Tuesday, September 27, 2005

OrigenXbox360.com revealed!

  1. OrigenXbox360.com revealed!

1. OrigenXbox360.com revealed!

Finally, the most recent Alternate Reality Game (ARG) from Microsoft has seen its big reveal: it's a Microsoft contest for lucky gamers from outside the United States to win one of a couple of slots to attend the launch of the Xbox 360 in the United States for three nights in November.

Go over to OrigenXbox360.com, and the site has you pick your flag o' choice and asks you 3 randomly-generated questions that'll see if you can separate fact from fiction. Get all questions right (and the "Fact or Fiction" tie-breaker) and you could win. Get a even a single question wrong and you're out.

Good thing the whole experience (with the trippy rabbits) is so damn funny, or I'd be pissed that this whole thing snubs the U.S. faithful. No, wait ... I'm still pissed ...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Business shake-ups; OrigenXbox360 revealed (tomorrow); Co-op is the new hotness

  1. Sony re-orgs
  2. Microsoft re-orgs
  3. More WarDevil videos
  4. Gearbox licenses Unreal Engine 3
  5. Stubbs the Zombie is going to have Co-op!
  6. Origen ARG reveal (tomorrow)
  7. New Nintendo Gameboys (x2)
  8. Why I don't need a PC
  9. Adam's playing ...


1. Sony re-orgs

Sony is restructuring in a big way. The new structure will have five business groups, two units, one division, and two development groups, cut 10,000 jobs, and close 11 plants by 2008.

"The buck stops here authority (for "key areas") goes to president and electronics CEO Ryoji Chubachi.

10,000 jobs is ~7% of Sony's worldwide workforce.

  • Business Groups: Television, video, digital imaging, audio, "B & P" (Broadcast & professional products)
  • Business Units: Core Component Business Unit (including Memory Stick) and Semiconductor Business Unit (including the PS3 Cell processor)
  • Corporate Division: PCs and Laptops
  • Development Groups: Technology Development Group and Display Device Development Group (including R&D for self-luminous flat-panel OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays).

This is on top of Sony's 3-year, 20,000 job cut that's part of its "Transformation 60" effort that tags out next May.

2. Microsoft re-orgs

So, Microsoft just re-orged into 3 new divisions, each with its own president:
  • The Microsoft Platform Products & Services Division (Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin as co-presidents)
  • Microsoft Business Division (Jeff Raikes)
  • Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division (Xbox boss Robbie Bach)
The Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division combines the Home and Entertainment Division with the current Mobile and Embedded Devices Division.

This is an interesting shakeup, and could be read in a variety of ways -- not the least of which is Microsoft positioning itself to break into three separate companies. The new Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division could position Microsoft for additional channel distribution -- like boutique retail stores (like what Apple has been successful with, and Gateway ... not so much ...

3. More WarDevil videos

OK, I'm going to keep mentioned this game. Check out new movies for the game WarDevil, Including the full-length Tokyo Game Show 2005 video, and a "reveal" trailer the Digi-Guys Studio are using to show these are game-engine character and level renders. Amazing stuff...

4. Gearbox licenses Unreal Engine 3

Gearbox Software, L.L.C., who's used Epic Games's Unreal Engine for WWII shooters Brothers In Arms Road to Hill 30, and sequel, Brothers In Arms Earned in Blood (but -- *ahem* -- have refused to VO audition me for either), announced they're licensing the Unreal Engine 3 for "original, unannounced next generation Gearbox titles" and for Brothers in Arms 3 (which Sony announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2005).

Now if they'll just audition me ...

5. Stubbs the Zombie is going to have Co-op!

I really like co-op. I've said Online Co-op is the new Hotness(tm), but I'll even take offline co-op -- there's just something about playing through a good game with a buddy that makes it all that much more enjoyable ("good" being the operative word).

And now, Stubbs the Zombie, that upcoming quirky weird zombie game from Alexander Seropian (Halo's daddy) over at Wideload Games (and published by Austin company Aspyr Media, Inc.).

