« Home | Currently Playing... (4/15 - 4/21) » | Alive and Well » | Let's Make It a Fight Night » | 360 Degrees of Financial Separation » | Getting to Know You, Part I (djkibblesnbits) » | Pick Up That Controller! » 

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

360 Problems: Strike I

Being the huge Mac-head that I am, naturally, I'm skeptical of anything that the Evil Empire from Redmond comes out with. I actually go out of my way to avoid using Microsoft products. Windows? Nope. MS Office? Nuh uh. Hotmail? Just for junk mail. MSN Search? Google, please. Hell, I even avoided the Palm Treo 700 because it had Windows Mobile installed as the OS. Whenever I can, I make a conscious effort to stick it to MS; there's no reason for me to be yet another lemming in a world full of them.

However, the one thing that MS DID win me over on was their Xbox division. There are some great things happening over there, and I'm enjoying many of the products that they are releasing. Forget the rest of the company; the guys at the Xbox division "get it." They have a general idea of what gamers are looking for, and are making waves in the gaming world in order to provide it to them. The 360, which represents MS's greatest accomplishment in the gaming world thus far, is an example of MS' incredible work in gaming. The 360's interface and interconnectivity with Xbox Live makes the system a real pleasure to use and does much to foster a rich gaming community where gamers of all skill levels can duke it out (or work together, depending on the nature of the game), chat, joke around, and just chill. Sure, not all the elements are there (the gaming library, for example, while decent, is about one year away from being the system's strong point.), but judging from what's been rumored in the pipeline, MS is working hard to make sure that, one way or another, they'll get my money, regardless of my hatred for their flagship business...

Of course, we ARE talking about Microshaft, er Microsoft, and it does no one any good to trust the company blindly. Case in point: I just had to send back my 360 to Microsoft because it stopped working properly. When the 360 first came out, there were widespread reports of people having problems with their units as a result of overheating, but, as Microsoft ramped up production to meet demand, the company said that they had worked out the kinks, and were now producing improved systems that supposedly fixed the initial issues. Now, my 360 didn't have the overheating issues, but it had another issue altogether:

It forgot that it was a 360.

That's right. My Xbox 360 had an identity crisis. Pop in a 360 game, and the console would refuse to boot it, and instead, a message would appear onscreen saying to put the game into a 360 console. Huh? It IS inside of a 360 console!!!!" I tried four different games, and each of them had the same problem. Sometimes, if you turned the console on and off two or three times, it would work again, but then it would refuse to connect to Xbox Live. I gave it about a week before I decided to call Microsoft and tell them to take back their faulty console. And just when I was getting really good at Geometry Wars...

At least the phone call to customer service wasn't a drag. I was kind of expecting to be on the phone for an hour with some random guy in a call center in India, but surprisingly, I got someone from New Jersey, and after I explained the issue, he immediately put in a request to have a box shipped to me to have the system sent back for repairs. He didn't subject me to some stupid troubleshooting process. ("Is your system turned on?") Either that means that A) The guy really didn't want to be on the phone too long, B) My problem has become a common issue, or C) I explained the problem so thoroughly, that there was no other solution but to have the system sent back for repairs.

So now, I am 360-less. Then again, considering it's finals time, maybe it's not such a bad thing after all...