back to article Microsoft spoils Christmas with Xbox 360 locking feature

An upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update in early December will add a "Family Timer" feature that lets parents set a limit on gaming time. Merry Christmas, Billy! You have exactly two hours to enjoy your present. Similar to the Windows Vista counterpart, the timer can restrict gaming on a per-day or per-week basis. When the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    1$ a day for no play

    Does anyone remember our "folks" paying us $1.00 a day to "not watch TV" or only play on our computer for 2 hours...after our homework was finished? No play. Those were the good ol days when parents ran the household. I think it was a good thing.

  2. Rockvole
    Gates Horns

    Keep the RRODs outside the warranty period

    Is this just a ploy by microsoft to reduce the number of RROD failures within the 3 year warranty ? If it gets used less it will fail less.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    When I Was Young

    My folks used to use the t-day system. Any day with the letter t in it was a day without my playstation.

    Recalling this makes me feel old :(

  4. Gilbert Wham

    OLD!!!!!!!one eleven!1

    If your parents could deny you the use of a playstation, you are not 'old'. Fucking hell.

  5. Kevin


    A playstation?? my parents took away my 2,400 bps modem and NES controller that makes me feel REALLY old next to your Playstation :(

  6. b shubin

    Potentially enlightening

    perhaps the 45% to 51% of the American public that are functionally illiterate (can read road signs, package labels, etcetera; have trouble with paragraphs, filling applications and the like; average vocabulary approximately 200 words), will now have to learn something new.

    more likely, TV ratings, food and retail sales will increase ("at least we can watch/buy/eat something!").

    bread and circuses by any other name...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    re: Old

    Playstation? NES??

    You young whippersnappers! For my generation it was the Atari VCS and 'hand helds' like Grandstand's Astro Wars. Now THAT's old (unless there is anyone here that had a Space War or Pong machine at home).

    I'll get my zimmer frame...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    RE: OLD!!!!!!!one eleven!1

    The playstation was released about ooh, 13 years ago, so I think I'm entitled to feel 'old' for a moment here. I know I'm not actually old but hey, if you were to stop for a moment and actually think about what I said then you wouldn't be able to act like a moron on el reg now would you?

    They also took away the nes, snes and nabbed the power cable of my old ripping 166MHz, 16Mb PC. Playstation was just the last thing in the food chain.

  9. Tom


    I really hope my girlfriend doesn't read this and figure out how to use it

  10. Ben Nevison

    @ old?

    2,400 bps modem? You were lucky!

    All my net access was through 'Data blasts' at the end of certain computer game related television programs. They hardly ever worked though :(

    I loved my speccy.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Gotta love it

    When private capitalist monopolies start blathering about their interest in child welfare.

    I mean really, we already have psychiatrists specialized in child psychology. No need for "polls". Why not simply consult the expert ?

    Or is Microsoft trying to convince people that psychology is a field that can be determined by poll results ?

  12. Albert

    In theory good - in practice bad

    Being able to limit time on consoles isn't a bad thing as hopefully it will encourage other activites.

    But expecting the console manufacturers to fix the problem is wrong. It is all back to parenting.

    Agree the rules - mutual agreement

    Then enforce

    Think of it this way. What's after the console age. Will we have to get those toys controlled as well. Or... why not sort out the parenting side and then it doesn't matter what the toy or device is the rules are the same.

  13. Shaun Vizer


    Sheesh my folks used to take away the stick I was using forget about playstations or modems!

    PS: I've just taken my coat off looks like it has to go back on now..

  14. Dave Burns
    Paris Hilton


    Is the idea good? possibly... only for the parents that are clued up about the update though, but saying that if the parents cant control the usage without the lock, why even bother?

    I remember once when I was a kid my mum removed every fuse from every plug in my room! lost many hourse of my life to the NES and the mega drive so I cant blame her!

    I'm just really concerned about myself arriving home VERY drunk at night and messing with the settings and accidentally locking myself out of my console.

    Paris angle?

  15. Simon Ball
    Thumb Down

    Yeah, right.

