NXE launch chilled by dashboard freezes

[UPDATE 2] New Xbox Experience's otherwise smooth debut beset by navigation lockups, erratic Netflix, obscured themes; more video content going offline Dec. 1.

[UPDATE] Shortly after this article was first posted, reports of widespread freezes while navigating the NXE dashboard began to trickle in. The trickle soon became a flood, and a un-scientific survey found that every single GameSpot editor who applied the NXE Update encountered multiple freezing issues with the new dashboard. These seemed to come most often when entering and exiting the avatar editing mode, with three GS editors being forced to reboot three times in under an hour. Requests for an explanation sent to Microsoft were unanswered as of press time. The original story is below.

[UPDATE 2] Microsoft is claiming the freezing issues are being addressed. "As a result of an unprecedented level of member activity around the New Xbox Experience, a small percentage of Xbox Live users may have experienced temporary service issues or delays," the company said in a statement. "We are diligently monitoring and addressing issues as they arise. We appreciate our members' enthusiasm and patience, and apologize for any inconveniences."

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In the wee hours of this morning, millions of Xbox 360 users logged on to Xbox Live and began downloading the New Xbox Experience (NXE). First unveiled at E3 in July, the top-to-bottom update does away with the first current-generation console online service's flat blade-based interface and deemphasizes its two-dimensional gamer pictures.

Instead, NXE will feature a scrolling menu system similar to iTunes' cover flow--or, some would say, the PlayStation 3's XrossMediaBar. Its focus will also be three-dimensional avatars, which look like the illegitimate offspring of Nintendo's Miis and the slicker avatars of the PlayStation Home service, which is still ostensibly set to launch before year's end.

Microsoft is heavily promoting NXE, even going so far as to offer qualifying buyers of hard-drive-less 360s a free 512MB memory card or a $20 20GB HDD so they can download it. However, not even the multibillion-dollar resources of the software giant could prevent the service from running into some trouble even before it launched. Many planned features, such as Xbox Live Primetime, were pushed back until after the service went online.

Now, though, the service is up and running after a semi-smooth launch. GameSpot editors encountered a few issues Wednesday morning, primarily in the form of missing game and video content on Xbox Live Marketplace. Often, when content appeared, it could not be purchased. However, by this afternoon, it appeared that Marketplace, which now has a drastically different navigation system, was well stocked with content ranging from Rock Band Track Packs to the new Avatar-based game premium dashboard themes.

Unfortunately, though newer themes, such as those for Gears of War 2 and Fable II, are optimized for the new display, older ones are partially obscured. For instance, the shield in the England 2006 World Cup theme is now bisected by the silver dome, which takes up the bottom half of the dashboard. More top-heavy themes, such as the Alpine Winters theme, are less affected by the new windows-based navigation, which occupies the center of the screen at all times. The British Official Xbox Magazine has compiled a gallery of the most egregiously obscured themes (pictured).

Bigger problems are besetting the Netflix streaming-video service, one of NXE's most heavily hyped features. This afternoon, one day after the California-based rental company admitted "hundreds" of films would not be viewable on the 360, the video service still did not work for multiple GameSpot editors. Those who could get the service functioning found the quality severely limited by bandwidth, with a 1.5 Mbps DSL connection yielding blocky video.

When queried by GameSpot, Netflix reps said that they were unaware of any issues. However, they did confirm that another selection of streaming-video offerings, including the BBC series Red Dwarf, would no longer be available as of December 1. However, unlike the aforementioned films, which appear to all be Sony-owned, Xbox owners won't be the only ones missing out on the next batch of removals. They will no longer be streamable either on PC or other Netflix devices, thanks to what a spokesperson called the "ebb and flow of licensing."

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Discussion

583 comments
Diogenes_basic
Diogenes_basic

Within the last 48 hours, my son and I were both forced to do an NXE update. He plays online via Xbox Live; I do not. Immediately after each of us updated, we each experienced games freezing that we had never had a problem with before. Two new games, Tiger Woods 10 and Red Faction Guerilla, also froze. Apparently, at least a few other people are having some kind of problem, since the Xbox support site has been completely unavailable all day. For one, I've had it. I went through 3 faulty original Xboxes and this is my 2nd 360. I'm happy for those lucky enough not to be plagued by these problems, but please don't downplay the absurd amount of irritation experienced by blameless customers who just want to play games.

