Suit: Microsoft knew of 360 disc-scratch issues

Recently unsealed court documents reveal internal review of console's disc drive prior to launch identified possible fixes for game-gouging systems.

Hardware deficiencies have been an ongoing issue for Microsoft's Xbox 360. For its part, the publisher copped to one of the most egregious issues in June 2007, saying it would take a $1.05 billion hit to extend the console's warranty by three years on general hardware failures--better known as the infamous "red ring of death." However, there remains the problem of the Xbox 360's potential to scratch game discs, a topic that inspired one gamer to file a class-action suit in July 2007.

As reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, new developments in that case indicate that Microsoft was well aware of the console's potential to scratch game discs, even before its 2005 launch. As per a motion recently unsealed by the court, Microsoft was aware that reorienting the console while a game disc was spinning could result in permanent damage.

"This is...information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about," Microsoft program manager Hiroo Umeno said in a deposition. "When we first discovered the problem in September or October, when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem."

The Xbox 360 uses a tray-loading design--as opposed to slot-loading methods employed by the PlayStation 3 and Wii--which the complaint notes was an "unusual choice" for a device that is designed to operate both horizontally and vertically. Once in motion, the Xbox 360's optical disc drive spins at 7,500rpm, which creates significant gyroscopic force on the disc, reads the suit.

"Because these greater gyroscopic forces are combined with both a weak magnetic force for holding the disc in place, and a tray-loaded design that can be oriented vertically, uncoupling of a disc during normal console use was a predictable result."

The complaint goes on to state that Microsoft rejected three potential fixes that would have compensated for the console's design flaw. The first--increasing the magnetic force exerted on the game disc--was allegedly rejected because it would have interfered with opening and closing the disc tray. Option two was to slow down the speed at which the disc drive rotated, a solution dropped because it would have increased loading times in games. The third option would have been to install "bumpers," a fix that Microsoft's internal estimates pegged at $35 million to $75 million.

Microsoft's prior knowledge of disc-scratching could be considered self-evident, considering the publisher's strict warning in the Xbox 360's product manual to not reorient the console with a disc in the drive. And the publisher itself deemed this warning to be insufficient, according to an internal e-mail, due to the fact that very few customers will read the manual.

In a statement issued to the Post-Intelligencer, the publisher confirmed that it has received about 55,000 complaints regarding disc-scratching, a figure that represents a marginal number of the Xbox 360's total installed base.

"While we have had some users contact us with concerns about scratched discs, it is less than one-half of 1% of the total Xbox 360 user base," a Microsoft representative told the Post-Intelligencer. "Xbox 360 is designed so that it will not damage a game disc as long as the console is not moved while the disc is spinning. Too much movement of any game console, not just Xbox 360, can cause scratches on a disc. That's why we put a warning on the face of the disc tray, which the user has to physically remove before the initial use of the system. We also have warnings posted online and in hard copy instruction manuals."

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831 comments
Setzera
Setzera

I'd just like to state the fact that PS3 can also install games to harddrive, and also the PSN online is free and always operational for every single game (which most 360 users don't know, and some wont accept, because they pay $50 a year.) Also want to mention that not a single game, not even ones I've played for 20 hours in a row, have even the slightest mark on them. Every other person I know has a 360, and most currently have broken systems or games.. but sadly most also don't report it to microsoft, one person I know has sent in their 360 twice already, and now thats its broken again he doesn't even bother playing it or getting it fixed, he comes here to play my ps3.

vengeance00
vengeance00

i can't see why they got a lawsuit because people scratch their disc when they move the console. do it with a PS2 and the same thing happens, they don't have anything to hold them still like the PS1 did, and recently my friend scratched a disc in his Wii because he placed it down on its side when it was playing.

davidamos
davidamos

i scratched my COD4 too, just as i was getting into it too :o( unfortunately, i don't have a rental place round here, so that sucks

Shaymojack
Shaymojack

Scratched my COD4 disc... At least now we can install to hard drive, so as long as your 360 can recognize the game as whatever game it is you can rent one and install to hard drive, and then play it off your scratched disc.

redsnake9111
redsnake9111

BS on downplaying those complaints. Remember that in cases like this 1 person who officially complains represents at least 50 who have suffered.

hassy94
hassy94

DJ Nario, you have no idea what your talking about. If you really owned the system you'd realise that the only time the disc scratches is when an idiot pushes over their Xbox 360 while the disc is spinning. I've knocked my xbox and my whole TV set alot and I've NEVER scratched a disc

DJ_Nario
DJ_Nario

I've read most of the comments below and, even though I promised not to come to this ignorant place anymore, I feel obliged to say this: it takes NO MORE than lightly pushing back a 360 to make it scratch a disc. Most consoles have enough leeway to be potentially thrown while the disc is inside and the disc should still be fine. BUT, with the 360, an accidental nudge against the console will cause your game to go bye-bye. Even then, sometimes you 360 will scratch your games nonetheless, but this case is rare. Believe me, I've had accidents with all the PS2, GameCube, Wii, and Xbox 360, and I have to say without a doubt that the Xbox 360 is the most accident-prone compared to the others, by far. Take my advice or be left in the cold. These gamers aren't pushing the console back with brute force.

