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Microsoft Sued Over Scratched Xbox 360 Discs 133

Posted by Zonk
from the so-the-doctor-says-don't-go-like-that dept.
Xbm360 writes "Microsoft has been sued by Jorge Brouwer from the US who claims that Xbox 360s scratched his game discs, making them unusable. 'Some gamers speculate that moving the console between vertical and horizontal positions while a disc is spinning inside could cause the scratching. Microsoft warns against such actions with a sticker placed on new consoles, and Brouwer said in the lawsuit that Microsoft's customer service representatives asked him if he had tilted the console. He said he had not. The lawsuit also cites investigations of similar consumer complaints conducted by a Dutch television program, which found that one of nine consoles tested scratched a disc after five hours of play.'"
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Microsoft Sued Over Scratched Xbox 360 Discs

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  • Imagery (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:03PM (#19826235)
    Why do I get the image of Steve Ballmer sitting next to a stack of SpongeBob SquarePants XBox360 game discs with a pocket knife and a bottle of Jack Daniels laughing maniacally as he scratches each disc one by one, packages them back up & puts them in the "toys for underprivileged children" charity box?
    • Simple (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zenephis (1119217)
      Here is a pretty simple fix [llamma.com] in case anyone is brave enough to try. Also there is a movie link that shows the degree of the scratches. Be aware, the page is a visual disaster on the eyes. You have been warned.
      • Here is a pretty simple fix [llamma.com] in case anyone is brave enough to try. Also there is a movie link that shows the degree of the scratches.

        Be aware, the page is a visual disaster on the eyes. You have been warned.
        Who hasn't played with a gyroscope? I feel no pity for these people with scratched discs. It's called rotational inertia.
  • by ZachMG (1122511)
    ok even barely bumping the thing will scratch them and its takin this long for someone to sue? Wow, oh and did anyone ever sue about the overheating thing? I know a couple of people that have had disks melted and one that actually had a 360 burst into flames.
  • Disc Return? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vigmeister (1112659) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:04PM (#19826257)
    One thing I have never understood is why anybody who sells their shit on optical media doesn't institute a return program for scratched discs. You give me a scratched disc (with a holographic seal of authenticity) and I'll replace it free. Given that the disc itself is cheap to produce (unlike floppy disks), this should ensure TOTAL consumer happiness. In fact, they could even (if possible) clean and sell mildly scratched discs as refurbished/pre-owned and make a profit out of this whole cycle.

    Cheers!
    • Re:Disc Return? (Score:5, Informative)

      by figleaf (672550) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:22PM (#19826545) Homepage
      Microsoft does exchange scratched discs for games published by Microsoft. Some other companies has similar schemes.
      http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/systemuse/xbox36 0/gameplay/discreplacement-program.htm [xbox.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zarthrag (650912)
        Have you checked the list of games?

        * Crackdown(TM)
        * Fuzion Frenzy 2
        * Gears Of War®
        * Halo® 2
        * Kameo(TM): Elements of Power(TM)
        * Ninety Nine Nights(TM)
        * Perfect Dark Zero(TM)
        * Project Gotham Racing® 3
        * Viva Piñata(TM)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eison (56778)
        So if Microsoft's defective product scratches a game I have paid $60+ for, I can pay another $20 to replace the game? Which their defective product will then scratch again?
        And you think this is a reasoanble solution?

        If the disk exchange was free, maybe you would have a point.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          1. disc scratches can be trivial to fix. I use Mother's California Gold car wax. I expect the one tin I bought to serve the needs of myself and 10 generations of my decendants.

          2. Blame angular momentum. Tilt something spinning expect gyroscopic forces to kick your ass. Who the fuck juggles their xbox while playing a game anyway?

          3. if it really is the xbox, don't call to replace the game call to replace the xbox and game. You may have to go the extra mile with this including making a webcam movie with n
          • The tilt thing keeps coming up. First, that could have been solved by microsoft with $.02 rubber pads, like it has been others on the net, but lets forget that for the moment. I bought a 360 a few days ago, brand new, and it has already put two hairline concentric circle scratches around the center of the disc and both have already had read errors. Needless to say I returned the system. But here's the main point: I had already read about disc scratching problems caused by moving the system so I made su
      • I don't think i should have to pay 1 penny to replace disks that are damaged BY my 360.. They charge $20 for MS game replacement disks, and don't offer any links to other publishers for replacements of non-MS 360 games.
    • That used to be policy way (way) back in the day.

