Using an Xbox 360 in 2016: Harder Than You Might Think

About two weeks ago GameStop was advertising an Xbox 360 for $50 USD. The advertisement was somewhat vague because it didn’t state what version of the console they were selling or what came with the console itself. But for $50 it seemed like a good deal to be able to play some older games. Soon after purchase we realized that it was going to cost more than $50 to use and that the ad was not entirely truthful.

GameStop has its used consoles in boxes when they are purchased, but they do guarantee all parts are there and are working. After paying for the console and a game we went home and took the console out of the box and were ready to set it up. Now, we were already aware that the headset we owned would not work and we would need a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter, which we had already ordered. So we plugged the Xbox in and powered it on. During the set-up process we encountered our first problem. Arcade style Xbox 360s do not come equipped with Wi-Fi out of the box. Yes, we could have run an Ethernet cable to the console, but that was not a good long-term solution. So we did some poking around and ordered this, a Netgear Powerline 500 (Ethernet only). It sells for ~$50 USD on Amazon. So as a very short term solution to our internet problem we ran an Ethernet cable until the Powerline could arrive.

The set-up was now complete and we arrived on the Home Screen. We now needed to download our Xbox Live account so we could play our games, but instead we got an error message saying there was no hard drive connected. After a few minutes of looking in settings, I found out that GameStop does NOT include a hard drive with used consoles. So when GameStop claims to include all of the components, they are not entirely truthful. We then had to dig up an old USB flash drive to continue. This wasn’t as much of a problem, but GameStop employees should at least warn you that it doesn’t have any storage, or at least make that apparent in the ad!

After a few days the headset adapter and Powerline 500 arrived. The Powerline was incredibly easy to set-up and works like a charm. The adapter did not work however. After doing some research I found out that what you really needed was an Analog Red and White audio to 3.5mm adapter. Luckily I had one in the house and we somehow jerry-rigged the set-up and got it to work.

So I guess you could say we learned a lesson. Now this could have been avoided if we would’ve done some research beforehand and if GameStop made it clear what version Xbox 360 they were selling and what it comes with. If you are looking to buy a 360 you will only need to worry about the internet and storage issue if you are buying an original Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 E and S both come standard with Wi-Fi and 4gb of internal storage, but if you want to use a headset I would recommend buying one designed specifically for the 360 to avoid any potential issues. But I was surprised how hard it was to set-up a 10-year-old console just to be able to play some old favorite games.  In total to just be able to use the console it was actually about $100 USD just to set-up the console and that does not include any games or anything I already had that I could use. So be where it could cost more that the ad suggests to use an Xbox 360 in 2016.