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360 firmware incompatible with older consoles

Microsoft confirms plans to replace older consoles following security update

Microsoft has confirmed reports that the imminent new Xbox 360 firmware update is incompatible with "a very small number of consoles", with the company intending to replace some older machines with newer models.

"Following a recent update to our system software, we have become aware of an issue that is preventing a very small number of Xbox 360 owners from playing retail game discs," said Microsoft

"This issue manifests itself a as a unique 'disc unreadable' or 'disc unsupported' error on the screen. We are also able to detect this issue over Xbox Live and are proactively reaching out to customers that may be impacted to replace their console."

Microsoft is encouraging customers who suffer from the problem to contact them via the Xbox.com website, so that a replacement can be arranged.

The issue relates to Microsoft's plan to increase the storage space on a DVD by an extra 1GB - by reducing a DVD-Video partition containing anti-piracy security.

DigitalFoundry's Richard Leadbetter has suggested that the problems arise from the wide variety of different DVD drives that have been used with the Xbox 360 over the course of its production, some of which may not be able to receive a direct flash update.

The new firmware will be the first to rewrite the drive itself - resulting in the need to offer replacement consoles in some cases.

Considering the costs involved the primary purpose behind the update is not the extra storage space but a suite of new anti-piracy tools, meant to prevent hacking of the console and the running of homebrew or pirated software.

According to DigitalFoundry sources new APIs are also being made available to developers, which perform additional scans of the DVD during gameplay and not just when booting up.

Nevertheless, some reports suggest that the security measures have already been overcome, as a result of backwards engineering from beta test software.

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Latest comments (29)

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts9 years ago
I'm curious to see just how 'old' the consoles need to be to require replacing - I'm sure my 2 year old model is struggling....
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 9 years ago
"Nevertheless, some reports suggest that the security measures have already been overcome, as a result of backwards engineering from beta test software."

Overcome.. Only to an extend from what I seen from one website.
A method to pay pirited games may be forthcoming but with the abality to change checks it becomes a fustrating exersize to keep game playback.

It always been a cat and mouse game and its showing Microsoft is not going to lie down and give up the fight.
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Jas Purewal Partner, Purewal & Partners9 years ago
@David Jenkins - where's the original (Microsoft) source for this post? Have they been able to specify what types/quantity of Xbox 360 are affected?

No doubt this will lead to a knee-jerk class action lawsuit attempt somewhere in the US, but whether this truly amounts to a consumer protection legal issue for Microsoft will ofc depend on the scale of the problem.
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Show all comments (29)
John Donnelly Quality Assurance 9 years ago
Jas,
Seen this on another site as well.
What they are doing is saying that the update may stop the console working so they are offering a new-for-old replacement for effected customers.

Numbers, you will never solid numbers or even percentages, its a 'smal number' thats all.
You may find people willing to take advantage of this.
I know I would like to know if my US 360 is eligabel for exhange or not.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago
well... it sucks. But if they offer an alternative to those who's consoles are affected, I think its ok.
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College9 years ago
@ Jas - Microsoft's swift and generous offer of replacing an old incompatible model with a new shiny Slim model and the fact of an EULA that states updates may be rolled out from time to time to ensure the integrity of the system are good enough reasons that any lawsuit will be DOA.

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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship9 years ago
I can't help but wonder if the tiny number of incompatible consoles represents the only launch-era RROD survivors left in the wild. I wonder what proportion of those consoles are now dead and gone. I'm on my 4th, personally.

Which, if anything, shows how much I love my Xbox. Woudn't put up with anything else breaking 3 times in the same way and keep coming back for more!
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College9 years ago
I've lost count...I'm probably on my 8th replacement after RROD/freezing issues and I've got a Slim also which is much much quieter by comparison.

