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Games Entertainment

XBox Goes Down in Public 268

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the everyone-point-and-laugh dept.
rosewood sent in a story about the X-Box Crashing in Public. Of course, it obviously is beta hardware so such things are to be expected, but that doesn't mean that you can't point your fingers and generate a nelson style HAHA at a multi billion dollar corporation's expense. They'll get the last laugh in 24 months when no software vendor dares release a game for any other system.
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XBox Goes Down in Public

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Gates has about 1000 MS products crash during public demos over the years. It's only in the last couple years that's it's been worthy of CNN. It's also only in the last couple years that Gates has started to take showers and comb his hair before standing up in front of people. Personally, I think greasy messed up hair and bent geek glasses is more funny than Windows 9x somehow crashing.

    Jobs had MacOS X crash on him last year. Just mentioning so someone can whore a link.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You must have been at the wrong E3, then. Even MSNBC admits that the X-Box was the flop of the show.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is amazing how Microsoft has got the world accustomed with rebooting as an acceptable practice. This would never be acceptable in the mini or mainframe world. Please God tell us that there will never be Microsoft MVS. I have developed realtime applications on PC's connected to some industrial machine, that if the computer failed, more than likely death would result of some worker. Microsoft products were never considered. Nathan Atlanta Ga. USA
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Windows 2000 was a ruse

    Bollocks.

    W2K has been running on my CAD station at work extremely well. The only time I have had to reboot it has been after installing patches and even Linux people do that, so get your bigoted ass out of here. I know what I'm talking about. I've been using Linux at home since 1994. Linux and W2K are just as stable. Game platforms such as Win95/98/ME suck, though.

    Posting anonymously to avoid rabid anti-Microsoft moderation.

  • Actually, my ps2 crashed about five minutes ago, while playing NHL Hockey. Just as I was about to finish kicking some Maple Leaf ass too. It just froze solid, alas.

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • Oh.

    10 gigs? Not just 8?

    Why, then, it will certainly succeed.

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • The console didn't run any OS on its own -- every game CD had an OS on it. Most games ran Sega's OS. I can't recall a Dreamcast game offhand that came with WinCE.

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • ...which is to say Microsoft is demoing their stuff on hardware that is _better_ than the final product is going to be? I don't remember anyone saying XBox was going to be gigahertz athlons...
  • If I put a metallic external program in my Microwave it'll crash.

    And spark and smoke.
  • there's no comparison. J Random 14 yr old is way smarter than mega-corp
  • For comparison purposes, when was the last time any other console crashed at a show?

    Shows are an opportunity to show off unfinished software. Frequent crashes are par for the course. I had a play with the demo Dreamcast version of Disney's Dinosaur at last year's ECTS -- it would freeze up frequenly, requiring a soft reset, and pressing obscure button combinations would cause diagnostic messages to appear on screen.

    I wouldn't say this story is a big deal, any more than I would whinge if I downloaded an alpha version of a kernel driver, and my Linux box crashed.
    --
  • has no serious hardware advantage to distinguish itself from its competition

    disagree with you on this one. there is one advantage that I can think of and thats peripherals.

    I remember john carmack talking about console manufacturers dipping their toes into using adding standard hardware (USB mice, HDD, etc.) and potentially running into driver problems. x-box (correct me if I wrong) uses pretty much standard HW and drivers and will have less problems (as much as ms os's permit). there's probably a few other things he mentions (graphics card support, latter release and more processing horsepower, ease of development etc.)

    check the links.

  • This PS/2 owner won't buy an X-box. Not because of loyalty to Sony or hatred toward MS, but because I suspect the X-box will be junk. Prove me wrong in November and maybe I'll reconsider... for now I'll play SSX and enjoy. --M
  • How many of Microsoft's Version 1.0 products have been ready for prime time? If you can think if one, let me know.

    X-Box could be an absolute and complete failure, probably will, but there's nothing that will stop Microsoft from releasing X-Box V2 in a year, and X-Box V3 the year after that, at which point it will probably be worth buying.

    They're certainly not going to run out of money before some version of the X-Box is a dominating succuss, and if history tells us anything, it will probably be version 3 or 4.

  • What's sad is with their projected launch date, one would be expecting them to already be producing the final hardware.

    This would lead me to believe they should have been showing their final hardware at E3.

    Since they weren't, I can only assume there will be a shortage just like ths ps2, and/or their launch date is gonna get moved back.

    Vermifax

  • by Vermifax (3687)
    "At the moment, there is a lot of stuff that don't exist yet, UMA, frex, which need to be emulated."

    If it doesn't exist yet how could they possibly be telling the truth about their planned release date? When did they start producing final hardware? today?

    Vermifax

  • You wonder if "such things are to be expected" Why the GC didn't crash this year, and why the ps2 didn't crash last year.

    Vermifax
  • "The X-Box is traditionally compared to current-generation consoles, such as the PS2 and Dreamcast. These comparisons are invalid, for two reasons. First, considering the release date, the X-Box must be compared to the next generation (NCube etc). "

    You are the only one who seems to think so. Most people (console gamers, and console reporters) consider the DC to be in the same generation as the psx. (or at least in an inbetween generation) and the xbox, the ps2, and the GC to be the same generation. Certainly if you were to consider the gc and the xbox to be in the next, one would have expected much more powerful boxes in comparison to the ps2.

    Vermifax

  • Hrm...lets think about that for a second. The PSX certainly came with the same amount of bootsrap code (relatively) that the Dreamcast did. It also had the psx's os on every game disk, just like the dreamcast games. The only difference was people could develop either to Sega's api, or WinCE.

    Vermifax
  • by Vermifax (3687)
    Did the DC ever crash during public demos?
    Did the PS2 ever crash during public demos?
    Did the GC ever...

    I'm sure you get my point.

    I also think that with their near release date, they should have been showing final hardware.

