Xbox 360 first impressions

I feel the need to include a disclaimer before getting into this: I don’t own an original Xbox, I own a Playstation 2, I consider myself a casual gamer, I’m a fan of Open Source and not Microsoft.

I purchased this box on the first day because early versions of consoles are generally easier to modify. With the PSP ver. 1.0 it was easy to run homebrew code, but with each successive firmware version, Sony makes it harder. The original Xboxes that are being sold now make it almost impossible to run Xbox Linux because of a hardware change.

Before we get to my experiences, here are some links that you might find interesting.


3060000000055690This is the current hot topic (puns are always intended), so I’ll start with it. As you can see from the photo above, I have experienced problems with my 360. You can see more photos on the Flickr Hack-A-Day photo pool. While observing a race that
Joystiq was in, I brought up the sidebar to play music from my iPod. This resulted in severe graphic glitches (the music wasn’t playing right either) and I had to reboot. Another time while playing PGR3 I brought up the sidebar and the system froze; I could still chat, but the system would not respond to any button presses, so I rebooted. I feel that both of these issues are Dashboard problems and not heat related. I’m guessing these problems will probably be cured in a future Dashboard upgrade. When you access Live for the first time the dashboard upgrades from ver. 2.0.1888.0 to 2.0.2241.0.

I haven’t experienced any problems that I would consider heat related. That being said: This console is extremely hot. Heat pours out of the back out the machine even when doing menial tasks like playing MP3s. If you place a hand across the right side of the box you can feel the suction from fans. This is the largest intake and because of that I think standing the box up on carpet would be a really bad idea. The feet are short enough that I wouldn’t feel good about standing it up on a hard surface either. The power supply has been blamed for most overheating problems. It has intake and exhaust ports that consist of two rows of holes in a 2×1/4 inch space. The power supply doesn’t get too hot; I’m sitting with my feet on top of it right now using it a foot warmer.


From the top photo you can see I’ve got the 360 plugged into my
Dell 2405FP
using the included component cable. The component cable also has a composite video connection so you don’t need a different cable when connecting to an SDTV. Yes, 720p looks amazing and I’m glad that Microsoft has required support for it in all games. It looks a lot better than the jaggie 480p from my Playstation 2. The clarity of the HD is a little lost on me since I use this as my regular computer monitor which can support resolutions up to 1920×1200. I did buy this monitor specifically for the HD support and it should be able to handle 1080p, if the Playstation 3 manages to support it. It’s also nice being able to work while monitoring Live using the picture in picture.


Following the trend set by Nintendo, the Xbox’s OEM wireless controller is great.  They added two shoulder buttons, but unlike the Playstation, placing four fingers on the shoulder buttons doesn’t feel natural. This is fine because the upper buttons are used for occasional tasks like switching view points; you spend most of your time with index fingers on the triggers. The light on top of the controller indicates which number 1-4 the controller is assigned to, a nice touch. It would be nice to see the possibility of more players supported on a single console though. The wired USB controllers can be used with Windows, but not the wireless controllers when connected with the “play &charge”. The obvious conclusion is that: the play & charge is just a power cable and doesn’t add any sort of USB functionality. I think the headset connector is identical to the original Xbox: 2.5mm jack like cellphone headsets, I also have a 2.5mm RCA cable from my digicam that would work. There are two slots next to the headphone jack that have two metal contacts each which aren’t used by the headset.


One of the first things I did was plug every USB device I had into the Xbox to see how it behaved. My keyboard worked fine whenever there was an on-screen keyboard (It’s the keyboard from the Playstation 2 Linux kit). The system really hated the mouse; none of the other peripherals would work when it was plugged in. My video iPod came up almost immediately and was identified by its name “pwn3d by hackaday”. Plugging in the camera, card reader and flash drive all worked, but not at the same time. It also doesn’t like the card reader built into the monitor, but the flash drive and keyboard both work when connected through the monitor’s hub. My Prism2 based WiFi adapters were not recognized by the box.