As for the affected models, I've only heard of reports that affect 60Gb premium models which would date the 'affected' models to around Aug 2008 so likely to be late Hitachi drives and possibly Samsung drives which cant process the update xex
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Pete Thompson Editor 9 years ago
@ Nick, I've still got my launch day 20gb premium, It's not used much now as i've got several 250gb slims to take my pick of but i've fired it up this morning and it still plays games ok (L.A. Noire), no disc read errors so far..
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship9 years ago
I like the thought of a few stalwart launch-era 360s still surviving against all the odds. What was the secret formula for long-lasting life, I wonder? Keeping it in the fridge? Only playing it on the second Sunday of every month? Ritual sacrific of small animals?
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Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts9 years ago
We've still got a launch day console in our social area - still going strong and putting up with hours on end of FIFA. It's had a disc read error about 3 times in the last 2 years!
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 9 years ago
Maybe Microsoft want those consoles back to see why they survived when others did not.
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Perhaps it is Cat and Mouse but given the numbers of people whom Microsoft Anti-Piracy Updates merely make them laugh as they pre-load their counter it's generally a case that Microsoft is the Mouse, not the Cat, all anti-piracy security measures such as this are a complete waste of time, especially for ordinary consumer's, in essence the fact they keep trying in such a futile repetitive way undermines their capabilities in eyes of consumers not the other way around, especially as every attempt harms customer's more but achieves no more towards preventing piracy in the end then the last.

(As a matter of fact, I have an original Xbox 360, I have another by now I use normally(but not purchased to long ago Xbox360 S 250 with Kinnect), but the original still function's and is hooked up for guest's, it has a couple of minor naggles, the disc tray loader is a little awkward and sometimes needs to be manually giggled to accept disc, every now and then it randomly boots up with a hard drive read error but when restarted works fine, but otherwise still functional, why it still overall works when so many others haven't IDK, though I have an self-built 2001 era Athlon Thunderbird 1.1Ghz PC that still functions perfectly despite having been run 24/7 for most of a decade, not to mention the other year when I tried it my original NES console it still work's, and furthermore that 3 year battery life supposedly save enabled cartridge of Zelda still had its save game after 10+ years of play when I tried it a few year's ago, fully accessable which seems odd.) So espousing the relatively poultry life of a Xbox360 thusfar where it's already developed minor error's seems to only point to the adage "they don't build em like they use to".

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 18th May 2011 4:59pm

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James Palmer Creative Director, Red Kite Games9 years ago
He he, I hope mine is affected... Sounds daft but if they replace it for a new Xbox (Slim and light) it will match the colour of the rest of my TV & Home Entertainment. 6 year old white Xbox looks out of place!
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 9 years ago
Alexander,
Can you explain what you mean by this?

especially as every attempt harms customer's more but achieves no more towards preventing piracy in the end then the last.

What harm has the conusmer faced from the anti-pricy mesaures?
To date only those those who pirite games are impacted by these measures not the consumer.
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Howard Parry9 years ago
Damn, wish I was affected... would gladly replace my noisy bucket of a 360 for a sleek black slim one, free of charge.
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James Knight QA Manager/Game Design 9 years ago
How does anything break 8 times? What are you doing keeping it underwater?? :)
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
Had my xbox since april 2006, but the dvd drive and motherboard was replaced when it got rrod in 2008. Be interesting to see if it works, I'd guess the replacement drive was a newer model unless it was reconditioned.
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Jeff Norris IT Contractor 9 years ago
Looks like my old 360 Pro ( made in 2006) has a problem after updating today. It hasn't been hooked up to the internet for a very long time, but I hooked it up today after I saw that my 360 Elite had an update. I updated both and got error messages on discs in the Pro that my Elite doesn't give. I hope they'll replace the unit, it's also RROD a few times too in the past.

I just talked to a Service tech. He said that the update doesn't go out until tomorrow. I'm not sure I believe that.

I've tried to play several games now on a 42" Samsung, 16:9 LCD...

I tried Halo 2 for the Xbox. No problem on the Pro or the Elite.
I played a bit of Idiocracy on DVD on both consoles. No problems for the Pro or the Elite.
Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox. No problem on the Pro or the Elite.

Splinter Cell Conviction: On the Pro the screen goes into 4:3 mode and shows the a white background with the Xbox 360 spherical logo and X and the words XBOX 360. It stays there and refuses to load. On the Elite the game loads without problem.

Fatal Inertia gives me a message on the Pro: To play this disc, put it in an XBox 360 console. It works fine on the Elite.

