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If consoles could talk: A final word with the Xbox 360

Don’t worry, we fictionally grilled the competition, too. Make sure to check out our other exit interview with the PlayStation 3!

You know that saying, “If these walls could talk, what would they say?” Replace “walls” with “video game consoles” and you have a sense of what we’re going for here. This is a slow time of year for big news, but with the Xbox 360’s final years officially starting in 2014 with the Xbox One as Microsoft’s lead console, we thought this would be a fun moment to sit down and stage a mock interview with the elder machine. This Xbox 360 can talk, and here’s what it had to say….

When did you first start to think that you were going to have a dominant presence in the current console generation?

Really, it was right from the start. I knew coming out of the gate that I would hit the ground running with a big lead on the competition and a lineup of killer launch titles. I expected there to be competition right from the start, but the enormity of a new Xbox must have scared everyone off. I’m very proud of that 2005 launch.

What about the Red Ring of Death?

I assume you’re referring to the “General Hardware Failure” error message, signified by a three-quarter ring of flashing red lights on the original Xbox 360’s power button. All I can say is that these things happen with new hardware. My failure rate shortly after launch was no different than it typically is for new hardware, hovering right around 5 percent.

What’s more, Microsoft went out its way to address what was wrong and fix my malfunctioning brothers quickly. At considerable expense, I might add. At the end of the day, a happy customer is what’s most important.

I wonder… are you putting the same question to the PlayStation 4? I’ve noticed that Sony is dealing with similar hardware issues during this latest launch.

Don’t worry about our other interviews. Though now that you mention the new machines, I’ve seen a few reports floating around about the Xbox One’s failure rate. Care to comment?

Listen, buddy. We can talk all day long about which consoles are having hardware issues and which ones aren’t. But there was only one console during the last generation that lost its online capabilities for more than a month while also putting 77 million users at risk of identity theft, and it sure as sh*t wasn’t me.

Xbox Ring of DeathThis interview is getting a little off track. Let’s go back to the Red Ring of Death. Why do you continue to withhold the actual failure rate for the first-generation Xbox 360? And why have you never come forward to explain the cause of the early hardware failures?

As I’ve already told you, the failure rate hovered right around 5 percent. You can choose not to believe it, but facts are facts. As for the cause of the hardware issues, it’s impossible for me to answer that. Every version of me has its own quirks. Again, that’s just the nature of a new hardware product launch.

Do you think the early hardware issues contributed at all to the Xbox 360’s poor sales performance in Japan?

First, I want to say outright that I don’t think I performed poorly in Japan. That’s a competitive market and, as an American console, I knew going in that I would be fighting an uphill battle. My customers there really enjoyed Halo and Gears of War, just like the rest of the world, and I’m proud of how well I was received in Japan.

Come on, really? How can you say that when the Xbox 360 only sold 1.5 million units in Japan between 2005 and 2011?

I don’t have the sales sheets in front of me. Even if I did, Microsoft as a company is not in the habit of reporting region-specific sales figures. I can tell you that, as of February 2013, more than 76 million consoles have been sold worldwide.

But OK, I’ll indulge. Let’s imagine for just a moment that your figure is accurate. That’s a big number. Can you imagine what it would look like in here if we were suddenly surrounded by 1.5 million feral cats? Now replace those feral cats with Xbox 360 consoles. Still impressive. Check and mate, my friend.

…riiiight. You sure told me. What do you say now, eight years later, to misleading comments made by then-CEO Bill Gates in the lead-up to launch that Halo 3 would be launching with the console?

Look, we’ve talked about this before. It’s a dead issue. Bill was very forthright when he clarified that “Halo 3 will ship when Bungie is ready.” We always had a great relationship with Bungie. I’m sure plenty of gamers would have liked to see Halo 3 back in 2005, but I don’t think anyone can fairly complain about the masterpiece that was eventually delivered in 2007.

Even though the absence of a new Halo meant your launch was saddled with duds like Gun and Perfect Dark Zero?

I’ll have you know that Perfect Dark Zero has a Metacritic average of 81!

Post-launch excitement. It’s a terrible game. Deal with it.

You’re a terrible game. And I had Kameo: Elements of Power too. Kameo was great.

You’re not wrong. Kameo was great. Funny that Rare never returned to that series afterward, and chose to focus instead on stuff like Viva Piñata, Kinect Sports, and that weird, free-to-play-ish Killer Instinct remake.

Shut up. Next question.Kinect

The mention of Kinect Sports actually serves as a great lead-in to talk about Kinect. Was it hard to make room for such an elaborate, some might even argue integral, new peripheral multiple years after you launched?

I’ve always been on great terms with Kinect. We’re gym buddies, we go to parties together. It’s more than just a work-only relationship. We Kinect-ed.

Get it?

I’m afraid I do. The Kinect has been heavily criticized for, you know, not working very well. Or at all, for those in tight living spaces.

Yes, Kinect likes to have a lot of space. I hear it all the time. “Stop texting me so much!” or “I didn’t invite you to that party because it wasn’t my invite to share!” or “No! I don’t want to talk about our future together right now!

This is getting awkward. Subject change. What’s the impression now as you look back on the start of the hardware generation and the fight between Sony’s Blu-ray-equipped PlayStation 3 and your own HD-DVD add-on drive?

I have no recollection of that.

Really? Nothing?

No. I don’t see why yo—

Editor’s note: Our interview ended abruptly when the Xbox 360 froze, requiring a full system reset and prompting the PR handlers to usher us out of the room.

Don’t worry, we fictionally grilled the competition, too. Make sure to check out our other exit interview with the PlayStation 3!