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Top 5 Epic Fails This Gen

Here’s a list compiled of the Top 5 Epic Fails This Gen. Have a look and what was the top 5 biggest disappointments we encountered this Gen. Embrace yourselves gamers, fanboys and fangirls, this list is going for the jugular.

Xbox 360’s RROD

Seven years, that’s how long it has been since Microsoft launched the successor to the original Xbox, the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 was met with much praise from both critics and consumers alike. It featured a robust online system the likes of which had not been seen on any other home console, amongst other features that would make even the manliest of men salivate. Although the console’s launch was successful, it wouldn’t be long until the fabric that Microsoft had taken care to knit would start to unravel.

Fast forward a few months and you have a problem that spread like wild fire. Left and right, Xbox 360’s were suffering a “general hardware” failure commonly referred to the Red Ring of Dead or RROD for short. The RROD was signified by three flashing lights around the Xbox 360’s power button. This problem rendered your shiny new console useless. It wasn’t long before temporary fixes started springing up on the internet, while some of these fixes guaranteed a working, stable console, others only sprung a temporary spark of life into what was a doomed system.

In a statement to Microsoft back in 2006, EA games reported that between 30-50% of their consoles were failing. Naturally, Microsoft denied these claims. It wasn’t until the problem escalted that Microsoft finally acknowledged the fault.

On July 5, 2007 Microsoft finally acknowledged the RROD and infamous 50% failure rate through an open letter. In this letter, Microsoft announced that they would be extending Xbox 360 warranties worldwide to three years. Since then, the standard warranty for the Xbox 360 has remained at three years just in case something were to happen again.

Microsoft’s initial handling of the overall situation was admitedly poor. They shouldn’t have rushed the console just to be the first on the market. While many consumer have remained loyal to the Xbox 360, and rightfully so, it does have an excellent list of exclusives as well as probably the best online infrastructure to date. However others have jumped ship. Microsoft’s attempt to entice some users to stay with their device was, for the most part, succesful. Sales for the console are still climbing, at CES 2012 they reported that 66 million units have been sold worldwide. Now while this is good and I’m happy that Microsoft has found solid ground within the gaming industry, you have to wonder something. How many of those 66 million units are unique? I’ll leave that for you to ponder as we look at a more recent failure by Microsoft.

Microsoft’s E3 2011 Press Conference

Ah the E3, a precursor to Christmas for gamers around the world. The time when the big three, along with many developers, show the world what they have in store for the gaming world for the coming months, or even years. E3 2011 is surely an E3 that will go down in history: Nintendo debuted the Wii U, Sony formally announce the name of their next generation portable device (the Vita) and Microsoft had Halo 4 and Kinect. Yay?

Depending on whom you ask, Microsoft’s E3 was either a hit, or a miss. For me, it was a miss for the most part. The Press Conference hardly addressed the core gamer. The main focus of the conference was upon Microsoft’s new motion sensing peripheral, Kinect. Microsoft effectively alienated their core fans while also introducing soccer moms, children, and eveyone inbetween to this new device. Some of the highlights of the Kinect Conference were:

  • Skittles
  • Sesame Street Kinect
  • Kinect Disneyland Adventures
  • Fable
  • Microsoft’s Partnership with TV networks to bring Live TV to the Xbox 360.
  • HALO 4, 5 and 6
The only good thing that I believe came out of E3 2011 for Microsoft would be the announcements of Halo 4, 5, and 6.
Nintendo’s Wii U Unveiling
Like I already said, E3’s a magical place of merriment and joy, and in Nintendo’s case, a brand spanking new peripheral–I mean console! The days that led up to E3 2011 were filled with numerous rumors surrounding Nintendo’s mysterious new console, and whether or not it was going to make its shining debut at E3 2011. Well, most of the rumors were true, the Wii U did make it to E3 2011, but not without a major hiccup along the way. Nintendo forgot to debut the actual console during their conference.
To the surprise of many, Nintendo’s new console, dubbed the Wii U, would feature a controller that aimed to be as revolutionary as the Wii Remote before it. The Wii U’s controller sported a touchscreen in the center, triggers, face buttons, dual-analog nubs (similar to those present on the 3DS), and a front-facing camera. The Wii U “Pad” largely resembled what can only be described as a marriage of a tablet and a traditional controller.
While it was interesting, it left me slightly confused. You see, the video used to debut this new device showed people playing on the Wii U pad as well as using it in conjuntion with the Wii’s existing controller. This led me, and many others, into a state of confusion. Where was the console? Was this even really a new console, or was it just Nintendo’s latest peripheral among many for the Wii? Well it turns out the Wii U itself was shown during demos on the showroom floor. The console itself is nice, but it’s debut left a bad taste in my mouth. How do you screw up so badly that you forget to show the console to the public? And for those of you that are saying “Well it wasn’t needed, it was obvious that this was a new console.” tell that to Satoru Iwata who also said that they should’ve shown the console itself. Come on Nintendo, you really could have done better.
Removal of OtherOS

The year 2010, when Geohot managed to do what many had failed, hacking the PS3. The PS3 had managed to build up a reputation of being unhackable, many “claimed” they had hacked it, but never could anybody produce solid evidence. It wasn’t until January of 2010 when Geohot found a hole in the PS3 that allowed him access to the PS3’s “hypervisor”, a thing that acts as the PS3’s protection from overheating. As the weeks progressed, Geohot delved further and further into the PS3, until he had access to a good portion of the system. So what motivated Geohot and his legion of followers to hack into Sony’s home console? Why none other than the removal of OtherOS.Sony debuted the PS3 Slim at E3 2009, this new slim console boasted a smaller, sleeker design than its fat bretherine, but it came at a cost. OtherOS was now gone, and it wasn’t before long that the feature was removed from the fat PS3’s through a firmware update. This enraged many, especially those that used OtherOS for various reasons. Sony really dropped the ball on this one. The removal in this feature would prove to be a huge mistake that would set into motion an event that won’t be forgotten in a long time, but that’s for another article.

Ah, yes, the HD-DVD. I’m sure we all remember the “format war” between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Shortly following the launch of the 360, HDTV’s started taking off, and with that, a new medium had to be introduced so consumer would be able to take advantage of their new 1080p television. Microsoft saw this, but more importantly, they saw that Sony’s PlayStation 3 would ship with an internal Blu-Ray drive which aimed to catapult Blu-Rays to the top of the format war. In early 2006, Microsoft announced that their new console, the Xbox 360, would be receiving an “optional” external HD-DVD drive that would allow consumers to play HD-DVD’s on through their Xbox 360s.For months, Sony and Microsoft went head-to-head, each company trying to knock the other out of the format war. Knocking Blu-Ray out of the picture would effectively cripple the PlayStation 3 since it’s main medium was Blu-Ray itself. In the end, the HD-DVD proved to be a failure; it fell, and with it, so did the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360.Microsoft should’ve included HD-DVDin their XBox 360 from the get-go. Doing that would’ve ensured the HD-DVD a victory given that the Xbox 360 had a head start on it’s competitor, the PS3. With it’s steep retail price, the PS3 would have been playing catch up before it left the assembly lines.
So what do you think about this list? Is there something that we missed? Anything we could’ve expanded upon? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and join us next time as we go through Sony’s more recent epic fails.

1 February 2012 Editorials Features Gaming , , , , , , , ,

  • kmn

    Great list, but you know I have to call you out on some things lol. Sony and their flip-flops this gen: Anonymous debacle, PSN and Home.