    Vermifax

  • Care to provide a link to that information.

    Vermifax
  • just cause you said so.

    Link to it or go home

    Vermifax

  • Game development by nature has a severely accelerating pace. And it's certainly not unheard of to release a game for duplication a week and a half before it is scheduled to be on shelves, since all the packaging is printed in advance. Six, er, five and a half months is still a ton of time to fix crashes from the E3 demo, then put in all new crashes and fix those too. Also, developers are receiving actual Xbox hardware after the gray Xbox development PC systems have been out there for something like a year now, and the actual consoles are reportedly already in production south of the border. So all in all, I don't think they're in a lot of trouble right now.
  • OK, as we all know, this post is more about having a laugh at Microsoft in OG Slashdot style than being informative. Let me explain the incredibly ordinary events that the article said happened.

    A game demo on the Xbox crashed, and restarting it revealed that it was running on Xbox-like PC hardware. In the uncomfortable pause while the system was restarting, a PR droid gamely tried to explain that the demo systems don't have the unified memory architecture of the Xbox itself.

    So, a pre-alpha demo of an Xbox game crashed? Shocking. No, actually, it would be news if a E3 demo of a game which is six months or more away from release never crashed during a demonstration.

    Maybe the news is that the final hardware wasn't ready to show at E3. But everyone expected that. Again, it was news that Nintendo did have GameCube hardware at the show.

    But hey, good excuse for a link to the GIA!

  • Actually there were a few demos on the Sony stand you could always get to. The three Barbie screens were usually free. Wasn't too hard to grab a go on a Gameboy Advance either.

    It was impossible to get to a Sega machine though, as they kept them ALL in the corporate area. Never saw a vacant X-Box either, but then the Microsoft stand just wasn't that big when compared to Sony or Nintendo.
  • Who gives a shit if it's beta hardware? It was running pre-alpha software. Even if the final hardware has bugs (and it will, they all do) it's the software's responsibility to work around it.

    Virtually every demo box at E3 will have crashed once or twice. They have people there to press the reset button when things go wrong. E3 is a pre-release show, to preview product that's still under development, to store buyers, and the media. E3 demos are often being polished right up until the last minute. They are not finished product.
  • I think you'll find CodeMasters were the last, with their hacked genesis/megadrive carts. They also went to court with Nintendo over their hack-cart, and won.

    The reason no-one ports those dating sims, is because they wouldn't sell enough copies to pay for the localisation and reproduction. Same goes for the horse racing, mah-jong, and pachinko games.
  • Yes, yes, and yes.

    What *was* your point?
  • Just 'cause I went there. Actually, just 'cause I displayed there, for the second year running. Last year, Alien Resurrection, this year, Kinetica.
  • There were also indications that the hardware is not entirely stable yet - a crash during Nightcaster revealed a familiar looking PC boot screen, and a Microsoft representative explained that the memory configuration on the floor models was different than that of the final version.
    Uhuh ... we're going to demo this X-box, but we can't get our hands on the correct memory chips until Tuesday. Can we just borrow those chips in your desk? Yeah, sure they'll match! Cool ...
  • M$ will take a loss on each of these puppies in hopes of making their money from licensing and future games. So buy one, cmon a GEFORCE3 video card, it is gonna BLOW away the competition. When you have it just never play it or pirate the games and M$ will lose even more. The parent of this comment said it best, IT KILLED THE DREAMCAST :)
  • they make good games :)
  • I've never seen my playstation crash. There are places in the Tomb Raider games where your character can get stuck and have trouble getting unstuck, though, which can have the same effect. Even those are bizarre aberrations: you don't expect the console to crash, and it almost never does.

    I've seen my Dreamcast crash once, on Skies of Arcadia. It never happened again, and I've never had another problem.

    On the other hand, with Windows, it can be a matter of when will it crash TODAY, and major apps like Word and IE5 exhibit major bugs and crashes on a continuous basis. That's much worse than would be tolerated on a console.

    Consoles are about cheap thrills, instant gratification and lack of hassles. If people buy X-boxen, and they get sidelined by crashes even once a week, MS is screwed, because they're not only going to lose $125 on the sale, they're going to lose $300 more when the XBox gets returned to the store.

    Jon
  • Please tell us how you were able to determine that the cause of the glitch wasn't a hardware problem.

    Because he's a super 31337 Linux programmer and he is well aware of how horrible M$ programmers are. All Linux programmers are of impeccable credentials and they produce code of utmost quality (not only is it hyper-optimized and with 0 defects, but it also manages to fix faults in third party software too!). All M$ programmers are losers who don't know how to program and whose code defect rate is horrible.

    At least that's what I've learned on Slashdot. Surely it's true though right?

  • How can we assume it is the platform's fault, it could have been the programming of the actual game. And if you think about it what should the game console do if the actual game that is running freaks out and causes some kind of unrecoverable error... Being that it is a gaming console, I guess reboot would be the best action as it has nothing else to do.
  • His statement implied that the Xboxen had the idea that they had more memory than they really did, as if MS had told the kernel that it had 256MB of RAM, but only given it 128. This is not the case. There is no way that those machines crashed because they were trying to access "non-existant memory" except by plain old (and I'm talking OLD) Microsoft style bugs.

    While you _can_ tell Linux that it has more RAM than it does, the result will not be what the previous poster implied. Linux will not boot if you lie to it.
  • How so? Well, I ran Win2k at home on a box whose purpose was only playing games and viewing multimedia, with an Nvidia card. Sounds a lot like the Xbox, doesn't it? That box crashed about every other day, making Win98 more that 50 times as stable (it crashed about every two months). I originally installed Win2k because I thought I might end up doing development, but I'm not. (Not on Windows, anyway). After putting up with it for about a month and a half, my girlfriend asked me to remove it. These numbers are accurate for this installation. I've kept track because I was curious.

