the 360, looks at the marketing decisions that drove Microsoft to aim for a release ahead of the PS3, and talks with sources and engineers within Microsoft about what could have been done to prevent the problems. Quoting: "Leading up to the launch in the fall of 2005, the number of defective units would soon grow to tens of thousands. Any other consumer electronics company would likely have postponed a launch with such low yields. But Microsoft had more money in the bank than anyone else. The decision this time would fall to Bach and Moore. The costs of launching with low yields -- where you take big losses on every product sold -- could bankrupt other companies. But Microsoft could afford to do so. Microsoft did delay the launch date from October until November. But some inside the company still believed returns would be out of control."

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Ohhhhh boy... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24896961)

In b4 fanboi console war shitstorm...

Right on time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24896979)

How timely seeing as I just got mine....WHY????

Right on time ... for the price cut! (1, Flamebait)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897077)

Maybe not in time for you, but seeing that another price cut for the 360 models is imminent, could be that an editor at Slashdot thinks that warning potential buyers is a Good Thing (TM), at last.

Re:Right on time ... for the price cut! (4, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897909)

Too bad the reliability problems have been resolved.

Not to ruin the fun of a good old fashioned Microsoft bashing but the 360 has been fine since last fall. Sure it sucks it launched with so many problems, and I was as mad as anyone about it a year ago, but they made good and now we can concentrate on playing games.. which is the point of the whole thing.

Re:Right on time ... for the price cut! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24898031)

Not to ruin the fun of a good old fashioned Microsoft bashing...

You wouldn't happen to weigh more than a duck, would you?

Dumping? Loss leader? (5, Insightful)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897001)

I'd appreciate it very much if someone could please explain to me, how is it possible that one company sells something at a loss and it's called "dumping" (which you can get in trouble for, IIUC), and another company sells something at a loss and it's called a "loss leader?" Wtf? It's especially clear in this case, when you have orange rings of death and whatnot, that the purpose is to bankrupt the competition by selling yours for less. By the time someone spent their Christmas money on one product, they won't buy the other. Hence, dumping.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (2, Informative)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897045)

Have you tried Googling the word "dumping"? Because the first link explains it.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (5, Funny)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897095)

Another alternative term to "dumping" is explained, in much greater depth, by googling "2girls1cup".

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (-1, Offtopic)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897117)

Speaking of dumping and red rings of day, our other guitar player [] ate an entire jar of that really spicy Thai hot sauce. Do I need to say more?

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (2, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897049)

I'd appreciate it very much if someone could please explain to me, how is it possible that one company sells something at a loss and it's called "dumping" (which you can get in trouble for, IIUC), and another company sells something at a loss and it's called a "loss leader?" Wtf?/quote

As I recall, 'dumping' is when you sell a product considerably more cheaply in one country than in another. For example: If Sony sold the PS3 in the US for $200, but the equivalent of $700 in Japan, that'd be 'dumping'.

Hopefully for both of us, my memory is correct. ;)

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (3, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897399)

i don't think that is what's usually meant by 'dumping'.

although it does seem to primarily refer to predatory pricing in the context of international trade, it's not when you sell something cheaper in one country than in another. it's simply when a product manufactured in one country is being exported to another country at a price below cost or below the market value in its home market.

as with most forms of predatory capitalism, its legality is fuzzy and often what one nation preaches is not what it practices--particularly western nations which like to tout the virtues of "Free Market" capitalism, such as the U.S.

so if a U.S. corporation wanted to dump products on another nation, they would condemn any protectionist policies which might oppose these actions. but simultaneously, if another country wanted to dump products in the U.S. which competed with domestic industries with powerful lobbies, antidumping petitions would be filed with the Dept. of Commerce.

things like 'fair value', or the difference between 'dumping' and selling a 'loss leader', are entirely subjective. they're simply used in whatever way most benefits a given group.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897505)

things like 'fair value', or the difference between 'dumping' and selling a 'loss leader', are entirely subjective. they're simply used in whatever way most benefits a given group.

Which is why we should make a single international standard, and then sell Bill Gates into sexual slavery!

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (5, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897071)

As I understand it, the difference is that a loss leader can legitimately expect to make money indirectly from the sales. Walmart can afford to sell its most popular items at a loss so that other items can be sold for a profit. Microsoft does this with the XBox, where they sell the XBox in an attempt to get more sales for their software.

Dumping, on the other hand, is selling at a loss so that you can drive the other company out of business and then raise the price of that same item.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (5, Informative)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897137)

"If a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market, it is said to be "dumping" the product." --from Wikipedia []

"A loss a product sold at a low price to stimulate other, profitable sales." --from Wikipedia []

The XBOX is a loss leader because people will buy it at its cheap price, then people will want to play the XBOX. Those people will be required to buy games. The games are high margin products. Microsoft makes both so it's all good for them. It's just like with printers and ink or razors and blades. Microsoft would be guilty of dumping the XBOX if they sold the XBOX in say Europe for 20 USD, which I don't think they do.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (0)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897351)

the thing is, while Microsoft does make games, it's the 3rd party licenses that get the lions share of the market. yeah i know there are usually some form of a fee for being officially licensed. but who knew rockstar games was going to be game when GTA 1 came out and sold hugely?

because of anti dumping laws very few consoles have ever been sold below cost, although there is some question as to if those companies didn't play the 'shell' game, of using VC as a front to create one time part supplier 'shell' corporations to avoid having books that show them selling parts below cost even though they did...

oh and if you're wondering, in the USA a USA company cannot be convicted of dumping. so microsoft can't be prosecuted for dumping, while sony and nintendo as foreign corporations can be sued.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897555)

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (2, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897833)

Uh that is just two examples. How about the SNES, NES, Genesis, GBA, DS, PS2, PS1, etc?