Can't wait to tag team the "Unholy Flatulence" zombie power ...

And, for the record, I've been hyping Stubbs since before I know what it was (and here, revealed here, music mumblings here, and even gave a nod to The Animation Farm folks for their recent cinematic).

Oh, and Stubbs arguably lead the charge for this whole slew of current and next-gen zombie-themed games. I think zombies are the new WWII (which was the new Quake, which was the new Doom, which was the new Wolfenstein, which was the new WWII (and it had zombies; hmm ...).

6. Origen ARG reveal (tomorrow)

www.origenxbox360.com is counting down to tomorrow -- but what's the big reveal? Halo 3? Halo 2.5 (give me the rest of my damn game!)? A new RPG?

Maybe it's an announcement about the New York Times Square space (which could be like the Tokyo Xbox 360 "store").

7. New Nintendo Gameboys (x2)

So, the new Gameboy Micro should be showing up at retailers this week or next (and is setting sales records in Japan. In addition, though I can't find anything from Nintendo about it, there's a new Gameboy SP whose product packaging says, "Now with a BRIGHTER backlit screen".

8. Why I don't need a PC
I have 6 games I wanted to play, and thought they were going to be PC-only. Now, all of them have been announced or will soon be announced as coming to Xbox or Xbox 360 (and PS3):

  • Half-Life 2 (Xbox)
  • Prey (Xbox 360)
  • F.E.A.R. (Xbox 360)
  • Huxley (Xbox 360)
  • Hellgate (Xbox 360)
  • Quake 4 (Xbox 360 launch title)
Why do I need a PC again, and have to tweak my (or get a new) graphics card (or PC) when the games are launched?

9. Adam's playing ...

Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Slick, stylized, appropriately dark fighter with a story mode that doesn't totally suck. Not sure I'm stoked about EA's Universal Control Set, but I'm adjusting.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 12)

Sordid History:Update 12:

My replacement refurbished Xbox arrived today! Even better? It's got a Philips drive, not a Thompson, like my last 'box (I wonder why in the world they picked the Thompson POJ's for the Xbox 360?).

It came with a new power cord, but not the power cord that was sent to me as part of the power cord replacement program.

And even though there was a note saying they'd take care all of the administrivia of syncing up my new Xbox serial number with my dead Xbox (gee, thanks; have I mentioned my Xbox caught on fire?), there was no explanation of what went wrong, what was fixed, whether this was a freak deal or something I should worry about. Nothing.

Time to call Chris again tomorrow.

Not that I can do much on the video game front, since the toy job is spiraling into in(s)anity, devoid of any sense of what is doable in the confines of time and physics.

Oh, and did play the Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects demo from the November issue of The Official Xbox Magazine tonight. I was only able to play as Marvel's Spider-Man or Electronic Arts's Johnny Ohm, but the character designs from Jae Lee are slick and dark at the same time, and I am surprised by how much I like Terry Dodson's interface/characer design.

If you like comic book video games, don't forget to check out my stick blog on Comic Book Video Games.

Back to work ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 11)

Sordid History:Update 11:

OK, so the Xbox Support online chat facility was having problems (it worked fine last time), so I sent an Email to them yesterday requesting an update. Like last time, the Email (from Christian -- they're everywhere!) said it was "advised that you call the Xbox Customer Support number" (not sure why they even have Email support).

So I did. Got a nice, polite fellow ("Mon" -- as in "Hey, Mon!"), and after he verified my address and phone number, I had to restate my history again (I was really tempted to just point him to my blog. He then asked if he could put me on hold to read through the support incident history, came back to check on me, and put me back on hold to continue reviewing the history.

That done, and since the Xbox is on its way home, he asked if I my question was just whether I was going to be charged for the repairs or not.

OK, that's part of it, but I'm trying to find out what went wrong, what was fixed, and how do I know my Xbox isn't going to catch on fire again when I turn it on?