    Given how unimaginitive the average person is with regard to their passwords, I doubt it will take long for kids to disable this feature.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    I am fed up with the amount of arguments and tantrums it causes when I tell my son to get off his console. It usually goes along the lines of 'Get off, you've been on it 2 hours' 'No I haven't I've only had 1/2 an hour' With a timer, no arguments about how long he has been on it, just about why I restrict him to 2 hours max at a time.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (Some) Parents today are weak

    What ever happened to controlling your children?! I was told when I could play my ZX Spectrum (with rubber keyboard and black & white TV) - normally it involved doing my homework first and eating my tea!

    However, the idea of the timer could be useful. If the child knows that the console will power off after 1 hr (for example), then the pain of hearing "just 5 more minutes" goes away - hopefully.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Wife...

    Would love this for PC's. Unfortunatly I would just do the same to her...

    "Are you plaing WoW again? I want to play Sims"... :-)

  19. Blitz
    Thumb Up

    Timer is a good thing

    Why is this ruining Christmas?

    Why is it such a horrible thing to limit your children's time in front of any electronic babysitter. When the timer is up - send them outside to play, yes shockingly enough, one can send those obese little fatties outside to play to actually get <gasp!> some exercise! Or even worse <this is going too far> have them open up a book to read and actually use their imagination!

    As Cosby once said "When I was a kid we walked uphill to school both ways. We ate dirt and we were thankful for that dirt!"

  20. Shakje


    You eat dirt?

  21. Mark Rendle

    Re: Gotta love it

    To all intents and purposes, psychology *is* a field determined almost entirely by poll results.

  22. Stu
    Thumb Down

    *cough* When i was a lad.....

    My parents thought I was a genius simply because I could USE the home computer. Admitted, it was a Sinclair Spectrum, and did need a saint's patience simply to get it to read ALL the data from the cassette deck, but I was actively encouraged to play Dizzy all day long!

    Hell, they could never get me off my Amiga, even for food! =P

    I don’t know if I would have ever have reached “certified code monkey” without the helpful backing from my parents =)

  23. A J Stiles

    So how long

    So how long will it be before some little scrote reports his parents to ChildLine because they blocked him from using his XBox 360?

    Or what if it's not ChildLine, but a hired hitman? (Oops, that's already happened.)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    all gone abit Pythonesque (Ben & Blitz)

    2,400 bps modem? You were lucky! in my day all we had was a paper bag, and for dinner we had to eat dirt...

  25. Parax

    Nuff Said.

  26. Rob

    In our day...

    ... our dad used to wake'us up 'alf hour before we had to go to bed... piece of coal and a worm for our tea.... etc.

    Coat is well and truly on :)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    feeling old?

    for me it was the Atari 2600. And there wasn't any of this lame "pay to not play" crap. It was "get your @ss outside or you never use it again.

    None of this "stress" and "argument" shite either. If some new toy or gadget was a means for us kids to add hassle, then it went away. So we learned to not make it an issue.

    Thanks to Dr. Spock, nanny-state liberals and their "kids never lie" based Stormtrooper Child Welfare shocktroops (guilty until proven innocent, warrantless search, no miranda) and an endless cycle of pandering to children/controlling their parents thru Media, anything resembling "parenting" is now considered "abuse".

    *This* is why society is heading down the commode. Not the games, not the shows, but the lack of parenting and leftist governments who allow teachers and bureaucrats more control of a child than his/her own family.

  28. bambi

    paid to NOT play?


    No wonder kids grow up expecting everything and claiming its thier 'right' to have it all.

    Parents are 100% to blame for a childs poor upbringing, not teachers, not schools, not government, not games makers not the internet.

    The number of kids who fall behind during the early years of education simply due to the fact their parents are too busy to read with them, or talk to them is shocking. Its all too easy to farm them off to a child minder at 6am and have them delivered back at 9pm. The lame excuse of being too busy with work is just unacceptable, if you are too busy to look after your kids dont have kids! Simple.

    Someone should do a study into the chemical inbalance that occurs in 95% of all new parents causing them to act irrationally and to pass all responsuibility of anything bad thier kids do onto the teachers or child minders, God forbid it has anything to do with the lack of a real parent being there.

    *Rant over*

    Didnt reven take my coat off.

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