MYTH: The Xbox 360's three-year warranty covers any hardware flaw.False. This is a common myth, and unfortunately one that's false. Microsoft boosted the Xbox 360 warranty to three years in light of nasty reports of "Red Rings of Death." But this new warranty extension won't cover faulty DVD drives (another common Xbox 360 problem), hard drive errors, or other problems not related to the Red Ring of Death.
In fact, the official Xbox 360 Warranty Coverage FAQ confirms this repeatedly. The document specifically notes that the new three-year warranty "enhancement" will cover only "certain general hardware failures indicated by three flashing red lights," aka the Red Rings of Death. They also mention that premium console warranty upgrades, offered by many game shops, will continue to cover "issues outside the scope of this specific three-year warranty." In other words, if your Xbox 360 is over a year old and fails for any reason other than Red Rings, you're outta luck. Sorry, sport!
MYTH: Bungie left Microsoft and has nothing more to do with them.A half-truth, at best. Uber-successful Halo developer Bungie Studios has long expressed a desire to return to its independent roots - something that couldn't be realized as long as Microsoft owned the studio. So when Bungie negotiated a separation from Microsoft, just days after Halo 3's launch, gamers threw around all kinds of wild-eyed theories: that Halo would go to the PS3, that Bungie would make DS games, and plenty of other nonsense.
The fact is that Microsoft is a minority stakeholder in Bungie LLC, the new private incarnation of the studio, and that Bungie has repeatedly said the two companies would work together in the future. "We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft's platforms," Bungie head Harold Ryan said when the news broke. "We greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through Halo and beyond."
That doesn't mean that Bungie won't work on new projects for other consoles - one of Bungie's audio directors said that the company "could" work for other consoles. But in the short-term, Bungie still has close ties with Microsoft and will likely continue to focus on the Xbox 360 and PC.
MYTH: HD-DVD is beating Blu-ray.Wrong. The HD format war is a complex issue. Just how does one measure the success of a particular format? Movie sales? (Blu-ray is currently winning handily) Hardware sales? (HD-DVD is well ahead in "standalone players") Studio support? (Blu-ray is ahead, for now)
Rather than get bogged down in numbers, we'll take a broader approach. But first, a little background. HD-DVD launched several months before its rival Blu-ray, and as we learned from the Xbox 360, launching early is a key advantage. Price-wise, HD-DVD players are much cheaper than comparable Blu-ray players, and HD-DVD discs and players are cheaper to manufacture. As for support, more movie studios are shifting from exclusive Blu-ray deals to publish on both HD formats. A good example is Paramount, which recently signed a deal to release its movies only on HD-DVD for the time being.
So HD-DVD is winning, right? Not so fast. In reality, consumers are simply buying Blu-ray films at the moment...though that tenuous lead could flip-flop during the sales rush of 2007. For the moment, though, it looks like the edge lies with Blu-ray.
MYTH: Blu-ray is beating HD-DVD.Wrong again. Maybe we spoke too soon. In reality, Blu-ray and HD-DVD are in a virtual stalemate. How do we know? Because Sony's CEO said so himself. "It's been a difficult fight. We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides," Sir Howard Stringer recently told the Associated Press.
The problem is that, at the moment, both HD-DVD and Blu-ray are floundering as new formats. DVD still dominates the sales charts, as most North American households aren't interesting in investing in a new, expensive format when regular DVD works just fine. This situation could change; the 2007 holiday season may see Blu-ray take a more commanding lead, or see HD-DVD explode in popularity due to its low-priced players. But for the meantime, this battle is mostly being fought on the PR front because neither format is selling particularly well. This fight is a draw for the foreseeable future.