Anyone who’s been following the news (or rumors, as Microsoft would have you believe) knows that I have not been having much luck with my 360. From the general Xbox Live problems that many people are experiencing to the disappearing achievements that I supposedly made up, things are not working the way they should. Microsoft apparently didn’t appreciate my whistle-blowing, however, because they’ve decided to shut me up by having my 360 clipped.

Before I go any further, let me clarify a few things. I love my 360. I love Xbox Live. It’s for these reasons that I get so upset when they don’t work. I don’t write these articles to bring unwarranted negative attention to Microsoft or the Xbox brand. I don’t do this to give the Sony fanboys more ammunition and perpetuate the flame wars. I don’t just make stuff up in the hopes of generating attention for our site, or me in particular. I don’t do this just for the money.

I write these articles because I’m unhappy with the state of the 360’s world. If a horde of people were made aware of the problems the 360 is having, especially if it lets them know they are not alone in their Xbox woes, then perhaps Microsoft would find the proper motivation to actually fix them (the problems, not the people). I write these articles to let everyone know that I will not just sit around and let Microsoft (or anyone else) pretend there is nothing wrong when there very clearly is. Public outcry is a powerful force.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me continue.

About two weeks prior to writing this article, I wrote up a a nice little piece about Xbox Live’s service troubles.

I quickly followed that up with an article about why I love Xbox Live, where I sarcastically pointed out the things that are actually great about it but were not working properly like Microsoft claimed they were.

Then last week, I wrote an article about disappearing Achievements. This, like the stories before it, was written from personal experience with the 360 and Xbox Live. I didn’t write it based on a rumor or hearsay, but from living through it myself. This prompted numerous responses on our website and other sites such as News4Gamers and Kotaku. The comment sections were full of people corroborating my story with their own experiences with disappearing Achievements.

While I can understand people not wanting to believe the story based on the fact that I have no hard evidence to prove it, as well as the notion that I’m just some amateur no-name looking to promote myself, the fact that so many other people have reported having the same experience should make it somewhat more credible. Microsoft doesn’t think so. Their official position is:

Xbox LIVE is not erasing Achievements earned while playing on the service. If any member is having trouble with their Xbox LIVE service, we urge them to contact 1-800-4-my-xbox.

Well thanks, Microsoft. I was having a problem and I did contact 1-800-4my-xbox. It was your people that confirmed to me that disappearing Achievements was, in fact, a known issue and offered me a solution (that I have yet to attempt because it seems impossible). Had your techies known they were talking to the great Dan Landis, Ripten writer extraordinaire, maybe they would have sung a different tune to prevent me shouting it from the rooftops.

So now that I’ve given you enough context for this story and done enough self-promoting, let me continue with what’s new.

RRoD. To those of you that have never seen that before (which I find hard to believe), that stands for Red Ring of Death. It’s the current term used to describe the three flashing red lights on the 360’s face when it goes kaput. I just got it last night. This really isn’t that strange — it happens to a lot of us. So why am I writing an article about it? Well, it’s what followed that got me typing.

All red and no green makes Dan a sad boy.

Not 10 minutes after I saw those beautiful red lights did I get a call from none other than Mike. If you don’t know who Mike is, you’ve got plenty of company because I don’t know who he is either. He claimed to be from Microsoft Consumer Relations.

“I was just calling to confirm your issue with missing Achievements. Specifically, I want to know whether or not our customer service agent has resolved your complaint so that we can help other people with the same issue. Is this still an issue for you?”

I tell him that the previous agent said I need to get another achievement in the same game to update my profile, which should then unlock my previously earned achievement that had disappeared. I don’t really see myself ever getting any of the remaining achievements because they are just too hard, so I haven’t even tried the supposed solution. Now that I already have him on the phone, however, I wanted to report that my 360 has died and needs repaired.

“Really? Well, that’s very unfortunate. I can’t assist you with that problem at this time because that is not my department. You’ll have to call 1-800-4my-xbox during normal business hours.”

