Have You Experienced The Dragon Age 2 ‘Unable to Read Disk’ Error?

Question for GameFront’s loyal readers: Have those of you playing Dragon Age 2 experienced any serious tech problems?

We’re big fans of Dragon Age 2. In most ways we were blown away by it, which is why I gave it a 95 out of 100 in my review. That 5 point deduction was due largely to some technical issues that, at the time of my review, seemed minor. During the first week I played, I experienced stuttering (weird for a console game), and pop ups. Nothing major, but definitely worth noting as this game seemed geared more for consoles than the last one.

Had I had had another week to play before publishing my review, I might have deducted a couple of more points. In addition to the stuttering and pop ups, the game freezes up from time to time, but the worst issue of all is the possibility that Dragon Age is just buggy. Yesterday, while playing the same campaign I’ve been enjoying, my game froze and I received the following error message:

Given that up to this point I hadn’t received this error (more than a week’s worth of playing), I followed those instructions. A quick check of the disk revealed zero flaws or scratches, so as commanded I rebooted. Restarting my game where I left off, I managed to get about 5 minutes past the point where I’d been locked out, only to receive the same error message. Fortunately, the auto-save in Dragon Age 2 is very solid, so I was able to resume at almost the point I froze up, but sure enough, about 5 minutes past that point it happened again.

Xbox.com/support had zero useful information, but a quick Google search later, I learned I wasn’t the only player gnashing his teeth. Over at the BioWare Dragon Age 2 forums, user SonvarTheMighty requested assistance in dealing with the error 6 days ago. The next day, user NickFurious reported the same problem, followed by LEETSeesh, ExcellaAmell, infantile and more. They each have different versions of the game, and different editions of the Xbox 360 console. The only thing they had in common is that their disks were erroring out, and that no other games experienced the issue.

A quick check over at Xbox360Achievments confirms that the problem apparently plagued the beta version of Dragon Age 2. User Snake42069 suggests the following solution:

1. check another game. If the other game works fine, proceed to step 2.
3. Turn off the 360 (with disk in drive). Remove hard drive.
4. Turn the 360 back on, and open and close tray until the 360 notices the disk. If it pops on as soon as 360 boots, kudos to you. DO NOT START GAME YET.
5. While your 360 is still on, pop your Hard drive back in. Your display will turn off a couple times before it reloads the boot screen.
6. The disk should still be “read” allowing you to install the game to the hard drive and save your disk reader thing all the harsh punishment its going to suffer when playing this awesome game.

Granted, that’s for the beta version. If that doesn’t work, you might check back at the BioWare Forums, where SonvarTheMight reports their solution – remove the hard drive from reboot, start a new game, reattach the hard drive – and user Habitat 67 suggests clearing system cache and removing and reinstalling the hardrive. Different solutions have been suggested by other players, but the consensus seems to be that they only work for a second.

In case you’re curious, I can verify that none of these solutions worked for me or my girlfriend (who, I might add, is WAY more into this game than I am). Every time we got the error, we rebooted and found ourselves able to play through about 5-10 more minutes before getting it again. It essentially reduced gameplay to a kind of stutter, able to advance a short way through the story before being errored out. It’s only the fact that the auto-save is very good that kept us from ripping out my hair, and we eventually stopped playing out of frustration.

Aside from the conversation on the BioWare forums, there’s not a lot of chatter about this on the interwebs, but we’ve reached out to BioWare for comment. We’ll update you all once they let us know if this is a known issue, news to them, a big deal, or something a few lonely players like myself will just have to suck up. While we wait, let us know if you’ve experienced the issue, and what, if anything, you’ve done to fix it. We’ll post your suggestions in a follow up.

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18 Comments on Have You Experienced The Dragon Age 2 ‘Unable to Read Disk’ Error?


On March 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

If you search for Black Ops or Bulletstorm you see the same issue. Most people don’t take care of their Xbox properly (as in playing the thing for days at a time) or they never bothered to get M$ to check their system out.

Oh and disks are read only.

Ross Lincoln

On March 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Disks are not read only – you can install the disk directly to your hard drive.


On March 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Yes, I recieve the error pretty regularly. One night I recieved the error 7 times in the time frame of 2-3 hours. Since the games release, I have had only one play through were I have not had the disc read error. I usually get the error when I transition from one area to another. I just upgraded to the new 360 slim over the holidays.


On March 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I have played for the last couple hours and got the same error. Your first commenter might be correct about some xbox owners but mine is in pristine condition and well taken care of. I usually only play a few hours at a time. Its a new xbox slim that has only been played through fallout: new vegas, this, and Halo Reach. Tops about 60 hours spread across the last 4 months.

The disc is pristine. My other games all work flawlessly. This is an issue with Dragon Age 2 at least, as I do not have any interest in Bulletstorm or Black Ops I cannot confirm its an issue for either of those.

I’m installing as we speak to avoid running into it any more. Putting in Fallout: New Vegas did the trick for me to at least install the game to the HDD. I’d definitely try that first.


On March 17, 2011 at 3:49 am

Has there been any update on this? I am encountering this issue still on the Signature Edition (which seems to be the common denominator.

Are they bad disks? Is the Signature Edition buggy? What’s going down?!


