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Microsoft Knew About Xbox 360 Damaging Discs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the dribbling-it-like-a-ball-may-also-cause-problems dept.

The Courts 583

Kelly writes "An unsealed document in a Washington lawsuit filed last week at Seattle, Microsoft was well aware that the Xbox 360 was prone to damaging game discs even before the console was introduced in November 2005. Microsoft had three solutions for solving the issue, but all three solutions were rejected due to technical concerns or on the basis of cost. Microsoft settled on a cost-free fourth solution: a warning was added to Xbox 360 manual, which essentially placed the blame on users instead of the hardware." The scratching-disks problem was mentioned a few years back, too. I wonder whether more people would prefer a slight discount on the price of a console to the ability to reorient it while a disk was playing inside.

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Oh Noes! (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134061)

The motion says that Microsoft knew that when the Xbox 360 was reoriented with a disc playing inside, the disc could be damaged.

I gotta side with Microsoft on this one.

An xbox 360 is not something you pop a battery and headphones into and take jogging. If Microsoft can be sued over this, who's to say that they couldn't go after every other stationary tray-loading spinning-disc-player manufacturer? Sony, Dell, Philips, NEC, you're next! Even laptop(remember, laptops are designed to be portable) owners wouldn't tilt theirs 90 degrees sideways while spinning a disc.

a warning was added to Xbox 360 manual, which essentially placed the blame on users instead of the hardware."

No. Vista's UAC is shifting blame on the user. The warning in the manual is merely a well-intentioned courtesy reminder which calls into question the perceived intelligence and common sense of its users. They might as well have included a warning like, "Do not drop into bathtub".

If you don't like the way your 360 sits then put down the pizza slice, wipe the snauce off of your fingers, properly shut down the console, carefully reorient it as desired, then power it back on and resume gaming. I know it takes a few more seconds than just toppling it over with one hand while Gearing-of-War wtih the other, but the extra effort will be worth it. Trust me on this one.

Re:Oh Noes! (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134135)

You obviously missed the point of this story. Would you walk into a friend's bedroom while he's masturbating and stand there criticizing the porn he's using for stimulation? Cause that's what you just did here.

Re:Oh Noes! (5, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134411)

Yes. But then again, me and my friends are closer than most.

Re:Oh Noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134461)

1) I'm guessing they aren't friends ;).
2) The bedroom has its windows thrown wide open to slashdot and the rest of the world.

Re:Oh Noes! (2, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134163)

Wow, I came here expecting to see a bunch of MS trolls, but the first post is actually insightful. I agree, not just for your reasons, but also because if you expected a company to fix every problem in a product before it shipped, nothing would EVER ship.

Re:Oh Noes! (2, Troll)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134169)

Because absolutely nothing will happen while playing to cause the console to move. Pets, earthquakes, small children, large children...

Causing the game to crash, that's perfectly acceptable and highly unlikely to prevent as it is. Damaging the disc? Easily preventable.

Re:Oh Noes! (3, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134287)

Exactly, because it's not your responsibility to put it out of reach of small children and pets, and in the event of earthquakes, everyone's first concern is not scratching their game discs... after all, no other system would scratch a game disc during an earthquake, right?

Re:Oh Noes! (3, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134435)

During a 5.0 in So. Cal, yeah, scratched game discs are usually a high priority. Right after fallen collectable plates and scared pets.

Why? Cause nothing is going to happen. A 5.0 will move stuff that's not nailed down, but safe odds that nothing load bearing is going to collapse.

So, frankly, this is MS dropping the ball. I'm not suggesting we're throwing around an xBox while playing it, but to expect a console to stay bolted down at all times is not a valid argument.

Re:Oh Noes! (2, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134335)

Hey you, with the logic and the sense making, shush!

Re:Oh Noes! (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134179)

An xbox 360 is not something you pop a battery and headphones into and take jogging.

My understanding of the issue is that many consoles have had scratched discs even if the system was treated in an acceptable manner. Apparently, the system is not as well suited to a vertical configuration as Microsoft would have you believe.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_technical_problems#Scratched_discs [wikipedia.org] :

This resulted in Kassa receiving an additional 1,000 complaints over the subsequent two months, with many customers denying the Xbox had moved when the scratching occurred, or that it had been placed in an unstable position.

Prompted by consumer reaction to their February 2007 report, Kassa performed several tests with Xbox 360s from customers 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 360s 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.

Re:Oh Noes! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134607)

My console put fatigue cracks in the discs. There is something off about how it picks up discs. To their credit Microsoft agreed to repair it and replace the discs. Granted it took a lot of explaining to communicate what the problem was. But once I did, they took care of it. It almost doesn't matter now. I'm totally addicted to live, so even if they told me to go fuck myself, I really wouldn't have had an acceptable choice.

Re:Oh Noes! (2, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134215)

The warning in the manual is also a security measure against suing trolls. In this world there are no stupid warnings. A company here in Sweden was sued years ago because a child ate a piece of soap and got a bad pain in the stomach. Fortunately the court refused the charges, but next month the soap's envelope had a little wonderful warning: "Not for eating".

Anyway, this is just a non-story, but as any MS story, it seems like it's our job to bash them at any price.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134537)

ah, the good old warning sticker on all jars of peanut butter: "warning, contains peanuts".

and the McDonald's coffee cups with "warning, this cup of hot coffee may contain hot liquid".

Ps. warning: this post contains the f*cking obvious.