I think you will find that the PS3 and Xboxes are the exception and not the norm.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (4, Informative)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897573)

You do realize that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all receive a licensing fee or percentage from every game sold, yes? While they may make more money off 1st party games, 3rd party games still bring in a nice chunk of change as well.

You also might want to check the stories of each system when they first came out. There are plenty of indicators that both X-Boxes and at least the last two PlayStations were sold at a loss, and if not a loss, then a very minimal profit margin. Nintendo is the only system maker to consistently release systems at a healthy profit. Not a loss, nor anywhere near the break-even point, but a decent enough profit that they have some very fat stacks of cash on hand.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (-1, Flamebait)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897649)

Problem is, most people buy Halo, and nothing else. The XBox's game library is absolutely miserable, and always has been.

We haven't had a console that had a good launch library that also maintained a good library for the duration of its lifespan since the N64. The PS2 eventually got a lot of good titles, but that took a few years. The XBox never really got that many titles that were worth having...

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897899)

The XBox's game library is absolutely miserable, and always has been.

These are by no means all exclusives, but I'd like to counter that with:

Viva Pinata
Assassin's Creed
Call of Duty 4
Devil May Cry 4
Gears of War
Final Fantasy XI
Guitar Hero/Rock Band etc.

I'm just gonna stop there.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897939)

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved**2
Puzzel Quest

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898119)

You know, as a PS3 owner I envy these games more than the previous ones (which are mostly multiplatform) I'd love to have these on PSN.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897839)

But by your definition, Xbox is neither dumping or a loss leader as it does not make a profit overall. Sure the last few quarters it has managed to make a little bit of profit but overall Xbox is like $7 billion in debt as a product.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

tedu_again (980692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897145)

If Microsoft then doubled their prices after Christmas, it'd be dumping.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (-1, Troll)

scromp (148280) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897153)

I'm sorry, did you say something? Whatever it was, it was obscured by this:

McCain/Palin '08. Now THAT's hope and change!

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (4, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897157)

I'll explain the difference, Dumping is when a company sells a product below cost to bankrupt their competitors.

Loss leaders are when a store sells a product below what they pay to draw in consumers and get sales.

Clearly the video game industry is rife with corruption and 'Dumping' primarily because hardware makers can subsidize the price of a console with license fees from game developers.

depend on 'dumpers' like Microsoft to have some very complex bookwork, and possibly some Chinese shell corporations to sell high priced parts significantly below cost, but only to Microsoft.

there are lots of ways electronics can be sold below price, specifically cell phones and satellite TV boxes, which come with service agreements. but in the cell phone market, you're not locked into a single phone, although each cell provider has their own line of phones... most big players have models for each provider, except in cases where they get more money to be 'exclusive' to AT&T (like the iphone) etc.

some of this stuff is illegal in many places, but as i said shell corporations are shady and hard to stop. because billionaires often engage in venture capitalism, it's not hard to 'invest' in a shell corporation that's going to go into an exclusive contract to say, sell 40 million $40 dollar parts at $1 a part, and have the initial VC funding of say 40 million dollars, while 'your buddy' makes a cool million cash etc... then let the company go belly up, or keep using the same shell corporation with additional rounds of VC funding...

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897171)

doh the math gods kill me again, 40 million $40 parts is more like 1.6 billion dollars. ah well, the general concept is still there.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897501)

If the XBox 360 was an attempt at dumping, then it was a completely failed attempt. But given that in the console market, selling the console below cost and making the money up on sales is the historically common way to do things, it's more reasonable to believe that they were selling it as a loss leader like everyone else. This is certainly the way the PS2 was sold. It was a monster hit, and yet hardly drove either Nintendo or Microsoft out of the console market.

The remarkable thing about the current generation was that Nintendo was able to sell a console at a profit.

Beside, nothing shady is going on. Both Microsoft and Sony have been very clear about when they are selling at a loss.

Actually added to sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897369)

The red ring of death actually made more sales, you xbox dies, and while waiting for a new one, you go buy a 'spare' xbox!

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897407)

With your McCain/Palin sig I certainly hope you aren't suggesting regulating a company from doing what ever the hell it wants. After all a "free" market is one where companies can't get in trouble IIUC (I have no idea what that stands for). Corrupt companies need tax breaks damn it!

Posted AC because yes, it is a troll.

This is a simulated signature. Really, I just typed two dashes then wrote another line below them.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24898015)

IIUC, IIUC stands for "If I Understand Correctly."

Dumping versus loss leaders (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897513)

I'd appreciate it very much if someone could please explain to me, how is it possible that one company sells something at a loss and it's called "dumping" (which you can get in trouble for, IIUC), and another company sells something at a loss and it's called a "loss leader?"