    I'm glad Win2k is stable for you. I'd heard that it was for a lot of people, which is one of the reasons that I installed it. However, for a gaming platform, it's not even close to stable. NVidia better come out with a damn good driver for the Xbox, cuz the latest *stable* driver on their site ate my balls. At this rate, the Xbox is going to ruin a lot of otherwise good games.
  • one sentance about the X-Box crashing
    I don't know about you, but one crash is about all I need. Seems to me that Microsoft products seem to crash in just about every public demo that I actually attend or hear about.

    namely lacking memory
    Now, the rep. said that the memory configuration will be different. He did not say that the final Xbox will have more memory. Since the Xbox has been switched to an Intel CPU, I'm guessing that either he meant something related to RAMBUS/SDRAM, or he was just plain spin doctoring. I'm inclined to beleive the latter, since his statement was so vague.

    if I tell the kernel it has 256MB
    Totally m00t point. You can't *tell* the 2000 kernel how much memory the system has. You obviously know nothing about kernel design. Stop and think about this for a moment. The hecklers aren't really being immature about this, they're pointing out that their suspicions all along that the Xbox would just be another crashy MS PC are right. If this crash were due to a missing piece of hardware, they all would have crashed. Maturity has nothing to do with deriding the Xbox. What do you expect us to do? Ignore it? Buy the Xbox because Bill tells us to? Screw that. I want hardware (and software) with a proven record of stability and quality. The Xbox has neither of those. Intel/RAMBUS has had serious stability issues. Windows 2000 has serious stability issues. The Xbox has been demonstrated to be instable. Conclusion: I'm not buying one! If I did, it wouldn't be a console, it would be a Linux PC that MS generously paid most of the cost for. (If MS wants to buy me a Linux capable PC with a sweet video card to repay me for the trouble they've caused, who am I to argue!?)

    As an aside, if you lie to Linux, and tell it that it has more RAM than it does, it won't complete booting. You can't break Linux this way.
  • by MSG (12810) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @09:54PM (#210282)
    Your link isn't to a "more accurate story", it points to a story about an entirely different crash! The story on xbox.com was written prior to E3 (see the beginning of the last paragraph), while the story on thegia.com is about a crash that happened *during* E3, almost a month later.

    Do I think it's unreasonable for the box to crash? Maybe not, but at this point, late in the develpment, it sure doesn't bode well for the release of the product, does it?

    Take those informative moderation points and put them where they belong... On informative (and correct) posts :-)
  • Finally a sensible comment.
  • Consoles crash all the time, they always have and always will.
    What consoles do you use? I'd like to know what to avoid in the future.

    Hay why don't you put yourself on my suckers list. I mean you'll get on one eventually. Why fight it?

    You have accepted the notion that defective products are an unavoidable reality.
    This is an excuse for producing poor quality.

    Forget Microsoft for a moment.
    A lot of companys sell shotty quality and they run around saying everyone is this bad.
    People who make shotty cars clame all cars are shotty.
    People who sell poor quality knifes clame all knifes are the same.
    People who sell high quality end up having to fight this fiction.

    Quality is not a myth.

    If all game consoles are defective.. why would anyone buy them?

    I have never had any problems with the game consoles I've used and I only had computer problems becouse I occasionally buy cutting edge.
    (When buying cutting edge you don't know if it is defective or not... and if it is you are betting the company will fix it. If it is defective and the company won't fix it you are screwed. It's worth the risk... It's usually defective it is usually fixed and the bug is usually minnor.)

    But I will not ever buy from a company that isn't sereous about producing a good quality product.

    Stuff happends. Clean it up.. don't plug your nose and ignore it.
    (You know the correct word isn't STUFF.. but I'll leave it to you to mentally insert the correct word)
  • If YOU think that computers shouldn't crash then you're living in a dream world.

    I have a number of computers and game consoles that do not crash.

    I'm not going to say Windows crashes all the time. How could I know? I don't use Windows. I don't need Windows. I don't know what is normal for Windows.

    What I do use dosn't crash.
    If Microsoft asks me to live with a defective game console I just won't buy it.
    If the Xbox is all there is and it's defective I just won't buy a game console.
    Nobody is twisting my arm...
    If computers truely were so complex that they must all be defective I would not be using computers today.
    I'm patent but not enough to deal with flaky technology...
  • by Felinoid (16872) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @08:15AM (#210293) Homepage Journal
    One key diffrence between the game market and the PC market is gamers are almost expected to have more than one console.
    Also PCs are productivity machines game consoles are entertainment.
    If the only productivity software available is for one platform you are screwed. Use it no matter how flaky.
    If however all the games are for one platform and that platform is no-fun.. We get a new video game dark age.
    (Like the last video game dark age... when nobody could sell video games and everyone was playing non-computer based games like chess and RPGs)
    You are kinda locked into your computer platform. When you upgrade you only upgrade a part of the system. You need to maintain compatability with your old hardware.

    Compaire this to video game consoles. Every upgrade you toss the whole box and start over from scratch. You aren't locked into anything.

    Microsoft CAN get all the video game makers to produce all games for Xbox. Microsoft CAN get a lot of gammers to buy the box. But if it dosn't rock it is dead.
    The problem is simple. The Xbox dosen't simply compleate with every game console. It compeates with the fickle short attention span of the gamers.
    Only the early addopters will scoop them up and try them out. If they suck then you'll see a bunch of web pages on installing Linux on an Xbox and other such uses. This becouse the early adopters will simply put the investment to good use.. That use being something other than playing games.

    I expect Microsoft isn't aware of the realitys of the video game console world and think if they can throw out some fancy hardware (working or not) and sell games they'll make money.
    If the box is defective then someone will produce something better.
  • by vitaflo (20507) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @09:01AM (#210295) Homepage
    This article is pretty much a Troll as far as I'm concerned. I was at E3 last year for the unveiling of the PS2 and there were plenty of crashed demo stations, the same goes for the Dreamcast games that were showing of the new online play back then.