Re:Oh Noes! (0, Flamebait)

DoktorSeven (628331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134229)

Except that such a thing would protect against accidental shifts, bumps, and any other problems that might happen, as well as any necessary adjustment of the position of the console for any known reason while playing. It's called "quality", and Microsoft doesn't give a shit about it, or they'd have fixed the goddamn RROD problem by now instead of just sending people new XBoxes (and likely counting that as a new sale) every time it happens. And yes, the problem has not been fixed, despite rumors to the contrary, new XBoxes still get the RROD.

Microsoft only cares about its bottom line, and not its products. People who support them are bad consumers. If this were any other industry, Microsoft would be out of business.

In reality, people move things (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134261)

An xbox 360 is not something you pop a battery and headphones into and take jogging. If Microsoft can be sued over this, who's to say that they couldn't go after every other stationary tray-loading spinning-disc-player manufacturer? Sony, Dell, Philips, NEC, you're next! Even laptop(remember, laptops are designed to be portable) owners wouldn't tilt theirs 90 degrees sideways while spinning a disc.

But laptops are also designed to suspend when you close a lid - and I hate to break it to you but there are plenty of times I have shifted a laptop around substantially while burning a disc. Usually that worked out just fine.

Furthermore, laptop users hardly ever even use discs - either you use it once to load software, or you are burning a disc where the cost of failure is that you have to burn another $0.10 disc. Not quite the same as having a console where failure means you are out $60... and you almost always have a disc in the drive even if you are often doing things on Live instead of playing the game disc you have inserted.

The 360 is, like it or not, a consumer electronic device - and that means it needs to be robust, to where almost no use of it outside the extremes can cause failure. Simply moving a console while it's on is not that extreme, nor if you look at a lot of people's gaming setups is it even that uncommon. Blaming users for thinking it's a device like others they are used to instead of a delicate piece of computer equipment that will brook no touching while in operation, is an absurd accusation.

Re:In reality, people move things (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134663)

I have to agree. I'm not much for bashing MS any more (heck, I'm almost starting to like Vista even!) but "reorienting" a console while it is in use is certainly not beyond what you would and should expect from a normal user.

On the other hand though, this really is not "news". Seriously, who wouldn't have expected this (Microsoft knowing about the potential problem before release) to be the case, if they'd actually given it a moment's thought? It was just a (potentially bad) business decision.

Microsoft obviously new the Xbox 360 is not a machine that, if it fails, would potentially cause serious injury or death (such as an automobile, for example). Thus, any decisions about not dealing with defects that potentially could cause excessively high failure rates were based exclusively on the financial ramifications. They gambled that the benefit of getting a head-start on Sony and Nintendo would out-weigh the negative impact of excessively high failure rates. Unfortunately for them, it seems like that benefit may have been only for the short-term, and in the long term the bad will out-weigh the good.

Re:Oh Noes! (4, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134351)

When I purchased my 360 during the summer, I asked the salesperson at EB Games if I should know anything obscure about it. He told me that setting it on it's side is a bad idea anyway because if there is any shaking in the house it can wobble the system and have the disc rub against the lense. Live in an old house like me where if kids are running around while you're playing (Common during the holidays) and you can scratch it. I've had many portable CD players and have never had the disc come out scratched from movement, even when I used it as I mountain biked 2 hours straight. My laptop doesn't have this problem, I've walked with my laptop as I am reading from the CD and have never heard a scratching noise or anything out of the norm. Sounds like you're just jumping to conclusions and making backhanded remarks at the target audience.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134527)

Your portable CD players are made to be... portable. The Xbox 360, is not. Also, many early "portable" CD players would cause play back problems if not held flat. I would not be surprised to find out they also caused damage ot the CD too.

In addition, I beleive that you are overloockign that fact that the Xbox 360 and a CD/DVD player/drive spin and different rates. That might have something to do with why one is portable, and the other is not.

Re:Oh Noes! (5, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134407)

And I have to disagree. No one took their xbox jogging. First, you set up the straw man that disc damage only occurs when people flip an xbox from side to flat while turned on. That is untrue.

1) This occurs when simply moving the xbox, not flipping it. Considering every single computer, DVD player, or cd-based console (ps1, ps2, dreamcast) I've owned has allowed me to move it with a disc in it, this is not "normal" cd drive behavior.

2) This occurs when the xbox screws up. It scratched the hell out of my PGR3 disc when we had a power failure. Luckily, Xbox support was nice enough to replace it. I've never had that happen with a console, dvd player, or computer before either.

3) The console is not stable in the upright position. If you're going to advertise the product that way, it needs to be stable enough to be used in that manner. Tower computers are stable, the 360 is not. A slight tug on a cord (which you can imagine happens during gameplay) and that thing will topple over easily possibly breaking itself.

Microsoft didn't get the hardware right. They *did* get support right, and have paid dearly for their hardware mistakes. Let's see if they're better at it the 2nd time around.

Re:Oh Noes! (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134441)

No MS is at fault for building the 360 to set vertically.

It's not good for any disc drive to sit side ways. Even the PS2 had some issues with scratched discs which is why I think they quit mentioning to users that they can set it up vertical and later models were built so you couldn't use it vertically.

But at least Sony had the decency to give users a stand to widen the base and make it more stable which helps for some problems related to disc drives on their side. MS did not do this and instead puts in a shitty little warning hoping that makes up for their poor design.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134471)

An xbox 360 is not something you pop a battery and headphones into and take jogging. If Microsoft can be sued over this, who's to say that they couldn't go after every other stationary tray-loading spinning-disc-player manufacturer?

