Print 112 comment(s) - last by nanogeektech.. on Mar 31 at 1:39 PM

Xbox 360 failures are on the rise since the launch of the New Xbox Experience

A known Xbox 360 hardware issue is beginning to surface in significant numbers recently based on research conducted by video game site Joystiq. Tentatively called the Xbox 360 E74 error, one of the lights on the “Ring of Lights” on the front of your Xbox 360 console flashes red and you receive the error code and message: "E74. System Error. Contact Xbox Customer Support". The symptoms involve the bottom right portion of the indicator ring repeatedly flashing on and off and lines or snow will become visible across the screen.

According to the initial Joystiq article posted on March 13, the Microsoft representative Joystiq contacted told them she wasn't familiar with the problem and that they were looking in to the issue. The E74 error is a known issue that is recognized by Microsoft and is documented on Microsoft’s own support site complete with diagrams. The support site has a last revised time stamp of March 3, 2009 as of this writing, predating the Joystiq article that broke the story.

Microsoft’s support site provides no explanation for the error other than to state, “This behavior occurs when the Xbox 360 console experiences a hardware failure.” Joystiq theorizes the E74 error is related to a hardware video problem where the ANA/HANA scaling chip on Xbox 360s equipped with HDMI functionality has come loose.

The main theory put forward that tries to explain why this particular hardware issue is being seen more frequently is the increased graphical stress caused by the introduction of the New Xbox Experience. The New Xbox Experience was launched on November 19 and provided Xbox Live users with a complete rework of the user interface.

One of the significant changes introduced by the New Xbox Experience was the removal of the blade interface. The blades allowed users to access pages of information and features quickly due to the fact they are stacked on top of each other. The new interface uses full windows to spread out the screen.

Another significant change introduced by the New Xbox Experience was the implementation of a graphical avatar system. Users are allowed to choose their avatar from a large group; each avatar is dressed differently, has a unique hair style, and skin color. Once you have chosen your avatar, you are allowed to customize it with new clothing, accessories, and hair. The stress caused by these visual changes may be what is taking many Xbox 360s to the breaking point for unlucky customers.

An interesting pattern can be seen on a Google Trends chart that shows a noticeable spike in users researching the E74 error in November 2008 right around the launch of the New Xbox Experience.

Joystiq’s analysis of survey respondents show a similar pattern of increased E74 failures starting in November of last year. A conspiracy theory making the rounds speculates Microsoft may have changed the system diagnostics test to report Red Ring of Death error as E74 instead to save money. For errors reported as E74, it would force customers to pay $100 for the repair if the error occurs later than 12 months after purchase. The E74 error is not covered under the 3-year extended warranty set in place for the Red Ring of Death malfunction. Joystiq points out that this theory is unlikely because survey respondents are still reporting Red Ring of Death errors after the launch of the New Xbox Experience.

On March 19, Joystiq posted Microsoft’s official response to the E74 issue where they stated:

E74 is a general hardware error on Xbox 360 indicated by a single red flashing light in the Xbox Ring of Light and an error message visible on the television. This error is unrelated to the three flashing red lights error and there is not a single root cause. We encourage anyone who receives this error to contact Xbox Customer support through or 1-800-4-MY-XBOX. The majority of customers who own Xbox 360 consoles continue to have a terrific experience from their first day, and continue to, day in and day out.

As pointed out by Joystiq, Microsoft’s response fails to adequately answer what causes the E74 error, if there has been an increase in incidents, and why it is not covered while the Red Ring of Death is. The evidence is mounting as Joystiq has posted an update on March 23 showing E74 errors have definitely increased since the introduction of the New Xbox Experience. It remains to be seen how long it takes Microsoft to acknowledge there is an issue and deal with in a way that satisfies their current customers. As past history shows an adequate response may take time.

Microsoft’s top game executive, Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices group, said at a dinner in July 2008 that Microsoft’s own research shows that gamers have largely forgiven the company for defective Xbox 360s. Depending on how this issue is handled current customers may not be so quick to forgive.