One of the main reasons I purchased the Xbox was its media streaming ability. Using the Windows Media Connect you can access music and photos stored on your Windows XP machine. The software will also stream video, but not to the Xbox 360 because Microsoft has decided to cripple it. This is an attempt to sell more Windows Media Center PCs since you can stream video using them. Media Connect uses the UPnP AV protocol to stream media, but the Xbox won’t recognize other UPnP servers like uShare. If it did, it would be easy to stream from a Mac or a Linux machine. The Xbox also doesn’t appear as a media renderer when using Cidero UPnP control Point software. Here is a good overview of the media center features. [via Xbox360Fanboy]

Playing music is easy enough. It was a lot more enjoyable navigating music stored on the iPod than on my roommate’s XP machine. The iPod is neatly organized while Media Connect scrapes every directory you give it, listing every random music file and playlist it comes across. The interface is pretty easy to use, but I have a couple complaints. Adding a song to a playlist takes at least three button pushes. When you click “add to playlist” it takes you to the playlist and then you have back up to get back to where you were before. They should dedicate one button on the controller for adding the song and not make you jump back and forth. Also, you can’t save playlists that include music not stored on the hard drive. The easiest way to manage playlists is building them on your PC or in iTunes for your iPod instead of using the Xbox interface. The Xbox does work really well if you want to play by album, artist, or genre though.


I’ve enjoyed playing on Xbox live. Being able to jump easily into a game with friends is great. Delivering free demos to consoles is a wonderful idea: I’m much more likely to buy games I’ve already played just like buying DVDs of movies I’ve already seen. It would be nice to receive videos from videogame review sites too. The downloads from Live are extremely slow, they should really use a distributed system since they have a huge network of identical consoles. I wish Live had a way to organize friends into groups like I can on IM: coworkers, readers, random.

Money, money, money

This is what I hate the most about the new Xbox 360.

  • Sure, you can buy a Core bundle for $299, which isn’t anymore than the last version, but it doesn’t come with a hard drive. The hard drive is a $30 SATA drive, but since it is for the Xbox it costs $99.
  • The free Media Connect software is fully capable of streaming video, but you have to buy a Media Center PC to do it.
  • Media Connect is using the open UPnP AV protocol, but you can’t use other UPnP software to stream to the Xbox
  • Xbox Live costs extra – Didn’t I pay a huge entry fee by buying the console? Why do I have to pay a monthly fee just to use it?
  • Micropayments – Sure, these little bits of content aren’t worth much, but we are still going to make you pay for it.

The bottom line

Is the Xbox 360 worth buying? If you have prerequisites like an HDTV and a Media Center PC the Xbox 360’s support for these items will make it well worth your time.  If you want to just use it as gaming system, it’s hard to justify the expense right now. Like most console launches, the titles aren’t that revolutionary. I think the best plan would be to wait till next year to make the purchase: the console will be cheaper, the selection of games will be broader, used games will be available, you’ll know the Playstation 3’s features, the Xbox 360 games will be making better use of the console’s power, Microsoft will have most of the bugs ironed out and you might be able to run Linux.

110 thoughts on “Xbox 360 first impressions

  1. Jeez a bunch of fucking haters! Come on now, what the hell? I mean seriously pull Sony and Nintendo out of your asses! And #23, I aggree! Very true and good point! Look at that piece of crap Revolution controller XD XD !!! And PS3 looks like youll have to have some wierd ass hands to be comfortable holding THAT :D :D !!! Everyone love PSP and that stupid ass waste of time DS for some reason and they say “Microsoft would suck at makind portable devices!” (seriously some dumbass I was talking to said that and people aggreed with him (WTF!?!?!) until I told them “Microsoft invented the fucking PDA, handheld computers and shit!!” they were pretty silent after that. But on that subject of the two PSP and DS, PSP kills DS for sure! Nintedos biggest fuck up was the Game Cube from there it was all down hill.. I used to be a HUGE Nintendo fan then the Game Cube came what a fucking shameful day that was!

  2. typical MS. we had the same problem with windows. Give the hackers time to mod the xbox360 complete with a 200gb hard drive, full usb controller connection without having to waste money on batteries and all our favourite emulators, including a ps2 emulator :-D

    As was proved, the hackers have already turned the old xbox into a multimedia centre with great success. Roll on the xbox360 modchip!

  3. #37 think you should have thought about that comment before you started calling people tards, or do you really mean to say that because some audio file is stored on a certain os/platform you shouldnt be able to access it from any other os/platform?
    lucky the web doesnt work that way isnt it? tard.

