My Life

Why I Hate the Xbox 360

A couple years ago I discussed my preferences for the Playstation3 and the Wii over the Xbox 360. Recently I’ve had new reason to renew my hate for that horrid device.

As a quick background: I am a Microsoft guy… have always used their computers. In the last generation of consoles I owned only an xbox… never touched a playstation. In this current generation of consoles I had intended only to buy the Xbox360. (The Wii eventually tempted me and I broke down and bought it as well.)

The only reason I bought the PS3 was because I was given a rebate on it from work (when I was with BioWare).

But my Xbox360 is seldom used. First it had the red circle of death. When I received a replacement it was a refurbished model and it still red circles sporadically. After losing hours of my time getting the first replacement I didn’t really have the energy to get the next. And it did work… sometimes. This was the main reason, obviously, that I stopped using the console.

But newer reasons have cropped up.

Too many services require the pay membership. I don’t do much online gaming so I have no real inclination to purchase a monthly membership that I’d hardly use. But the problem is that something like Netflix, which I’m able to use on the Wii and the PS3 without hassle, is unavailable on the 360.

More recently I tried streaming television from my computer. Worked flawlessly from the computer to the PS3. From the computer to Xbox360… so many headaches and ultimately it never worked. Then I tried just streaming previously recorded video. Again the PS3 handled it without problem.

The Xbox360? Failure. (I did eventually get it to stream but at a reduced level of quality).

It is as if Microsoft is intentionally choosing to reduce the potential size of their audience by throwing barriers in their way. I had similar problems with the Microsoft Mobile Operating System a few years ago and that’s why I moved to the iOS line of devices there.

My next computer? Might still be a Microsoft machine (though I’m leaning elsewhere) but I’ll never buy another Microsoft game console.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Roger Hoyt

    Thanks for sharing the blog post Brent. ¬†Sounds like you got one of the earlier Xbox 360 releases. ¬†Many people love Macs because of their stability. ¬†Sounds like Apple needs to get on the ball with the Video Game consoles. ¬†Maybe have an OS for it that has a similar feel and look to the Mac OS. ¬†Would be awesome. ¬†I’d buy one.

  • Brent Knowles


    Apple making a console would be interesting though from their point of view I wonder if its needed. I think they are dominating the mobile games industry (I know we stopped using our Nintendo DS and didn’t bother buying a Playstation portable because we have an iPod and an iPad — games for kids are so much cheaper on the iOS).

    There might not be a lot of advantage for them tackling the console market though it would be an interesting undertaking.



  • Alexandra Rodriguez

    Hey Brent!

    I’m curious to know which 360 you have? ¬†I’ve heard the newer one’s work much better than the older models.

    Also… You can get NetFlix on 360. ¬†You might need a Live account, but it is available. ¬†I doubt that’ll lessen your hatred of it, but I figured I’d mention it :)

  • Brennan

    Up until recently I have always loved the 360. For some reason I thought it was so much better than the PS3, even though I had hardly played them. I actually grew up on PS1 and PS2, but went for the 360. Now it pisses me off every ten minutes. We have to pay a ridiculous amount of money just to play online and have the OPTION to pay more money for other services. I’m definitely switching to a ps3 once I can afford one. I want to play Blu-Rays and play the old PS1 and PS2 games that I played as a kid.¬†

  • Brent Knowles

    Yep pretty much how I feel (except I never played the old PS1 and PS2 games as a kid… this being my first playstation).

    I really don’t understand the ‘paying for online play’ or why so many users¬† go for it but then I’m not really much of an online player to begin with.

  • Seti

    That’s always been my perspective on the 360. Though I may be a bit biased due to my PS1 and PS2 background of preference, it just never made sense, to me, to go with a 360. The PS3 may occasionally get a few worse 360 ports than the other way around, but with all those online payments making the 360 more expensive in the long run, lack/hindrance of certain multimedia applications (such as Blu-Ray), and initially very faulty and unreliable hardware, I just never saw the incentive to purchase one and certainly didn’t see the incentive to purchase one over a PS3.

    I haven’t cared too much for most of this console generations admittedly very few exclusives, but Sony and their first-party teams handle that better, as well, while Microsoft’s release policies personify certain disdain I have for corporate tyranny, so to speak. I am curious about something… with you having come from a programming and game designing background, how truly difficult are, or were, Sony and the PS3 to work with? Relatively speaking, programming for the PS3 is what in comparison to the 360, what with all the hardware partitions in the thing (memory architecture, CPU SPEs and threads)?

  • Brent Knowles


    Thanks for the comment. Very good points on why for me the PS3 is a better machine.

    As for your question I was never *directly* involved with the programming challenges though I often listened to the programmers complain about them.

    Because we developed mostly for the PC our code was already in a format that was easier to port to the 360 (lots of similarities between how the two platforms operate).

    For the PS3 the core engine had to be restructured. This required a painstaking rewrite and needed to be done by experienced and costly programmers. I can’t remember exactly but I would say it was probably 3-4x more costly to move the code to the PS3. And of course for both the 360 and PS3 ports the art had to be converted to deal with lower memory limitations and such.

    I suspect if a PS3 port is planned from the very beginning there are ways to minimize the cost of this process.

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