Ask X3F: Makin' money edition

In this week's edition of Ask X3F, we answer your questions regarding game installs, controller problems and missing achievements. We also take a look at that age old question: Just how do these crazy console manufacturers make money? You can find the answer to these questions and more after the break. You can also find cockles.

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.


If console manufacturers (sony, microsoft) are losing money on the sales of their consoles, how do they make their money? Do they get a cut of each game sold? If so, how much is this cut?

JCS 3 31 07

You got it, JCS, console manufacturers traditionally get their money from game sales. Game publishers pay a license fee to console manufacturers in order to get their games on each console. So, yes, console manufacturers do see some cash from third parties that license their games to run on a console. This is one reason why you see so many different kinds of games on PC, as their are no licensing issues to deal with, which allows anyone with the means to release a game for PC. Typically, revisions in hardware throughout a console's lifespan will allow it to be produced for less money, thus enabling the manufacturer to lose less money and possibly even turn a profit a few years after launch. The Wii, famously, defied the typical scheme and has sold for a profit for a long time, possibly since launch (something we're sure Nintendo is thrilled about).

The other area where money is made is accessory sales. Given how much Microsoft charges for accessories, we'd say that side of the business is very lucrative for them. Of course, with today's newfangled interwebz, we're sure that Microsoft sees some green for every piece of content sold through Xbox Live as well. Make no mistake, it's a risky business. It took Microsoft until October 2006 to turn a profit on the Xbox division, for example.

Dear X3F,
Love the site anyways I have a problem with some "missing achievements" that I unlocked while playing Mirror's Edge and Portal. We have 2 360's in the house and I rented Mirror's Edge and bought The Orange Box. So while my brother was playing Live in the other room I was in the living where there is no internet connection. So I passed Mirror's Edge and some other achievements and passed Portal. Then I went to go play live and had to recover my gamertag. I forgot about the offline achievements I earned and when I finished I checked my achievements and saw that the achievements I had earned disappeared. I tried getting a new achievement to see if that would unlock the missing portal achievements but I only got the one I earned. Any idea how to fix this?


Javier, you're not going to like this. Really, you're not, and we're sorry about that. We hope you're sitting down. You really should be, after all. It'd be kind of weird if you were just standing in front of your computer. Anyhway, here goes: Your Mirror's Edge and Portal achievements are gone. Plain and simple, any offline achievements earned will be lost if you recover your gamertag on a different Xbox. You should still be able to earn them again, though.

Our suggestion is to go grab a Memory Unit and store your gamertag on that. That way you never have to worry about losing achievements or dealing with the hassle of recovering your gamertag.

Morning all at X3F Towers,

Quick question regarding HDD installs that I've been noticing over the past few weeks.

Scenario: You install a game to the HDD drive. You play the game (with the disc in drive) but the game still insists on reading from the DVD rather than the HDD.

I had done this with Rock Band 2. For the past month or so, its been running fine from the HDD. However, last night whilst playing I noticed it was reading all data from the DVD. No matter how many times I rebooted, it was always the case. This is also the case with my COD4 disc and Fallout 3.

Are you aware of any bugs which relate to this or is it just happening to me? I'm thinking a reinstall of the game might fix the problem but then that begs to question "is HDD install worth it if you have to regularly reinstall".



We're not sure what's up with that. To answer your question, we haven't heard of problems similar to yours. We can tell you that when we tested Beautiful Katamari for your question, something strange happened. Upon exiting the installed game to the Dashboard, we were simply greeted with "Play game" instead of "Play game from hard drive." For what it's worth, the game still seemed to play from the hard drive after that. See if reinstalling helps. If it doesn't, at least you can still play 'em the old-fashioned way.

I have had 5 xbox 360 controllers. I sold off 2 of them and replaced them because they were having an issue where they were inputting signals into the left stick when I was not pressing it. 2 of my current 3 controllers have now developed the same problem. Is this a known issue with the 360 controller. Also worth noting that the 4 controllers which I have had the issue with were all different colors (Black, White, Blue, and Pink) and the one that has not had the issue is a halo 3 Spartan edition controller.

Peace and love.


We're fairly certain we've answered a similar question in the past about this. As we discovered then, your problem is actually fairly common. We have the same problem with one of our controllers. Every once in a while, the left stick just gets "stuck" as though it was very gently being nudged up. This can be particularly annoying when trying to get a bead on an enemy. We can't tell you if it results from constantly pressing a certain direction on the controller or if it's just a defect, but it's not uncommon. Hopefully your case isn't too bad, because you're probably stuck with it. Anyone out there know a decent solution to Squeedom's problem?

Dear X3F,

I just got my 360 from christmas (well, on christmas eve) and since having surpassed my friend in his gamerscore (which has sat at a bleak 1800-2100 for the past year and he's had it for 2) and... Gotten kinda pleased with the gaining of achievements and whatnot.

My question is that I'm tempted by the thought of some easy points and... I do have the Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones sitting untouched. I have NO problems playing the Lego Indy game but... I feel I'd be guilty for playing a movie licensed piece of trash that I believe Kung Fu Panda probably is...

Whereas the Lego game I don't feel quite as guilty because it's meant to be harmless fun, and KFP is that crappy, "YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE, NOW BUY THE GAME!" kind of tie in crap.

On top of that, I have a gamefly account and could EASILY abuse it and beat a couple friends on a social networking site at their scores as well, just playing crappy games and earning more and more gamerscore...

Should I feel guilty about it? I don't do it for gloating rights but I do like seeing that number steadily rise... It just tingles the cockles of my heart.

...Oh and if you were to make a suggestion, which would you recommend I hold off for as a hardcore RPG fan? The Fallout 3 Operation Anchorage DLC for Fallout 3 (Which I own) or the Knothole Island DLC for Fable II (Which is more tempting since it's coming sooner, even though I'm just renting it.)?

Thanks for the advice,

Phil, your email gets printed for the sole reason that you used the word "cockles." That warms our cockles, so here's an answer. Should you feel guilty for playing crappy games to earn precious cheevos? No. There's nothing wrong with that. Of course, we'd advise you to play games you enjoy for your achievement whoring pleasure, but if you enjoy the mere act of earning points, then more power to you. Now, if you start cheating to get your precious cheevos, that's another story. As long as it's not impeding someone else's enjoyment, it's fine. For example, don't try to get the pistol achievement in Left 4 Dead unless you plan it with your friends ahead of time.

As for your DLC query, we're inclined to suggest Operation Anchorage for Fallout 3. After all, you actually own the game, so it makes a bit more sense to pick it up. Plus, given it's Bethesda, we imagine it might have a bit more longevity than Knothole Island (though we can't be sure).

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.