For me, though, the biggest issue with the 360 has always been laser burn. I've had something around 5-6 games made redundant by this issue in the past 2 years and, like everybody with this problem, I've had to compensate for them myself. When laser burn strikes, it's always up to you to deal with it. Microsoft shelves any responsibility for the console fault because it 'says on the box' that it shouldn't be moved when the disc is running.
Anyone who has spoken to Xbox Support on the issue of laser burn will be greeted with the typical "Don't move the console then" and "Why don't you get the disc buffed at your local game store?"
What's more, Microsoft will only replace a game if they publish it, and even then they charge for it. Other publishers offer the same service for their own games but, again, the service costs.
It's possible to understand why they won't compensate though. To ignore cases of games laser burnt by the console having been moved when it clearly states on the box not to do that is fair enough. Mostly.
However if you're like me, and have a disc laser burnt by the console for no reason when it is in a stable condition, then surely compensation is in order?
Well, as Microsoft likes to prove now and again; they are just a big greedy corporation with no one but themselves at heart.
Having had my FIFA 13 disc savagely scratched to death by my Xbox 360 console for no apparent reason at all I decided enough was enough and wanted something. Compensation from the company whose console had already done exactly the same mysterious laser burn to a few of my games before was in order.
Remember to read what I'm about to tell you with the knowledge that this laser burn case was not my fault. My console is not broken or faulty and simply, like my first Xbox console, decided to have a go at one of my discs.
So let's take a look at what Microsoft did.
Contacted Xbox Support On January 3rd Through Online Chat Support and Conducted Research on The Matter
Being forced to contact Xbox Support via online chat wasn't what I wanted, but it seemed the only option, as my phone had been out of order for the last 3 weeks.
I began a chat and explained that my disc was laser burnt for no apparent reason. The response received pretty much sums up any support person when you have a complaint with their product: Denial.
Over and over the woman on the other end kept saying not to move the console when in use and linking me to the EA Disc Replacement website.
After getting nowhere with this person, I decided it was time to employ sneaky cornering tactics. Doing a quick search online found other people had the issue of random laser burns too. According to an article these could happen just as much, if not slightly more, when the Kinect was connected to the console; though my own one was Kinect free.
I found an entire group of articles on a website dedicated to the issue of unexpected disc scratches by the Xbox (all referenced articles that I have a link to are linked at the end of the article).
Doing some more research found an article on Wikipedia dedicated to faults with the console. According to a report by 'The Llamma's Adventure's'; the 360 lacks a mechanism to keep the disc in place, so even vibration can cause the disc to move around and get scratched when stationary. I'll let these quotes say the rest:
"Tilting or moving consoles with these drives, when operating with a disc spinning inside, can potentially cause damage to the disc, in some cases rendering the disc unusable. Discs have also been scratched by stationary consoles during normal use. One side of the disc can also be scratched by the disc tray if it malfunctions by closing with the disc in an odd position."
Not done there though:
"Prompted by consumer reaction to its February 2007 report, Kassa performed several tests with Xbox 360 units from consumers who claimed their Xbox had the problem. Kassa stabilized these consoles and positioned them at a location remote from contact by anyone. The results of the laboratory conditions test revealed that one of the nine tested Xbox 360 units had spontaneously scratched a disc after five hours of gaming. The consoles were also tested standing upright, and the test revealed that three of the nine tested Xbox 360s significantly scratched discs."
So there it is, right there; proof. I think it's safe to say that the Xbox 360 DOES randomly laser burn discs.
Despite this massive digression, though, let's return to what was started at the top.
After doing this research, I told the Xbox Support woman that there were articles and posts online that supported my accusation that the 360 does just massacre discs out the blue.
To my shock she ignored me and simply linked me (again) to the EA support page. I then asked her: "Am I to assume that you are denying that the Xbox 360 Console randomly laser burns discs?"
As I recall, she simply replied either with yet another link or a description of how the console only does it when being moved.