So, I got transfered to Support Escalation Supervisor Chris (the guy I bonded with last time). He sounded very tired today.

I found out (A) My Xbox wasn't repairable (surprise, surprise), and (B) they were sending me a new Xbox. This was mildly exciting until asked whether it was really new, or refurbished (turns out it's refurbished).

Chris didn't have info on anything else -- evidently there's a separation between the repair factor and Xbox Support (much like Church and State), so he advised I wait until tomorrow (the scheduled delivery date of my refurbished Xbox), and see what explanation is included in the box. He also told me ("even though we don't normally do this"), he would see if he could get more information from the repair folks. And he gave me his extension so I could call back -- seriously, that's Customer Service.

And, I finally did mention I've been blogging about this, and am looking for an answer on the near-spontaneous combustion question, to pass on to my adoring readership (I was much less sarcastic when I told him about it).

Meanwhile, X-Men Legends II and Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects have both shipped ...

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 10)

Sordid History:Update 10:

My Xbox is on its way back.

Got another Email from an unmonitored Email box (in multiple languages, like last time), letting me know my "Xbox Video Game system has been shipped!" (they sound so excited).

No word on what the issue was, or whether they're keeping the money in advance I paid to have the thing fixed (which is to be refunded if they find it's their issue).

Not bad though, since the thing got into KY Thursday afternoon.

Here's the Email (with semi-sensitive stuff removed):

Your Xbox Video Game system has been shipped! You can expect to receive it in 2-5 days. Thank you for your patience and get ready to get back into the action! Your shipping information is provided below for your reference:
Note: This is not a monitored e-mail address.

Votre console de jeu vidéo Xbox a été envoyée. Vous la recevrez dans 2 à 5 jours. Merci de votre patience. Préparez-vous à repasser à l'action ! Vous trouverez ci-dessous les informations d'envoi :
Remarque : Cette adresse de courriel n'est pas analysée.

Ya se ha enviado su sistema de videojuegos Xbox. Lo recibirá en un plazo de 2 a 5 días. Gracias por su paciencia y ¡prepárese para volver a la acción! A continuación podrá encontrar los datos de envío para su referencia:
Nota: Esta dirección de correo no está supervisada.
Time for another chat session...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Revolution controller revealed; TGS wrap-up ...

  1. Revolution controller revealed
  2. Tokyo Game Show 2005
  3. November OXM rocks!

1. Revolution controller revealed

I've gotta hand it to Nintendo -- they are innovators. They just revealed the new controllers at the Tokyo Game Show -- and they're way different. Specifically, they're one-handed jobbies (that is, they're operated by one hand; I think I just figured out a chink in their marketing armor).

Anyway, picts at Nintendo's site.

There's a blow-by-blow of Shigeru Miyamoto's demo over at GameSpot.com, which seems to indicate there's quite a bit to the controller, including some positional and gyroscope leanings (ha!).

Dunno what to think, yet. Not sure I want to hold a remote in my hand for hours on end, and the analog dongle attachment (while much appreciated), looks like it get as tiresome. I'm hoping I'm wrong, because Nintendo should totally be rewarded for innovating.

2. Tokyo Game Show 2005

I touched recently on the Tokyo Game Show 2005 happenings, and wanted to mention a couple of other cool things that came out it.

A lot of the video from the show has been a bit disappointing, and it's generally camcorder footage of stuff running on screens. Ah well, I'll take what I can get.

On the Sony front, there was kind of a lack of (as in no) playable PS3 games, which is surprising, but they did detail their Japanese PS3 launch titles. Sequelitis strikes Alone in the Dark, Stuntman, Driver, Brothers in Arms, and so on. Sequels aren't necessarily bad, though.

Sony has 102 games in development for the PS3, which is half purported 200 in dev for the Xbox 360, but the PS3's launch lags Microsoft by at least 6 months (I'm saying), so the descrepency's not that big.