      Hell, in the days before the internet publishers would send patches out on floppy discs for free (as well they should). Getting your media replaced was as easy as sending the discs back to the publisher with a return address. A week or two later and you were back in business.

      Forget optical media, if your copy is legit, the publisher should replace it at cost regardless of what kind of media it is or what's on it. DVD, CD, BD, ROM it doesn't matter. You paid f
      • I was thinking the same thing - those damned key diskettes for the Commodore 64 and the like. They were more annoying than the booklets where you had to find word 8 of paragraph 3 on page 45 of the included adventurer's journal. At least you could photocopy the booklet at your parents' workplaces. :)

        As for discs, I'd much prefer the ability to make a backup of the damned thing. But, no, no one would ever want to do that for any reason other than to pirate. No, no reason for legitimate backups at all
  • Back it up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kawolski (939414) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:05PM (#19826267)
    You know, a scratched disc wouldn't be such a problem if he had simply made a backup of the disc. Oh wait...
    • Where have you been? Don't you know that even wanting to make a backup of media that you legally own means that you're a pirate-wannabe? If being on Slashdot has taught you anything, it should be that the mere mention of legitimate archives of optical media is grounds for suspicion and torment by the IP Protection Evangelist Death Squad(TM), a division of the BSA, MPAA, and RIAA. BAD! If you could afford to buy the game once, you should be able to afford to buy it two, three, or four times until you learn
  • My worst experience was with Halo 2 disks. Between myself and two friends, we had five disks die on us, all with a visible ring showing up in the same place on the disk. Why we put up with it and didn't bitch at MS I can't remember...
    • by EtoilePB (1087031)
      I worked for GameStop when the 360 launched and it was only about a week before the first wave of lucky customers started bringing us disks with those crazy gouge rings. (To which we said, "Sorry, but we have nothing to do with that damage. Call Microsoft.") So that was what, November 2005? You're not the only one who's amazed it took this long for a lawsuit.
    • by Jaqenn (996058) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:21PM (#19826527)

      Why we put up with it and didn't bitch at MS I can't remember...
      Because you played Halo 2. The thing is rife with pro-MS subliminal messages. The fact that you can't remember why you let them off the hook only proves how effective it is.
      • by zolaar (764683)

        you can't remember why you let them off the hook

        Let him off the hook for what?

        Sorry, having trouble concentrating all of a sudden. One of those days, I guess...
    • I thought that ring thing was only in the first Halo.
  • by Fx.Dr (915071) <exterminansNO@SP ... fthelosthour.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:18PM (#19826481)
    The 360 reads its discs with phonograph needles. It's a real bitch winding that sucker up, too.
    • by mrscorpio (265337)
      I read that too quickly and saw "pornographic needles". I need to step away from the computer for a few, I think....
  • Why sue? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:21PM (#19826529)

    Why not first try demanding that MS replace the disc? The idea of suing over such a thing sounds kind of silly. Yeah, if they refuse to replace it, I guess you could try suing them. That certainly doesn't sound cheaper than buying a new disc. Why would you want to inflict a lawsuit on yourself? If it really pisses you off that bad, stop using the Xbox 360.

    • by MoonFog (586818)
      According to TFA, he did and they offered to replace them for a 20 dollar fee. He obviously refused and sued them for 5 million in damages instead.
    • by Holy69 (938902)
      The main reason why I believe they are suing is due to the fact that the Xbox 360 is apparently improperly designed, thus this is not only a case about replacing the discs but providing the consumer with a properly functioning system. So we can go give us new discs, we get them, then 5 hours of game play go by and once again bad disks. Whats funny is I can almost guarantee that he brought the 360 from vertical to horizontal causing the damage in the first place.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by APLowman (968256)
        Whats funny is I can almost guarantee that he brought the 360 from vertical to horizontal causing the damage in the first place.

        What's funny is that you don't know what you are talking about. I really hate it when people assume that just because they haven't had a problem then nobody has. I personally have gone through 8 copies of Guitar Hero 2 which I bought a scratch warranty on after the first one went ($10 at Gamestop). Each copy has the same scratch and the system is always horizontal. I read somewh
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pclminion (145572)

        The main reason why I believe they are suing is due to the fact that the Xbox 360 is apparently improperly designed, thus this is not only a case about replacing the discs but providing the consumer with a properly functioning system.