Dumping [] is a form of predatory pricing [] under international trade law whereby a product is sold below cost or below market value in the country of origin. Economists sometimes take a more general definition of dumping to mean any kind of predatory pricing but in my experience this is a less common usage. Dumping often occurs when a producer has excess capacity beyond what their home market can absorb so they sell the excess in a different market either to damage current/potential competitors or to gain market share.

A loss leader [] is basically a sales promotion. One product is sold cheaply (possibly below cost) with the expectation, but normally not the requirement, that customers will be enticed into buying additional more profitable product(s). The most famous version is the razors and blade model pioneered by Gillette.

The important difference is that a loss leader isn't necessarily destructive. With dumping there is no attempt at profitability, at least not in the short term. However predatory pricing in general, including dumping, can be very hard to prove. It's quite rare to have clear evidence that dumping is occurring. Furthermore in some countries (notably China) it's not unusual for the government to hold stakes in manufacturing firms. Naturally it is rather difficult subpoenaing records from a state owned Chinese manufacturer so you can sue them for dumping.

Re:Dumping? Loss leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897915)

There are 2 variables to understand. Average Cost (AC), and Average Variable Cost (AVC).

Your AC is your AVC plus your fixed costs averaged over the total number of units.

In very simple terms, selling between your AVC and AC is a loss leader, because you're still covering your unit costs, yet getting product on the market for add-on sales.

Selling below your AVC is unprofitable (ie: you would be in a better financial position if you shut down the company) so if it continues, it's generally expected that it's because you're trying to drop the market for a substitute product to force them to sell under an unprofitable demand curve.

It's actually a very complicated thing, and also tends to involve foreign market pricing, substitute/complimentary products, and many more complex variables, but that's the very short form.

Cue MS Apologists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897019)

In 3, 2, 1 ...

Re:Cue Apple Apologists (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897267)

clearly you are new here.

Re:Cue Apple Apologists (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898021)

I must be... when did Apple start making a console?

(...and when you get done showing me that, someone show where the other three horsemen of the apocalypse are?)

(yes, I own a Mac. It ain't exactly a popular gaming platform...)

Collapse? (2, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897053)

What if the company is just facing the domino effect of collapse because their engineering and management does not work anymore. It makes me depressed to observe all this. [] They were unable to deliver VISTA in time. Customers and hardware suppliers actually hate VISTA.

They develop a game console with gigantic losses. They develop the next game console as a second choice. Maybe something is broken in their management of development. I mean look, where is the bugzilla server for the xbox?

Do you remember the story about the lawyer's letter to the parents of the baby killed by an Xbox fire?

But this Slahsdot post finally reminds us that Microsoft was never different. When we look back there is actually a history of autism in the company but it always paid off in the past. Like Napoleon, an insane leader who did every mistake but for some time he was quite lucky.

Re:Collapse? (1)

tedu_again (980692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897243)

Do you remember the story about the lawyer's letter to the parents of the baby killed by an Xbox fire? No, I had to look it up, but how is it relevant? And it wasn't a letter, it was a court filing, which I believe are pretty typical when you find yourself being sued.

Microsoft's Failure In The Console Market (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897097)

I remember reading the stories back in 2000/2001 when people first found out about the Xbox. It was taken as a given that it was only a few months from launch that Microsoft would take over the console market.

"Microsoft has billions!"
"Gates always gets what he wants!"
"Microsoft will just buy every developer and make them work on the Xbox!"

and a million similar claims were made.

It is shocking to look back over the 7 year long train wreck that the Xbox turnd out to be. Some 7 billion dollars has been wasted on so little to show for their efforts and now with the 360 they have taken on the reputation of having created the worst console in the history of gaming.

Microsoft really needs to wake up and get back to supporting the troubled PC gaming market. All those billions wasted on the Xbox could have done wonders for PC gaming. PC gaming was one of the major factors that made Microsoft OSes so popular with IT guys over the past twenty years.

Re:Microsoft's Failure In The Console Market (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897525)

"now with the 360 they have taken on the reputation of having created the worst console in the history of gaming."

Can't say I agree with that. In terms of defect rate, absolutely. But if you have a working 360, it does a lot of things well.

Re:Microsoft's Failure In The Console Market (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897823)

Putting aside the completely shit hardware design, the 360 does some things amazingly well:

Scratch 60 dollar gaming discs

Destroy 60 dollar gaming discs

Generate annoyingly large amounts of noise

Play dead movie formats like HD-DVD

Laggy online play with the 50 dollars a year for P2P game networking

Jaggies, jaggies, jaggies thanks to the weak and poorly designed graphics hardware

It's like the console is made out of 100% pure fail.

Re:Microsoft's Failure In The Console Market (0, Troll)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897851)

Like first person shooters?

Re:Microsoft's Failure In The Console Market (2, Interesting)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897667)

Worst console? Hm.

There DOES seem to be a big following online for it with Live. It's pretty cool to play all those old games on the system, and I do know a fair number of people who use the system a lot.

Train wreck? I agree. Will it continue on? Probably. Flawed and broken, though fortunately people actually have a choice in the console market.

It would, however, be interesting if XBOX dropped out and left only Sony and Nintendo.