  4. So you can’t buy Dr Pepper from the coca cola company? *cough cough tard*

    actually. you can buy DR Pepper from the coca cola company… its the only drink that can be served out of both Coke and Pepsi fountains.

  5. To #52. You are an idiot. The DS is way better than the PSP. WHat hack can you do the the PSP? 1, every other one you can think of is a variation of another. DS has more hacks, that abilty to do way more and, oh wait, can you run a ZSNES emulator on your PSP? I didnt think so. Gamecube’s biggest problem that hurt them, were poor launch titles and lack of DVD option. Later not pursuing the online community was a poor choice, but the DS surely makes up for that with its great WiFi abilites. Animal Crossing and Mario Cart WiFI are great. Nintendo doesnt always make lame popular games that fade out after 2 months for the next lame dud. Nintendos focus has always been on making a game with a great fun factor and good replay value. Nintendo has made some poopr choices, but by far is a true gaming company unlike MS. Sorry, XBOX is not a gaming system, just a computer. You may think there is no difference but there is. Sorry, i am just not a big MS fan. (funny i do own a 360 and i agree PDZero is terrible. Total let down)

  6. what about using your computers HD instead of buying a cheap knock off for top dollar. i think i would wait to buy a 360 if that were possible in the future. granted, things take time, i was just throwing out a “what if”. do you think its possible? (through wifi i mean)

  7. the only thing that botherd me with the 360 is that you cant rip copy’d cd to the 360 hd but you could play them witch seprised me

    do you think that it is the way i burnt the cd? couse i burnt it as a data cd instead of a music cd

    i am quite intrested in the capabilitie to conect it to a linux running machine my music server runs on linux and it would be quite nice to be able to run it as a media center

    #30 i am one of those sad poeple who indeed pay 120$ for wow and i do use mods but not to gain a step ahead of poeple but to make my life a lot easyer like shard tracker(im a warock:P)

    and yes what #55 say’s is true!
    even in europe he is true!

  8. i forget who said the dr. pepper comment, but it actually is marketed by coke as well, the actual producer of dr. pepper is cadbury-schweppes the same people that make the little eggs around easter time

  9. The awesome thing about the 360, I find, is that you *might* not even have to do any modding at all. Right now, MS has to create “backwards compatability emulator applications” in order to play XB games. You then take these “updates”, burn them to CD and update your 360 with them. If people with the know-how and determination take the time to study these “applications” (readily available for download at, I imagine that they could eventually create the same type of file, which the 360 would recognise, to play other games, be it gamecube, psx, ps2, dreamcast, whatever. That’s being extremely optimistic, but even the possibility makes me happy. I’ve never been much for dissasembling my console and inserting foreign pieces in the hope that it won’t explode, and that I’ll be able to play pirated/otherwise normally unplayable games, so that would be a godsend.

  10. Does anyone no if it is possible to play 360 NFS mostwanted on Xbox Live with freinds who have the old xboxes on live?
    I mean the levels are the same just with updated textures..

  11. I bought the 360 on release. I went with the pro system for a variety of reasons. One is the backwards compatability with original XBox games, because as of now I pretty sure the core system will not play any XBox games (from what I’ve read the reason the 360 pros 20 gb HDD only shows up as 13 is the XBox emulator, but you know how unreliable news groups are :P) It does run hot, but as of yet I have had no issues with glitches, lockups, crashes, or errors. Am I lucky? I don’t realy think so. Don’t lay the 360 horizontally, give it some space, download patches (don’t buy it if you don’t have broadband!), and if you have the option buy some kind of warranty. I love it, and I don’t have media center, or an HDTV. Yes I do think it is a hinderance to have no video stream, but The music and picture feature is fine for me right now.
    The only things I could hope for are a black faceplate, and for Perfect Dark Zero not to suck, But I’m sure sure they’ll come out with better faceplates, and Rare’s time was up after Conker’s bad fur day.

    Is the system perfect? No, does it have potential? yes, is PS3 going to be better? I don’t care I’ll buy one of them 2 for MGS4 anyway. The point is, it’s a good system with a few release issues. To this day I still have issues with my PS2 needing cleaning or needing to re-adjust the lens assembly (As is the case with every sony optical product I own).