        If their product sucks that bad, why keep using it? Send it back and demand your money back, and use something that doesn't suck. This guy isn't going to get $5 million -- instead he's going to end up thousands of dollars in the hole. If he thinks he's going to send some ki

        • by zolaar (764683)

          teaching Satan some table manners

          "Now Stev^H^H^H^HSatan, what did I tell you about throwing chairs at the dinner guests?"
  • I'm glad this is at least a known issue with 360s now. It doesnt seem to be an issue with some games that you only play for a few hours but the games that I have played for very long periods of time on my 360 both have gotten big cracks coming from the center of the disc. One of my friends has had to purchase several copies of Oblivion for this reason.
  • So how does one prove this? If I call and say my XYZ disc is scratched because of the 360 how can I prove it was the machine scratching it from normal use vs. the machine being moved when running vs. the guy scratching it himself?

    I mean if every game he puts in scratches then ya very easy to prove and he deserves to win (however not the 5 million that's insane, get some new free discs and money to cover court costs). However if it's random or just once because maybe the DVD media was manufactured wron
    • by n0dna (939092)
      One obvious giveaway is that when people scratch Discs through wear and tear (abuse) the scratches tend to appear at random on the surface, and usually in substantial numbers.

      When a drive scratches a disc, it usually does so in a circular pattern. You'd see it sometimes in old CD-Roms that would open the tray when you hit the button, regardless of whether the disc had spun down or not, and the disc would still be spinning while laying on the surface of the tray.

      You'd have a hard time _accidentally_ duplicat
  • mod me down, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by starbuckr0x (1073378)
    Did MS even offer to replace this man's games? We live in a sad world when people start suing over their video games. Legal action should only be used as a last resort. There are bigger fish to fry out there (i.e. HMOs) over more serious matters. Crap like this doesn't deserve a day in court.
    • by Dekortage (697532)

      Nah, mod parent up. Of course, scratched video disks are still less stupid than lost pants [iht.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I bought a 360 days ago, kept it horizontal, never bumped it while it was running, and called microsoft support about some hairline concentric circle scratches it was putting into my games (and resulting in read errors). What did I hear? *I* had to *pay* *them* $20 for a new copy of the game my system messed up, and I was screwed on the 3rd party title I had. What am I supposed to even do with such a replacement if they won't replace my console? Put it in and let it get scratched *again*? Obviously I
  • by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:42PM (#19826817) Journal
    'Some gamers speculate that moving the console between vertical and horizontal positions while a disc is spinning inside could cause the scratching.

    USA, the land of the obvious... is it *really* necessary to add a warning label of "DO NOT SHAKE THE CONSOLE WHILE PLAYING"??? I wonder what happens if you move your DVD player while it is playing a movie? or what about that Blender! whoooo! lets grab and shake the fucking thing while making a tasty tomato salsa!!

    Now, aside of that, I am completely on the side of the guy, if the disks gets scratched after 5 hours of normal useage, then I hope they sue the hell out of Microsoft (or Sony or any other company). Sure, they are all exigent against personal backups, but then they should be held accountable for these kinds of actions. And, the fact that Microsoft has a replacement program for /their/ games does not matter as it is independent of the /other/ games or DVDs (does the X360 plays film DVDs?)...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Discgolferusa (711112)
      yeah.... Sometimes I'm scared to live here too knowing that crazies like Michael Moore are roaming around. :)
    • >or what about that Blender! whoooo! lets grab and shake the
      >thing while making a tasty tomato salsa!!

      Hey, I think the blade's stuck on that tomato!

      I'll get it . . .

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gauauu (649169)
      After watching Sycko now I am very afraid to live in the USA. How can you live there?

      Because real life and Michael Moore's documentary aren't really the same thing.
    • is it *really* necessary to add a warning label of "DO NOT SHAKE THE CONSOLE WHILE PLAYING"??? I wonder what happens if you move your DVD player while it is playing a movie?
      On the other hand, what happens if your car hits a bump while your portable DVD player [about.com] is playing a movie? Or what happens if you move your PSP while it is playing a UMD movie or game?
    • USA, the land of the obvious... is it *really* necessary to add a warning label of "DO NOT SHAKE THE CONSOLE WHILE PLAYING"???

      Hey, it works for portable CD players. It works for automobile CD players. It works for (spinning-disc based) iPods. It works for the hard drive in my laptop*. Why shouldn't people expect any spinning-disc drive to be well-designed enough to withstand the minor shocks of being moved around?