Unnecessary but valid gripe about the summary (1, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897119)

Wait, what? You mean the evil old space-shuttle-sized black toaster had the red ring of death problem just like the sleek new 360? Oh, wait, you just forgot to put "360" anywhere in the summary. Or the tags. Or the category icons. Good job, guy(s).

Re:Unnecessary but valid gripe about the summary (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897211)

I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment that it's a valid gripe. 99% of the people who are going to read this slashdot article have heard about the RROD fiasco already because it's been covered many times before in many places (including slashdot). In addition, the original XBox isn't worth any screen time at this point, since the 360's been out for a few years now.

that's Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897131)

It's kinda like their software. They know it doesn't work and has glitches and will crash and they release it anyway. I'd list examples but it's basically all software they've ever written. When people made games for the N64 there was no patching. They tested it until it was basically perfect and then released it because a crash glitch was unacceptable. These days companies like Microsoft can change it from beta to release whenever they feel like it's just barely stable enough to work most of the time. It's all because they want their money now. Okay, I gotta list one example. Windows ME!

TFA is written by nitwits (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897161)

The future profits that the company once hoped for are now likely to wind up in Nintendo's pockets.

Right, just like a defective Audi will drive people towards purchasing a Toyota Yaris. Nintendo and Microsoft aren't competing for the same market niche, and apparently the author doesn't realize that. The Wii is for casual gaming, the XBox and PS are for hardcore gaming. Might as well say that peggle is taking sales from Half Life 2.

The XBox360 is getting a lot of negative press, but I think they made the right call by launching early. They've been able to displace a lot of the negative press by extending the warranty and making sure that people get their xbox's replaced. Also, the PS3 is too expensive and the controllers are crap; it gives an overall feel of not being worth the money. The mass exodus as exclusive titles left Playstation to go multi-platform says it all, really.

Re:TFA is written by nitwits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897179)

Oh god, what a delusional retard.

Re:TFA is written by nitwits (2, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897311)

You are wrong, at least with regards to my situation:

I wanted a PS3, but I've got about £1000 worth of PS2 games that I'm not about to give up on (my PS2 just gave up the ghost).

Having bought a cheap replacement PS2 instead of the backwards-compatible PS3 I'd have liked, I was not well disposed to Sony, so I look to the XBox-

Just too unreliable.

I now have a Wii, and love it, but would have probably been happier with a more powerful machine.

For me, both MSFT and Sony dropped the ball badly.

Re:TFA is written by nitwits (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898139)

I'm interested in why you didn't buy a backwards compatible PS3. Too expensive for you? Personally I held off on getting a PS3 as long as I could, wasn't till late 2007 that I began to think it was worth getting it in the near future. Then this year, my PS2 Linux kit HD started having issues, so I knew it was only a matter of time. I use mine for Linux, Oblivion, Orange Box, PS2/PS1 games and some media stuff.

Pussy Nazi Sez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897201)

No pussy for YOU!

Interesting timing (4, Insightful)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897227)

I wonder at the timing of a Xbox-critical article on the exact day the latest price cut hits, bringing the Arcade version under the price of the Wii.

The first two questions to ask about any news story:
Why am I hearing about this, and why now?

It's amazing how much is revealed by these 2 questions.

Re:Interesting timing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897273)

No one gives a shit about the Xbox 360 getting marked down. The only people buying 360s are pathetic 360 owners buying yet another console with the belief that 'these are supposed to be the good ones'.

The 360 is the single greatest console fiasco in the history of the gaming world. There is always going to be interest in how Microsoft could have made such a stinking pile of garbage console.

Re:Interesting timing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897493)

Funny, then, that it is still beating the shit out of the PS3. And that the PS3 is losing nearly every exclusive it once had, as third parties realize that they'll never get the audience that they would with the 360.

Go ahead and keep justifying your console-buying decision, though. The rest of us will just keep laughing at you.

Re:Interesting timing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897633)

It's true that many 3rd parties are releasing on both the 360 and PS3 now to help widen their audience. However, if you look the 360 doesn't exactly have a huge number of exclusives coming out, if you count them there are actually fewer exclusives coming out for the 360 than there are for the PS3.

You mention that the 360 will have a larger audience than the PS3, this should be true; however, recent multi console releases have seen less than one million units more sold on the 360 than the PS3, this is with the PS3 having 6 million units less sold to gamers.

So just like it doesn't make sense for 3rd parties to only release on the PS3, it also doesn't make sense to only release on the 360.

Re:Interesting timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897791)

"PS3 having 6 million units less sold to gamers"

You make yourself look like a fool using fanboy Vgchartz fake sales numbers.

The PS3 is only 4.5 or so million behind the 360 in installed base. Its been outselling the 360 worldwide by and ever increasing amount since just after the middle of last year.

Microsoft only shipped 2.3 million new console for the entire first six months of 2008. The 360 is on track to be passed in worldwide installed base just after the end of 2008.

Re:Interesting timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897729)

I can also say that I know of multiple factual errors in this article. And I only am familiar with the details of a small part of what happened - which means that I'm sure there are many, many others in the article. I'm not saying it's all incorrect, but that I can't trust anything that's not independently corroborated.

Also, conclusions reported by contract game compatibility testers should be taken with a very large pile of salt.