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

I have a pretty good idea that most people who own an Xbox is majority children ~ those who really don't know how to take proper care of any disc or gaming system they own. The rest have no common sense. LoL @ M$ incapability also in making a superior gaming system, and when I say that I mean they make crap that's going to just fall apart anyway. And oh you all whine and moan and say "Well that's what the insurance is for!" So freaking what! Wow so you have insurance ~ the fact of the matter is that it's a faulty, inferior product made with cheap materials.

kiers_jimbo
kiers_jimbo

Oh fantastic! This is probably why the Xbox' sales are so good compared to the PS3 - it's the same customers having to buy new consoles over and over again!

zaptoman
zaptoman

Re-orienting the console while a disc is in? What a bunch of flipping morons. What did you expect to happen? The judge should throw this suit out of court.

necronaux
necronaux

And if 'they' win the suit against MS, 360 owners won't get squat. Ya really think they'd give you a new system? A new drive? But where they "put a warning sticker on the face of the disc tray", I doubt this suit will go anywhere.

BlackShadeDark
BlackShadeDark

Either all xbox 360 owners are morons who take out the disc running or the xbox just sucks. I have both consoles and I have had less problems with my PS3 then with the Xbox 360 - And my Xbox is not launch date so I think the best console is the PS3 cause it's just more structured and stuff liek that

mastervirtua
mastervirtua

This problem makes it risky if you're playing it in a moving vehicle. My consoles was scratching discs when I was underway on a ship. Keep this in mind.

RoC1909
RoC1909

@ Ergo_Proxy656 NO!!! People DO NOT have more common sense than to know that. Read the newspaper and you will see that quite a few people do not have common sense. And ESPECIALLY when you are talking about gamers....who think that they KNOW EVERYTHING!!

RoC1909
RoC1909

"Microsoft was aware that reorienting the console while a game disc was spinning could result in permanent damage. " That sentence is the KEY. Reorienting the system WHILE a game disk is spinning. Are gamers so stupid that they shouldn't have known this?!?! You don't jostle the console while the system is turned on as well as when playing a game!! I can see the idiots then coming back and saying "Well, Microsoft has given us the ability to install games to the hard drive so this shouldn't have been a issue!!!" Lame!!

Gamerzone23
Gamerzone23

The 360 put quite a few straches on my copies of Gears of war and Assassin's Creed.

Ergo_Proxy656
Ergo_Proxy656

They're avoiding the issue a bit (and doing it tactfully). Not all the scratches are from people actually picking up the console while running a game (I mean, I'm sure a few people do that, but people usually have more common sense than that), but rather from just how the 360 is set up in the first place. You might think that it's best to have it standing, you know, for better air if you're afraid of the Red Rings. But that's a trade-off for disc condition, because, I've noticed with mine, that the discs get shot to hell sometimes when the console's standing. I didn't have to touch it, nobody had to go near it; sometimes it just gave me that grating, buzz-saw kind of sound. Then (I'm sure this happened to some other people), I open the tray, standing OR laying on it's side, and the disc comes out spinning, sometimes even falling to the floor if it's standing. I agree, right now, the 360 has the PS3 beat in gamecount, but, even though MS is doing things to fix all these problems, at least my PS3 and Wii don't break down and/or damage/KILL discs on me.

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

@00Terry00 i bought my 360 day one and never took it to the repair shop. one thing im fearing is to have a disc stuck to my head one day. i had on three occasions that it flew out when i press the eject button missing my head like an inch. But i still perfer the 360 over the ps3 cos of the games and the controller felt right for most games.