      It seems to me that we (as a society) have become conditioned to have lower and lower expect

    • by grumbel (592662)
      ### is it *really* necessary to add a warning label of "DO NOT SHAKE THE CONSOLE WHILE PLAYING"???

      Which other game console have you ever heard of scratching discs? PS2 can be positioned vertically as well, so can the PS3, ever heard of scratched discs there? I haven't. With Xbox360 forums are however full of reports thanks to its defective design. Its not a issue with having or not having a warning label, its an issue with broken hardware design, nothing else, blaming the user is simply the easy way out.

      Bes
  • by king-manic (409855)
    Are we going to start that anytime soon. Slashdot seems to be such MS fan boys... when it comes to video games. We seem to be crucifying Sony for their Hubris shouldn't we be doing the same to MS for their arrogance in selling crappy hardware? A estimated 30% fail rate for a consumer electronic device is pretty shoddy (30% is estimated cost of replacements that MS has budgeted for). MS is already evil, already anti-consumer, and slashdot gives them a pass because?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brkello (642429)
      Are you kidding? Slashdot is very firmly Nintendo fanboys. This is a site that hates MS but has to give credit to MS for making a good console with great online service. Yeah, the failure rate is unacceptable...and if MS didn't admit it, Slashdot would call them out. But they did admit it and said they would replace them for free for 3 years. That is really standing behind your product.

      Slashdot also hates Sony for the various evil things they have done. The difference is while MS appears to be trying
    • There are only 2 players in the HD console market: MS and Sony. Nintendo has decided not to play that game (an understandable descision and i wish them well but people with a large HDTV rig aren't going to want a Wii as thier main console).

      Sony aren't liked any more than MS by the /. crowd (rootkit scandal anyone) and atm MS are offering the only reasonally priced HD capable console.

      P.S. Afaict the only reason MS are in the console market at all is because sony were threatening to attack the PC market throu
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:27PM (#19827427) Journal
    If you watched the TV clip from Dutch television you would know that the 360's optical drive is missing the bumper pads that surround the laser lens and protect discs from scratching by the lens assembly itself, a common safety feature that is present on every other optical drive ever made. Why Microsoft or the drive manufacturer's chose to omit this common optical drive design feature is a bit of a mystery to me, but it is not simply a problem with gamers moving the console while the drive is in operation (although that obviously has to be the cause in at least a few cases). 360 forums are filled with complaints from customers that have had to replace some games two or three times where they have done nothing adverse to the either the console or the discs.

    Perhaps Microsoft has absolutely no control over the issue insofar as it is entirely the fault of the drive manufacturer, so we may want to give MS a bit of slack on the issue. Still, MS has to be aware of the problem and you would think that they would insist that all drives be manufactured with bumper pads.
    • 360 forums are filled with complaints from customers that have had to replace some games two or three times where they have done nothing adverse to the either the console or the discs.

      My GHII disc scratched when I went to add another controller to the usb port and slightly bumped the console. I tried to have it buffed out twice and it wouldn't work, so I took it back to the store. So while I haven't had a problem when it was just sitting there, I shouldn't have a problem when I just bump the box...

      • Yeah, I agree... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hamster Lover (558288) *
        Yeah, I agree. I have bumped the hell out of my laptop on occasion while burning a DVD and not only did the disc not scratch but the burn completed successfully. Thanks to missing bumper pads, it seems even the slightest of bumps or a game disc that is the tiniest bit out of tolerance could cause a devastating scratch. Hell, the bumper pads can't cost more than a fraction of a penny so I don't see a significant savings here for the drive manufacturer. It just doesn't make sense why the drives are manufactur
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Svartalf (2997)

      Why Microsoft or the drive manufacturer's chose to omit this common optical drive design feature is a bit of a mystery to me, but it is not simply a problem with gamers moving the console while the drive is in operation (although that obviously has to be the cause in at least a few cases).

      They're guilty of shaving fractions of a cent here, fractions of a cent there on the BOM of the units. Those partial pennies add up when you're talking about a unit count starting at .5 million and up. They shaved it in

    • by pev (2186)
      If its easy to replicate the fault by moving the console, why hasnt someone worked up how to either transplant the pads from another drive or create their own then proved it works by replicating the conditions? One would have thought this is an obvious thing to do and publish as a HOWTO on the intrawebthingy...