Re:Interesting timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897759)

Well that's the real question, isn't it? Why? The how and the who is just scenery for the public. [One ring, two ring, red ring, blue ring]. Keeps 'em guessing like some kind of parlor game, prevents 'em from asking the most important question, why? Why was [your XBox] killed? Who benefited? Who has the power to cover it up? Who?

360s Continue To RRoD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897795)

Yes, because potential Wii buyers were hesitating between 360 and Wii are now shocked to find out Microsoft's 360 is the most poorly designed console ever.

360s have been RRoD from months before the mess of a console even launched. Microsoft has had three years to get their shit together and still 'My Xbox died' threads in gaming forums all over the Net are gigantic and active daily with the latest batch of 360 owners posting their RRoD stories.

It's not the media's job to do damage control for Microsoft's shit console hardware. If anything the media let Microsoft get away with it for far too long last year.

Re:Interesting timing (-1, Flamebait)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897867)

The problem is nobody wants a 360.

They sit around unused. Now a bunch of "I WANT MY SHOOTING GAME WII SUCKS" idiots jump for 360s, but at the end of the day, you can play these games at "high definition" resolutions with pretty much any entry-level PC equipped with a good video card. So why buy the 360? So you can give microsoft money for the software that you could buy much cheaper later?

LOL! Xbots Crying On Slashdot - Where's Zonk? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897881)

It must be rough on the poor little Xbots after Zonk got kick off Slashdot. No more daily barrages of anti-Sony/PS3/BluRay stories.

What a bunch of fucking losers. No one wants your piece of shit gimped and wimpy console. Keep buying replacement 360 retards, maybe you'll be able to barely outsell the first Xbox marketplace flop.

Proof that MS bought its way into this market (4, Interesting)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897275)

We've seen it time and time again, how Microsoft can afford to buy it's way into a market segment. I wonder if it will pay off in the long run, because it seems they've hit a saturation point with this product they have. Not much growth over the last product revision, and barely making a penny in the last few quarters (let's not talk about making up for all the loses to date yet).

With the stock price stagnant, how long can upper management convince shareholders that this is the right thing to do?

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897315)

i think MS entering the console market is the best thing that ever happened to it. look at the game selection and how the market has exploded since the xbox. so unless you own ms stock, why would you really give a crap if MS profits or not?

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897515)

"how the market has exploded since the xbox"

Please, you're just making a fool out of yourself.

There were only two massive console market expansions. The PS1 bringing console gaming out of the 50-60 million worldwide range up to 100+ million, and the PS2 with a similar leap to 140 million.

The Xbox marketplace failure was only 24 million worldwide. And the Xbox 360 is selling at an almost identical rate.

The console world was a very happy place before Microsoft made their unwelcomed and incompetent entry. Gamers will breath a sigh of relief when Microsoft returns to PC gaming. Which if you have been paying attention to Microsoft comments over the past six months won't be very long.

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (0, Troll)

NetNed (955141) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897797)

Game selection? What games can be directly attributed to XBOX? Gaylo.... I mean Halo? Yea that's a real explosion there! Really, what games has X-BOX popularized that was exclusive? For most of the original X-BOX's run games usually got ported after PS2 and Gamecube already had them. I loved what X-BOX brought to the table each time, but really, It has never really had a killer app, regardless of how much Halo was marketed and pushed to no end. In the end, it had really nothing new to offer in a gaming experience.

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897877)

where did i say the xbox has had a killer app or that it's even the best in anyway? the point that has gone zooming over your head and the anonymous retard above you is that MS trying to muscle it's way into the sector has sparked some impressive competition

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897391)

Dude you need to check out Live! The growth potential of that is astronomical. If windows begins to flag, Live might save Microsoft.

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (2, Interesting)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897635)

It depends on emotion. if people *think* the stock is worth the price, they'll hold it or buy.
Apple is in the same boat.

I think MS is in a precarious position. If one of their bets doesn't pay off soon (XBOX, Vista, or otherwise) I think they will have a few people to answer to.

Lowering the price seems like a desperation move, although the system HAS been out for 3 years now.

Xbox 360 Is The End Of The Xbox Fiasco For MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897671)

The first Xbox was just shy of being killed off when management grasped the magnitude of the fiasco but they were convinced to hold on.

When they were forced to pull the plug on the first Xbox there were all sorts of promises that the 360 would be the console where the E&D division 'got it right' finally. The E&D execs were given a stern warning that the first Xbox style losses were not going to be tolerated a second time.

The 360 has racked up Xbox style losses once again.

Needless to say the Xbox is the most hated project amongst Microsoft people with a 'how can we work so hard and those Xbox clowns are dragging down our earnings and stock price and not be fired' attitude.

Microsoft has been moving Xbox services over to Windows gaming over the past year. And Microsoft execs have stated that they aren't going to be killing off the 360 and letting the E&D fuckups create a third financial and marketplace fiasco. The 360 will be allowed to just fade away in the market as Microsoft turns their attention to Vista exclusive gaming.

Although if Ballmer gets the boot or loses power the entire E&D division is going to be essentially wiped clean by whoever comes in to clean up his mess. The Xbox and Zune disasters will be the top of the list.

Re:Xbox 360 Is The End Of The Xbox Fiasco For MS (1)

Chokolad (35911) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897779)

Pass me some of the stuff you are smoking please...

