By Chris Tribbey | Posted: 17 Dec 2008
First it was the “red ring of death.” Now it’s damaged discs.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is coming under legal fire again, this time because of accusations that the gaming system scratches discs when the system is moved while the power is on. The suit seeks class action status.
While it may seem like common sense — don’t move the system while it’s operating — a suit filed in Seattle claims Microsoft knew about the problem before the Xbox 360’s launch in 2005, and its advertising of the system as being able to stand horizontally or vertically causes users to handle the system without knowing the consequences.
“Microsoft discovered this scratch-inducing design defect prior to launching the Xbox 360, but refused and continue to refuse to remedy the problem,” the lawsuit reads. The suit includes testimony from a Microsoft program manager, Hiroo Umeno, which shows that Microsoft considered — and rejected — three possible fixes to the problem before the system was made available to consumers.
Microsoft includes a warning sticker on the 360’s disc tray that warns users to not move the console while a disc is inside. However, the suit claims that does not “adequately warn of the product defect.”
A Microsoft spokesman told the Seattle Tech Report Dec. 15 that “too much movement of any game console, not just the Xbox 360, can cause scratches on a disc. That’s why we put a warning on the face of the tray, which the user has to physically remove before the initial use of the system.”
A widespread failure rate of Xbox 360s due to overheating — known as the red ring of death, due to the three red lights that appear on the front of the console — resulted in a class action lawsuit in California filed in October. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, has extended the system’s warranty to three years, and allows for free repair via the mail for users experiencing the problem.