00Terry00
00Terry00

The reason the Xbox360 has so many hardware issued which apparently is getting on many people nerves is because they launched the console too early. They should of tested it and kept refining it so that problems like this wouldn't happen. MS took a huge gamble when they launched the console earlier but they did it just to beat Sony. PS3 was a highly anticipated console which everyone was waiting for so was the Xbox 360. Looking back at the PS2, it was a very successful console that is still selling well today so most gamers will want to get the PS3. In fear that MS will loose the lead like what happen to the Xbox, they decided to launch the Xbox 360 earlier which has attracted many gamers. I mean who doesn't wants something new and play games with mouth-watering graphics. Sales were off the charts. After the Xbox 360 was launched, people started complaining; the Xbox 360 is overheating. My friend owned a Xbox 360 that time and he told me that he couldn't play games for over 2 hours or more. The thing will just fry up and then shut off. Then the PS3 came, it was expensive and there was very little game tittles for it. Everyone was disappointed and sales weren't very good. Despite that, the PS3 is very reliable and there very little to no complains of hardware issues to it, but this also doesn't means it is far superior than the Xbox 360. I find that none of these consoles are perfect but they aren't bad either. They have thier pros and cons. The Xbox 360 has a better GPU, Internet service and many exclusive titles. The downside is the console is not very reliable and although they are many exclusive titles, the only good games I heard are only Gears and Halo. Correct me if I'm wrong. The PS3 has a better processor, is piracy-free, reliable and has a Blu-Ray disc player. Now I know that Blu-ray disc are expensive but they have Higher Definition compared to the HD DVD and are able to store more information. The downside of the PS3 is it is expensive, its GPU lost to the Xbox 360's and has very little exclusives games. Although little, they are fun for example LBP, MGS 4, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Resistance and soon to come Killzone 2 and God of War 3. The reason PS3 lost to the Xbox 360 is because it is expensive and there are very little games for it and the Xbox 360 took a head start. The reason many people is starting to hate the Xbox 360 is because of hardware problems. They take it to the store the store repairs it, then it breaks again then they get a new one and the same thing happens again. I think this happened to most of the Xbox 360 owners, am I right or am I wrong?

warhawk-smakaho
warhawk-smakaho

you don't even have to move that stupid piece of crap for it to scratch apparently, just last week while i was playing COD, my roommates 360 just randomly made that crazy ass noise it makes, the game cutoff he opened it and the disk had deep rings all around it. it you ask me xbox is a piece of crap, and microsoft is ripping yall off, I bought my ps3 the day it came out so far NOT ONE ISSUE. but I'm just saying

P90E21
P90E21

I just know to fallow the instruction on the disc tray when I frist got mine. It clearly says do no move console while disc is in the system. But no I won't go trash talking systems cause I has a PS2 last Gen. I'll get a PS3 later on, but in on-line wise I have been on the PS3, but I have to say I like the way Live is set up.

killkill3
killkill3

PS3 as a console is far superior to the xbox 360, in other words you get what you pay for

killkill3
killkill3

starlighthunter, you don't know any ps3 games and there are far more quality ps3 exclusive titles than on the xbox 360

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

ps3 sucks, has suckage games end off. i dont care about rlod or the scratch issue. i just prefer microsoft over sony allways have.

Autolycus
Autolycus

my guess next xbox will be SSD and MEMORY CARDS for games.

Autolycus
Autolycus

um, if you use a computer and try to move it while its reading a disc, guess what will happen. THE EXACT SAME THING. Microsoft can't fix USER ERROR, and hate to break it to you but your PS3 will do the same thing. Don't believe me, next time you are installing a game Pick up your PS3 and tip it, watch what will happen.

Gerardo1963
Gerardo1963

hahaha! Wow microsoft! And who gives a crap if its beating ps3 in sales! Atleast my ps3 doesnt try eating my games up! lol!

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

i have fallen victim to this too. i had my fallout 3 game in at the time and i acciedentally knocked my xbox over which followed by a massive grinding noise. i looked at my disc after and it had a huge scratch around the outside of it. ive had not many problems with it though, it still works and i have installed it on my 120gb sucessfully. so im lucky it still lives really. and about microsoft being the worst in the gaming industry. is that why its beating the ps3 in sales reguardless of its technical issues and XBLA is much better than the PSN. and yes its your fault for moving your xbox whilst something is in the drive. installing games on the HDD is better for the console because it poduces less heat much less noise and loads your game faster but at a cost of 3-5gb.

ZookGuy
ZookGuy

On thing I don't understand: why would you move your console when the disc is running???

Ben-e
Ben-e

I think a lot of people are affected and don't necessarily tell MS about it - I wouldn't have thought of contacting them...

the1stmoonfly
the1stmoonfly

I know of 8 games ruined because of this issue, 3 of them mine. I can understand why M$ wouldnt want to take the blame for us moving the console while its spinning a disc anyway, but even slight accidental movement (the misses cleaning round the console for eg) can wreck a disc which I dont think is fair on us consumers. No other device I have or have ever had is so sensetive. This point aside, I'm on my second console (a repair job after RRoD) and it refuses to read my brand new Geras of War disc, Ive had it a couple months and not managed to get it going yet. I also struggle to get quite a few games going. The disc tray regularly jams and wont open, a problem a couple mates have, and it also releases games with the disc still spinning. M$ are asking for trouble releasing hardware that does this and deserve the stick they are getting. Hopefully the next console will be of a much better build quality, assuming M$ dont act as they usually do trying to squeeze every last penny of profit out of a product. It backfired on them this gen and caused us all a headache, next time better be different.