Re:Proof that MS bought its way into this market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897689)

I'm not really a fan of MS or the xbox, but MS is making a bit of headway into the Japanese market for the first time thanks to a recent Namco Tales game exclusive. That is a BIG developement and was not expected to happen.

Sounds a lot like what NVIDIA has happening... (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897343)

...right now with their G84/G86 GPUs at the moment. They estimate their losses to be in the range of 100-200 million USD. Dell, HP, ACER, Lenovo, and other laptop makers are affected by this with no end, or resolution for the owners of the units containing the defective chips, including yours truly.
The failure rate has been measured in either weeks, months or years. Owners of the affected laptops have been buying extended warranties to cover replacement in the event they should fail.
Dell has acknowledged this issue but has given no solution either. The other companies have stayed mute on the matter. All of the Dell built laptops that have the faulty chips fail are replaced with laptops with the same GPU in them, no alternatives or options given to the owners.

+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (2, Insightful)

dindi (78034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897411)

My XBOX 360 dis 4 months ago and I bought a PS3, re-purchased all 6-8 games I play (mostly FPS team games, GRAW, COD, RS).

How do I feel? I feel like using Linux: it is better than windows, but lacking stuff. PS3 is superior (like linux) but it is lacking a strong community feeling like xbox live. It is also lacking the sometimes needed, but sometimes hated strong core (assholes) who play 600 hours a month to be the best in certain games. These are the guys who sometimes hate, but the ones who give a strong core. It is like when I used to race bikes. Many people hated us, but so many respected us that we kept the sport up. Well .... this is something I am missing from ps3.

The system is superior, the blueray is SUPER-DUPER, but I go online, 4 out of 16 have a microphone, and then 2 start team killing.

Bottom line: I am not buying a xbox because it will die on me, I am not getting a wii because I do not want to host family parties (nor play mario #122 or other kiddie games), and I keep my PS3 to play once a week (I pkayed XBOX 4 times 2+ hors a week)......

Well, maybe I just keep all that money I spent on games and spend it on my motorbike, and if I really want to shoot at people I just go and play paintball....

Dunno .... really, just opened a game coming from amazon (grid) and I realized, that without a strong online backing (like XB LIVE, whic I [prapaid for a year) any console is as good as a brick .....

Still I am with this shiny piece of shit, and the other white crap (xbox) is on the floor disassembled with a red ring of death ..... well .//... really I like games, but dunno where to go .....

Sony fanboy ? My siby canera developed a dead pixel after 2 weeks of diving (30+ meters, maybe one hard impacts). Local support SUCKS so much I never bothered to even try. While MS support is the WORST, and I use linux, than OSX (apple) for an operating system for the last 16 years) I rally wish anyone had such a cool service as xbox live.....

I guess ... hmm dunno ... can apple maybe make a console and make a service that costs but works, and then I do not have to rely on crap MS hw&sw and crap sony service?

OK I am complaining, but even being a gamer I am just trhinking of selling my ps3 and just forget about it till a quality console with a quality service comes along...

Re:+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897541)

...can apple maybe make a console...

Well, yeah... but there still wouldn't be any games for it.

Re:+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897563)

I do not want to host family parties (nor play mario #122 or other kiddie games)

First off: Mario is not a "kiddie" game. It's a platformer, but that doesn't make it childish.

Second: Zelda, Smash Bros, Super Paper Mario, Metroid Prime 3, and Mario Kart are kiddie games? Damn, why didn't someone tell me?

Are you one of those gamers who defines "kiddie" to be "doesn't include lots of gore and/or swearing"?

Re:+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (3, Insightful)

stuboogie (900470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898107)

Actually, yes. Any game that is rated E and is simple enough for the younger audience to play would be considered a "kiddie" game.

While many of these games are still fun to play, they provide a completely different gaming experience/style than the type of games the OP is talking about. So, while I like playing games on the Wii, the type of games I enjoy most are not targeted to that console.

Given a choice of a Wii or a 360/PS3, I would not select the Wii. I think that is the point he was trying to make.

Re:+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (2, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898189)

Any game that doesn't deal with adult themes or content is a kiddie game. Not that it's a bad thing.

Re:+1 yes I am a sony/apple fanboy. (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897871)

Consoles? Useless without online play?

I'm really feeling old. I remember visiting cousins just to play SNES/N64 games with them. =/

Microsoft must have done something right (1)

nukal (980363) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897433)

If you consider the number of AAA titles that are release exclusively for xbox, then it is pretty clear that MS must have done something right. My second 360 is now worshiping at the altar of the ring of death gods. My first went seven days after I purchased it, during a nonstop weekend of Gears, they replaced it immediately. I expected my second request for a replacement/repair to be shut down quick smart, but my 360 is currently undergoing a resurrection at MS HQ (or whoever they use in oz). It is ages out of warranty yet they are still happy to repair it. Nice one brother! People can bitch and moan all they like about how design defects shouldn't make it into production, but this shit happens. Whether it is because of a tactical decision or just sheer stupidity, doesn't really matter as long as they deal sensibly with the consequences. I can't fault MS's after market service, save for the dodgy Indian call centre experience. Now I loath IE, Office, XP and Vista is much as the next /.er, but the range of titles, the ergonomics of the 360 controller and the sheer enjoyment I have derived from my 360 means I will be a fanboy for a long time to come. It is a quality product, albeit executed poorly.

