Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Xbox on life support....

I have to restart the deathwatch on my Xbox 360 again. Last Saturday the disc drive decided it wasn't going to work anymore. I'm not particularly happy about that.

As I was playing a game, a horrible and obnoxious noise started coming out of my system, so I promptly shut it down. Upon turning the system off, the drive tray decided to pop back out. I called MS, and after going through everything, they told me they were going to send "the coffin." Then I'm told that it's going to cost me $100, and I had to do a double take.

"A hundred bucks?!"

It turns out that Microsoft only extended the warranty on the Xbox to cover the RRoD, not other common hardware failures, such as the disc drive crapping out. There's a very nice support page on their website regarding the issue, but of course it doesn't actually say "we should fix this for you, since that's your only option, but we won't. You're going to need to pay an inordinate amount of money to get this fixed, since we like taking your money."

While it probably goes without saying, I'm very disappointed in Microsoft. They know the Xbox is a poorly built system, and they're gouging people (seemingly happily) because of it. There's no reason to charge me $100 to fix this drive issue. This is something they should be covering.

I'm sure they'd be happy if I went out and bought a new system; and I have to admit that it's tempting. The 20 GB hard drive which comes with the Xbox isn't nearly adequate, and it never has been. They know that, and that's why there's a 120 GB option. Of course, that costs $200. So when you do the math, it seems like it makes a lot of sense to buy an Elite instead of sending my console in for a fix:
  • $100 to fix the system
  • $200 for the hard drive I'll have to buy sooner or later
  • $50 for a new controller (I'd rather get one with an improved d-pad, but I don't live in Europe)
Right there you're looking at $350 out of the $400 purchase price for the Elite. So...why would I part with my system for a month or two, only to get it back and still have the looming specter of the RRoD, and still not have solved the problem of having too small of a proprietary hard drive?

I'm really disappointed in MS, and it sure would be nice if they could step up to the plate, make good on something that's totally on them, and fix this common hardware issue without charging people $100.

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