    Now, they didn't put up a blue screen or anything, they just locked up hard on screen, but it's E3, most of this stuff isn't even beta yet. Ya can't blame M$ for someone else's mistake (as much as I'd like to ;).
  • Didn't that happen with windows 98? An omen of things to come? Or maybe they just forgot to add the bluescreen routine, so the hardware just died instead of giving the notorious error message.

    Yep, here's the story from CNN, complete with videos:
    http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9804/20/gates.co mdex/ [cnn.com]
  • There were also indications that the hardware is not entirely stable yet - a crash during Nightcaster revealed a familiar looking PC boot screen, and a Microsoft representative explained that the memory configuration on the floor models was different than that of the final version.


    I don't quite get how a memory configuration is a hardware error, unless they were using shoddy ram, but why would you use bad ram in a public display of your product? I don't recall windows crashing because of insufficient ram either, and am I really to believe that they only stocked the machine with 64-128 megs or so of ram for their public display? Ram is cheap, and for one of the richest companies on earth i'm sure they can afford to make their testing models as good as the soon to be released models.
  • by ginsu (37651) <slashdot@serialized.net> on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:33AM (#210302) Homepage
    I played several games on the Xbox at E3. However, the only actual "box" to be seen was one sealed up in a big plexiglass case, you couldn't actually see the consoles you were playing on. That's because (according to one of the developers there) they were playing on not much more than modified PC's! (Gighz Athalons, etc.)

    I was initially really surprised to see "playable Xboxes" on the show floor because I'd just read in Wired that Nvidia was nowhere near ready to start fabbing the chips, and wouldn't be ready until mid or late summer. So these machines (whatever they have inside) don't have either the right processor or the right graphics card -- so however they look (and crash :) has really nothing to do with what the production Xbox will be.

  • Nobody is selling GNOME. Some people thinks it's better to "realease early, release often".
  • It's gotta be prone to crashing. That way in two years they can do a big advertising blitz for "X-BOX 2004, better stability than the original X-BOX, upgrade today."
  • My Super Nintendo crashed. Once. I was playing Donkey Kong Country, had just found a new bonus area, and suddenly a weird glitch caused the screen to fill with ostrich parts (various tiles that composed Espresso the ostrich) and freeze.

    I was extremely surprised, then pissed.

    I will be surprised and then pissed again if Microsoft gets the typical gamer used to the idea of crashing.
    --
  • From everything i have been hearing, win2k sales have been very disapointing. Even if they have 5 million copies, thats not a lot concidering the number of computers out there.

    As far as uptime goes, you're right, home user joe may not care for a 300+ day uptime. However, even joe user seems to be leaving his computer on more (probably b/c it eliminates boot time), and i'm sure they want an uptime of more then 30mins...which is about as good as you could get with previous versions. Even NT4 gave me alot of headaches during the day when we used that at work. Win9x and NT always seemed to crash at least once a day.

    Besides, you seem to forget that NT4 may be stable enough for the home user, BUT, most home users DON'T have NT; they have that shitty DOS upgrade, win9x/ME.
  • by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @09:57AM (#210326) Homepage
    he is going to be horribly insulted when his game console crashes.

    Rubbish. You don't know crap about consoles.

    On one hand, no game console should ever crash. On the other, having owned EVERY game console, and spent immeasurable hours in arcades, I've seen just about every machine crash.

    From the Atari 2600 all the way up to the Playstation 2 I've seen games lock up, crap out, go blank, reset, garble the screen, make horrible noises, and just plain die in plain view.

    It's not a matter of -IF- game systems are going to have problems. But it's going to be a matter of how LONG you're going to go before you see them.

    Until the Playstation came along, crashes were very, very rare. Now it wouldn't be hard to compile a nice list of modern console games with SERIOUS issues. (I think there are even a few N64 games with serious issues!)

    The X-Box is not going to be that much worse than the Playstation 2 because software developers will know it's a static machine and they'll learn how to avoid crashing the system.

    Consoles are not PCs, and the software developement process is not the same. It's a static environment that lends it's self to a deeper level of mastery.

    So, in 2 years if we see games crashing, rest assured they'll all be Electronic Arts and Acclaim titles.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by BlueUnderwear (73957) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:39AM (#210328)
    > Wanna watch my Linux box crash if I tell the kernel it has 256MB of memory and only have 128MB (and then try and run Mozilla :-P)

    But why would you do that? To make Linux look bad?

    Well in this particular situation, Microsoft was demoing their product, and tried to show it in the best light, and thus really had no interest whatsoever to sabotage their own product. And you can be pretty damn sure that they have enough money to put a decent enough amount of memory in the box too.

  • It was even really Beta hardware. What they had going to pretty much a super powered PC running an xbox emulator. Teh graphics chip hasn't even been fabed yet. It's almost understandable that something as complex as teh xbox could crash when it was being run totally as a software emulator.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\=\=\
  • Stole the show?? Every single article I have read about E3 gave the graphics nod to Rogue Leader for GameCube. Where did you hear that DOA3 was the show-stealer?
  • by martinflack (107386) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:20AM (#210338)
    I think Microsoft is going to have to swallow hard and accept the fact that while Joe Sixpack may find his computer complex and doesn't find it odd that it crashes every once in a while, he is going to be horribly insulted when his game console crashes. ("What the..? Piece of shit..")