Oh, right. It isn’t normal business hours right now. In fact it’s 2:30am. I ask him why he’s calling me now if it isn’t normal business hours, and he tells me that I had called them before during this time frame, so they base their callbacks on that. Then he thanks me for my time and hangs up.

Very strange. So it appears to me that Microsoft hired a Black Ops guy named Mike (obviously a cover) to stealth-kill my 360, and then call me to make sure the job was successful. Even if you aren’t a conspiracy nut, you have to find the timing to be more than just a coincidence.

Mike calls at 2:30 in the morning (strange) and asks about an issue that supposedly isn’t acknowledged by Microsoft to even exist (also strange). And this happens less than 10 minutes after my 360 dies on me (super strange). Either Microsoft is trying to send a message, some Xbox fanboy is upset with my stories and hacked my shit, or it really is just a strange coincidence. I’ll let you be the judge.


Moving on. I go out to “24-hour store whose name I won’t mention because I loathe giving them my money” and pick up another 360. I’m working on a review of Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom and, obviously, I need to play the game to do that. I’ve been wanting to get another 360 anyways, so this just gave me an easy excuse to justify it to my wife. Long story short, the power supply of my new 360 doesn’t work.

So I called 1-800-4my-xbox today during normal business hours and reported all of my issues. Apparently I can’t send my new power supply in the same box with my old 360 because it’s “harder to track”. The power supply needs a separate box that I have to pay to ship to them, even though it’s brand new and not my fault that it doesn’t work. I tell the woman on the phone (Rita) to forget it, that I’ll just take it back to the store and get a new one. She then gets confused and cancels the repair order on my 360. After about 20 more minutes, we get everything straight: repair my old 360, and I’ll replace my new 360 on my own.

Do I really think Microsoft or some hacker broke my 360? No, not really. It is a strange coincidence, but that’s probably all it is. I sometimes wonder if Microsoft cleverly designed the 360 to break after a year and make people like me buy a “backup” 360 to alleviate my worries. What a great way to increase sales! Surprisingly, none of the stores I called to get a replacement 360 (Target, Wal-Mart, Gamestop, EBGames) had any in stock, and the one I had purchased last night was the last one from that particular store. Have they really not received any shipments since the holiday rush? Are too many people buying new systems because their friends got one, or are that many systems defective that all those people are already needing replacements? Discuss.

Basically, the point of this article is to address the baggage the 360 currently comes with. It’s incredibly frustrating, and someone with less patience than me would quickly give up on it altogether. Someone on the fence about whether or not they should “Jump In” might decide against it because you’ve filled the pool with shit. Please, Microsoft, for the love of Mike — stop pissing off your customers and get it together.

This was going to be a pool full of shit, but that would just be gross.


  1. Its good that you like your XBox but this wasn’t necessary, “to give the Sony fanboys more ammunition and perpetuate the flame wars”

  2. You shouldn’t take offense to something like that unless you were a fanboy yourself, in which case your opinion means squat because you’re blinded by your console love and can’t be objective.

  3. Dude I am just saying that author does not have to insult an entire demographic by calling them fanboys just to prove his objectiveness.

  4. Fans and owners of the Playstation 3 are not the same thing as fanboys. They are very different animals. The definition of a fanboy is as follows:

    “Stereotypical fanboys are attributed with a sycophantic devotion to the creators and principles behind a work with which they are currently obsessed. Fanboys are noted for a very emotional attachment to their chosen subject, often taking negative remarks about it as a personal attack.”

    Basically, if you love something so much that you are blind to its shortcomings and dedicated to making it appear better than everything else in every way, even if it doesn’t deserve that praise, then you are a fanboy. Fanboys are incapable of being objective and thus their views and opinions can’t be taken at face value.

    I hope this explanation puts my words into perspective for you.

  5. Wow. I brought my firsat XBOX 360 a year ago too and it just died. While its being repair I went out and brought another XBOX 360 console. I considered the PS3 but I have too many XBOX 360 games. Plus there the matter of some Halo 3 training. HHHMMMM. I think it is a plot.

