Xbox 360 Fall Update bricking systems?

Internet flares with reports that Microsoft's latest firmware revision is rendering some of its next-gen systems worthless, but why?

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Source: Posts on message boards like the official Xbox forums and Team Xecuter, followed up on by articles at mod-savvy sites like Xbox Scene.

The official story: A Microsoft rep said the company had no comment at this time.

What we heard: Microsoft released its Fall System Update for the Xbox 360 today and Internet forums were quickly buzzing with reports that the update had "bricked" users' consoles, rendering them unable to play games or even boot up normally.

While Microsoft is staying mum on the subject, the bulk of speculation is that the Fall Update is intended to brick Xbox 360s that have been modded. However, some posters are reporting problems with unmodded consoles being bricked, and forum-goers at Xbox Scene are saying that the update is not consistently bricking modded consoles.

Furthermore, Team Xecuter is reporting that bricked consoles can still be repaired relatively painlessly, and that Microsoft isn't banning GamerTags or specific systems from Xbox Live, something that would seem a distinct possibility if the company wanted to come down hard on modders.

So what's the deal here? If Microsoft intended to brick modded consoles, it didn't do a very thorough job of it (perhaps a warning shot to make people think twice about modding systems?). If it's an unexpected bug with the Fall Update, it seems convenient that it's happening primarily to modded systems.

Still, the few reports of the Fall Update bricking unmodded systems are troubling. While fixing the system might be an easy thing for people who cracked their systems open in the first place to mod them, it's still not something the average gamer is bound to be capable of doing.

Whether intentional or not, it seems the Fall Update is turning some Xbox 360s into paperweights. But with varying reports about who it's happening to and why, and Microsoft not explaining what's going on, there's no sure way to say which 360s will be affected by the problem.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

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