Laptops don't have this problem. A CD/DVD reader that locks the media into place to prevent contact with the heads is a common feature even on desktops. The XBox 360 is designed for home use as a game console -- something that is marketed to teenagers and children. It's not reasonable given the target market and use that casual repositioning of the device during use will cause damage to both the drive and the media. Even young adults such as myself drag the console across the floor and whatnot so the cords stretch back to where me and my friends are sitting.

No. Vista's UAC is shifting blame on the user. The warning in the manual is merely a well-intentioned courtesy reminder which calls into question the perceived intelligence and common sense of its users. They might as well have included a warning like, "Do not drop into bathtub".

You seem to be of the mind that as long as the manufacturer buries some disclaimer in the small print, it's caveat emptor. Fortunately, we do not live in a laisse faire capitalistic society and manufacturers are held to a certain level of quality and workmanship. Microsoft failed to deliver a quality product. Vista's UAC was a poor attempt to paper over their sorry asses against lawsuits when they deployed a product with a new, untested security model, and then started forcing businesses to upgrade, effectively making the early-adopters (and their data) guinea pigs. They should have the pants sued off them, not defended against by a rightfully angry mob.

Re:Oh Noes! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134473)


If my 360 ever scratches a disc I just reburn another copy. Thanks NME mod-chip!

lolz

Somewhat agree, except... (1)

Ohrion (814105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134487)

I mostly agree with you. However, this article was calling to light that Microsoft had actually tested for this very thing and came up with multiple workarounds because it saw it as a problem. Many users of the 360 aren't technical and wouldn't see a problem with tilting their console. After all, they can tilt their discman, and the console is supposed to be able to operate in both positions.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134589)

I've got a 360, and I've scratched discs with it. You do not need to tip it a great amount, 10-15 degrees would do it, maybe less with a little bad luck.

I installed three foam pads in the top of the DVD drive at a total cost of about .60$. My 360 no longer scratches discs, no matter how sharply tipped.

Microsoft having not done something similar is negligent. They had a noted defect and simply chose not to address it.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134691)

An xbox 360 is not something you pop a battery and headphones into and take jogging. If Microsoft can be sued over this, who's to say that they couldn't go after every other stationary tray-loading spinning-disc-player manufacturer? Sony, Dell, Philips, NEC, you're next! Even laptop(remember, laptops are designed to be portable) owners wouldn't tilt theirs 90 degrees sideways while spinning a disc.

Having owned a CD walkman, and taking it everywhere with me when I was younger, including running and riding a bike, I can not think of a single disk that was scratched by the player. Nor did my PS2 scratch disks when I moved it, or my Wii, or this laptop, hell I've even knocked over my desktop machine while installing software and not had the disk get scratched. So if ALL these other times in my life these devices have been able to deal with it, and the ONE time I lay my 360 over because the drive is so damn noisy I'm looking for any possible way to silence it and stop it from vibrating so much, it kills my disk. And not even just a little scratch, we're talking looks like someone took a dremel tool and made a few nice circles on it kind of scratch.

I think we can blame MS and not sue everyone else on the planet who sells optical drives just fine.

And for the record, it would be pretty hard to play gears of war and hold a slice of pizza in your hand at the same time, even without sauce on your fingers. Just because you're a fat slob doesn't mean the rest of us are.

Re:Oh Noes! (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134705)

If Microsoft can be sued over this, who's to say that they couldn't go after every other stationary tray-loading spinning-disc-player manufacturer?

The fact that most other tray-loading drives don't scratch your discs when you move them around would probably take care of that for the other manufacturers. Along with holding the disc tightly between a spindle and a bearing, tray loading drives employ bumpers that Microsoft left out on their drives to save $0.50/console [arstechnica.com] . Since the other drive makers include said bumpers, and don't scratch discs, I don't think they need to worry too much if Microsoft is held liable for what their product does.

Re:Oh Noes! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134707)

Even laptop(remember, laptops are designed to be portable) owners wouldn't tilt theirs 90 degrees sideways while spinning a disc.

The issue in question is a bit more extreme. Typical laptop drives hold the disk rather firmly on the hub, so that a gentle careful tilting while the disk is spinning will probably not damage the disk.

MS describes this as the disk becoming unchucked if the unit is moved. That is, the magnetic latch holding the disk to the hub lets go and the disk freely spins loose inside the player.

I doubt that the issue is confined to the Xbox, and it's probably being overblown a bit, but the latch really shouldn't just let go.

If we make sure the tenants are of light build and relatively sedentary and if the weather's on our side, I think we have a winner here.

As for the warning label, MS may be a victim of warning label inflation. In a world where every product manual is packed with warnings about absurdly stupid actions (do not use pogo stick in the bathtub) and the painfully obvious (Rat poison, WARNING: harmful if swallowed), the word warning comes to mean "Stop reading NOW".

not a microsoft issue (1)

Jenos (1255810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134063)

its not really a serious flaw...it really is user error if you move a drive around with a cd inside, its a normal dvd drive, you have the same issue with every other simlar piece of hardware

Check Engine (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134067)

I have a little light on my dashboard that is labeled "Check Engine". Ostensibly it is supposed to turn on when an excess of O2 is detected in the car's emissions. However, it also seems to turn on just about every 20K miles or so. It costs $400 to turn off.

Is this "feature" by design? Or is it a bug?

