Glitches mar Xbox 360 launch

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Some gamers stood in lines overnight last Tuesday to get their hands on Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 console, but now some are reporting problems. Microsoft Corp., for its part, says the problems are only affecting a very small proportion of its machines.

The Xbox 360 is the first of a new generation of video game consoles to be released by the major three manufacturers of such — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. It’s the only new console that will hit stores this holiday season — Sony and Nintendo don’t plan to release their new consoles until some time in 2006.

The Xbox 360 has only been released in extremely limited quantities. Most retail stores received a scant 50 units or less, barely enough to cover pre-orders, in most cases. Gamers covet the new boxes enough to pay twice as much as the US$399.99 retail price for the top-end Xbox Premium edition on auction site eBay.

Some users report the Xbox 360 will shut down unexpectedly during play. Screen shots have also been published that show the Xbox 360 reporting a system error. Others thought their systems might be overheating, based on the behavior of indicator lights on the unit.

Many others, however, are having no problems whatsoever, reporting hours of flawless gameplay.

Microsoft characterized the problems as minor and said there are “no systemic issues” with the Xbox 360. A public relations representative for Microsoft in the U.K. confirmed “a few isolated reports,” and said that in a launch of this size, there’s always “going to be some percentage that’s not going to work perfectly.”

“But it’s an incredibly small fraction and below what you would expect for a launch of this size,” said Microsoft spokesperson Claire Dabreo.

Dan Nystedt and James Niccolai provided information used in this report.

This story, "Glitches mar Xbox 360 launch" was originally published by PCWorld.

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