This might be a little off topic...but there was a story in the Sydney Morning Herald recently about XBox360 damaging discs...I wouldn't even touch an XBox360 with a 10-foot pole after reading this...I don't care which one is easier to develop for!
Xbox not up to scratch, say gamers
February 19, 2008
Kelly Parkinson thought he had found the perfect gift when he splashed out more than $600 on a brand new Xbox 360 for his son's 15th birthday last year.
Six months down the track, Mr Parkinson claims the machine has destroyed $200 worth of games bought from his son's own pocket money and is now effectively defunct.
Hardware problems with early models of the Xbox 360 have proved a high-profile thorn in Microsoft's ambitions to dominate the console market. The worst and most widespread of these - the infamous "red ring of death" (RROD) - moved the company to extend its 12-month warranty to three years last June.
But reports of other hardware problems such as faulty disc drives and scratched game discs not covered in the extended warranty, have also persisted - although Microsoft has never acknowledged these as flaws.
Mr Parkinson's trouble began in November when his son was playing American football game Madden NFL 2007. The game suddenly displayed an error message and, when his son removed it from the drive, it had a large circular scratch on it.
"It was a very clear mechanical circle," Mr Parkinson said.
The machine was sent under warranty to Microsoft for repairs but a month after it was returned, the very same thing happened - this time leaving a deep scratch in basketball game NBS 2K8.
Mr Parkinson said that Microsoft's position on scratched games was that they were caused by mishandling the console, but he maintained his son's Xbox 360 had never left its shelf.
"When I called Microsoft about the problem, in every third sentence they would ask: 'Did you move the Xbox?' Even though they won't admit there is a problem, they keep offering a repair."
Mr Parkinson said that, under Victorian law, he believed he was entitled to a refund for faulty goods - and said his complaint had been accepted by Consumer Affairs Victoria.
"I feel like we can't play games or do anything with it without being at risk each time of losing a $100 game that the company will not reimburse. The Xbox 360 is not fit for the purpose it was intended for - it scratches games, making them unplayable, even after repair."
Although Microsoft was unable to discuss exact details of its policies regarding scratched discs, it says it takes all customer concerns very seriously and suggests any users experiencing hardware problems contact its help desk. "We believe it is important to work with our customers to resolve any issues they are experiencing," the company wrote in an email statement.
Electronic Warranty company Square Trade last week issued a report on the number of service calls it had recorded for the Xbox 360, revealing a 16.4 per cent normal-use failure rate - well in excess of the 3-5 per cent failure rate Microsoft announced a year ago.
Although 60 per cent of service calls were RROD problems, it says that disc read errors accounted for nearly half of the remaining claims. "Other problems we see crop up fairly often are fried video cards, hardware freezes, on/off failures and, interestingly, disc tray malfunctions that also tend to damage game discs," it said.
However Microsoft has dismissed the report, saying that, based on its own community's feedback, the methodology of the report was "suspect".
Microsoft's own terms and conditions state that Xbox 360 users experiencing non-RROD problems out of the 12-month warranty period must pay a fee each time their machine is sent off for repairs. But this has proved too expensive for Paul Frew, the owner of two defunct Xbox 360s with malfunctioning disc drives.
"I've already wasted $1400 on two Xboxes, but I still have my original PS2 which is turning eight years old," he said.
Mr Frew has chosen not to shell out the $132 fee for fixing each of his Xbox 360s, given the company can provide no guarantee that the faults will not crop up again.
Instead he has opted to rent a new Xbox 360 so that he is not liable for any future servicing costs.
"A customer service representative told me that 'apparently' Microsoft is looking at extending the three-year warranty to other issues and if it does get approved for disk problems then I will be refunded my $132," he said. But as the representative could not give a time frame on the decision he had decided not to proceed.
In a survey of its members this week, Mojo, an Australian Xbox community of about 100 gamers aged 25 and above, asked how many times they had had their Xbox 360s replaced or repaired.
Out of the 37 respondents, 16 (43%) said they sent their Xbox 360 in for repairs once, six (16%) said they had sent it in twice and seven (18%) claimed to have clocked up three repairs. Another three (8%) members had sent their box in for repairs more than four times while five (13%) members reported no problems at all.
A community member, with the gamer-tag Jugadero, said: "As far as loyal customers go, you'd be hard pressed to find more ardent supporters of Microsoft's console and related products. However, we're not so one-eyed that we don't know when we've been dealt with shabbily, and it's time someone took Microsoft to task."