Re:Check Engine (2, Informative)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134213)

I have a little light on my dashboard that is labeled "Check Engine". Ostensibly it is supposed to turn on when an excess of O2 is detected in the car's emissions. However, it also seems to turn on just about every 20K miles or so. It costs $400 to turn off.

Is this "feature" by design? Or is it a bug?

The check engine light will also come on if the gas cap is not completely tightened. You need to tighten it until it starts clicking. I found this out the hard way, and fortunately a mechanic told me about it the first time I had it checked out.

Re:Check Engine (5, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134223)

Your car is emitting O2? What make is it! We may have saved the planet!

Re:Check Engine (2, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134389)

Wow, you lose geek points. :p ... the proper procedure is:
---

Go buy an OBDCII code reader

Read the REAL error code

Reset the Check Engine Light

Determine based on the code if you actually need to spend $$ at mechanic

Profit!

Re:Check Engine (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134421)

your fault for not buying the $199.00 tool to turn it off yourself.

you choose to pay $400 every 3 months to feed your apathy.

Re-Orient? (0, Redundant)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134071)

Someone explain to me why ANYONE would need to turn their console either vertical or horizontal while playing a video game?

Re:Re-Orient? (1)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134449)

The SCPH-1001 original PSX model usually wouldn't play games UNLESS it was vertical. Of course... I wouldn't reorient it WHILE playing. Also strangely, while I attributed the "Needing to turn it on its side" to something with the laser assembly wearing out, it turned out that my "early" playstation games still played consistently with the system oriented horizontally. I think FF8 was the first I had that required the system to be vertical, and that confuses the hell out of me. If I went back and hooked my PSX up right now, I bet Return Fire would play fine horizontally but Gran Turismo 2 would refuse to play in any orientation but vertically. (Old game vs newer).

Re:Re-Orient? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134631)

Ha... I never had to turn a 1001 vertical, but I did have to turn it upside-down. Otherwise the system would just sit there at the Playstation logo, or go to the system menu instead of go into the game. Haven't since needed to do that with any disk-based consoles, not even later revisions of the PSX. It was the damnedest thing.

Wow, the MS fanboys with mod points will be busy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134081)

Those MS fans with modpoints will be busy today. What with the recent news about websites actively infecting PCs through known IE vulnerabilities and now this, there will be so many postings that show MS in a bad light to mod down.

Get going boys!

Um... (5, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134095)

I wonder whether some people would prefer a slight increase on the price of a console to include the ability to reorient it while a disk was playing inside without scratching the disc.

Fixed that for /.

Re:Um... (1, Redundant)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134313)

I wonder whether some people would prefer a slight increase on the price of a console to include the ability to reorient it while a disk was playing inside without scratching the disc.

-No.

As long as you are fixing things...

Wii got it right (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134097)

Generally I'm not a fan of slot-loading CD drives, but I think Nintendo got it right in this case. The slot-loader is gentle on the disc, works in multiple orientations, and is easy for even kids to use without damaging the system. IMHO, the 360 would have done well to also design around a slot-loader, especially given their desire to place the system in a vertical configuration. The Wii is a very inexpensive system, so I don't see such a solution adding much cost.

(Then again, what do I know? Microsoft did try to cut corners wherever possible to create the system as cheap as possible.)

Of course, Sony managed to get a tray system working without scratching disks. And the system can be placed in a vertical configuration. (Does anyone actually do that?) I can only guess that Sony's solution was one of the "more expensive" ideas that Microsoft rejected.

Re:Wii got it right (0, Redundant)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134183)

I think you missed the point, this /. summary is just a typical hit-job against Microsoft. The discs only get scratched if you re-orient the console WHILE the disc is being USED. This is a stupid idea to do with ANY disc-based system. Shut the console down and re-orient it and it works 100% fine.

I've used a 360 on its side and vertically and it works fine either way - just don't change orientation while a game is being played!

Re:Wii got it right (4, Informative)

dhuff (42785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134319)

The discs only get scratched if you re-orient the console WHILE the disc is being USED. This is a stupid idea to do with ANY disc-based system.

Uh, no. The previous generation of Apple Macbooks had this issue with their slot-loading DVD/CD drives. And Apple did the right thing about that - they fixed it. Discs, most esp. game discs, are feckin' expensive, and there's no excuse for Microsoft's (lack of) response.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134555)

If your game disc gets scratched to the point where parts of the game are unplayable and you still want to play the game what do you do? Buy a new copy. Call me cynical, but I see a reason for Microsoft not to act.

Re:Wii got it right (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134391)

The discs only get scratched if you re-orient the console WHILE the disc is being USED.

As I mentioned in another post [slashdot.org] , this is incorrect. It would appear that the 360 does scratches discs in properly stabilized systems that are used in a vertical orientation. It seems likely that the system's own vibrations, plus issues with subwoofers and other vibrational sources contribute to the discs being unseated enough to cause scratching.

In effect, this is a serious design flaw. Microsoft should have either given up on vertical orientation altogether, or engineered the system to withstand the tolerances of vertically orienting an optical disc.

Re:Wii got it right (2, Informative)

eigenstates (1364441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134413)

I have a Halo 2 disc that would completely disagree with you. That drive door left a nice circular grove in that disc rendering it unplayable. Orientation has always been vertical. That and the RROD adventure, twice, led me to the slot loading pannini maker PS3. Now if someone could just write a decent Media Center hack for it like the old XBOX...