PvtRyan3
PvtRyan3

This is still an issue for me. I have two xbox 360 consoles. One in the living room and one in my bedroom. Anyways, both of them have the NXE dashboard and when I connect either of them to Live the dashboard will freeze for 10 seconds or so every time I hit the "guide button". (The big green X in the middle of the controller). I can get to the guide, but leaving the guide.....well that's a different story. You see the xbox doesn't want to leave. It wants to stay!! Why?! LOL Microsoft needs to fix this. I hope they are aware of the problem.

blueliquidplus
blueliquidplus

NXE now causes my Fable2 and Half-Life2 to crash... only option thats been shown is to download the games to my hard-drive... I'd rather use that space for other things than be forced to install the games.. wtf is the xbox now a PC.

Brain_Fillets
Brain_Fillets

Haven't had any problems with the NXE so far. Themes are okay so far, Netflix works great, and have had exactly zero lockups/freezes...except when I try to browse through my car list on Forza 2 too fast, of course.

tnargus
tnargus

Top requests for NXE patch: 1. Theme/UI customisation re: obscured themes and "base"/guide colouring. 2. Ability to set default channel as something other than "Spotlight". 3. Make the "Friends" list in the guide smaller! I'd like to see more than 5-6 names per screen list. 4. Advanced controls brought back for network tab. Plus of course a whole heap of stability issues fixed.

SilentLine04
SilentLine04

Just to speak on the whole Sony/Netflix thing.... this is why Pirating will never go away. When ever a company like Netflix comes around an does something cool, A company like Sony wants to pull a money play. I'm sure Netflix payed there licensing fees so why not let it stream to the 360/PC. Every body always want to pile on for there slice of the pie till everything is so burdened with restrictions that the original cool idea is all but gone. Let me guess Sony is rolling out there own service in the future & surprise ... They offer a full offering of Sony exclusives! whoopdee doo. Just once I would like to see companies compete on a level playing field then try an pull this licensing bit (designed solely to cash in on an idea long after its prime if someone happens to think of another idea for it) that screws over the end user.

bennae66
bennae66

love the new setup, no problems yet. only complaint is obscured themes and the inability to 'customise' them like you could the old ones (ie: i had black blades with a fallout theme) otherwise, its a breath of fresh air

Jediknightmare
Jediknightmare

As much as I like the new dashboard, it definately has some probs. After the update installed, my DVDs now have a playback glitch. I can hear the audio of the movie but for video all I get is a damn xbox360 logo ad with a white background!! I sent an e-mail to customer support and the response I got after waiting a week was instructions as to how your A/V connections work. Anybody else have this DVD playback problem?

nappan
nappan

I'm more than happy to rip into MS given the chance, but I can't say that I've had any freezing issues, and I use my consoles a LOT. The Netflix issue on the other hand, needs to be addressed sooner rather than later... because that is turning into a bit of a bait and switch. The minor, but pleasant improvements to the blade system are nice, and the avatars are... avatars. Bottom line: installing to the HD and Netflix are the only meaningful improvements to the NXE, and the Netflix end is hurting already.

Butchcassidy79
Butchcassidy79

So..if for example I didn't like the new dashboard, can I remove it if I install it??

AgreedTech
AgreedTech

it is another MS downgrade like vista

xiayan
xiayan

It's a real small percentage of people. I don't have any problems at all. Crap happens on large scale updates for any company, and this update is just unbelievable and worth using. NXE streams fine for me, but I don't see why someone with a 1.5mb connection would be expecting the best visuals on a stream.

UnwantedSuspect
UnwantedSuspect

I don't think I'll update to the NXE...If a rollback update comes out, I may try it, until then I'll pass on this. I have it on a USB stick, almost went ahead and updated but thought I'd read as much as I could about it...I'll wait and see what MS do next.