    This is one arena where MS is not the "OS" leader. Nintendo, Sega, Sony, even Atari have established "operating systems" that work damn well on their games boxes and don't blue screen every couple of hours. The fact that XBox crashed in such a high-profile tradeshow displays pathetic programming. When Joe Sixpack learns that this is what he can expect from XBox, he will quite simply go with one of the established gaming vendors that has a box that can actually run.
  • My playstation crashes. My Super Nintendo crashes. My NES crashed. My Linux box crashes. My windows box crashes. My ACD system running on os/2 warp crashes. Christ, I've had my DD reciever crash on days with lots of static electricity kicking around.
  • Trying to figure out how to write games for it.[1]
    And remember that up til the Dreamcast these machines did NOT come with a OS![2]
    The X-Box is completely new in the area, and it will take time to get all the 'bugs' out, but if they're willing to spend the time and money to fix these problems, and if they can get these items fix in time, I'll certainly take a good look at the underlying system and see just how hackable it really is.
    [1] Wrote the Sega Genesis Programming FAQ
    [2] Not that I'll call Windows CE a gamer's OS, but kudos to MS for getting Sega to include it in the first place. And even more to MS for making the thing work on Sega's box, even though there is only a few games that take use of it.
    Hummm.... Now that the Dreamcast is going, I wonder if Sega would be willing to release the developer's software for it?
  • Consoles crash all the time, they always have and always will.

    The `big deal' is that they shouldn't. If you acce[t thi missbehaviour you have been got to. My CD player doesn't crash, my microwave doesn't crash.

    Additionally the fact that they didn't sufficiantly test the hardware they were going to show to the world at a high profile event is a good indication of their quality control standards and what can be expected in production (remember the Win95 crash when Bill was demoing it).
    _O_

  • by R.Caley (126968) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:20AM (#210352)
    Sounds like a really kool game.

    Is it out for the PlayStation yet?
    _O_

  • by R.Caley (126968) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:25AM (#210353)
    I think Microsoft is going to have to swallow hard and accept the fact that while Joe Sixpack may find his computer complex and doesn't find it odd that it crashes every once in a while, he is going to be horribly insulted when his game console crashes.

    At one time I'm sure we would have said that no one would accept an OS which crashed every few hours.

    MS's marketing department has a good track record of changing customer expectations to be `we desrve to be shafted, please let us pay more so you can do it harder'.

    If they can sell that to professionals and corporations, selling the same to J Random 14 year old shouldn't be a challenge.
    _O_

  • With all the news and information about the X-Box, I am convinced that the X-Box is doomed to fail at market for a number of reasons.

    First, consider the hardware capabilities of the X-Box. For a console, they may seem impressive, but take a look at what they really are. First, the bogo-measurements: 4.8 gigapixel/sec (antialiased), 100M/sec sustained polygons. This may seem like a lot more than current-generation consoles, but due to diminishing returns, it isn't really.

    Now, consider what's inside an X-Box: an Intel 733MHz processor, a (slightly modified) GeForce 3 video card, an 8 gig hard disk, and 64 megs of RAM. Sound like a PC? That's because MS wants easy porting. Unfortunately for Microsoft, historically every port from console to PC or vice versa has been a complete failure without exception. This is because of the different styles of play that consoles demand. Worse, Microsoft seems to promote "lazy" porting (add a few #ifdefs and recompile); this will be a disaster for the X-Box, since PC developers design their games to install to hard disk. There's one thing console users absolutely will not tolerate, and that's having to deal with the installations and disk space issues typical of PCs.

    The X-Box is traditionally compared to current-generation consoles, such as the PS2 and Dreamcast. These comparisons are invalid, for two reasons. First, considering the release date, the X-Box must be compared to the next generation (NCube etc). Second, the XBox is, from a hardware perspective, not a console. Consider: it has the form factor of a PC, it is full of PC hardware, and it runs a modified PC operating system with PC APIs. The X-Box is not competing against Sony, Sega, and Nintendo; it is competing against Dell, Gateway, and Micron. The fact that the X-Box is not stable strengthens this argument; people will accept crashing from a PC, but certainly not from a console. X-Box looks good from a cost perspective for now, but its release date is still some ways off, and people will be willing to pay more for a general-purpose device than for an equivalent single-purpose console.

    Another indicator is that Microsoft doesn't seem to be very confident in the X-Box. Look at what they've been spewing out to support it: vague promises, specs years in advance, and worse of all, faked screenshots. History has shown that Microsoft never gets anything right on the first try, and the X-Box will be no exception.
    ------------------
    A picture is worth 500 DWORDS.
  • If YOU think that computers shouldn't crash then you're living in a dream world.

    I freely admit I live in the dream world where I beleive computers SHOULDN'T crash, now if I could just get the dream world were computers DON'T crash. Unfortunatly we have low expectations of computers and both the hardware and software manufacturers have been very good at living down to those expectations and even encouraging them.


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @08:21PM (#210358) Journal

    If they can sell that to professionals and corporations, selling the same to J Random 14 year old shouldn't be a challenge.

    You're comparing corporations and professionals to 14 year olds when it comes to knowledge of these systems? That's a terrible insult--to the 14 year old.

  • They'll get the last laugh in 24 months when no software vendor dares release a game for any other system.

    That's right... We should also throw up our hands and stop using linux, because MS is obviously going to beat us here too. There definitely aren't other consoles to provide competition...

    Seriously, was there a glitch in the slashdot or something because I thought we didn't see microsoft as invulnerable over here.

    not_cub

  • by enneff (135842) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @09:39PM (#210360) Homepage
    "XBox Goes Down in Public"

    Am I the only one that thought unsavoury thoughts when I read that?

  • I own a dreamcast, an N64, and a playstation (haven't bought a PS/2 yet)... but I will not buy an Xbox... not just because it is M$ - but because of how they are playing this... exclusivity... yuck.

    The only way that I can get my message accross to any company is to NOT buy their product... period.

  • But this is different... I mean threatening companies that want to produce on Xbox - if they produce on other platforms is just wrong.