  6. I know where you are coming from and I know what a fanboy is also. All I am saying is that people shouldn’t have to justify their points of view. If you are having trouble with it, you should just say so. I think Ripten and its writers are some of the better gaming resources on the net. In your posts for instance, you have written posts about problems with both consoles etc. Ripten is way better than Kotaku for instance, with the exception of Crecente and a couple others.
    I am saying journalists/bloggers should just say what they want to without qualifications of any kind. That’s all.

    For instance, where you said, “I don’t do this to give the Sony fanboys more ammunition and perpetuate the flame wars.” If you want to talk about fanboys, you could also have said, “and I don’t want any flames from XBox fanboys either”. I think that was just a qualifier for the benefit of XBox fans. But that’s just my point of view. Like you said, “It’s for these reasons that I get so upset when they don’t work.” Kind of the same deal here.

  7. Dan, i have less patience than you and i gave up with my 360. Good on you for sticking with it. Microsoft really need to be nice to people in your posistion (broken 360 owner, not as a blogger). They do seem to make it harder than it should be to play a system. It wasn’t so much the techinical problems with my 360, as the rubbish service i was given afterwards. I have had RROD twice. The first time i sent it in, it was returned with no work being carried out on it. After a second try, it now just burns grooves in to the discs, rendering them unplayable, even if i bought a new 360! For shame Microsoft, for shame.

  8. Okay, now that the ps3 fanboy probably got every ones attention. I’m not a fanboy, just a fan of the ps3 and its phone support. I still own an xbox 360 and also have a Wii. I like all my consoles. But I don’t play my 36o anymore very much because:

    1.) I have to pay 50 bucks every year just to play online anytime that I want.

    2.) My xbox 360 had the RRoD issue last year around June of 2007. It was a nightmare to get it replaced and I hated the fact that they couldn’t just repair mine and give me the same one back in return since I requested that (even though it may have taken longer I would not have cared). It took 2 months to get my REPLACEMENT back.

    Anyway I’ve had alot of other countless support call nightmares with GreedySoft. When is GreedySoft going to start giving more jobs to people in the states doing phone support. I hate alot of the companies that move jobs outside of the US. Oh well, sorry for the long complaint but I agree that GreedySoft (MS) needs to get’s it’s act together in it’s customer service and support side of its business.

    When ever I call Sony Support to inquire about something, I’m always connected to someone within the USA. Hmmmm.

    But I still like the xbox 360, but since their hasn’t been any first party title or exclusive game thats come out for it in the past 2 years that I like (yes, I don’t like Halo and I don’t like gears of war), I may very well sell the 360. Any takers??

  9. What I don’t get is how other sites are saying that you are just making this up. There are plenty of other people saying it has happened to them also, so I don’t see what the deal is. Perhaps they are all just making it up also. Maybe they’re all actually secret agents of a Nintendo/Sony coalition that’s sole purpose is to keep Microsoft in it’s place… and you’re their latest spoke in an ever more complicated web of misinformation. AHHHH!!!!! It’s the Wiistationati! Wiiluminstation… ati?

    Seriously though, I’m glad that a little bit of journalistic assassination or some block-ops Microsoft agent whacking your 360 isn’t going to stop you from speaking the truth. I remember one day when Microsoft said that the system failure rate was well within norms, and we all know how that turned out. I have a feeling you may be the next Upton Sinclair, but… uhh… for video games not, like, meat packing. Yeah. That feeling might just be gas though. Even so, love the article, keep fighting the good fight. Power to the People!

  10. @ps3fanboy

    I like the PS3 myself and all that. But I think its a bit hypocritical that you are railing against MS for outsourcing while praising a Japanese company. Nothing wrong with that, but I am just pointing out a fallacy in your logic.
    I hear this all the time and wonder do these people even know that the flags they fly on their windows are probably made in China (esp. if they are from WalMart).

  11. And their latest attempt to silence us! The removal of my avatar thingy from Ripten! How can you not see this, people! It’s right in front of you. Just open your eyes! Major Nelson is an alien and the Wii controls the minds of users by making them think they’re Miis! Sony is forcing the hike in gas prices so that you’ll stay home and play games instead of driving somewhere. You can see it in the commercials. All their games are covered in oil and they’re singing “Do you want it? Do you need it?”