Re:Wii got it right (5, Informative)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134665)

The discs only get scratched if you re-orient the console WHILE the disc is being USED.

Wrong. I can say from first-hand knowledge this is not true. I treated my 360 like a freaking museum piece - good ventilation, never moved or tilted the system while in-use, and always kept the discs in their cases and only touched the edges of the disc.

In spite of that, I still noticed radial scratches being etched in the disc. Every so often while playing the game, you'd hear a slight grinding sound occasionally followed by a disc-read error from the console. Convincing people that I wasn't somehow mishandling the system or the discs was a losing battle.

I think that this was a problem with 1st gen 360's and Microsoft has still not acknowledged the problem.

Unfortunately, this unsealed document is not the revelation people are claiming it to be. You are correct that most people know that you'll scratch a disc if you tilt the console during gameplay, and Microsoft's official line has always been that you shouldn't do it. This document only details the debate that Microsoft had internally about how proactive it should be in mitigating the problem.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134211)

I'm not about to re-test the concept, but my Wii once tipped over when it was playing a game, and the disc inside survived. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a little scratch on the disc as a result of that, because it made a nasty high-pitched plastic-on-plastic noise when it did that.

Ditto when I accidentally tip the Macbook when I'm getting up and there's a disc spinning inside of it.

That said, none of the discs in the above two devices were rendered "permanently unplayable" or otherwise unreadable, so the question is, does that make this lawsuit legit?

Re:Wii got it right (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134349)

The type of loader has nothing to do with it. It's the focusing mechanism that can allow the lens to hit the DVD. The lens gets very very close to the disk and designing it to never be able to touch the disk is difficult. There is also play in the spindle mechanism which turns the disk, and the problem is the same regardless of the 'loader'.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134559)

The problem relates to the restraint of the disc. Slot loaders have restraints built in to accommodate the disc being loaded into the drive. Tray loaders often use the friction from the spindle to restrain the disc. That friction is maintained via gravity. (There are also notched on the edges of the tray that are supposed to help during loading, but I doubt they provide much restraint during use.) When you have a spindle used sideways, there's not much to prevent the disc from losing friction and wobbling a bit. That wobbling can create contact with the internals of the drive and result in a scratched disc.

At least, that's my understanding of the mechanics.

Re:Wii got it right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134359)

I'm an Xbox 360 owner who uses it in a vertical position, and I've never had a problem. Of course, I don't shake it around while it's running. I'd like to see someone knock over their PS3 while gaming and not have the disc damaged... this is just typical Microsoft-bashing.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134379)

PS3 is also a slot loader, but lauding them would be a sin on /. while praising the people who are popularizing $50 versions of Flash games is just fine.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134469)

You know, for some reason I was under the impression that the PS3 was a tray-loader. My apologies for the mistake. However, my point still stands that the Wii is an inexpensive device that makes money on every console, thus demonstrating that a slot-loader is not a cost burden.

Re:Wii got it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134417)

Actually the ps3 is also a slot load.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134419)

it's not an issue with beint try loaded vs' slot loaded.. it has to do with the moving of the unit causeing the optical reader's cradle to shift.. which when a disk is spinnging would hit the disk and scratch it.. considering slot load and try load all use the same spinnign and optical reader cradle desing (basicly the same concept) the loading portion makes no diffrence.

still i side with MS on this.. here is a box spinning a disk.. I move the box and the disk gets scratched.. if I hadn't moved the box it wouldn't have scratched... sounds like it's MY fault not MS's that MY disk got scratched.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134489)

...not only that but a Wii comes with a very nice wide base that
does very well at keeping a Wii stable when it is vertical. It
seems that Nintendo put much more thought into their product that's
sold at a lower pricepoint.

Re:Wii got it right (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134603)

Yes, it was after the Wii tipped over the first time that I discovered what the convenient clear plastic disc was for... :-D

Re:Wii got it right (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134635)

They even include that extra plastic attachment thingy that provides even more horizontal coverage to ensure that your Wii remains as stable as possible. Not a bad idea when there are kids around the system. ;-)

Speaking of which, this is hilarious [wiinode.com] . You'd think someone would have realized that the system doesn't look quite right...

Re:Wii got it right (4, Insightful)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134647)

The slot-loader is gentle on the disc,

While the Disc is playing, yes, while insert or ejecting, NO...

Slot loaders use rollers to grab the disc, and so many things can happen with this 'direct' contact.

- A dirty roller can scratch a disc rather easily, pitting it.

- A 'glossed' roller can fail to properly grab the disc and spin on the surface of the disc

- A user pushing against the disc when eject or pulled against when inserted will allow the rollers to rub the disc surfaces.

A good example is slot loaders in cars that get a lot of dirt and dust, CDs in the car take a lot of damage from slot loading players because of the rollers.

PS There are a few good ways to clean the rollers, and even de-gloss older rollers on slot loaders. If you have a car unit that fails to properly take or eject disc you can do a few things on the road even that will fix the problem.

- Get a Slot loader roller cleaner - rare, but around.

- Make your own.
Use a 'printable' silver CDR, (the printable side has a light texture). Apply alcohol or even spit if you are on the road to the printed side of the disc and insert it upside down. If necessary hold the CDR to force the rollers to 'spin' on the disc. The texture will clean and de-gloss the rollers. Repeat until it works.

You can also use a black matte CD Label on a CD to get the same effect, but the paper could pull off and jam in the unit, so only use for a light cleaning.

