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xbox 360 postmortem

xbox 360 postmortem - Kelsey Schur The Video Game Industry...

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Kelsey Schur The Video Game Industry Paper 2 October 25, 2007 Xbox 360: Post - Mortem Bringing the Xbox 360 console to market in 2005, a year before its two competitors, was a massive task, even for a company as large as Microsoft. It took thousands of workers and executives to make the hardware deals, negotiate projects with game developers and publishers, put together an attractive and usable design, and complete all of the other objectives in time to be first to market. This time around, the team had the benefit of the lessons it learned releasing the first Xbox console, and though it cannot be said that none of the same mistakes were made again, overall the console's development and release was a success. Here are the major blunders and successes associated with Microsoft's newest gaming machine. Errors, Setbacks, and Accidents Smoky Says: “Only you can prevent console fires!” The problem that continues to get the most attention from gamers and the media is the disturbing number of consoles which end up displaying the “red ring of death.” While no console is actually going to burst into flames, a disturbing number have experienced hardware failures due to inadequate cooling. This problem is embarrassing in itself, but there was yet another common hardware failure. Microsoft apparently failed to learn from the “Scratch-Gate” fiasco with the first Xbox console, and once again consoles were eating discs after launch. This only happened if the user turned the Xbox from its vertical to horizontal configuration while a DVD was in the drive, but it still should have been caught and fixed before it effected consumers. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to prevent these types of hardware errors, which may not show up in testing, other than by testing more. If there had not been as much pressure to be first to the market, perhaps a longer testing period would have caught
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these problems, maybe not. Where are the chips? Ultimately, this problem manifested in the supply shortage that nearly ruined any advantage Microsoft gained by being first to market, but it is more useful to discuss the root of the problem than the symptom. The shortage of consoles could not simply have been avoided if Microsoft had decided to add a third factory to the assembly system because it was caused by a delay in the manufacturing of DRAM chips. The delay resulted from a problem discovered in the chips by the Project Gotham Racing team only two months before launch; it had to be fixed before consoles that would be sold to consumers could be made. Possibly contributing to existence of this glitch was the late hour at which the team decided to double the DRAM memory from 256 mb to 512 mb. Once again, if there wasn't as much pressure to release the console in the 2005 holiday season, it may have been possible to recover from this setback in time to launch without a shortage of machines.
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