Re:Microsoft must have done something right (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897715)

didn't they go out and buy up a number of big game development houses? I know in the high end graphics market, they purchased SoftImage to get a Windows version. They forced them to do a port to Windows and tried to kill the UNIX version. Fortunately, those using SoftImage knew what a piece of crap Windows was and so the UNIX base would not purchase the Windows version and if the company wanted to not totally fail, they couldn't end the UNIX version. Microsoft eventually sold off SoftImage. Could be bull but that's what it sounded like happened.

Most likely the only reason a developer would do an exclusive on Xbox is because they were either owned by Microsoft or paid by Microsoft for that. The market for the PS2 and PS3 users dwarfs Microsofts Xbox market.


Re:Microsoft must have done something right (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897753)

Good for you then, but I beg to differ, a 'poorly executed quality product' is something I would mod you Funny for, but certainly not something to be found in the real world.

Anyway, as long as you're happy with your 360, play it for the time it lasts you, but have you considered what will happen when your fourth or fifth model breaks down, three or four years from now? Personally, I expect my consoles to at least _try_ to survive for 10 years minimum, my PS1 still does fine for that matter.

Re:Microsoft must have done something right (1)

stuboogie (900470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898127)

"my PS1 still does fine for that matter"

Well, my PONG console is still going strong!!

I don't want to sit and watch a white dot bounce around the screen anymore though. :)

Good thing they're not getting away with it! (5, Funny)

PotatoSan (1350933) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897495)

Thankfully the average consumer is well-enough informed to boycott such a deeply-flawed product, thus preventing Microsoft from profiting off of this business model! I mean, can you imagine if they were selling millions of 360s, taking broken units back, and still making money?

Re:Good thing they're not getting away with it! (1)

Mobkey (1086895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897655)

Maybe if Microsoft laughed at you when you called in to say your Xbox was faulty, then this would all be true. I bought my 360 knowing very well that it had these problems. I also knew it would be easily replaced. No harm done. I like the games, and just playing Wii or PC doesn't quite work for me. And yes my Xbox did break recently.

Re:Good thing they're not getting away with it! (1, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897771)

they are losing billions and a huge portion of the population doesn't even know what RRoD is. They have seen it but don't know it has a name. They wrote off billions last year to try and make this year look good but they will probably never make a profit on the product.

And really, the Xbox has been a failure for what it was intended to do and that is hold off Sony's PlayStation. The PS2 is out selling Microsofts Xbox360 in a big way and the PS3 is now at or around even with Xbox360 quarterly numbers. There are hundreds of millions of PS2s on the market and the PS3 is still moving up that ladder.

No wonder Microsoft is going to try and go back to building the PC gaming market. Once again, they'll use the marketshare of Windows because they can't compete AND MAKE A PROFIT with out it.


Ironically... (1)

PotatoSan (1350933) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898153)

...if I lived in Japan that might be ranked as insightful.

more money than sense (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897559)

MS just seems like the typical firm with money than sense, like the family who will come into a lot of money, then put a a statue that pees water by the pool.

For instance, it can't be that difficult to design an OS that works. Linux has done the basics, and it is free. Apple has done the GUI, with much less money than MS. Yet the best MS can do is a spend millions of dollars on pointless commercials. Is this because it has no idea how to fix the software? Is there no way to invest the 77% profit margin in making working products. Does it all have to spent on yachts.

And it is not rocket science to design a game console. We have had generations of them that worked very well. MS just jumped in and borrowed existing tech, then used the windows 77% percent profit margin to subsidize the costs. And the xBox 360 is the second generation product.

Of course, we must acknowledge that MS tried to design custom hardware, a task for which it has no experience. This leads to the question of why it couldn't just pay for someone to do it right. Oh yeah, the yachts.

People like to compare IBM to MS, and see MS slowing down, but then ultimately being successful like IBM. What people fail to realize is that IBM spent the money to make rock solid products. The Selectric was a damn near perfect machine. The big iron did their job. The IBM PC was bulletproof. I don't know how MS is going come out the other side of the desktop monopoly when Google moves all the customers to the clouds with a six nines failure rate, and MS is still living in a world where a four nines failure rate is acceptable.

Great mis-statement in article (4, Funny)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897569)

FTFA: "Microsoft has still sold more Xbox 360 consoles than Sony to date."

Damn, I never saw that coming!!!

Re:Great mis-statement in article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24898137)

Wiki says: Xbox ~ 19M, PS2 ~ 14M (Xbox launched year early)

It's called Hubris (5, Insightful)

santiagodraco (1254708) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897575)

Microsoft's problem is pretty simple, hubris. It's illustrated quite well when you look at the kind of management practices taken by Ballmer and to a lesser extent Gates.

Microsoft has been so enamored of their own success that they believe that they cannot go wrong, simply because of who they are. They are also more than willing to pursue business with the kinds of principles and ethics that you'd expect from a used car salesperson. They really don't care what the customer experience is, they care about making money and believe that no matter what they do, they will succeed regardless.