    I game, therefore I am…

    But I do hate paying for XBox Live, but I hate paying for anything.

  12. I all ways get surprised when people who never own and xbox360 have comments on what it is like to have one.. I own on .. a proud launch day owner. And i do owna a home theater and 51 inch HDTV and 5.1 home theater. and loving every momment. Please if you have never touched or owned one how could you speak of glitches. 360 has no more glitches than any other console and the fact it is WAY more powerful than any thing on the market will also make it that more preone to heat. And don’t compare a 360 in heat to a PC.. It will always be more. It’s got more CPU and more GPU than any pc available and is squeezed into such a small form factor. di you think next gen systems would use as much power as a watch and fit on the head of a pin yet deliver true to life graphics.The truth is the 360 is next gen in every way. And the best has yet to come (imagine that).We’re just getting started. If the PS3 is good in a year or so i would get one to add to my collection, but the 360 at this point owns interms of features and power. Not the best games i agree but damn COD2 in 1080i HD on 51 inch is “wtf” .. oh my god did you see that.. good. So enjoy I am.

  13. To #59. You are an idiot. PSP 0wnz DS hands down Nintendo sucks balls now! Oh yeah I was #54 stupid ass not #52!!! hahahaha!! Yes fucking idiot you can have ANY emulator PSP STUPID! Its called “Home Brew” What the fuck are you doing here if you don’t know what THAT is? Haha! What the fuck kinda hack can you do on the piece of shit DS? Those faggot cartridges SUCK!!! I mean, PSP can at least have a hard drive Instead of having almost NO space in the cartridge :D! You nintendo (doesnt deserve capital letter) nerds are fucking stupid open your eyes nobody wants the DS the Gameboy the Game Cube or that piece of shit “Revolution” Ill bet they WON’T be sold out launch day!! :D :D :D!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Anyone else get a weird glitch on Halo 2 on the 360 playing online. About halfway through the game I get a transparent plane that says “Sign in to Xbox Live”. Its a plane and not an overlay because as I approach objects in game is goes inside them.

  15. your all just xbox haters…if you hated the first xbox i bet ur just gonna hate 360 just because ur stubborn…get over it, obviously 360 is a good system. Oh yea and all you people on ps3 cock need to stop

  16. the 360 i agree is flipping awesome its good even from an 480i point of view but i just wanted to know if the high defintion is really necessary.also i would like 2 comment about problems on the 360. turning the system while in game toataly fuks up ure game and good luck trying 2 get gamestop 2 replace it for you butbut a simple call to micrisoft will eventually solve that and theyll give u a new system (if defected in which mine turned out 2 be)they will either update ure system from a core to a premium or just i dont know just leave it at that.. they will also make a pitiful attempt 2 replace ure games in which dey wont send me the exact games the system destroyed but games can alwasy be reddemed for money… neways pdz suks nippless(hopefully online play will make up for single player in which suks)
    and codemmed rocks( probaly best game on system) …and cod2 is awesome defintly a must buy.. so to all hackers modders and 360 fans u guys rock have fun with it and dont let a stupid little glitch crawl up ure ass….xbox 360 sweeping the nation signing out peac e……

  17. There seems to be a few microsoft employees here by the sound of it, passing there view.Dont forget when microsoft launch anything ,we are guinnea pigs.They obviously go to forums and read the feedback. Some of there ideas with the xbox360 comes from what hackers has done with the xbox.Im not putting microsoft down and i do believe with the xbox 360 is amazing BUT everything is always expensive.We want the xbox 360 to play games at home not online that cost yet more money.I have a pc for online gaming.The HD on the xbox im looking forward to after splashhing out on a plasma.i DONT GIVE A TOOT ABOUT PS3 OR NINTENDO because theres nothing here to buy that has the specs of the xbox 360 yet.I do hope the thay find a mod for the xbox360 so i can backup the games ,that i will purchase for near on

  18. I’ve found a way to transfer saves from your old xbox to the xbox 360 (you need a lot of patience though). 1. Buy a 64MB memory card for the original xbox. 2. Get action replay (Only use the cable that comes in the pack.) 3. transfer as many game saves to the memory card on your xbox as you can. 4.take the action replay cable (with the original xbox memory with your saves) and plug it into the usb port on the back of the xbox 360. 5. wait for it………wait for it ……..bam! its recognized! then transfer the data to the xbox 360 hard drive.