Final Fantasy XIII: On the Pro the screen goes into 4:3 mode and shows the a white background with the Xbox 360 spherical logo and X and the words XBOX 360. It stays there and refuses to load. On the Elite the game loads without problem.

Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion gave me a 'disc unreadable' message on the first try with the Pro. The next time I get a message: To play this disc, put it in an XBox 360 console. It works fine on the Elite.

Mass Effect2: On the Pro the screen goes into 4:3 mode and shows the a white background with the Xbox 360 spherical logo and X and the words XBOX 360. It stays there and refuses to load. On the Elite the game loads without problem.


Several Official Xbox Magazines exhibit the same behavior. On the Pro the screen goes into 4:3 mode and shows the a white background with the Xbox 360 spherical logo and X and the words XBOX 360. It stays there and refuses to load. On the Elite the game loads without problem.

I hope to get more information tomorrow.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Norris on 18th May 2011 9:57pm

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I have two launch PS3's that have never had a problem in the 5 years I've owned them and one 2 year old? slim.
No idea why people didn't change to a different console after such a terrible reliability problem in the first few years of the xbox's life cycle
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Jeff Norris IT Contractor 9 years ago
I didn't like the Wii Graphics and don't want my private data hacked into and down for a month+.

I was rooting for HD DVD.

I wanted to wait until the PS3 price came down. Now I don't want a slim that isn't backwards compatible to PS2 and looks terrible compared to the launch system. I'll pass on Sony this generation.
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Bruno Brøsted Incident Manager 9 years ago
I've got a 1st-gen 360 that is still alive.

@Nick McCrea - The secret to keeping the old one alive is to get a PS3 because then the 360 sees little use :-)
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I have a launch 360 Pro (6+ years old) and another about 3 months younger. No RROD, No Problems and No Sony or Wii crap!
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
Part of the problem with early 360s I think was that people kept them in the same tight space tv cabinets that they'd kept their original xbox/ps2, and there wasn't enough air circulation i know I crashed mine a few times stupidly forgetting to open the glass doors. Even if you did open the doors, it was easy to forget that if you left a battery charge cable in, the xbox would still be powered up until the controller finished charging. Obviously there hardware had some major faults, but putting it in an area where it couldn't cool really didn't help. I'd guess the few people with launch systems that have had no repairs, and have seen good use, also have well ventalated units.
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James Martin Editor, The Gamer Scene9 years ago
@Jeffeory Norris

That comment was full of bull.

Wii graphics? WTF are you talking about?

You wanted HD DVD eh? Well too bad, because it was a pointless format.

Sure, PSN was down for a month but if it takes that long to re-secure everything then go for it Sony.

It's missing backwards compatibility sure, but how does it look terrible? Now you're just clawing for another insult to hurl at the PS3.
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Jeff Norris IT Contractor 9 years ago
@ James Martin

You're really way off the mark!

The graphics for the Wii aren't as good as the PS3 or the Xbox360. That's a consideration for some people.

The PS3 Slim isn't as attractive as the original design. It's not horrible, but it went from being an attractive component one wouldn't mind having on display to a much less attractive component. Maybe that's not important for you, but it is a consideration for some.

...and why would I want to insult the PS3? I own several Sony products and have generally been happy with them. I own a PS2 and a PSP. I think you just had a knee jerk reaction there.
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Alex Byrom Studying Multiplayer Online games design, Staffordshire University9 years ago
The graphics might not be "as good" as the 360 or wii but most games have at least alot more artistic style I'm fed up with every game on ps3 and 360 looking the same, green, black and brown. played the penny arcade games the other day the graphics on them are a breath of fresh air. I'd rather have art and content over realism any day. Alex B a ps3 and Ds owner. also play alot of the other consoles and pc for "research"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Byrom on 19th May 2011 11:16pm

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Pete Thompson Editor 9 years ago
Major Nelson.com says that this news is untrue, and the replacement Xbox 360's are for a previous update..
majornelson.com /2011/05/18/clearing-up-some-confusion/
Can you confirm this??
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Trevor Roberts Studying BSc (Honours) Computing and IT, Open University9 years ago
After my third RRoD, I decided that a Lian-Li XB01b was the best route. It has since been thrashed to hell and back with no failures - quite a few 8 hours at a strech rest day gaming.
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