On March 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Installing the game yielded about 4 hours with no error. I think it is a bug with the functions that read from the DVD. I will continue playing and see if it ever pops up again after installing the game to the HDD.


On March 18, 2011 at 2:02 am

Yes agreed – I installed to the HDD and it’s fine in Kirkwall but no joy outside of it. I might just delete the game from the HDD and delete all the saves and try again and see how it goes!


On March 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Same problem here. I have to 2 copies of Dragon Age 2 and neither work on my console, but both work on my friends. This is very frustrating! Since DA2 has stopped working on mine, Awakenings has suddenly stopped working also. Any other game I try works perfectly.


On March 21, 2011 at 7:56 am

Just to let people know, I uninstalled the game (leaving the DLC on the hard drive) and now the game works fine.

I can only assume there must be buggy software when you install the game to disk!


On April 3, 2011 at 6:32 am

Just bought DA 2 yesterday after playing the demo. I was so exited to begin my adventure, after about 10 minutes in I experienced my first unable to read disk error. After getting the same message 4 times on the same spot in the game (load screen while traveling to kirkwall) I assumed it was a bad disk,since I have NEVER received this message with any other game i’ve played before. I took the game back last night and got a brand new copy. I was able to play thru the spot that was giving me issues orginally, but as soon as I made it into kirkwall, about 10 min in I got the “unable to read disk error” again. I have tried to install the game directly on my xbox 360, but I keep getting a disk error message about 40-50% into install. I have tried the suggestions on this page but to no avail I am still stuck with the same error message. Bioware is no help with this issue. I read that they are going to release a patch soon, do you think this issue will be addressed in this patch?


On April 3, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Jen, you are not alone. My 360 works with all my other games aside from this one game which will read error when trying to load to the main splash screen. Won’t even get as far as the bioware advert at the start. I took my HDD and the game to a friend in which it works perfectly for him. Now here’s the real brain fryer; The same thing happens to me with the Demo version which does not require a disc, and has happened upon finishing the conversation with Flemmeth. Demo is just fine until that point. It does this with or without a disc in the drive. I have tried installing the game to my HDD but it won’t get past 0% with the same error message.

It has left me very upset as I have traded out the game disc, transferred content to another HDD, pulled apart my 360 to check for damage finding no problem there. It’s simply frustrating that Bioware won’t acknowledge this issue, or if it has, hasn’t announced that it is in the process of fixing the issue. They are usually a very good company and have released such fun and powerful game titles only to fail us so badly on this one. It doesn’t seem characteristic of them at all. This concerns me greatly about the future of their company.


On April 10, 2011 at 2:51 am

I have this ‘Unable to Read Disk’ Error too. This was tested on two XBOX’s.
When I tried to install it onto HDD it stopped at 45% on one XBOX and on the other one at 48%. This means the read error is somewhere in the middle of the disc. The disc is in good condition.

Knowing EA and their attempt to protect their products, I believe this is the copy protection that is making the disc fail on some systems XBOX’s. I noticed that on one XBOX it failed the first time installing at 48% and the second time at 49%. The 49% failure had a stop at 48% but continued after a few seconds and then failed at 49%. I believe the copy protection, which is actually one or more invalid tracks on the disk. The laser could sometimes read a bit or byte correct and sometimes not. This type of copy protection is by my understanding actually an act to create a kind of faulty disc that could work but not 100%.

I feel, as a genuine customer, that I buy a “faulty” product and the people with tweaked XBOX’s can enjoy the illegal copy of the game.


On April 13, 2011 at 7:26 am

Same as Juergen posted…I finally found a fix for my specific xbox. I had to back up all my saved games and reformat my Hard drive. After that I immediately installed the game to it. I was getting the 45-49% install error prior to reformatting. It installed smooth and I was finally able to play thru the game with no more issues.


On April 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

After trying almost everything with the laser of my xbox, finally came to the same conclusion that is was the game. First spent most of my time trying to fix the open tray error. Luckily came across this page and tried the disk drive removal method which WORKED! …for now… thanks!


On April 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm

OMG im dying to play this game but im haveing all the same problems… tryin the disk removal method right now and if that works installing it to my hard drive… if not ebgames best give me my money back or im gonna go postal up in that place


On April 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

it should never be this hard to play a video game. ever.


On July 21, 2011 at 5:43 am

I doubt this is due to poor maintenance of the XBox as the first commenter suggests. It is happening to way too many people, and it is happening to very specific games (usually JUST DA 2). I have played dozens of games, both new and used from GameFly, on my XBox, and have only had this kind of problem with Fable 2 (known issue with the limited edition, resolution was to install to hard drive) and Dragon Age 2.

I suspect this will also become a known issue, and suspect that the resolution will be installing the game to the hard drive. But shame on Bioware (just like Microsoft Game Studios) for releasing games with obvious widespread production issues.


On November 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

So I just bought an HD flatscreen so I could play this ing game cause the text on my old tv was so small I was just playing it blindly. I get home, set up my new flatscreen, plug my 360 (arcade version) in, and it starts giving me this ! WTH? It won’t even read the disc! No start menu, nothing. It played just fine before I got the tv, now it won’t even read it!