  • ...but the point being that I should not be the only one doing it.
  • Apart from the code not being production quality, it is likely not going to be production code in this form. Microsoft has access to a bunch of really good user interface folks, and chances are that they are dealing with the "how will we present a fatal error to the user" issue as we speak^H^Hculate.

    I have no clue where the user interface guys will take it, but I'd be stunned if anything even remotely resembling a blue screen will appear in a non-debug build.

  • Best thing would be to buy one, then not get any games. M$ will lose money on every console sold.

    You could put it to use as a web server instead, there was an article recently about how Apache runs on Xbox.

  • And have you USED W2K? Granted Win9x/ME is bad and I'm glad it's going to die, but W2K is quitely stable. 20 odd servers, most worked pretty hard, 1 crash for 2001 and that was bad memory.

    I say before you go bash the evil empire, go get some facts. Cry out against their licencing. Hell man, there are all sorts of issues we should be complaining about, genuine issues that we should be screaming about! But these claims of bugginess and instability of W2K are just plain FUD in the most cases.

    Come on, lets give MS a swording for what it deserves it for. OTOH, when they have done a fairly good job, give them props. I say W2k has made my life easier on the desktop level and that be good thing. At least I can place a W2K desktop on the desk of a techo clown and expect it work for at least a year without any real attention.

    Now, the X-Box looks like it could be good, but we should always approach this with the usual MS slant - wait for the third servce release. I would expect the first release to have problems, but I would say MS would be pulling all stops out to get it right in the end and to ride out the initial problems.

    I'll wait before passing judgement if it's a pile or not.
  • is this the first public spotting of a console crashing in the public eye?

    i've yet to play a console game that has crashed on me but on the other hand i'm not a die-hard console gamer. it would be interesting to know if anyone has had such a console experience.

    would be great, though, if MS replaced the BSOD [bsod.org] with something a little more entertaining like a customisable BSOD [redamazon.com].
  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:25AM (#210377) Homepage Journal
    Hmm, it's Sunday, so I suppose it would be a slow news day. But wow, was that a non-story. The story itself contained one sentance about the X-Box crashing, and apparently the X-Box sample that crashed wasn't the same hardware configuration as the final X-Box, namely lacking memory. So the game probably tried to address non-existant memory and crashed. Wowee.

    Seriously though, this is really, really weak. Yeah, you could do a "Ha-ha" towards them, but this is really just purely immature. Wanna watch my Linux box crash if I tell the kernel it has 256MB of memory and only have 128MB (and then try and run Mozilla :-P)? Making fun of a pre-release verison crashing because it's not the same hardware is really foolish and immature.

    I suppose the Nelson reference is appropriate - this article is about as mature as Nelson.

  • Yeah, unforutnately for MS users/products, most patches from MS are indeed kernel patches.

    Thats one of the problems with microkernel OS's, they sure don't like any kernel-land space to change. ANd with MS integrating lots and lots of new stuff every day into the kernel-land space, its becoming common to see updates cause a restart.

    But as in both Linux and MS worlds, it depends.. you can patch your Office2k installation a hundred times and not restart, or you can add one file you to your system32 directory and have to restart twice. I have the same experience in the Linux world.. lots of times I *could* avoid that reboot _if_ I really worked at it (stop daemon, change config, restart daemon, restop daemon, etc etc) but sometimes its just easier to reboot and get on with it.
  • Not lots of people have bought it? Where are you coming from?

    MS has legally licensed over 1.5 million copies of Windows2k (all flavors) and whats more, they have probably an installed base of double or triple that (probably ~3-4 million, minimum).

    What this really shows me is that NT is basically good enough for most people, and that the realibility Win2k shows is primarily a benefit to servers and high-output workstations.

    This is what I think most people miss about Windows products. People who use MS software doesn't care that boxes exist with 300+ days of "uptime". What most business/IT people want is a box that won't crash in a normal day's work. Thats all. They want to come in at 8 in the morning and pound thier box till closing time and then shut it down at 5 pm. Thats it. Nothing more, nothing less. Depending on your hardware/software setup, Windows 98 can possibly deliver this. But without a doubt, for most people, a Windows NT Workstation box can and will provide this. So all the stability features in Win2k don't mean anything if WinNT is stable _enough_ for these people.

    The increased stability of Win2k is only a benefit for servers/heavy duty workstations, so far as I can see.

  • good that there will be a Linux version!

    12-18 Months after it comes out for a mainstream OS.
  • I agree about the computer users leaving their boxen on.. but with my experience, and even a paper published on MS's cites the "one reboot a month" level as the most often achieved by Win2k. In my mind, thats perfectly fine. First day of the month, restart Win2k while getting your coffee.

    But I think you and I agree that for most people, Win2k is about as stable as will ever be needed. I think MS did a huge disservice to people by introducing the NT line as a business only OS. Win2k is a decent OS, the best produced by MS to date. Sad thing is though, people don't want to give up thier legacy ass programs which dont run on Win2k well at all. They are holding up the show.

    Btw, I agree - Win9x/ME is a total piece of crap. Win95 was good for an immediate upgrade from DOS/Win 3.11, but it should have died thier as planned - the next OS should have been Win NT - and that should have been where Win2k is today. MS really boned up by interjecting three more 9x OSen and an additional flavor NT.
  • People are getting tired of Microsoft's instability. Windows 2000 was a ruse. Die MS fans still claim that it's been up on their box for 3 years (the Beta version no less) etc etc....but it is being proven false.

    Every new MS release is the same. Windows 95 promised to be the "end" of MS-DOS instability. So the die-hards claimed it was, until a year later when they realized that the millions of people claiming otherwise were looking at them strangely. So they started blaming driver manufacturers, ISVs, etc. Repeat cycle for Windows NT and Windows 98, and Windows 2000, and bet your bottom dollar that Windows XP and X-box OS will have fans with similar sentiments.