Check out a full list of announced PS3 games over at GameSpot.com. In particular, I'm interested in "Anime related project" (Bandai); Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5 ("Biohazard 5")(Capcom); Dark Sector (D3); "Dark RPG" (From Software); "Management simulation" (Hamster); "Unnamed RPG" (Hudson); Unnamed RPG, fighting, and shooting games from (Namco); and Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega).

Onthe Xbox 360 front, there was some good stuff shown in screens and video for Dead or Alive 4; Ninety-Nine Nights; Wardevil; eNCHANT arM; . I was actually surprised by Capcom's Dead Rising; it's before the new "every-game-has-a-zombie" onslaught (and I'm slready sick of them, other than Stubbs the Zombie), but the screen grabs for Dead look great.

Kind of significant that few publishers mentioned developing for both PS3 and Xbox 360, other than Capcom's Resident Evil 5 From Software's Armored Core 4 -- a first for the franchise on the Microsoft hardware

And old school being new again? Check out the streaming video of Sonic over at GameSpot.com, and the Quake 4 hands-on preview at TeamXbox.com.

Other tidbits included the fact that the Xbox 360 will be region locked for both games and DVDs (just like its predecessor), and Sony made no similar announcement.

Finally, that big building going up in Tokyo near one of it's busiest shopping districts, and draped in a giant Xbox 360 symbol? That would be the "Gamer Lounge", with a bunch of living room-like breakout areas that are meant to simulate the home experience, complete with high-def TVs and surround sound home theater systems. This is taking a nod from Apple's retail stores. I'm hoping we get the same thing in New York's Times' Square.

3. November OXM rocks!

I won't repeat the whole thing, but 11 playable demos? Most of them good? Check out the list at the bottom of my latest rant, "My Xbox just caught on fire!".

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 9)

Sordid History:Update 9:

No word since my dead Xbox hit Kentucky yesterday.

While it's been out, I've hooked my Super Nintendo (SNES) to the projector. Not to sound sacrilegious, but 3-foot Mario is almost better than bigger-than-lifesized Master Chief.

There. I said it.

Besides Super Mario Bros. 3, I'm playing a log of Captain America and the Avengers (of course) X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Spider-Man & the X-Men: Arcade's Revenge, and Dr. Mario.

And then Fate dealt me a cruel blow by way of today's mail: The November issue of The Official Xbox Magazine, and its playable demo disc.

Check out the the list of eleven playable demos below (with my highlights in red) -- and I can't play them .. *sigh*
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  • L.A. Rush
  • Land of the Dead
  • Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
  • NCAA Football 2006
  • The Suffering: Ties that bind
  • XBox Live Arcade demos:
    • Think Tanks
    • Marble Blast
    • Atomaders
    • Feeding Frenzy

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Xbox 360 coming November 22!

  1. Xbox 360 coming November 22!
  2. Tokyo Game Show 2005 preview

1. Xbox 360 coming November 22!

The Tokyo Game Show 2005 starts tomorrow, but Microsoft broke the good news early: The Xbox 360 will be on store shelves in North America November 22. It's all I can do to not to use the <blink> tag ...

It will be followed closely by launching in other territories.

If they pull it off, this'll be the first time a game console has launched in 3 territories during the same time frame:
  • November 22 -- North America
  • December 2 -- Europe
  • December 10 -- Japan
Microsoft also announced Japanese pricing for the Xbox 360: 37,900 JPY ($344.34 US at the time of this post). Interestingly, it looks like just one Premium Edition SKU is going to be offered in Japan (as opposed to the two in the U.S.), and this price is cheaper than the $399.99 U.S. MSRP.

2. Tokyo Game Show 2005 preview

The Tokyo Game Show 2005 starts tomorrow, and Microsoft is making perhaps its strongest showing ever.

Allegedly 200-plus games are in production for the new console, and greater than 40 publishers in Japan have committed to the Xbox 360.

I tlooks like developers got the final Xbox 360 Xenon Development Kit (XeDK) on September 4, and they've had the beta kits since shortly after E3, so the stuff on display in Tokyo this week should be a site to see.

