Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another EPIC FAIL for Microsoft Hardware

A new Seattle lawsuit is breathing new life (or death) into the whole whole Xbox 360 disc-scratching debacle. While this is not a new issue, the lawsuit coalesces a few years of evidence into a decent argument. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a pdf of the newly unsealed document, which quotes from depositions of Microsoft employees and contains a number of venomous assertions including:

1. That the 360 was defectively designed, citing its tray-loading optical disc drive as "an unusual choice for a product designed to be oriented vertically, and which rotates game discs at 12x." The suit points out that the Wii and PS3, which can be placed vertically, are equipped with slot-loading drives. (Of course, the suit didn't mention the hacking efforts of this guy.)

2. That Microsoft was alerted to the defect by store employees after demonstrations prior to launch. Microsoft blamed it on people tilting the console and subsequently rejected three possible solutions that, in their mind, didn't outweigh their own negatives: hindering other parts of the console, lengthening load times, or increasing cost.

and 3. That Microsoft has been using the defect to rake in cash. Having received thousands of complains, Microsoft instituted a policy of replacing the disc drive when a customer cries hard enough. Of course, if you aren't under warranty, Microsoft wants roughly $100 to give you another one, which Microsoft admitted is really no different from the drive that ruined your fancy Halo 3 Collector's Disc.

These are just a few points levied against the company in the suit. Many forum posters argue that moving your vertical 360 while playing is just stupid, but the suit argues that the disc RPM coupled with other hardware flaws creates enough vibration to "unchuck" or dislodge the disc and cause harm. Rob, Gene, or anyone else who's had their 360 for a while now, any thoughts? Andrew, you just got one so I'll let you bask in the newness of it before I ask you to criticize the hardware.