Archive for the ‘XBOX 360’ Category

Xbox 360 Support – e-mail us, so we can tell you to phone us

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter I have an Xbox 360. I bought one shortly after making my post about Microsoft’s XNA, and largely I haven’t regretted it. Sure I don’t have an HD TV to try it out on yet, but the games I’ve tried on it so far are all good fun, and Microsoft’s done a great job of creating an intuitive UI experience throughout, right down to syncing it with my Vista installed laptop for a bit of Media Center extending.

Great. But, lately I’ve had some problems connecting to the internet. I bought a wireless adapter for the Xbox 360 when I bought it, and it’s worked rather well for using the Xbox Live service and the aforementioned hooking up to Vista. Then came the ‘Fall’ update for the Xbox that upgraded the console’s software. It might be purely coincidental, but since then everytime I turn on the Xbox 360, it fails to recognise the adapter is plugged in at all. I have to reach behind the console, unplug the USB connector and plug it back in before it springs into life. If I turn off the console, next time I turn it back on we’re back to square one and I have to unplug and replug once again.

Maybe the adapter’s dying, or maybe the update did it – I don’t know, but surely the Xbox 360 Support team can tell me, I thought. Off I head to the Xbox.com Contact Support page, where the two options are to e-mail or phone Support. I opt for the e-mail approach, and fire off an e-mail describing the problem. Just over two hours later, this is the response I get:

Thank you for your email.
For all Xbox Live connectivity issues please visit http://www.xbox.com/sv-se/support/xbox360/connecttolive/webconnectivitywizard.htm. If you are still unable to connect or have issues in connecting to Xbox after following the Connectivity Wizard, please contact our customer care team on http://www.xbox.com/support/contact/
Thank You
From Xbox 360 Support Team

So okay, firstly I’m told to go the Web Connectivity Wizard, except they’ve linked me to the Swedish version of that page. Once I change the link to go to the British version of the page, I discover that the suggestions there are more about setting up your internet connection. I don’t really have a problem with that, my problem is with the adapter itself being identified at all by the Xbox 360. No good then, so what should I do instead? Well, next up I’ve to contact customer care at, oh wait – the very same page I just contacted them at.

The e-mails you get back from the support team have no notice to tell you if you can reply to the e-mail you’re sent, in fact there’s very little official confirmation that there’s any real followup at all to persue. So off I trundle, and put in a new support call via their e-mail form, telling them that their suggestion didn’t apply to my case, and copied and pasted the rest from my previous call.

This time the response comes back within minutes, or so Gmail tells me the next morning. Here’s how it goes:

Dear Ben,
Thank you for your email. In order to respond effectively to your email we need to investigate further. Therefore please contact the Xbox 360 Customer Support team on http://www.xbox.com/support/contact/ or please call tel.0800 587 1102 (customer support), or 44 20 7365 9792 (direct line).
Thank you.
Yours, Xbox Customer Suport.

Hmm, so basically this time I get a response marginally clearer. Although they’re telling me to get in touch via the same page I just have done so from, what they are REALLY saying is, just phone us. E-mail us by all means, but we’re just going to suggest you phone us.

So I did that this evening, and even though I pressed the option it suggested I could right at the start, it still insisted on telling me that I should visit, yes you guessed it, the support site at xbox.com. Once it finally chucked me into the queue system, an american voice told me that I’d have to wait more than two minutes. I took that to mean maybe a couple of minutes more than two minutes, and I presumed that I’d maybe get an update as to how long I’d have to wait, a little while into the queue. Instead, I was repeatedly told to just wait, and 20 minutes later I hung up, having heard Air‘s “La Femme d’argent” from the album Moon Safari start its third playing. Hey, it’s a nice chilled out song, but played in tinny quality over a phone interrupted by an automated voice every couple of minutes, it takes on a slightly more irritating edge. Couldn’t Microsoft afford any other songs? Do they take requests, or is there another queue for that?

These are questions I might have even asked them had I got through. I didn’t, and I’m no further on with sorting out the problem. Maybe someday…

XNA: Warrior Princess

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

No, not a typo – it’s not even a particularly funny joke. No, I’m talking about Microsoft’s new games development effort, XNA. In particular, the beta of XNA Express Edition which came out late yesterday afternoon (BST).

If you haven’t heard about XNA, then you should probably mozee on down to the XNA Developer Centre and the XNA Team Blog and read up on it. Basically, it’s what Managed DirectX evolved into, and the XNA Framework allows you to develop games for both Windows and XBOX 360 in one full swoop. With XNA, Microsoft’s actually made DirectX development a lot simpler but still as powerful, and this first beta of the Express Edition (which will allow anybody to try out games they’ve written with it on their own XBOX 360 for about $99 a year, or just on Windows for free – a better explanation can be found here) is actually looking very impressive.

The full release of Express Edition isn’t due until later this year, and this beta is for now missing the Content Pipeline which when it appears, should make it very easy to bring in various graphic assets (of particular interest to me is the use of the FBX format), but the beta is still well worth a play. All the coding for now is done with a little help of C#, a language Microsoft sees as being the one many will migrate to from C++ in the coming years, but I can live with that - there are plans to extend support in the future to other languages :) .

Microsoft appears to be taking games development very seriously (in a fun sort of way obviously), being able to develop for a console in this way is something that’s bound to be now worrying Sony and Nintendo. In fact, all this talk of XNA is almost enough to make me want to buy an XBOX 360. Oh no wait, crap – it IS enough :D .