Microsoft "bricked" 360s with "Live" update

Microsoft "bricked" 360s with "Live" update

Summary: Users had been anticipating Microsoft's dashboard update for some weeks. It was the update that bought 1080p support to the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, it bought something else to some users - a totally bricked console.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Users had been anticipating Microsoft's dashboard update for some weeks.  It was the update that bought 1080p support to the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, it bought something else to some users - a totally bricked console.

Shoot first, worry about the consequences laterIt's pretty easy to spot a bricked 360.  Just turn it on and watch ERROR CODE E71 flash endlessly on the screen.  A bricked 360 is bad news for anyone wanting to play games or surf Xbox Live - because you can't do either of those things.  In fact, it turns the games console into a very expensive paperweight.

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Initially it was believed that the bricking was confined to consoles which made use of firmware modded to allow backups of games (or, lets be honest here, pirated games) to be played, but now it seems that this isn't the case.  However, the issue does come down to Microsoft trying to detect consoles running on modded firmware.  Unfortunately, the experiment seems to have gone too far, damaging consoles that weren't modded in any way (it's unclear what effect the update was supposed to have on modded consoles).

Microsoft says that it is aware of the issue, is working on a fix and that "less than 1 percent" of users have been affected.

Now I have to be honest and say that I don't like the direction that this is going in.  This is pretty much a repeat of how Microsoft is wielding the power offered to it by Windows Genuine Advantage - a "shoot first, worry about the consequences later" attitude followed by statements that are designed to make the issue seem small.  Given that the user base of the Xbox is pretty big, "less than 1 percent" of users still amounts to a heck of a lot of gamers denied the right to use a product they paid for. 

When it comes to fighting piracy, it's time for Microsoft to stop, take a deep breath and rethink.  Just as with WGA, too many innocent users are being caught in the crossfire. 

However, if you're running a modded Xbox, then take this as a sign that Microsoft is out to get you.

Topic: Microsoft

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23 comments
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  • Thanks for the heads up, Adrian

    I own an XBox 360, but I haven't gone online with it for a long time, so I haven't gotten the bricked update. Now until Microsoft fixes this apparent XGA(Xbox Genuine Advantage) mess, I will keep my XBox offline.
    Tony Agudo
  • Acceptable losses

    Microsoft is calling them as they see them: less than 1% is too small to materially affect the bottom line.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • An insignificant 100,000

      Just to put things in context, MS had sold 6 million Xbox 360's by the end of September, with expectations of 10 million sold by year's end. So the 1% affected would be somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000.
      tic swayback
    • If your Xbox is bricked ...

      ... then it's not acceptable.

      I wonder what the mod chip percentages are? I'd guess a lot less than 1% ... but that's a "less than 1%" that Microsoft cares about.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • That depends

        [i]If your Xbox is bricked then it's not acceptable.[/i]

        That depends on whether you're a senior Microsoft manager or one of the plebes.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
      • No chips for the 360's YET

        There are no mod chips even available for the 360's yet. Only flashing the firmware on the dvd drive.
        ITSa341@...
        • another thing

          As a parent and a modder I can tell you it is not always about cheating or piracy. I have seen first hand a $60 game destroyed in less than a second by a fast handed toddler not meaning any damage. I have also seen the advantages of playing backups and putting originals on a closet shelf safe and secure.
          Also, these types of mods are required to be able to repair broken 360s with weak drives for a fraction of the cost of the shipping both ways to MS and in a day instead of weeks or months. When you buy a Chevrolet, federal law not only protects you right to take it to the service center of your choice but REQUIRES the manufacturers to make available complete and accurate diagnostic and service info to the repair techs at ANY and ALL facilities. ( I know this for a fact as a master certified ASE auto repair technician ) What gives MS the right to require you to have them and only them repair your console. This error pops up on any console without the original drive brand in it so if the used dvd you buy to repair your console happens to be an oem samsung 360 drive instead of a hitachi 360 drive you get bricked. I would bet this is actually illegal and will be fought sooner or later by a repair facility that repairs them without adding piracy features. I really hope so as I mod and repair xboxes and 360 at a business I own.
          I do not condone cheating or piracy but I will simply say this, Steak knives are used for murder daily but do we take away everyones right to own one or to sharpen or repair it after they buy it?
          ITSa341@...
          • No....just no.

            I think you should take the time to read any small print in your consoles manual, as most of your points are covered, and any that aren't fall under common sense. As to it being illegal it isn't and I doubt if anyone will be challenging Microsoft anytime soon about it, its not just Microsoft every console manufacturer covers themself in the same way, they'd be incredibly stupid not to.
            Skullet
    • Microsoft is making a big mistake here

      I'm not against them combating piracy, but they need to rethink this from a PR perspective. Sure they're making their partners happy with their aggressiveness in fighting piracy, but they risk alienating users. Briking a console is simply going too far.
      georgeou
      • So?

