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October 25, 2005

Wal-Mart powers off Xbox 360 demo consoles

Posted by David Hunter at 1:42 PM ET.

John Andersen at GameSpot:

Gamers looking to be among the first to get their hands on an Xbox 360 controller at Wal-Mart demo kiosks can still do it, but they won’t actually be controlling anything.

Xbox 360 kiosks placed in Wal-Mart stores across the country have been shut off, said a Microsoft spokesperson contacted this afternoon. The reason, according to Microsoft, is due to the console causing interference with Wal-Mart’s wireless “hand scanner” inventory system. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem as being “minor” and says a software solution is in the works to correct it.

GameSpot became aware of the problem after one of its editors entered a Wal-Mart store and discovered the Xbox 360 kiosk had been shut off. The Wal-Mart rep confirmed that the console had been causing problems with the store’s scanners.

Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, instructed all stores to shut down the 360 kiosks.

Microsoft said it identified the problem and within 24 hours had deployed new software to Wal-Mart stores.

The exact details of the problem aren’t clear, but it does pose worries for in-home interference problems. A Microsoft spokesman is quoted as saying it’s not a big problem:

“Xbox 360, like portable phones, wireless network routers, and Bluetooth devices, emits radio frequency in the 2.4GHz band. It is possible that devices that do not comply with FCC/ETSI rules of operation in this band may not properly handle interference from other 2.4GHz sources. Such devices would be extremely rare in a home environment.”



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