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RE: Not Suprised...
By Hiawa23 on 3/24/2009 6:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
You can't have over 50 games installed on your hard drive games are around 6.5 to 7 gig. per disc so you would have to have at least a 350 gig. hard drive

for you to even feel the need to post that is hilarious. I got the 120 drive & I think at any one time I have 10-11 games installed. I own over 50 games for the console of course 50 games are not installed at the same time, LOL.

RE: Not Suprised...
By bety on 3/24/2009 7:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
Then owning 50 games is totally irrelevant no?

RE: Not Suprised...
By crazyblackman on 3/24/2009 11:12:40 PM , Rating: 1
If you purchased 50 games for that piece of crap are an idiot with money.

If you bought another 360 after the first one are an idiot.

If you defended M$ because they finally offered you a 3yr warranty for their KNOWN RROD failures, but it didn't cover other KNOWN are an idiot.

If you paid for those overpriced accessories that break frequently and harddrives that filled up are an idiot.

If you paid $50 per yr for XBL when it didn't allow you to play your purchased games are an idiot.

If you tried to defend the 360 cause it "had the best games" are an idiot.

If you got excited over those stupid, childish looking avatars that made your 360 look like a kids game console rather than a family entertainment are an idiot.

If you STILL think that a PS3 is overpriced for what you get in entertainment are an idiot. I could go on and on.

Many of you in this forum have been idiots for a very long time. I can almost name names...but I won't go there, Omnicronx.

RE: Not Suprised...
By PARANOID365 on 3/25/2009 5:27:21 AM , Rating: 1

RE: Not Suprised...
By Hiawa23 on 3/25/2009 8:27:27 AM , Rating: 2
If you purchased 50 games for that piece of crap are an idiot with money.

If you bought another 360 after the first one are an idiot.

If you defended M$ because they finally offered you a 3yr warranty for their KNOWN RROD failures, but it didn't cover other KNOWN are an idiot.

I am not one to tell any other adult what to do with his or her money. Yes, I have 2 360's, one in my living room one in my gameroom, the launch model was repaired June 08 & has been fine since, & the newer model has been fine. Some of you cats are hilarious, calling others idiots, names, just cause their opinion differs. What is this the teen board or something. Yes, I own over 50 games for the 360, & 6 for the PS3. I am not defending MS at all, but to me the 360 is a better games, & online value. You can call me any name you want which I find hilarious. Something I would expect on the teen videogame boards or something, but come on, so let's juat agree to disagree & leave it at that & have a blessed day. I have bashed MS from jump, but like I said I have had less issues with my 360s than both PS1 & PS2, so I don't base my purchases on problems others have. The 360 has been fine to me.

RE: Not Suprised...
By lexluthermiester on 3/25/2009 10:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Some of you cats are hilarious, calling others idiots, names, just cause their opinion differs.

Couldn't agree more. But this is a forum where many of the folks here are quite childish.

I am not defending MS at all, but to me the 360 is a better games, & online value.

In a way you are, but only to the point of defending your purchase of one of their products. And what online value? You pay just to access it and then pay more[and way to much] for content. MS is trying to have it's cake and eat it too. MS needs to take an example from Nintendo. Access to online features? Free. Access to a lot of content? Free. Cost of other content? Reasonable. The same is true for PSN for the PS3. I'll take a PC, PS3 and Wii over 360 any day of the week. But I respect that others have choices. And to be fair, there are some GREAT games for the 360. But not enough for me to buy one...

RE: Not Suprised...
By d1c1ple on 3/26/2009 12:14:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm very frustrated. After picking up Halo Wars... my box started giving diagonal lines on the screen. Mind you I'm on my 3rd system due to RROD on original, 2nd replacement and now video issues on current unit. I call support only to be told my system has been flagged as unrepairable due to Terms of Use/Tampering which is a complete joke since this is a sealed unit that only gets updates via xbox live... I think it's a sham and they don't want to replace my system yet again...

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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