Though the original Xbox 360 hardware is infamously error prone, today reports surfaced of problems with one of the company's software offerings. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it's the most popular game on the market at the moment--the first-party sci-fi shooter Halo: Reach.
Most reports in an increasingly long thread on the Bungie.net forums have the consoles being unable to read the disc or telling players to eject the game and wipe the disc clean. Many posters complain the discs are brand new and spotless, meaning they could not be dirty or scratched. Other issues include looping cinematics and freezing on start-up.
According to the thread, the problem appears to be mainly isolated to 20GB Xbox 360 Pro consoles, which were sold from 2005 to 2008, when the Pro class was upgraded to a 60GB hard drive. However, some reports complain the 120GB Elite model is affected as well.
Today, Microsoft issued a statement acknowledging the matter: "We are aware of a very small number of customers reporting that their copy of Halo: Reach is causing a 'disc read' error. Those affected should contact Microsoft customer support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX for troubleshooting assistance."
The disc read error isn't the first problem being experienced by Halo: Reach. Earlier this week, Microsoft acknowledged Halo: Reach co-op mode issues were being experienced by owners of the $200 4GB Xbox 360 slim, which uses internal flash memory. That error asked players to insert a hard drive before playing, even though the console has enough internal memory for game saves.
The Halo: Reach problem marks the latest technical issue faced by console makers in general and Microsoft in particular. In 2007, the company announced it was setting aside over $1 billion to replace Xbox 360s suffering from the so-called "red ring of death issue" for free. Some reports on the Bungie forums said Microsoft was offering the same deal to Xbox owners unable to play Halo: Reach. As of press time, the software giant would only say that those suffering from the error(s) should contact Xbox customer support.