That is disgusting 'Support' Microsoft.
E-mail of Complaint and 1st Phone Call
Due to my outrage by the support person I had just spoken to, it was time to complain. Unfortunately, Microsoft don't like complaints and refuse to give any decent way of contacting them unless you need help with a particular issue.
I decided to start yet another chat, however this time with a Microsoft assistant. Asking for a way to complain led to nearly 10 minutes of waiting until; finally, I received a link to an e-mail page. Funny it doesn't appear on the website normally.
Upon writing out and sending a well-worded e-mail of complaint demanding an explanation and some compensation, I received a response the next day.
It was short, reading:
Thank you for contacting Microsoft Customer Service.
I have learned from your email that you are having complaints about Xbox 360 console.
Xbox has a dedicated support team to assist you with these types of questions. You may contact the Xbox Support Team directly by calling 1-800-4-MY-XBOX (800-469-9269). Support is available from 6:00A.M. - 10:00 P.M. Pacific Time, 7 days a week including holidays.
For more information, please visit the following site:
Let me also provide you the dedicated Chat Support team for Xbox: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/contact-us
Please let me know if you have any other concern about this email.
This was a massively disappointing response, and not just because it didn't give me the call times or number for the UK. I was complaining, not asking for help anymore. I was moaning to Microsoft about them and their support, so why were they telling me to talk to the Xbox Support team?
It became obvious that the simple and best thing to do all along would've been to request a call from Xbox Support to my phone. That way mobile charges would be avoided and the ability to speak directly to another human being would be gained.
So that's what I did.
The call was mediocre. In truth the support person on the other end came across confused and didn't know what to do. They simply explained about how (yep, you guessed it) not to move the console and buff the disc and blah blah blah... All that, to be quite frank, crap.
She actually asked me what I wanted her to do. I replied with something like: "Well what can you do? I'm not happy about this and maybe some compensation would be in order!?"
She didn't compensate me though and after going through a pointless process that involved giving her my details and my console serial number, then answering questions on my 360; she simply said "Yeah, that is unfortunate" and then went on (did you guess right again?) "Well it's best not to move the console when it is in use. You could try getting your disc buffed...."
Really? I'd already told her multiple times that the issue was not with me affecting the console.
The phone call ended. It would've been easy to badger her over and over but that would be unfair. She didn't seem to be very confident about tackling the issue and I already felt bad for putting her on the spot.
2nd Phone Call
After deciding to give up on the issue, but then, after pondering it for nearly a week since my last call; I took matters, again, to Xbox Support. With my phone recently fixed I was able to call them myself.
I waited on the phone, my Xbox 360 serial number in hand, ready to give the person on the other end a piece of my mind in the most sophisticated way possible. A man answered my call and I began the chore of explaining, again, what had happened to me.
It was fairly surprising when he recited exactly, word for word in some parts, what the woman I had spoken to less than a week back had said.
As usual: "If you move it when playing a game it can scratch the disc" was the main point he continually made.
I began to explain it wasn't me that caused it though. I threw the idea that maybe it does it because of vibration at him and he responded with a shocking, shocking admittance. While I cannot remember word for word what he said, I can remember exactly the point he made.
He went on to explain that playing Kinect games can cause laser burn because 'you're jumping around'. I think we all know why that statement is shocking. Microsoft are selling a device (the Kinect) which features many games that require you to 'jump around' and are admitting that simply playing those games can cause and increases the risk of getting a game laser burnt; all to NO compensation from Microsoft themselves.
I was shocked, but I didn't delve into that statement and focused mainly on the issue of laser burn caused by natural vibration (mainly because I do not use Kinect, so this point was invalid in my case). After nearly an hour on the phone of me complaining over and over, and him responding with information on how to avoid it happening again; I did what I should have done all along. I asked him to give me compensation. Just asked, and suddenly he offered to talk to his superiors if I held the line.
After waiting more than 5 minutes he came back on the line with 2 options for me.