    Maybe I’m taking this too far?

  12. Hey HC,

    I know. Good point. I do know that Sony is a Japanese company. But I should have pointed out that their call center could have been in India, but no it’s not. Sorry about that.

  13. Personally this is why I haven’t gotten a XBOX 360 Console. It has to many problems. I want to get one but I figure it is worth the wait till they fix the problem.

    The one thing that makes me think though is like Dan how many of Microsoft’s 360 sales were due to “Replacements” or “Backup’s” I personally would never buy a backup system. I feel it should work as it should and not give more money to a company that gave me a semi faulty Product.

    This again is just my opinion and I really would like to own a 360 but just not in it’s current incarnation.

  14. @Wolf

    This is what is holding me back also. I would rather they fix the problems, do away with the tacky add-ons and provide everything in a nice looking, reliable system. Even the Zune has built in wireless. I don’t understand why the XBox can’t. The only reason I can think of is that MS is more established in gaming whereas in the music player scene, they have stiff competetion from Apple.

  15. I think Dan Landis is only doing what Derek did with the firmware mess on PS3. Informing PS3 fans of a potential problem. It’s like Xbox 360 fans are denying there are any problems with Microsoft Live and it’s Xbox 360 hardware.

    After all the difficulties just getting online on LIVE over the Holidays, was atrocious! The achievements mess, RRoD’s, just mean the Xbox 360 has more than it’s fair share of disappointing close encounters of the 3rd kind!

    He’s just trying to make us all aware of the pimple on one of our gaming systems before it turns into a boil and pops pus all over us! LOLz

    I’m just glad Dan can make light of all this w/the wife breathing down his neck forcing him out to the couch to sleep over his late night gaming calls and problems. Plus, I don’t see armies of PS3 fanboys actually descending on this story and using the information to flame the X360 like some of you are imagining in your heads!

    The only console with any room to gloat over anything in this thread aren’t falling over each other to fill that pool with poo either! …that of course meaning Wii fans!

    Just relax people. All he’s doing here is his job. Which is to inform people in an entertaining way, on all the complexities of owning and gaming on the Xbox 360! Great job of doing just that Dan! ;)

  16. I don’t think it’s the fans that are denying there are problems. If anything, the fans are the ones stating it the loudest. The problem is that it seems to be such a rare problem that MS still thinks they can deny it. Also, a lot of people probably won’t even notice. I know I could lose some achievements and unless it’s something I just unlocked I would never realize it. Furthermore, if MS denies it, people won’t look, but if MS comes out and says “hey, people’s things are poofing” then people will look and MORE people will complain about the problem. It’s sort of like the pimple analogy you used earlier. People like Dan are honest enough to tell MS they have a pimple, but MS is just trying to cover it up with some makeup so their snotty friends don’t notice and start talking about them.

    Yes, I picture the console wars like “Heathers”.

  17. @Krispy Demon
    Yes, I remember as a kid thinking the Nintendo vs Sega fanboy wars were bad. But this generation it’s worse than Democrats vs Republicans or worse yet lately, Republican vs Republican.

    Not just little scuffles anymore, fans from all sides (both politics and gaming) are going for the throat!

    So that the Sony’s and Microsoft’s, the Democrats and Republicans instigate these fan wars to split us up and pit us against each other!

    I’ll just stick to the side lines and keep clear of the fray fighting my own brothers. Gaming and fandom should be fun, not resemble the political condition of the world! ;)

  18. My second Xbox 360 died the other night. Before now I’ve NEVER had a video game console die on me, I was kind of shocked when it happened for the first time and pissed off the second. I can’t imagine what goes through the mind of someone who has 5 – 6 + crap out on them, and I know those people exist. That must be how serial killers are made.

    In fact, that’s the twist for Saw V, Jigsaw went through 25 Xbox 360s. And we all know 25 is the magic number when you start making torture devices and putting people in them.

    Microsoft is lucky as hell they’ve been able to secure so many awesome games for Xbox 360 or I’d tell bill gates to shove my broken system up his rich ass and buy a PS3.