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Thread: Microsoft Xbox 360 - scratched discs

  1. #1
    Won Hung Lo wraggster's Avatar
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    xbox 360 Microsoft Xbox 360 - scratched discs

    When it was launched in 2005, Microsoft boss Bill Gates called it the Ferrari of games consoles. Since then Microsoft has sold 28 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide, but the console hasn't always had a smooth ride.

    In 2007, Watchdog reported on a problem which seemed to plague thousands of Xbox 360 owners - the infamous 'Red Ring of Death' - whereby a console would be rendered unable to function.

    We thought that this was the only issue that Xbox 360 owners were encountering, but it appears we were wrong. We've had complaints from many of our viewers telling us there's another serious problem with the Xbox 360s, one that doesn't affect the console but could destroy the games you've paid a hefty wad of cash for.

    What's worse, many of you have told us that Microsoft won't accept responsibility and in fact say it's your fault, not theirs.

    Michael Mowatt, 13, is a devoted fan of the Xbox 360. His mum, Rachel, bought him the console to play when the weather was bad; but in order to buy his games, Michael has to save his pocket money.

    Michael's neighbour keeps several racing pigeons in a coup in his garden and, in order to earn his pocket money for his games, Michael visits three times a week to clean out the pigeons - poo and all.

    It took Michael two months to save enough money for two games and he was excited to get started on them straight away. But after just a couple of weeks of playing his new games discs, Michael heard a strange grinding noise coming from the Xbox 360.

    Large scratch around the disc

    The action on screen came to a halt and when the disc was examined there was a large circular scratch around the disc. Rachel thought that Michael had perhaps done something to it and told him off for misusing the console.

    A few days later the very same thing happened to another of Michael's discs. This time Rachel knew something was wrong. Rachel called Microsoft who refused to cover the costs of replacing the games. The Xbox 360 was still in warranty so Microsoft did take the console away to be looked at, but it still refused to acknowledge responsibility and said it was Michael's fault the discs had ended up scratched. It said that he must have moved the console while playing. Michael resents this claim as he worked so hard to save for the games and is confident he hadn't touched the console at all while it was loading.

    Microsoft blamed the family

    Michael's Xbox 360 isn't the only case where the family have been blamed. The Monaghans are a family of seven - mum, dad and five daughters. Dad, Robert, wanted an activity the whole family could enjoy and so he decided to buy an Xbox 360 along with the game Rock Band.

    The family enjoyed playing together, until only a few weeks later when the music came to a sudden stop. The console was displaying a disc read error and, when inspected, they found a large circular scratch along the surface of the disc. Robert wasn't pleased and thought the girls had done something wrong, so he put the Xbox away as a punishment.

    When the Monaghan's eldest daughter, Alana, turned 11 they decided to buy a new game and put the family band back together. This time they bought Guitar Hero: World Tour but after only an hour and half of play they discovered the disc had been scratched and ruined again. This time Robert knew it wasn't his daughters and he called Microsoft.

    Again Microsoft denied responsibility, telling the family it was their fault and that they'd not be replacing the games. The family were furious and adamant that the console had not been touched while the game was playing. The Xbox was taken away to be looked at and the Monaghan's were left without their console.

    Complaints also extend outside the UK

    This problem isn't restricted to the UK either. The EU's Consumer Commissioner has written to Microsoft twice, asking why she's receiving so many complaints about the Xbox 360. Further still, in the United States, lawyers are organising a class action against the company.

    The law firm believes that Microsoft's stance, that Xbox 360 owners are cavalierly throwing their consoles around the room, doesn't make sense. It has spoken to a number of people who have insisted they didn't move the console at all.

    We decided to set up an experiment with two Xboxes, a brand new console and one that we knew had already caused a scratch. We placed them both on level, stable surfaces. We arranged vases of water to indicate any movements, sealed off a secure space and inserted brand new games. Watchdog researchers then played solidly for six hours a day for three days, with neither Xbox being moved once.

    After three days, the team hadn't had a single scratch. The conditions, however, weren't exactly what you'd find in an average teenager's bedroom, so we decided to take the test a little further and this time the result was quite different.

    Boxes subjected to simulated vibrations

    We sent the same Xbox 360s to a lab in Hampshire, where special testing equipment replicated the vibrations you'd find in a typical home. The first test simulated walking and caused the consoles no problem at all. Then the boxes were subjected to shock vibration testing, which simulated vibrations equivalent to that of someone putting a book down on the table near the Xbox. The newer console passed with flying colours; however, the older console caused a scratch similar to those experienced by the previous owner.