Titles announced to be showing at the Xbox 360 booth in some form:It'll be interesting to see what Sony announces and shows off for the PS3 this week. Get ready for the rodeo ...

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 7)

Sordid History:Update 7:

Looking at the UPS tracking number, my "incendiary incident" victim is currently in Tennessee.

I thought you should know ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Xbox caught on fire!; Halo 3?

  1. My Xbox caught on fire!
  2. And the Emmy goes to ... Microsoft
  3. Xbox Live pricing for Europe -- no credit required
  4. Microsoft to offer Digital Pay-TV
  5. Another "Should-Probably-See" game trailer
  6. From brings mechs to Xbox 360
  7. My Xbox caught on fire!
  8. Sonic is going next-gen
  9. Origen Xbox 360 -- Halo 3?
  10. My Xbox caught on fire!


1. My Xbox caught on fire!

If you haven't heard, my Xbox caught on fire (seriously). Catch the blow-by-blow to date (resolution still pending):

  1. My Xbox just caught on fire!
  2. Update 1
  3. Update 2
  4. Update 3
  5. Update 4
  6. Update 5
  7. Update 6
2. And the Emmy goes to ... Microsoft

Cool. Microsoft is getting an Emmy its Xbox Live service for "Outstanding Achievement in Technology and Advanced New Media", specifically, "Outstanding Achievement in Multiplayer-Backend Console Game Technology".

The 57th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards will be held September 29, 2005 in Princeton, New Jersey.

3. Xbox Live pricing for Europe -- no credit required

OK, Microsoft's done two huge things for hurtling online gaming into the next realm: Including a basic, "Silver" membership for every Xbox 360 owner; and removing Xbox Live's requiring a credit card to sign up for the full service.

On this side of the pond we forget -- credit cards aren't as compelling in a lot of places outside of the U.S. Here, we're protected. If you have a credit card swiped and used, you're maybe liable for around $50 (your Issuing bank might even waive that fee; though fixing your credit history and credit credibility may take a little more time). In Europe, you can be liable for anything spent on your stolen card; surprisingly, this has hindered adoption in the EU.

By allowing Xbox 360 Live subscription purchases by credit cards, cash, or other payment methods, Microsoft is poised to explode with the next version of the service in the 14-to-18-year-old demographic (maybe 12-to-18-year-old demographic) in the U.S., and even more overseas.

Great marketing/biz-dev move ...

4. Microsoft to offer Digital Pay-TV

Microsoft and Nagravision, the
"world's leading independent provider of value-added content protection solutions" will be making "cost-effective" products and services leveraging both MS and Nagravision products and services. This includes Windows XP Media Center Edition and related connected devices -- including the Xbox 360.

5. Another "Should-Probably-See" game trailer

What happens when the guys who made the Burnout series (Criterion Software) get bought by the biggest publisher (Electronic Arts), and apply their physics engine to an FPS? An amazing game slated for 2006 on the current Xbox.

Check out the trailer to Black -- "where the bullets are the heroes".

6. From brings mechs to Xbox 360

The folks who brought the Xbox the exclusive (and freaking gorgeous) Otogi games is bringing Chromehounds to the Xbox 360. From Software is also the mech developer of choice for Sony PlayStation 2 owners ...

7. My Xbox caught on fire!

Just a reminder.

8. Sonic is going next-gen

It was bound to happend, and I, for one, am happy. Slated for the character's 15th anniversary in 2006, Sega will be the developer and publisher of their mascot's entry on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

9. Origen Xbox 360

Could it be counting down to the announcement of Halo 3? Hmm, let's see: A hidden Latin phrase makes reference to "Elysium", which, besides being a reference to the Elysians Fields (where men favored by gods go after they bite it), is also, evidently (according to the Halo novels), the hometown where "John Spartan-117, aka Master Chief, grew up before being replaced with a flash clone in order to join the Spartan II program on Reach."

Also, the final "non-boss battle" of Halo 2 is against "Tartarus". Huh ...