        [i]Sure they're making their partners happy with their aggressiveness in fighting piracy, but they risk alienating users. Briking a console is simply going too far.[/i]

        Oddly enough, George, I have more respect for Microsoft than you do. I think they have a [i]very[/i] good idea of how much they can get away with -- after all, that's [b]the[/b] critical calculation for a monopolist, and Microsoft has been playing Grand Master in that game for a long time.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • They had to back out of the Vista licensing restrictions

          They had to back out of the Vista licensing restrictions and I predict they will have to ease up and appease the WGA affected users. This XBox 360 incident before Christmas is a bonehead maneuver and I suspect Microsoft is realizing this.

          As for Monopolies, Microsoft doesn't have one in the game market. If anything, Microsoft is challenging the Monopoly of Sony.
          georgeou
          • "Had to?"

            [i]They had to back out of the Vista licensing restrictions and I predict they will have to ease up and appease the WGA affected users.[/i]

            They [b]chose[/b] to, George. Nothing forced them. Or have you interviewed Steve Ballmer and just haven't published it yet?

            [i]As for Monopolies, Microsoft doesn't have one in the game market.[/i]

            Go back and re-read what I wrote. I didn't say that they have a monopoly in the game market, I said that knowing how much you can get away with is a skill where they have demonstrated mastery due to their history as a successful monopoly.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
      • They won't sweat it

        Look, everyone seems to be calculating "less than 1%" to mean "1%". The answer is less than 60,000-100,000 units. It could be 1000 units. I have a tough time buying that MS just bricked 100,000 units and we aren't hearing more about it.

        So, through now fault of your own, your XBox is now bricked. Really, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to buy a Sony? Or are you going to call, wait on hold, take a trip to your post office, yada yada yada, and wait and hope you get it back before Christmas.

        Most people will put up with lots of @#$% with their "entertainment necessities". Look at Verizon crippling its phones Bluetooth abilities. Look at Tivo jacking up its rates and trying to lock in customers for 3 years. Look at Apple with iTunes. Look at MS with WGA. None of these companies really suffer because the more of a "want" a product is, the more we'll put up with.

        IF people ever got fed up enough to quit something en masse, these companies would get a rude awakening. But it isn't likely to happen.
        bmgoodman
      • I disagree

        As much as I hate having to pay for games, I still think Microsoft is heading in the right direction here. If they do not aggressively combat piracy them companies will stop making games for the console, whats the point in investing millions of pounds to develop a game, just to have everyone download it and play it for free?
        Skullet
  • It all depends on how

    quickly MS fixes the problem, and what attitude they take while doing it.

    Lets face facts here. Many people like myself gave up playing online with the XBox (which is to say gave up playing it) due to the blatant cheating by others. That is revenue MS looses due to people illegally moding the console. That is a bad reputation MS gets pinned to it, as it is their hardware and service.

    If MS takes the high road of 'our mistake and we will fix your console now(and make sure it isn't modded at the same time)', then fine. They are well within their rights.
    If they keep up the 'guilty with no chance to prove innocent' routine, the PS3 will be a bigger hit then ever.
    mdemuth
    • I'll be interested in seeing how they fix this one ...

      ... can't see how they can fix a bricked Xbox onver the net.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Simple, FEDEX

        with a return slip for the bricked machine, and a clear understanding that they will take the old machine apart piece by piece to figure out what happened.
        With another clear understanding that if they find 'proof positive' evidence of tampering, legal action.
        And if not, MS could kick them some free games or somthing.

        MS has the resources to do this right; no, they haven't started out on the right track, but they can come up with a solution everyone is happy with.
        Well, except those who want to cheat.
        mdemuth
        • Oh, FEDEX for sure

          And, like Dell, you pay the shipping both ways: you ship your box to them, and they either ship you a refurb (prepaid freight by you) or you get a nice note from a law firm. Eventually.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
          • No, that is not what I meant

            If everything is on the up and up, they pay for accendently bricking your machine, and kick you some free stuff. Honestly, it cost them nothing.
            On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet most won't send the machine back, as they can't undo the modswithout booting it...

            So yes, like the last 2 times I dealt with Dell problems, those responsible for the problems pay the shipping (Dell picked it up both times)
            mdemuth
          • Who knew?

            [i]On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet most won't send the machine back, as they can't undo the modswithout booting it...[/i]

            There are no extant mods for the 360.

            [i]So yes, like the last 2 times I dealt with Dell problems, those responsible for the problems pay the shipping (Dell picked it up both times)[/i]

            Dell must have changed policy. People I know who bought from them and got DOA units were told to ship them back at their own expense or no refund.
            Yagotta B. Kidding