    Our testers told us that the console had failed "very, very quickly" and that these are the kinds of vibrations you'd expect any household to have - particularly when playing games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero that encourage you to get physically involved.

    Microsoft unwilling to admit there's a problem

    The US lawyers have had similar test results to Watchdog's and they're likely to be a key part of their case against Microsoft. In the meantime, it seems Microsoft is unwilling to admit there's any such problem with the consoles.

    When we contacted Microsoft it said the following: "Microsoft works hard to make certain that consumers in the United Kingdom clearly understand the quality and value which Microsoft provides including Xbox 360. We're committed to building consumer confidence by listening to our Xbox community and stand behind our products and services. The vast majority of Xbox 360 customers enjoy an excellent gaming and entertainment experience right out of the box.

    "Microsoft reaffirms its longstanding position that it's not been able to ascertain any defect in the Xbox 360 console that causes concentric gouges (that is, 'scratching') on discs when a console is in a stationary position. Indeed, despite extensive testing and examination under static operating conditions, Microsoft has never been able to reproduce the concentric gouge that causes disc readability problems or find any such defect in consoles returned by consumers for examination. It's only with the movement of a console that such 'disc scratching' may occur. Consequently, Microsoft provides notices on the Xbox 360 console itself, in the user manual, and on its website - warning consumers not to move the console with a disc in it while in use.

    "A very small fraction of our customers have contacted us about disc scratching. For those customers, Microsoft offers online support tools and call-in centre support and we encourage consumers to contact us online at: or by telephone on 0800 587 1102.

    "Customers can send their consoles to Microsoft for further examination and repair, if required.

    "Microsoft is committed to fully support its customers and honour its warranty obligations, but simply cannot replicate the disc scratching problem that's been alleged with the console in a stationary position."

  2. #2
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    Microsoft has worked dilligently in attempting to clear up this issue its not nearly as bad as wragster makes it seem , even though these games were getting scratched it is still the customers fault because this issue can occur in very isolated situations but it can be caused by a couple things
    1st if the xbox 360 is moved during play even if the xbox is off a game would be scratched - there could be added protection put in place but that would mean more expensive dvd drives which would raise the cost of the console (Microsoft wants to make the console available to everyone at a decent price - so what if precautions must be made)
    2nd the xbox 360 requires full power to run the console properly - most people have the xbox plugged into a surge protector/power bar rather than into a wall outlet this connection limits the amount of power the xbox 360 recieve and can cause this issues to occur
    - Microsoft states that the xbox should never be hooked into a surge protector/power bar on page 8 of the xbox 360 owner manual
    None of this is microsofts problem i have done xbox support for 2 years and its in very rare occasions i will hear of scratched discs - about once every 2 months - 50 calls a day
    Microsofts call driving statistics show that the scratched disc only takes 1% of our call volume which is very low - most of that 1% has moved the xbox console during play so that leaves very little
    There are disc replacement programs set up with every game manufacturer if one of you games get scratched call the manufacturer and for a small fee you can send the damaged disc to them and they will send a new one - process takes up to 2 weeks and can cost at most $20 canadian $15 american
    The xbox has sold 28 million units so far and these are just a few cases but the other 27.72 million are not having these problems - and also as wraggster stated that the new consoles are getting better and microsoft is working toward a solution
    Because of the way the console is made (To save you money by making HD gaming as cheap as $199) you will not want the xbox in any area where it would be subject to vibrations as that could also cause the scatches
    This was all done for a reason completely fixing it would not be cost effective for something that no-one really has issues with

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deshevy View Post
    Because of the way the console is made (To save you money by making HD gaming as cheap as $199) you will not want the xbox in any area where it would be subject to vibrations as that could also cause the scatches
    This was all done for a reason completely fixing it would not be cost effective for something that no-one really has issues with
    Sounds typical of a lot of companies. They save 5c per unit made and say it's not cost effective to implement a feature that would save some of their customers, (not likely to be future customers) a lot of grief - "It's only a few customers so who cares?"

    Didn't some of the early consols accidentally have that rubber piece on the DVD lens missing due to a factory error?

    Anyway if the new consoles are OK then something has changed and obviously something that MS acknowledge else why did it change? That fact that it has changed virtually admits guilt on behalf of MS IMO.

    Denial of guilt is normal corporate/Government behaviour. Never admit guilt at any time or you'll be sued to death from here to eternity.

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