  19. I’ve found a way to transfer saves from your old xbox to the xbox 360 (you need a lot of patience though). 1. Buy a 64MB memory card for the original xbox. 2. Get action replay (Only use the cable that comes in the pack.) 3. transfer as many game saves to the memory card on your xbox as you can. 4.take the action replay cable (with the original xbox memory with your saves) and plug it into the usb port on the back of the xbox 360. 5. wait for it………wait for it ……..bam! its recognized! then transfer the data to the xbox 360 hard drive.

  20. My 360 is dead after only 1 hour of play out of the box! I Played Gun for a little bit and was working great, really nice graphics. Then tried NFS Most wanted, started getting buggy, little green dots that got worse as the game progressed so I restarted the console, Only to get a multingual message on the screen that said contact customer support with an error code 74 (E 74) and a blinking red light on the console. This error has not gone away after rebooting and unplugging, and whatever else I could think to do. So I contacted customer support, rather quickly at that. And after describing the problem to them they said they will fix or send me a new one, however it’s gonna take a few weeks to get it. And that’s ashame because it was really looking good. Has anyone had the same kind of problems or can anyone offer any suggestions?

  21. I just bought the 360 hoping it was going to be all that the commercial makes it look like, but sadly i must say i got realy disapointed. I first tried it with the “Perfect Dark Zero” game only to find out that the game intro is choppy and the game is too short (13 Missions).
    It looks as if MS wanted it out before the PS3 to hopefully get more of the market or something. And this realy sucks because it shows you that MS think more of money than the consumers buying the half baked bread of an xbox they’ve made. Personaly i don’t eat half baked bread because it gives me gas, and gas makes me smell bad. And it makes everyone around me laugh like i was the dumb shit.

    Ps. Please excuse my bad english, i’m a Viking from Norway that is a bit retarded.

  22. I got an XBOX 360 for christmas and played it for 3 hours straight on Need for Speed most wanted and didn’t experience a single problem. I ran it in High Def 1080i also. Awesome console! My only gripe is when playing the old XBOX games it seems to run them slower then the original XBOX which kind of sucks.

  23. PSP is better than DS wow, thats why the DS is outselling the PSP by miles. DS became the fastest console or portable to hit the 5 million sold mark. That’s why the DS is outselling the PSP while Sony buys up all the front store space for it’s PSP and the DS sits back in the corner of the store out of sight and everyone passes by the PSP and asks for the DS. Yep, DS sucks. Gotta love it when the Revolution sucks and it isn’t even out yet. It sucks so much every game developer was in aww when it was revealed. It sucks so much having full motion sensing in a controller the size of a remote. It sucks being able to play a First Person Shooter without retarded analog sticks. It sucks having precision aim via Motion Tracking. I love morons. Have a nice day :)

  24. yeah, my xbox 360 runs the old games way slower. It also seems glitchier when running the old ones.
    It hardly produces any heat. The power source is warmer than the console itself.

  25. [quote]I’ve found a way to transfer saves from your old xbox to the xbox 360 (you need a lot of patience though). 1. Buy a 64MB memory card for the original xbox. 2. Get action replay (Only use the cable that comes in the pack.) 3. transfer as many game saves to the memory card on your xbox as you can. 4.take the action replay cable (with the original xbox memory with your saves) and plug it into the usb port on the back of the xbox 360. 5. wait for it………wait for it ……..bam! its recognized! then transfer the data to the xbox 360 hard drive.[/quote]

    Didn’t work for me. Tried the USB ports on the back and front….nada.

  26. ok i don’t know much but i hope you read this i need you to find some one that can copy the xbox 360 hard drive for the first part. then hack the demo games on it forn the encrytion key to them. have someone make a false xbox 360 server on your pc. then have a program that takes copied games and puts the encryption key on them. then download them on to the hard drive and i think you get the rest

  27. lol if you want a media center mod an old xbox you don’t need windows media center to use it. XBMC plays every file type you throw at it and streams it easily from and pc with any os. noobs!