    So ... Now Microsoft wants to push its crap onto the console market. And console users are expected to sit their and accept it when their game causes an illegal operation or produces a hex dump/exception error. Two words: They won't. This IS one market that Microsoft can't bully, brag or FUD their way into. They can spend as much on advertising and marketing as they want, if the thing is not stable (and history proves that it won't be), people will look to other options, and in this case, those alternatives are already well established.

    A lot of people will buy the box to play the first version of the Matrix(tm)The game(tm), but a few months after that, at the most a year after that, X-box will be in a worse position than Dreamcast. The best thing for them to do would be to stop wasting time with their WinBox OS and port FreeBSD to the machine, then at least their will be some chance of stability.

  • by perlyking (198166) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @11:40AM (#210402) Homepage
    A more accurate story about the crash...

    More accurate? Er.. it says "©2000-2001 Microsoft Corporation. " at the bottom of the page.

    I'm not commenting on stability (to be honest my windows 2000 box has only crashed twice, both due to driver problems // allthough my linux box has never crashed) - i'm just saying that you are calling people anti-MS bigots but then posting a pro MS article from a MS site - hardly impartial either are you!

  • by KurdtX (207196) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @11:09PM (#210405)

    The X-Box itself is also quite large, especially in comparison to the slim PS2 and the petite Gamecube.
    Wow, Microsoft seems to transition pretty smoothly to hardware.

    Kurdt
  • ...apparently the X-Box sample that crashed wasn't the same hardware configuration as the final X-Box, namely lacking memory. So the game probably tried to address non-existant memory and crashed. Wowee.

    Wowee indeed. If I were a company spending over half a billion dollars in marketing a game console, I'd make damn sure the thing wouldn't crash because of something so trivial as lacking memory.

    What makes this particular bit of news so telling is that we all knew how unreliable an OS Microsoft could put out, but this is a chance for them to dictate their own architecture as well as their own OS, and they still bluescreened.

    Thank god it happened at E3. Otherwise it could have happened in hundreds of thousands of homes all across the country after their initial release. Can you say "XBox, Second Edition"? I bet you could...

  • by hillct (230132) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @07:39AM (#210425) Homepage Journal
    What you should take from this is that the XBox is far too complex a device to be considered merely a game console. The whole point of game consoles is that they are simplified specialized computers. The OS should be simple, and reliable. To provide an unreliable OS in such a device is completely inconsistant with the target market

    OK, you say, providing an unreliable product is ALWAYS undesirable; well I maintain that it is more of a problem here because the target market is less technically inclided that that for a computer. Computer owners have the will and ability to pursue problems and correct them. Game Console customers are generally less inclined tward this way of thinking. For this reason, Microsoft will have to adopt the Apple MAC OS support strategy 'If it doesn't work, re-install it'.

    Over the past 20 years we have been conditioned to accept bugs in software. In fact the software industry in the only industry where companies are not pushed out of the marketplace for providing defective products. As the adverage level of technical expertise of computer owners declines, this becomes more prevelent, because new users again, just accept this situation as the status quo.

    On occasions too numerous to count I've had to tell new computer owners something along the lines of:
    "Occasionaly computers will crash. This mains that some unexpected condition has occurred within the system. IN the event of this happening, here are some basic steps you can take..." bla bla bla.
    I should Never EVER have to tell someone that. Game Console users should certainly not have to deal with that.
    TO be perfectly fair, Over 15 years of using Nintendo Game Consoles, I have seen them crash. Perhaps 25 times in 15 years. As compared to any (windows based) computer, that record is pretty good.

    In the spirit of complete fairness, lets close by looking t it from Microsoft's perspective:
    See, Microsoft has contributed to computer science by making otherwise deterministic systems completely non-deterministic. Wait, Isn't that a requirement for true artificial inteligence. See It's a feature. People have been trying to create non-deterministic computing systems for 30 years... And Microsoft has succeeded.
    That's all I've got folks. I can accept computers crashing occasionally, buy Game consoles? Give me break!

    --CTH

    --
  • by stud9920 (236753) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @08:23AM (#210428)
    There were also indications that the hardware is not entirely stable
    Well then by Micro Soft standards they can release it now.
  • DOA 3? That was the one they got an 'exclusivity window' for? LOL.

    As people with eyes will attest, the Gamecube stole the show. While MS showed nothing new (and certainly nothing that couldn't be had elsewhere), Nintendo had jaws hitting the floor from the press conference onward. Even the (comparatively low specced) PS2 put on a better display. Check http://e3.nintendo.com.

    The only card MS have to play is graphics (and that's going to be a non-issue by the time the machine is out). Judging by their site, that's all they care about. They sure as hell know nothing about games. They should stick to what they're good at (as soon as they work out what that is of course :)

    Xbox == next gen 3do

  • I'm sure Bill will not do public demo for XBus as he has already learn his lesson last time [cnn.com]

  • m_Dreamcast.MSWinCE(MAKEINITCRASH(this));

    It's not like the Xbox will be _less_ stable than the dreamcast.

  • " while Joe Sixpack may find his computer complex and doesn't find it odd that it crashes every once in a while, he is going to be horribly insulted when his game console crashes. ("What the..? Piece of shit..""

    I think you've hit on it. Users wont' accept the typical Doze instability in a game console. Fuck, I can't REMEMBER my Atari 2600 ever crashing! (though that may be memory distorted from the Good Old Days). I definately never recally my Sega Genesis ever crashing (that was the last game console ever owned).

    I think M$ has their work cut out for them in the game market. For one thing, this is the ULTIMATE arena that REQUIRES innovation, not the "Princess Bride" esque buzzword "Innovation" Microsoft uses every 4th word when slamming the GPL or the DOJ.

    Games require innovation. How many Richard Garriots, Sid Meiers or Ken and Roberta Williams have or could come out of Microsoft?

