New Xbox 360 firmware brings headaches, as expected

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Several Xbox 360 users are finding themselves unable to play games after downloading a mandatory software update.

Microsoft had warned this exact problem would happen. The new update, which changes the way the system reads Xbox 360 game discs, is completely incompatible with units sold on or around the 2005 launch date.

The company also said anyone affected would be eligible to send in their console for a new model that is compatible with the upgraded firmware.

But that warning only matters for those who keep up-to-date with Xbox 360 news. To many, they just updated the system as prompted only to find they could no longer play their games.

Since the update came out late last week, the complaints have been pouring in.

"After I downloaded the new update today, a few of my games pop up with a disc error when it [tried] to load up. It Worked fine the day before," wrote one user on the Xbox.com forums.

"Trying to play Mass Effect which has been working fine for the past week, now getting a disc read error," wrote another.

The issue highlights how fragmented the Xbox 360 market has become. When the console first came out, it had no integrated hard drive, there was no HDMI connection, wireless connectivity required an external attachment, and overheating issues were rampant.

Since then, no fewer than half a dozen new Xbox 360 SKUs have been added to the mix. Before now, Microsoft had worked to ensure even the early adopters could continue to use their console as new features were rolled out. That commitment was put to an end with this latest update, since it requires a specific hardware component rather than just a new software file.

Affected users are encouraged to call 1-800-4MY-XBOX.