(Then again, what do I know? Microsoft did try to cut corners wherever possible to create the system as cheap as possible.)

Well not as much as Microsoft. The odds of a unit being flipped while a Disc is spinning happens how often to the average user? But aged or dirty rollers will start killing discs and have a shorter lifetime.

Do you honestly think this is stuff MS didn't consider? Do you honestly think MS couldn't have gotten a 'good' deal on a custom slot loader design if they thought it was the best?

Gamers tend to be less careful with their disc, borrow discs, and when high even insert discs with peanut butter and jelly on them. This destroys front loaders rather fast and adds to their ability to harm disc with just a bit of crusted dirt or PB&J on the roller, your discs may continue to work, but you are slowly pitting them, and if the roller 'spins' on the disc, you are getting scratches.

There may be a good front loader solution, but I have not seen it, as both sides of the Disc are vulnerable and a device that demands contact with it present a constant risk.

MS made what they thought was the right decision, with a lot of 'smart' people considering the pros and cons.

Wow, a complete business plan. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134121)

Step 1: Sell discs.
Step 2: Pay lawmakers to make it illegal to copy discs.
Step 3: Make a machine that damages discs, forcing users to buy replacement discs.
Step 4: Profit!

Fricking seedy. If I'm buying the media, I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it. If I'm buying the data, they should replace the media for free. They can't have it both ways.

Re:Wow, a complete business plan. (4, Interesting)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134175)

Step 5: Rip off Best Buy/Walmart/etc by saying you just got the game as a gift and it won't read. They replace the bad disc with a brand new one. Works 99% of the time.

Re:Wow, a complete business plan. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134279)

My Xbox damaged my copy of Halo 3, I just went back across the street to the Game Stop and got it replaced for on the coverage plan I got through the retailer. Not hard.

Re:Wow, a complete business plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134513)

Of course, that was after going through 7 Xboxes which had red-ringed within 30 days and were replaced by Best Buy, and now my 8th is AT Microsoft currently for repairs for freezing up+3red rings...

THAT is the shit which MS ought to be sued over. I've spent half as much in gas (last year when it was +$4/gallon taking that shit back to the store and getting new ones as the box itself cost me...

Re:Wow, a complete business plan. (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134595)

I've never had a problem with mine. Maybe you're doing something wrong. Seriously.

Easy Fix (2, Interesting)

Kr4u53 (955252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134125)

Why didn't they just use a laptop disc tray that has the thing in the middle that keeps the disc in place?

Re:Easy Fix (4, Interesting)

marcop (205587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134509)

There is an even easier fix... MS should just install foam pads. See here:

http://www.xbox-scene.com/xbox1data/sep/EEyyyZFZAuDOQEAioX.php [xbox-scene.com]

There is also do-it-yourself guides on xbox-scene, but it involves voiding the warranty by opening the box.

Isn't this usually a concern (3, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134131)

TFA says discs can get damaged when moving the console around/reorienting it (point it eastwards?!?) while there's a disc inside. Now, I tend to take the discs out before I move my equipment around, so I may be wrong. But isn't this usually a concern with ANY device with an optical drive? Or is it far worse with the 360 thanks to their superior engineering?

Re:Isn't this usually a concern (1, Troll)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134305)

TFA says discs can get damaged when moving the console around/reorienting it (point it eastwards?!?) while there's a disc inside. Now, I tend to take the discs out before I move my equipment around, so I may be wrong. But isn't this usually a concern with ANY device with an optical drive? Or is it far worse with the 360 thanks to their superior engineering?

Nope, the XBox isn't any more prone to scratching discs than your average non-car-CD player. Most people just know better than to move their CD players around while they're playing, and I suppose don't make the same connection with a game console.

Re:Isn't this usually a concern (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134507)

This is plain bullshit.

Any modern tray loading CD drive clamps the disc between the spindle and a bearing in the top of the case. This disc is suspended several millimeters away from any solid surface. Short of creating enormous G-force on the disc by rotating the drive at a high level of acceleration, the worst you would expect from your average cheap-ass tray loading drive is to scratch the very outer edge of the disc where there isn't any data anyway. People with CD/DVD drives mounted in external USB cases move them around with discs in them all the time, and those drives weren't even designed with portable mounting in mind. When making a toy that is likely to be used by children who will knock it over, it doesn't seem unreasonable that Microsoft would include something along the level of the bottom end of the reliability spectrum rather than establishing a new low.

The only reason people are defending Microsoft on this is because they love their XBox, and they feel an irrational need to defend it in public lest it lose market share to a competitor's console.

Re:Isn't this usually a concern (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134539)

"Nope, the XBox isn't any more prone to scratching discs than your average non-car-CD player. Most people just know better than to move their CD players around while they're playing, and I suppose don't make the same connection with a game console."
- portable CD players
- portable DVD players
- laptops / notebooks
All playback hardware that aren't in cars which may reasonably be in motion while a disc is being played, and none of which should scratch a disc.

Now I agree that a game console is not something you take with you on a treadmill, or into a train, but it does mean that it -can- be made in such a fashion that the disc does not get damaged -and- it can be done so cheaply enough that portable CD players for under $20 exist.

Re:Isn't this usually a concern (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134375)

Yes, this is definitely a concern with any optical drive.
Think about it. When you spin up a gyroscope, it will resist changes in it's orientation. Now, as far as I can tell, a spinning disc in a drive will act like said gyroscope. When you tilt it over, the disc will resist and pop out of the disc-gnomes' hands.
My opinion is, Microsoft SHOULD have put in the little bumpers TFA talked about regardless of the cost, but since the manual clearly states the console should not be turned around while playing a disc, the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the users.