Option 1: I pay them nearly £100 for them to "inspect my console" and "fix it" even though he himself stated that all Xbox 360's sent in with the issue of them scratching discs had no faults found with them (there is so much wrong with that statement alone).
Option 2: I escalate the case and take it higher up the board to his superiors.
So that's what I did.
Before I continue, let's recall what we've learned so far about Microsoft, their support and their attitude towards laser burn and their own customers.
First of all there is proof the Xbox 360 console laser burns games at random due to its own vibration as well as normal household vibration. They openly admit that using their own Kinect device increases the laser burn risk. However, despite this, they refuse to take any responsibility for it and are in denial about it being anything to do with anyone except the user.
The fact that moving the device by hand can cause laser burn is just about acceptable, given it does warn not to do this on the box. However laser burn at the hand of its own vibrations AND household movement? THAT was not warned of on the box and is disgraceful.
Phone Call From Microsoft
After 8 days I finally received my call from Microsoft regarding the escalation of my complaint.
The man on the other end sounded bored before we'd even started the conversation properly. After describing the issue and complaint, he immediately denied the Xbox scratched discs. I asked him to clarify what he'd said and he elaborated that the 360 does not 'randomly' scratch discs. I argued the points I brought up in my other calls but he did something odd. He took what I said, and while he didn't deny it, he used it against me.
After stating the Xbox has many reports of scratching discs due to it's own vibration and household activity and did this with me and had not been touched by my own hands, he implied that was why my point was 'invalid'.
He continued something along the lines of: "You just said yourself about your household movement".
He said it as if, because I, and any gamer for that matter, move around my house when a game is running, that is obviously going to get the disc scratched. But it shouldn't. What's more, he didn't deny the Xbox scratches discs because of vibration, but denied the console did it at 'random'. That doesn't even make sense. Again, this is disgraceful.
I took another side, mentioning that it stated on the box of the console not to move it when it was running, but did not mention vibrations contributing to this. He did not answer me directly and avoided the question.
I decided to ask for compensation. He then stated that if they (Microsoft) were to compensate me, they would be admitting what I was saying was true, which they deny. This confused me because it seems while they admit it scratches discs, and even does because of movement and vibration, they deny it does it itself. All they seem to be doing is contradicting themselves.
He then continued that if he could compensate me in any way, he would, but Microsoft wouldn't allow it.
I asked if I could take my complaint higher, to which he answered yes, but they would only say the exact same thing as him - which I believe(d).
In the end, the phone call was short and pointless, but at least opened my eyes to how deluded and messed up Microsoft's support is.
This isn't the end.
This is, to say the least, disgusting. They're support on this issue is pathetic and they do not take responsibility for their product faults. What's more, it's not unrealistic to say that the 360 has been mis-sold to people as it NEVER stated on the box it laser burns because of its OWN vibration and the users household movement.
However this isn't the end. It is clear no one can penetrate Microsoft's in-denial support, so it's time to take this further. I will be contacting Trading Standards and Watch Dogs to make this complaint heard. One person isn't enough though. The Xbox 360 may be nearing the end of its life cycle, but users have been ripped off for years. It's time to do something. If you have suffered laser burn in ANY way, I urge you to make an official complaint to Xbox Support and get your voice heard. If the next Xbox is released with any issues of a similar nature, why would Microsoft improve their support then if they never needed to for the Xbox 360?
I will be posting updates on this issue and my progress to take this further. If you have any experiences of poor support from Microsoft/Xbox or Laser Burn issues but don't want to complain; send me an e-mail or tweet with the details. Any information I can gather here will help to get this point backed.
Thanks for reading,
http://www.kitguru.net/site-news/highlights/jules/microsofts-xbox-360-eats-your-game-disk-whos-responsible/ (there are a lot of other laser burn articles on here too)
I read many other articles too, but recently I deleted a lot of my bookmarks and got rid of links to some of those other articles by accident.