10. My Xbox caught on fire!

Just in case you were waiting to read this entire blog before catching up on my woes, we're done. Time to get caught up.

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 6)

Sordid History:Update 6:

The empty UPS box for shipping my Xbox back showed up last night, so I packed up and shipped the electrical fire stinking chunk o' plastic and metal to some repair Xbox repair facility in Kentucky.

Oh, and I changed references to "fire!" in this blog thread to orange. Because I have that kind of time ...

Monday, September 12, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 5)

Sordid History:Update 5:

Had a brief Web chat today with Xbox Support Professional "Ramoncito" (which I pointed out to him likely meant "Little Ramone"; he said he didn't think it likely did).

Basically, he was surprised the pick-up box for my 'box hasn't shown yet. UPS evidently shipped it the day of the last call (Sept. 6), so the shortfall may be on the UPS side.

Regardless, we're a week into the "2.5 week round trip", so we shall see ...

Most of the chat transcript below:

Welcome to Microsoft XBox Support
The XBox Chat session has been accepted. This chat session is being recorded for quality monitoring; your IP address may be traced.

{Ramoncito} Welcome to the Xbox North America Customer Support! My name is Ramone
{Adam Creighton} Hi, Ramone.
{Ramoncito} Hi Adam, good day toy you.
{Ramoncito} How can I help you?
{Adam Creighton} I'm following up on a case number -- submitted as part of this chat request.
{Ramoncito} Ok, what is the exact issue on that ticket number.
{Adam Creighton} 198278372.
{Adam Creighton} "Incendiary incident".
{Adam Creighton} My Xbox caught on fire when I turned it on.
{Ramoncito} Ok, let me check on this ticket number first.
{Adam Creighton} Thanks!
{Ramoncito} Thank you for waiting.
{Adam Creighton} Sure.
{Ramoncito} Basically accdg. to the ticket number that you gave me that you're supposed to received a shiiping box. Is that correct?
{Ramoncito} I mean shipping box.
{Adam Creighton} Yes.
{Ramoncito} Ok, basically accdg. to the last ticket that it was been shipped already to your location.
{Ramoncito} Haven't you receive the box?
{Adam Creighton} No.
{Ramoncito} Ok, basically kindly wait for few more days because it is still in the process of shipment.
{Ramoncito} You will be able to receive the box within this week.
{Adam Creighton} OK. I was told this process round trip will take 2.5 weeks.
{Ramoncito} Basically, that is the maximum allowable time.
{Ramoncito} Because the box was shipped last Sept. 6.
{Adam Creighton} I see. What happens if you guys don't meet your SLA?
{Adam Creighton} ;-)
{Ramoncito} Is there anything else that I can assist you with today?
{Adam Creighton} Hey, doesn't "Ramoncito" mean "Little Ramone"?
{Adam Creighton} No, I'm good, thank you for your time.
{Ramoncito} No not really, its my nick name.
{Ramoncito} If you have not heard about the Microsoft Power Cord Replacement Program, please visit www.xbox.com and look for the 'Power Cord Replacement for Xbox' link.
{Adam Creighton} Niftage.
{Adam Creighton} OK.
{Adam Creighton} Thanks.
{Ramoncito} Your welcome.
{Ramoncito} It was a pleasure chatting with you today. Thank you for inquiring about Xbox. If you need further assistance, please come back and visit us again. I hope you have a nice day!
{Adam Creighton} 'bye.
The Support Professional has ended the session

Plus I'm paying for unused Xbox Live ...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 4)

Sordid History:Update 4:

> If nothing else, this could be a pretty cool example of efficiency. This whole process is supposed to take 2.5 weeks round trip.

So, this is kind of the "non-update".

Three days, and no UPS box for my Xbox pick up. Half a week of the 2.5 weeks round trip eaten up.

And the clock is ticking:
  • September 8 -- (Today)
  • September 13 -- Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
  • September 20 -- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
  • September 20 -- Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
  • September 26 -- Ultimate Spider-Man

Plus I'm paying for unused Xbox Live ...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 3)

Sordid History:Update 3:

Huh, a few minutes after my phone conversations, I got an Email update to my original Email support request.