Re:Isn't this usually a concern (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134501)

Not that I disagree with you entirely, but I don't think this sort of problem necessarily effects *any* optical drive. I had my CD walkman for years and never had any trouble with it. That thing took some abuse too...

Oh noes! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134151)

How is this news? This has been a "problem" with all optical disc formats ever. Laptop drives, caddy-loading drives, and slot-loading drives are the only type where this cannot happen. I don't shake my Xbox when I use it, and I don't try to operate my Laserdisc player upside-down either.

inb4 Micro$oft is teh ebil empire!

Microsoft lying??? I don't believe it (sarcasm) (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134167)

Clearly it's not just users than move consoles, I have had 3 discs scratched by my 360, and it was never moved (it's kept vertical). There are many faults with the 360, and Microsoft do what they can to lie and/or distract consumers.. Lately the trend seems to be dissing whatever the competition is doing, rather than spending efforts on their own problems....

Just another reason to backup all media (1)

Thatto (258697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134181)

This is exactly the kind of thing that the "One Legal copy" exemption of the copyright laws was included to prevent. I am not up on latest xbox game copying techniques, but I am sure it is not easy for the average user... if possible at all.

Could have been prevented for minimal cost (5, Insightful)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134191)

Apparently a $0.50 component would have sorted out all these problems [arstechnica.com] ... I'm aware that after a lot of sales this translates into profit, but seriously... this is a very short-sighted corner to cut.

Damn annoying (5, Informative)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134227)

I have problems with my 360 damaging discs just through normal use. I never shift the console in general, let along while a disc is in it. It seems more like the unit is unable to hold the disc completely stable while reading it at times, so you end up with damage.

This is NOT Microsoft's fault (1, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134257)

There's lots of asshat things Microsoft has done, but this isn't one of them.

The motion says that Microsoft knew that when the Xbox 360 was reoriented with a disc playing inside, the disc could be damaged.

DUH! Don't do that! I wouldn't do that on my desktop PC, or my Playstation, or my laptop. And how often does that happen anyway? Why are people regularly rotating their XBoxes? I might do that, like, once when I set it up. And maybe when I transport it. Never while it is running!

A warning was also included in the product manual, telling customers to "remove discs before moving the console or tilting it between the horizontal and vertical positions."

This is a completely reasonable expectation. This is a case where a warning is appropriate.

Eventually, Microsoft did institute an Xbox 360 disc replacement program that sends out new discs to customers if their discs are damaged for any reason. The program only applies to Microsoft titles and costs $20 per disc.

Wow, AND they offered to replace discs. Obviously, they can only replace their own discs.

Holy crap -- Microsoft did everything absolutely right here and STILL got sued.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (0, Troll)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134361)

DUH! Don't do that!

Name another console that destroys disc on a regular basis.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (1, Redundant)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134385)

I can fully expect that out of a product sold to business or some "profession". However you are dealing with "consumer electronics" now and these are a bit different animal. They should have done a better job with this since it's targeting the consumer arena.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134693)

However you are dealing with "consumer electronics" now and these are a bit different animal. They should have done a better job with this since it's targeting the consumer arena.

Did you miss the sarcasm tag in there somewhere, or are you really serious? "Consumer electonics" ... "better job" ... ha.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (3, Informative)

Pentrant (700080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134511)

Not true, as others have pointed out. I rearranged the equipment on my media rack a few months ago, and while the 360 was turned off moved it to a vertical arrangement. Over the next few days, my Civilization Revolution disc started to have read errors; after I pulled it out to clean it off, I noticed a nice, wide ring scratched into the disc from the DVD drive. Moving the console back to horizontal has stopped the scratching, but it won't bring my dead disc back. I followed the rules and still was awarded with a $60 game that was unplayable.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (0, Troll)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134523)

No it is a poorly designed product and you're assuming everyone who has had scratched discs did something to cause it and that's not the case.

I've seen people complaining about problems with scratched discs while not moving the system and that's because it's a shit design and the system should always lay flat and work with gravity rather than against it.

Re:This is NOT Microsoft's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134683)

I would not agree that microsoft did everything right in this case. In particular, the solution seems simple: a media exchange. There are 3 things that they did wrong here.

1. The disc replacement service didn't start when the console launched. If they knew this was a potential issue, they should have instated this at the start.

2. They only replace Microsoft titles, which is not the only disc that can be harmed this way. I understand not replacing dvds and cds, but every 360 title should be replacable in this way. (The only thing I'll say about this, to their benefit, is that a lot of software publishers have their own disc replacement service)

3. It costs $20, which is way too much. Frequently, you can just buy the new game for about this much. No, this should be at most $10, and really it should be free with proof of purchase. The discs themselves are cheap to produce, why try to gouge the customer in this way?

I own a scratched disk (1)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134263)

I own a scratched, unplayable copy of Lego Star Wars thanks to this problem. The console was getting hot where it was so I tried to move it upright.

I'm not sure why you want to read this comment, but it makes me feel much better having told you all :-(

Re:I own a scratched disk (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134393)

In other words, you ignored the sticker that covered the drive when you unpacked the console, didn't read the directions, did something stupid that scratched your disk, and blame the console and MS.

dont move it (1)

shlepp (796599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134277)

Heres a pretty brain dead solution, don't move your console while its running with a disc in the tray.

