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Gamers get heated over Xbox 360

As soon as the Xbox 360 game console was released in the United States last month, the media filled with reports of widespread problems with the system overheating and crashing – but those reports may have been overblown.

According to a spokesperson for Microsoft, which manufactures the 360, there are a “very small percentage” of complaints from consumers, including isolated reports of overheating.

The spokesperson said there is no systematic issue with the 360, however.

Matt Paprocki, reviews editor for video game fan Web site Digital Press, said he found errors popping up with his Xbox 360 unit.

“It just kept giving [me] errors all over the place,” he said.

Elaborating, Paprocki said the 360 would display a screen asking to insert an Xbox 360 disc into the unit, as if a DVD or other non-game media were inside the drive.

The game Need For Speed: Most Wanted was the only game in his collection that worked, with other games like Kameo: Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero and Condemned displaying the error screen.

“We had to play something that wasn’t going to push the system, like an Xbox Live Arcade game,” Paprocki said.

Xbox Live is Microsoft’s online gaming service. Among other features, it sells simple arcade games for $5 to $10 that are significantly less taxing on the 360 hardware than a game purchased at a retail store.

After playing Xbox Live Arcade games for about 20 minutes, Paprocki said every 360 game worked for the rest of the night.

In the days following the 360’s release, Internet message boards lit up with reports of the console overheating, flashing orange error screens and locking up games.

But grumblings have subsided in recent days.

An employee at the Wal-Mart in Bowling Green said they have received no complaints about the 360 hardware. The retailer sold its 14 units within hours of opening on the system’s release Nov. 22.

Paprocki said he believes the problems are exaggerated.

“The minute someone hears that something doesn’t sound right, they start panicking and then they post a message on a board that says theirs is defective,” he said, “and the whole situation just spirals downward.”

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