    The X-Box (the very name insults me, as I'm a Gen X'er, and when I think of "X" and my computer I think of X Windoes), will likely be a "Mee TOO" game console, imitating hit games from OTHER consoles after they've been released.
  • Ever play Metroid on a Playstation? Or Gran Turismo on a Dreamcast? Or Sonic on a Nintendo?
  • To provide an unreliable OS in such a device is completely inconsistant with the target market

    Ok, I'm not a Microsoft troll but I feel obligated to be fair about this. The version they were demoing was not the final architecture, it was essentially PC hardware running in emulation. So it crashed, and that's not entirely surprising. I'm sure the XBox will have its foibles, but we'll probably have to wait til the real thing arrives before we start picking it apart.

    I should Never EVER have to tell someone that. Game Console users should certainly not have to deal with that.

    I had this argument with a friend of mine. He insisted that console owners would never abide the occasional crash, and this alone would destroy the XBox. That night he was playing (insert PSII title here) and the whole thing hung up on him. He was somewhat contrite the next day. I think you're right that if the XBox crashes anywhere near as often as Windows, people will hate it. But if the number of crashes is under control, it's much more likely that your average person will judge it by its other aspects. And once they've bought one, they'll probably be inclined to gloss over the crashes to their friends.

    See It's a feature. People have been trying to create non-deterministic computing systems for 30 years... And Microsoft has succeeded

    MS has been putting out some pretty godawful software. But they weren't the first. As I remember is, MacOS 1.0 made DOS look stable as a rock. That little system bomb was the first step onto a long, dark road of quick and dirty releases of big, complicated software products.

  • Now that the Dreamcast is going, I wonder if Sega would be willing to release the developer's software for it?

    Why wait for Sega? This is all you need [gamedev.net] (an easy-to-build cable and a cross-compiling version of gcc).

    I haven't actually tried this myself (I don't own a Dreamcast), but it looks like fun.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • While it's certainly a very infrequent occurence, it happens, mostly with certain games. Off the top of my head, I remember seeing a crash or two in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for the DC and Turok 2 for the N64.
  • My digital oven crashed last week, honest. I set the temperature, it started the preheat countdown, and then locked-up at 6 minutes. I hit the Off button and went through the sequence again, and it worked fine.

    As long as tbere are human beings involved in the process, there is the potential for error.
    -----------------

  • by Patrick McRotch (314811) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @11:52AM (#210478) Homepage
    More FUD from someone who didn't read the article. The X-box in question crashed at a meeting of Microsoft's X-box development team. The meeting was NOT open to the public. I'd hardly call that showing it "to the world". You can't just make things up and magically have them become true.
  • by Patrick McRotch (314811) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @08:44AM (#210479) Homepage
    You anti-MS bigots are so pathetic.

    A more accurate story about the crash is here [xbox.com] The link is on Microsoft's front page, and the machine that crashed was the first ever working prototype. The machine was running pre-alpha code. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a few crashes during the development phase of a system, do you? I'm sure your code always compiles perfectly the first time you run it, with no bugs whatsoever. I'm sure Linus never had a kernel panic either when Linux was in the prototype phase of development.

    If you're going to bash Microsoft, at least come up with some legitimate gripes, otherwise, you come off sounding like a bunch of raving lunatics.

  • "The machine was running pre-alpha code."

    In case you haven't looked at your calendar, it's May going on June. Release is in November, at which time they have to have several million of these puppies manufactured to put on store shelves. Why are they still using "pre-alpha" code? For all the time they've had to work on this and the little time they have left, they had better be "mostly finished" by now. If not, they run the risk of having game publishers putting out games that don't run in the current software environment.

    If they have anything more than a few inconsitancies to tweak out, they're setting themselves up to get smacked around so much they'll make Virtual Boy look as popular as the NES. Us console gamers don't take kindly to software patches.

    What? Your copy of The Matrix keeps on crashing your system? That's too bad. Metroid, anyone?

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday May 20, 2001 @06:47PM (#210490)
    I was doing some thinking about Xbox today, and I realized that this is the first time that comes to memory of Microsoft trying to break into an alien and well-established industry. PC operating systems, office applications, web browsers.. these are all things Microsoft stuck their fingers in quite early into the game to do their whole "embrace and expand" (read "slash and burn") tactics with.

    However, we have Microsoft now trying to get into an industry that is extremely well-established. Of their two major competitors, one has been in the business for over a decade, and the other for about half a decade. Beyond that, this isn't just a software endeavor any more; this also involves hardware, something that Microsoft has historically left alone. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that the Xbox is just an example of Microsoft's ego and cockiness running away with them. "We're Microsoft, and we can take over any industry we want." They might as well be trying to make movies or gasoline.

    You can't really compare Microsoft to Sony when they were first starting to work on the PlayStation because Sony had two advantages that Microsoft didn't: Some previous console experience (the PSX was supposed to be a CD add-on to the SNES) and experience in the consumer electronics area (hardware). Hell, even Phillips and Panasonic were better prepared to enter this field than Microsoft.

    The Xbox so far has no killer apps (nothing worth looking at in light of Final Fantasy and Zelda), has no serious hardware advantage to distinguish itself from its competition, and generally has no direction (even compared to PS2. "I'm a game console! No, wait, I'm a cheap PC! Nope, um, maybe a DVD player with extras?"). It's this kind of wishy-washiness that has allowed Nintendo to deflate Microsoft's months of hype in a single weekend.

    There's just no way the nightmare scenarioes I'm seeing in these posts can come about. Microsoft is not going to dominate the console industry because, unlike IE, they have about 20 years of catching up to do, and they seem to be allergic to hard work.

  • ...Bill Gates will show a demo by sitting in a car that drives itself, being controlled by WITT (Windows IntelliDrive Two Thousand). When Windows crashes...

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

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