Re:dont move it (0, Redundant)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134641)

And follow Microsoft's directions? NEVER!!!!!

After having listened to my 14 year old son;.. (0)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134329)

After having listened to my 14 year old son, I will likely not ever buy another Microsoft product. I have an original XBox that gave out 2 years after it was bought. Cost of repair exceeds value of unit. Oh well. My son is pestering me to buy a 360. I've been putting it off as there just isn't enough money for it now. Now to add to this, I have yet another reason not to ever buy one. And I'll print out a copy of the page and attach it to the wall in my son's room. He's not going to like it but thats the breaks.

Re:After having listened to my 14 year old son;.. (5, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134599)

Now to add to this, I have yet another reason not to ever buy one. And I'll print out a copy of the page and attach it to the wall in my son's room. He's not going to like it but thats the breaks.

You can find any number of reasons to justify or not justify a purchase of an Xbox 360. If you can't afford it, then sure, those are the breaks. That's one thing all kids have to come to terms with. But it sounds like you're trying to clutch for something else to give as a reason, because you simply don't want this hardware product in your house.

Unfortunately the PC games market is in a major decline, the wii is a gimmick, and the PS3 is a stark disappointment. If your son is going to play modern console games, and interact socially with his peers on that level, not to mention play online with them, he's going to want this console - and it won't be about the hardware, it will be about the titles.

Due to their incredible screwups, MS offer a reasonable out of the box warranty with 360s. The hardware is not a concern. If you son treats it like crap, that's his bag. If you can't afford it, man up and say so. If you simply don't want to buy him one, let him know that. Maybe he'll think you're being an ass. I'm not sure you're not, seems like a valid opinion to me. Honesty will bear you out, though.

In other news (1)

IDKmyBFFJill (1428815) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134333)

Drivers are filing class action lawsuits against the government for building roads that scratch their vehicle tyres

Bigger issue (1)

Zerelli (579376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134355)

The bigger issue for me is the god awful support they offer if anything goes wrong with your console. I did not get the red ring of death so there was no way they were going to help me, essentially. They claimed that my console (registered the night I bought it) was sold 3 months before I bought it. It quit reading discs but they would not agree that my warranty was still good 10 months after I bought it. Thankfully Office Depot replaced the thing after 10 months since they never sold the only other one they got in stock.

Microsoft rejected solutions (1)

Fragasaurus (1432365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134363)

1. Include a Halo HD-DVD anime with every 360
2. Actually make a profit for selling a 360
3. Give that kid some chocolate milk
4. ???????
5. Profit

Consoles are handled by kids (2, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134377)

Consoles are handled by kids and non-technical minded people. If you use it as a DVD player, then paying extra for MS's disc replacement program won't help you too much when your DVDs get scratched. MS should have included the extra precautions to keep the discs safe.

Does anyone know if any of these problems were responsible in any way for drive failures that caused the "disc read error" message?

I thought the lawsuit was about something else? (3, Informative)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134465)

The thing is, the act of tilting your game console while it is playing is a bad idea regardless of manufacturer. I don't think that this unsealed document is the smoking gun people are looking for.

I thought that this disc-scratching lawsuit was about games getting scratched even through normal, everyday use. I remember my 360 put so many scratches in my copy of Crackdown that it rendered it unusable. And I never tilted (or accidentally bumped) the system while it was turned on. Occasionally I'd be playing a game and you'd hear a grinding sound.

Working at Xbox 360 customer support (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134467)

I still remember that KB article in which it was stated that the Xbox doesn't damage discs. Imagine the kind of conversations I had when I told the guy on the other end that he must have moved the console while it read the disc. So yeah, basically I had to tell them that they were wrong, even though, of course, they weren't. Those kind of calls usually got escalated to a Tier 2 agent (what you guys call "a supervisor").

Suprised? (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134593)

Let me start off by saying I own a 360 and have scracted a disk doing exactly what you are warned not to do. If the copyright police weren't such bastards I probably would have had a playable backup so it wouldn't have been a big deal, but thanks to all the DRM it wasted one of my games. That was shortly before christmas, and that year no 360 games were purchased in my household due to the state of anger I was holding towards Microsoft.

The point to this post however is ...

In all the years of running Windows and dealing with the stupid little bugs that bring the system to its knees due to cutting corners in the development process, are we not stupid ourselves for being suprised by these facts now that they've come out? I'm upset with myself for thinking for even a second that the 360 would be any different than Windows. I guess the MS mice I have used made me think maybe their hardware was different. Obviously I was wrong.

Re:Suprised? (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134675)

If you only have a "license" when you "buy" a game, surely the publisher will replace a scratched disc for a nominal charge. Right? RIGHT?

Scratched a disc last night...shut the band down (2, Interesting)

eggsurplus (631231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134605)

Funny, I just had this happen last night. The wife accidentally knocked it over when pulling out the drum kit as we were in the process of changing instruments for Rock Band 2. This caused it to start clicking like crazy. I tried to turn it off as soon as possible but it was too late! There goes my turn to dish out some serious Beastie Boys.

I think they made the write decision (-1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134697)

If it scratched discs while lying flat or vertical. That'd be an issue. But I am of the opinion that one does not shake or rotate a video game console, DVD or CD player while it's moving unless it is specifically engineered to be portable.

And even then I try to minimize such...

***

I'd rather have the discount.

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