FOOZZY
FOOZZY

Hahahahaaa. Typical MS software. I haven't had any of those issues (yet). I recently got my xbox back from repair too. Typical MS hardware. Damn lucky they have good online and games to keep my loyalty. . .

lynchmobjr
lynchmobjr

Sorry, can't help this one.. I know what I said earlier about the 360 and mixing a MAC with it, but at least MS did do one thing right about the Xbox360 They didn't call it Xbox 2... I can't actually wait for the new update(can't wait cause its in repair) cause I've had to send in a 360 3 times due to GPU/RRoD issues so hopefully ripping the games will help keep me on it for longer than a year LOL As for the NXE messing up some systems rather than others... Is that due to the different types of xbox360's?? LIke Elite, regular with or w/o HD, Arcade, Halo?? I'm not much into the Netflix idea either, I liked just downloading the movie then deleting it when done idea, don't have the HSI connection for a good HD pic anyway... I think a browser would be cool so while we are on our xbox360's we can check back here and see what kind of smack is being talked about it and reply back!!

gnutux
gnutux

The NXE actually FIXED my seldom freezing problems I had with the old interface. Talk about irony...

jsnowbordr47
jsnowbordr47

No problems for me...I like the new interface... so much cooler and functional than the good old blade system. As for the Avatars... I'm actually hooked on them. I can't wait for them to start putting them to more use, till then I will be making Avatars for all of the my friends accounts on my box even though only mine is Xbox Live active... Haven't tried install yet, I have yet to come across a game with real long loading times so this is low priority for me anyway. I don't have netflix anyway so I could care less about the netflix stuff (go iTunes!!). Overall, I really like the NXE, usually it's either form over function (PS3/Wii) or function over form (Blade System) but NXE has a very good blend of both. I just need to figure out how to get my NAT open so I can have a better multiplayer experience. lol

onthe_dl
onthe_dl

" Posted Nov 26, 2008 7:14 pm GMT Gotta love how the fanboys jump on their rival console's shortcomings in order to make themselves feel better for their choice of console... Let me ask you guys... do you really take it that much to heart? I don't understand it. Why not just play your console, enjoy it, and leave it at that? You have your reasons for choosing one over the other, just like other people. This console war's a complete a waste of breath, really. It saddens me to see that this is the kind of stuff that's pre-occupying people and not the other garbage that goes on around us." -couldn't have said it any better myself.

Speuj
Speuj

Gotta love how the fanboys jump on their rival console's shortcomings in order to make themselves feel better for their choice of console... Let me ask you guys... do you really take it that much to heart? I don't understand it. Why not just play your console, enjoy it, and leave it at that? You have your reasons for choosing one over the other, just like other people. This console war's a complete a waste of breath, really. It saddens me to see that this is the kind of stuff that's pre-occupying people and not the other garbage that goes on around us.

jknight5422
jknight5422

Hmmm, well it looks like Sorny got tired of getting paid for viewings of their products. It's fine with me. I can ignore their exclusive movies like I ignore their exclusive games. I don't feel I miss a thing because of it either.

JamesSoprano
JamesSoprano

NXE HA !!! yea right ! In Your Face 360 Owners ! this is why you buy a 360. cause the issues we have are no where near as bad as 360's issues .... enjoy your slow play and disconnecivity and RRoD ! PS3 FTW

darkdragonmage9
darkdragonmage9

otherwise smooth my *** this update has messed up many peoples xboxs freezes connection problems and so on

kaztiyo
kaztiyo

lololololololololololol Xbox 360 = Pwned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111one1 PS3 FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!11!1111one+shift

p00phead
p00phead

I cant look at my friends list because if I do it freezes

Nerevarine-
Nerevarine-

To balance out the wave of anti-microsoft sentiments radiating from all previous and future posters: I LOVE MICROSOFT BILLY XBOX 360 ZUNE NXE X 999999 That is all.