      ~Pev
  • My 360 has been horizontal and stationary since the day i bought it, and my disks have never been anywhere but their boxes and the dvd drive in the 360 - yet both Tiger Woods and Halo 2 have been damaged by the 360 drive.. i bought and used a disk repair machine, and had success "refinishing" the surface - but the manufacturer says to use it no more than 5 times on a dvd - and Tiger's about to undergo its fourth repair, This lawsuit was the first i'd heard of anyone else experiencing this issue (as i had li
  • by LanMan04 (790429) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:01PM (#19828697)
    I had a similar problem happen to me with my Playstation2, and Sony was amazingly helpful. Yes, it's true! Probably the best customer service experience I've ever had, and on an out-of-warranty PS2, no less! TWICE!

    I had my PS2 start leaving nasty scratch rings on game discs, making them unplayable. I called Sony customer service, and they said (in a nutshell) that if the PS2 is eating discs, they'll repair it for free (even if the machine is out of warranty) AND cut you a check for the damaged games (full retail, even years later, and even if they weren't Sony-published games!) if you send in the games with the console. This took place in Spring 2003, more than 2 years after I bought the PS2. Everything worked like they said: I had the console back in less than a week, and a check a few weeks later.

    Then, this happened a SECOND time, about a year later (2004 sometime). Same response: send in the PS2 with the damaged games, free repair+check for damaged games, and it worked like a charm. Before I sent it in, I even told Sony that I just noticed whoever repaired the machine the first time had forgotten to put a new "warranty void if removed" sticker on the PS2 case, and they said it was no problem.

    I just can't believe how helpful they were in repairing my out-of-warranty stuff, the second time of which didn't even have the "warranty void if removed" sticker. Just good service, minimal muss and fuss, and I didn't even have to lie to the rep to get service. Huzzah!
  • Costs (Score:3, Funny)

    by Renraku (518261) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:14PM (#19828827) Homepage
    Obviously they aren't doing anything about it. Not offering to repair consoles that are scratching games. Dragging their feet with replacements. You know. The usual service offered by Microsoft.

    They have plenty to learn to be actually successful in the console market. Its not like the PC market. People in the console market expect to be taken care of. Try getting a refund for Windows just because it caused your hardware to burst into flames.
  • In the past year or so, the amount of unplayable, scratched DVD discs i receive from blockbuster online has risen dramatically. I wonder if the Xbox360 has anything to do with this.
  • 360 Not Just 4 Games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Way2Random (1126841)
    Important to keep in mind that the 360 is not just a game console. If the 360 is damaging DVDs how does that return policy on M$ game DVDs cover people that use their 360 as their exclusive DVD player. It also raises a question on the new HD DVD player for the 360. Has any1 checked that drive? If it is marketed as a DVD player which it is then if it is responsible for damaging those disks if is not functioning as intended or as advertised.
  • I got a Sony CD player when CDs first came out, in the early 80s. The thing that held up the CD in the CD tray was actually 3 little columns that held the cd basically in the middle of the data area, instead of how it is today where its a thin ridge that holds it by the very outside edge.

    Needless to say it after a bunch of listens (I only had about 3 cds for several years because each cd was about $25, which in those days translates to about $50 in today's money) there were scratches on the cds right where
  • Out the dozen or so people that I know that own 360s there have been some dead ones, but not a single person has ever mentioned a scratched disc. This seems to be blown out of proportion.
  • Like I mentioned in the original article I submitted; http://www.hdtvinfo.eu/news/game-consoles/lawsuit- against-microsoft-about-scratched-xbox-360-discs.h tml/ [hdtvinfo.eu] the Dutch tv program Kassa already did investigate this matter a while ago & they found many units which scratched the game discs. This is hard evidence!
  • Bill Gates: Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks! [insane laughter]
  • by the_nightwulf (1003306) * on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:56PM (#19833033)
    Obligatory "praise Nintendo" post follows:

    I had a similar situation with my copy of Wii Sports. The machine itself didn't damage the disc, but that silly flimsy cardboard holder they package it in (hello, jewel cases are how much in bulk?) took it's toll. My conversation with Nintendo customer service went something like this:

    "My copy of Wii Sports is scratched, will no longer play."
    "Are any of your other games scratched or not playing correctly?"
    "No, only Wii Sports, scratched by the cardboard holder."
    "Ok, let me pull up your My Nintendo profile ... Ok, your new copy will be shipped tomorrow."

    They probably spent a buck or two with UPS to ship it, and pennies to make the disc. The new copy is in an old jewel case that was lying around, and they gained one customer impressed by their service. Why Microsoft can't do the same is beyond me.

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