  28. Wow… Im just sick of all the haters in general… and people who suck at the internet… anyway… I have a 360… its cool, its only crashed once for me… I dont think PS3 will suck, but I know it will be buggy, just like anything related to computers (If you have ever programmed you will know what I mean)… I think the Revolution will own all, mainly because of its super-backwards compatibility… I just dont like it when people dis the controller… Its kinda like dissing a mouse… anyway… the 360 is enjoyable… I do like the dashboard alot, and especially the ability to replace my music with the ingame music… it works really well…

    Hating Nintendo? why? If you play on consoles ever… its not allowed… its like hating modding and being an avid reader of this site… I dont know if anyone else feels the same as me, but I have a Gamecube, and I enjoy every minute of it. I used to have a Playstation, and even a 3DO :D… they were both fun… especially when I was little… I have found that people who hate on specific videogames have never tried to make one themselves.

    Anyway… it might seem a little hypocritical that I hate haters, but I think it is just that I hate trolls… IM TELLING YOU NOW: ALL THE GAME SYSTEMS WILL HAVE THEIR GOOD POINTS, AND ALL OF THEM WILL HAVE THEIR BAD POINTS. ACCEPT THIS AND ENJOY THEM. STOP BEING FANBOYS.

  29. lol if you want a media center mod an old xbox you don’t need windows media center to use it. XBMC plays every file type you throw at it and streams it easily from and pc with any os. noobs!

  30. [quote]I’ve found a way to transfer saves from your old xbox to the xbox 360 (you need a lot of patience though). 1. Buy a 64MB memory card for the original xbox. 2. Get action replay (Only use the cable that comes in the pack.) 3. transfer as many game saves to the memory card on your xbox as you can. 4.take the action replay cable (with the original xbox memory with your saves) and plug it into the usb port on the back of the xbox 360. 5. wait for it………wait for it ……..bam! its recognized! then transfer the data to the xbox 360 hard drive.[quote]
    Has anyone successfully done this, or transferred game saves from Xbox to 360 using any other method?

  31. i have a xbox premium and it has crashed on me 3 times in loading nfs most wanted only. also when playing halo2 the new maps on the hardrive get lag. EVEN IN A SYSTEM LINK OR JUST MULTIPLAYER when theirs to much action on screen. usually it takes about 5 people on screen. overall great system and i recomend it and for all u ps3 junkies out their. no console launch has ever been perfect. the ps3 will have issues in the begining just as the 360.

  32. to #92 chances are your 360 crashing was probably due to the game NFS:most wanted , i used to work at EA and trust me they put as much effort into their games as mcdonalds does in making a low fat salad . Second of all, all you ps3 freaks i have a news flash IT’S NOT RELEASED YET!!!! so open that closed mind and see what else is on offer . My third point is the people saying the 360 is poorly built and overheats and what not , i noticed no-one mentioned the ps2 doing this i mean jesus christ the console stopped working after a few months . and a final point in my rant is that the revolution will kick ass but it won’t take off because of the technology used for playing games (i.e the new controller and new way of playing games)this is way to advanced for the majority of the worlds population due to being brainwashed by sony but i guarantee you the new gameplay technology will take off in ten years when sony use it and what’ll be the difference, a sony sticker!

  33. The only issues I’ve had with my 360 so far (aside from that damnable lack of media center) is on COD:1. My multiplayer games continually crash due to some mapping error. Other than that, I love this machine. Faceplats…plug my iPod in while I play Live Arcade. Toss in an HDtv and a few beers and this is a great step up from previous generations of gaming. I’d like to see a bit more expandability with it, Microsoft loves to keep you within their products but who doesn’t? Apple and Linux try the same scheme, they just aren’t as good at it.

  34. hi, do you have to use the 360’s hard drive, or can you get an external drive to work? 250gb would be good.
    i run mine on a 42″ plasma through the vga socket. and what i see is amazing, i can’t see any other console producing anything better, the only thing that gets me is that microsoft should of put a better dvd player in there, it only plays in 480p.

  35. We don’t need to stream stuff from windooooooze, we need to stream stuff from Linux and OSx. Windows is just rubbish.

    Oh yeah and if you take apart the 20gb hdd you will find one Serial ata cable and a normal power connector. Has anyone tried to connect a normal hardrive?

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