LastPRmarine
LastPRmarine

I only freezed once and that's the day NXE came out since then smooth sailin'

superradchad13
superradchad13

Oh, and the marketplace won't load and sometimes shuts down my system as well lol

superradchad13
superradchad13

I haven't touched my 360 since the day of the update. All it does is freezes for 7 minutes or more every time a friend comes on, when I pass the friends section, go to the xbox live section of any game, and whenever I go into matchmaking.

lynchmobjr
lynchmobjr

Sounds like MS didn't think about a mass flood of requests when they put this thing together... But like all the other the new updates, there issues... As for the WIIMI's I had hoped that MS could come up with something "Original"? Oh, my bad... Windows wasn't even Bill Gates' idea... Maybe we can mix a lil MAC with the Xbox360 and see if it works better... Ok, I'm done now, JUST FIX IT ms!!

wilyry
wilyry

Worked great for me. I've got 3 of 'em to update, and they all went smooth as can be the day of release. Netflix streaming is awesome!

Str8_2_Heaven
Str8_2_Heaven

NXE = E74 for me. Now, it's been packed and shipped to the MS service center. Don't know when I'll get it back. Just when I was really getting into Fallout 3.

CyberStud69
CyberStud69

*Sigh* not surprised that this is crapping out again. What a waste of money.

randy120
randy120

No freezing here, Netflix on Xbox 360 is great!

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

NXE runs very smoothly for me now, no hickups or anything. The freezing happened only a few times on NXE-launch day, and I never had to reset the console, as it would unfreeze within a minute.

themc_7
themc_7

still think it's dumb to have avatars, it's a rip-off of mii's

bertm1975
bertm1975

I have to say I love it. I barely play games now and just watch stuff off Netflix. I just wish they would get The Simpsons and My Name is Earl on Netflix and I'd be even more happy.

Bufta
Bufta

Typical Microsoft! hay but keep buying them 360 consoles, cretins!

BlackSamvara
BlackSamvara

Me too lamprey, I'll admit that the service was a little shaky at first, but it's running like a dream... I'm streaming netflix even as I type this!

lamprey263
lamprey263

at first the Netflix was slow, which meant it got behind and had to buffer every two minutes, and because of low speed had crap video quality... but that was like a day or two after launch, and now for the last couple days everything has been streaming just fine without any problems, and I'm really glad I have a Netflix account now :D

dlind70
dlind70

I have yet to have any of these problems. Of course, I don't spend three straight hours running a console. People seriously need to go outside more. :roll:

angelic
angelic

there was a rumor that MS intentionally delayed NXE to the point that some of the 360's runs out of 3 year warranty if some RROD upon its release. but that would be a very silly idea isn't it?

SinneR6664ever
SinneR6664ever

Everything runs smooth with me, Netflix and all. " i really dont understand these people who have had 5 xboxs coz the last 4 got rrod. why dont u sell the 5th one and get a ps3, would save you alot of hassle." IMHO, I perfer my 360 over my PS3. I like the 360 controller, which I have not probs with the d-pad. I like the games that the 360 has. The PS3 has close to nil. I'm still waiting for Killzone 2. Resistance(s) was(were) bad ass, but there isn't much to play after that. PS3 is boring. And I've only had 1 360 RRoD. No probs with me, haven't had an error come up since.

Phoenix1982
Phoenix1982

I would not know, me and half of my friends got the red ring of death at the same time.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

My box froze up right after the intro video. Rebooted and it has run fine ever since. As for the actual benefits of the update... well I'm unconvinced that it has actually contained that many. Parties/group chat = legitimately good... but those disgusting avatars look like they were stolen from bad cartoons designed to educate kids or something. I give it less than a month before nobody cares about them anymore and they're no longer dominating 99% of people's gamerpics.

Mac11_Fanboy
Mac11_Fanboy

worked fine for me. even my mexican pimp avatar, buying points, games, all gravy

OmegaCookie7
OmegaCookie7

Well it's only just come out, there's going to be some kinks.

nosferatusbutt
nosferatusbutt

The prob i had is that no matter what settings i set i could not purchase any Microsoft point's at all. Or buy any content with what pionts i had left over. I had to reclaim my gametag twice in order to do so. But things are fine now. Anyone else with this issue?