Granted, it's from an unmonitored address, but it was in English, French, and Spanish:

"Thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Care. We have received your request for service. Please prepare your console and follow the instructions provided by our customer service department. You will receive an e-mail as soon as the next step in the process has begun."
If nothing else, this could be a pretty cool example of efficiency. This whole process is supposed to take 2.5 weeks round trip.

We shall see. That's still 2.5 weeks of not playing ...

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 2)

Sordid History:Update 2:

So, I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269) today. A nice gal (Joelle, I think), kept giggling at how "nice and happy" (read, "non-pissed") I sounded. I'm guessing she get's a lot of irate callers.

What was funny was she read my Email ticket from yesterday, asked a couple of questions, including a second restatement of what happened, and then said, "because this is an incendiary incident, I need to transfer you an escalation supervisor."

They have support scripts for "incendiary incidents". This tells me something ...

Anyway, I got transfered to Chris, a "Support Escalation Supervisor". Very nice guy, and we bonded because we found out we're the same age (evidently, my age may be directly tied to the incendiary nature of my console).

We didn't really bond.

Anyway, for the third time, I was asked to recount what happened, in my "own words".

And then came my options.

Microsoft will send me postage-paid pickup and delivery packing for my Xbox, and I pay them in advance to fix my 'box. Seriously, $80 to fix it and get a 1-year service contract, or $40 bucks to fix it and get a 90-day warranty.

I went with "Option B" -- the Xbox 360 comes out in 2 months (I'm betting on early November), so the 90 days should get me by.

But I had to pay for them to fix my charred paperweight!

Granted, if they look at it, and they think it's defective hardware, they won't charge me for the repairs (gee, thanks, by Xbox caught on fire!. If I had turned it on and walked out of the room while the projector warmed up -- which I usually do -- things could have been very, very bad).

Call me cynical, but I think there may be a lack of accountability for determining their fault.

Let's recap, shall we?
  1. The Xbox had not been on for several hours -- all of this happened when I turned it on. This is not the risk scenario described by the power cord replacement FAQs.
  2. It was sitting on top of a 3-foot x 6-foot open desk (no hutch), on a monitor stand. More airflow than I get ...
  3. It was plugged into a surge protector.
  4. The circuit was not overloaded.
  5. I had top-notch Monster component video cables running from the Xbox to the Projector (also plugged into a surge projector on a different circuit).
  6. My Xbox caught on fire!
We shall see ...

Monday, September 05, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire! (Update 1)

Sordid History:Update 1:

So, I got an Email response tonight from my earlier Email support request. It was from Derrick, from the XBox Customer Care Team.

It reads, in part:
"Due to the complex nature of this issue, we will be unable to resolve it through email. Your issue would be best addressed via our phone support option. You can reach phone support by calling 1-800-4MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269). They are available 7 days a week, from 9AM to 1AM EST. The call is toll free in North America."
I'll call them tomorrow ...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Xbox just caught on fire!

Seriously. Just turned it on, and got billowing black smoke and that acrid smell that comes from an electrical fire.

And it wouldn't shut off -- I had to yank the cord and run outside with the smoking, 8-pound brick. Everyone (other than the Xbox) is OK. Man, my 'box dies 2 months before the Xbox 360 comes out . . . What's an avid gamer and airmchair-video-game-analyst to do?

Help Hurricane Katrina victims

Folks, go over to Bungie.net and do something for the Hurricane Katrina victims.

Buy the $20 T-Shirt, and $15 goes directly to the Hurrican Relief Effort through the Red Cross.

Even more, Bungie is donating all profits for the Bungie.net Store for the month of September to relief efforts.

Think you can't do something to help? Bungie did, in an immediate, concrete way.

Think you may as well give the $20 directly to the Red Cross? Fine. Do it.

And pray for these folks.