Well to some extent that's true, or was true in the past, as mass and momentum are real. However it's also very clear that eventually momentum decreases and customer loyalty is a fickle thing. MS is already seeing the fruits of their poor judgement. Apple is selling more Mac's than ever, and I'd argue that Vista has played a big part in that success. I for one don't own an Xbox 360, I own a PS3. I probably won't ever buy a 360.

I'm sure Microsoft will recover, but to what extent remains to be seen. But unless they change their principles and work toward attracting the kind of loyalty through quality and connecting with your customers that Apple has enjoyed they will continue to see, if nothing else, a customer base that will be willing to jump ship at the first opportunity.

RROD (2, Interesting)

Narmacil (1189367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897619)

I was playing Halo 3 the other night and my network connection was acting up, then the game lurched, froze and put tons of bars across the screen, followed by a loud screeching noise

so yeah, my Xbox RROD'ed on Sept 1st. I think its kind of odd that this story would pop up on /. within a week of it happening to me. I should pry call Microsoft sometime soon to get it replaced, but seeing as I'm a busy engineering student I haven't gotten around to it yet. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with Microsoft concerning this problem?

wish me luck

Re:RROD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897675)

Does anyone have any tips for dealing with Microsoft concerning this problem?

Crowbars, pipe bombs, perhaps a shotgun, and a truckload of fertilizer...

Re:RROD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897801)

Actually I was impressed with their service. You call their number, then they ask you a bunch of questions. If they decide it is the RROD then they send you an empty box via courier. You follow the instructions and then send the box back via their prepaid courier. in about 2 weeks you get either a new or refurbed console. And they give you a month xbox live card for the lost time. The RROD problem warranty is good for 3 years from the purchase date. Other problems may not be covered. I just received my replacement about a week ago. This is my third xbox 360 though. The first one I bought lasted a week, then weird graphic glitches (took it back to the store); the second (store exchange) lasted about 2 years (not used heavily) So I'll see how long this one lasts. The fact that they took responsibility for their mistake is a good thing in my opinion. Good for them. Of course the better situation would have been where I didn't have to get the console fixed at all, but that I guess is the perfect world scenario.

Re:RROD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24898191)

I can attest to this being accurate.

Nothing really new, except... (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897647)

But some inside the company still believed returns would be out of control

I usually wait 6-12 months after a console is released before I purchase it so that I can get one with a working mod-chip from Canada. I'll be damned if Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo are going to tell me I cannot play backups. Yes, Backups. So I had nearly a year to watch this infamous shit storm start, and not become a victim.

The problems with the console were known fairly early by pretty much everyone. People talk. Kids talk even more, and most times you cannot shut them up. After about 6-8 months I myself heard about RROD constantly from people. Microsoft really "screwed the pooch" on this one and AFAIK, the losses on the returns have been at least 1.9 billion. That is a staggering number.

The only thing new about this is that there were people in Microsoft that knew they had quality problems, and yet made a business decision to push forwards anyways. The only word for that is hubris. That is what really amazes me.

Microsoft's top game executive, Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices group, said at a dinner in July that Microsoft's own research shows that gamers have largely forgiven the company for defective Xbox 360s.

That is awesomely full of shit. It says that he is an executive though, so I am not surprised.

The WHOLE reason I have still not purchased a XBOX360 is the Red Ring Of Death fiasco. It has to be the most unreliable product put forth in decades, probably since the Ford Pinto. I am not a fanboy and I own both a PS2 and a XBOX. I would really like to get a XBOX360, but to this day I cannot be assured that it will not fail within 6 months.

I bet that the "gamers" polled in that little research project were ALL under 14 years old. Of course they "forgave" Microsoft. They're kids! Try asking their parents if they can receive forgiveness. I bet there would be a different story entirely as shipping costs are not free. The time and hassle on the phone to get it taken care of takes its toll.

Forgiveness? That's a riot. Nobody that had to pay for that console is going to forgive or forget about this for a long long time. This WAS Microsoft's version of the Ford Pinto, even more so than Vista. That is saying something too.

I thank you 7or your time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897775)

more gr48diose []

Competition (3, Interesting)

OvERKiLLsFFT (986079) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897783)

I think that Xbox is the best thing that happened to PlayStation. In the real world, there is nothing like a little competition, especially direct competition. From Wikipedia's article on competition: "Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as 'the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms.' Seen as the pillar of capitalism in that it may stimulate innovation, encourage efficiency, or drive down prices, competition is touted as the foundation upon which capitalism is justified."

Re:Competition (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24898169)

Right, as a Sony fanperson, I think it's good that Sony has some competition rather than totally dominating the market. It pissed me off to no end how SCEA slacked off a bit with added functionality for the PS2. Did you know that the PS2 can do a some of the media functionality the PS3 can do? But only in Japan. Same goes for the HDD stuff. NTSC-J FFX can use the HDD but NTSC-U/C territory FFX can't.

At the end of the day... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24897865)

...I can't fault MS too much because they have the best console on the market, with the largest selection of must have games and hands down the best online service. I own a first day XBox 360 and it's been happily running for over two years because I had the foresight to buy the external fan. Meanwhile my PS3 collects dust and I haven't even bothered with the biggest gimmick in electronics history...the Wii.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24897907)

im wondering if those cheaps units are the flawed remanufactured ones.....nahhhh...those are financed by those pesky vista licences sold throuhg OEMÅ

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