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

i had a few mishaps with disc flying out! the disc was actually still spinning like 100 miles per hour... am i only one?

usmaan7000
usmaan7000

If you like the Wii better than the Xbox 360 say thumbs up If you think yes I ask a lot of questions 'cause I'm curious.................

usmaan7000
usmaan7000

Say thumbs up if you think Microsoft is the worst company in the gaming industry in history ...................... I think yes

thug9cole
thug9cole

personally i've found that either way i have my 360 it scratch's the game either way... What would be the best way to position the 360 anyways? I was thinking vertical because better for overheating right? gets more air...

RockmanSRD
RockmanSRD

I work in rental and see rings like this on an almost daily basis. People that don't believe they exist just need to work with me for a night. Thankfully, after hounding many a customer, people have started to learn that you don't move the system while it's running something from the drive.

tommcruise
tommcruise

you get what you pay for..... pay a low price for a low quality item and these are the type of things that happen. I've learned my lesson, pay more to get higher quality items. BTW: When I used to have a 360, i left it flat and didn't allow anything to touch the system... still screwed up 4 of my games..

prsman
prsman

If MS knew of this, why not fix it? My dog knocked over my 360. Now my Halo 3 campain and Isolation+Last Resort don't work.

InnerHeaven_X
InnerHeaven_X

i take up microsoft's point....It's YOUR own fault for moving the 360 while in motion; as it is clearly stated on the front of the disc tray.....many people need to learn how to read apparantly

doyd
doyd

my f u c king Halo3 disk got scratched because of this now i canr load 4 maps and two campagn missions

dj_c4
dj_c4

LOL i like how they guess 35-75 million. That's a pretty broad range. I don't even know anyone that says "oooh 30 to 70 dollars." Thats a pretty big difference. Make up your mind. were you hoping to buy some of the bumpers on eBay???

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

I maintain the fact that this system has more issues then any other. I have had my PS3 freeze on me during extended play twice over the last 8 months of owning it but beyond that I have had no issues. To many danm problems thats what you get for coming out a year before anyone else.

tu2pac
tu2pac

P.S. - My brother isn't dumb enough to have his 360 in the vertical position since the games are loaded into a tray ... think about it.

tu2pac
tu2pac

@Taosaurus: Wikipedia is your source ... wow, it must be true! My brother owns a 360, hasn't scratched a disc yet. Still though, if MS knew, it should be no surprise that they pushed ahead anyway. Their strategy to get a foothold in the market was to beat Sony release by a year. Why? So they'd have games this time around. Last generation Sony had a TON of exclusives, thus everyone had a PS2. Now the tables have turned, with them beating Sony out of the gate by that much time, Sony has few exclusives and thus in the US and Europe markets they are pretty much deadlocked. As far as people saying MS is falling behind because of the Red Ring ... it's Microsoft! They make millions an hour from all their other endeavors, they just move some of that money into the 360 area now. And no, I'm not a troll ... I own a PS3

Taosaurus
Taosaurus

Read about the KASSA investigation at Wikipedia. The 360 scratches discs regardless of the system being moved. At this point, how can anyone take what MS says seriously?

King_Jeremy_77
King_Jeremy_77

While Microsoft is to blame for not fixing the problem when they should've, the morons who move their consoles while a disc is spinning are also to blame.

Tebbit
Tebbit

The thing is, it's not completely turning the console that can cause scratches, but also minor bumps (say someone walks past the console while it is vertical - if it's on particularly thin flooring as an extreme example) that can cause scratching. Surely after looking at the PS2 (which at least had a vertical stand to minimize incidental motion) they would have made some effort to avoid potential disc kapow-ing

andre29125
andre29125

I guess some people lack the common sense to know better than to reorient the console while the disc is still spinning.

rarson
rarson

"The Xbox 360 uses a tray-loading design--as opposed to slot-loading methods employed by the PlayStation 3 and Wii--which the complaint notes was an "unusual choice" for a device that is designed to operate both horizontally and vertically." How so? The vast majority of PC optical drives sold are trays designed to operate both horizontally and vertically. PS2? Hello? If anything, slot-loading drives are the unusual choice for just about anything other than a car head unit. The above quote sounds like a cop-out. The disc damage is due to reorienting the console while the disc is spinning. If you are stupid enough to do that, then you deserve to get your disc scratched. I seriously hope Microsoft had the forethought to include a disclaimer in the system manual. This is just dumb.