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Microsoft Knew About Xbox 360 Damaging Discs 583

Posted by timothy
from the dribbling-it-like-a-ball-may-also-cause-problems dept.
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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Microsoft Knew About Xbox 360 Damaging Discs

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  • Oh Noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:11PM (#26134061) Homepage Journal

    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! (Score:5, Funny)

      by The End Of Days (1243248) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:16PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by liquidpele (663430)
      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! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by theaveng (1243528) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @02:01PM (#26134869)

        I disagree. "It's the user's fault" is the same tactic Toyota tried to use when some of their engines started dying at 30,000 miles. Toyota blamed the user for not proper maintenance, but the truth was that the users had changed oil every 6000 miles as required. The flaw was not the user; the flaw was the engine overheating & the oil turning to sludge. Toyota refused to do anything until the U.S. Consumer Protection Agency threatened a class-action lawsuit, at which point Toyota chose to honor the engine warranty.

        The same is true with Microsoft: They are unfairly blaming users, but users have done nothing wrong. They have NOT moved their Xboxes, and yet discs are still getting scratched.

        Just as there was a fundamental flaw with Toyota engines, their is a fundamental flaw with Microsoft's disc loader.

        • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sir_Dill (218371) <slashdot@zachul[ ]om ['a.c' in gap]> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @02:58PM (#26135719) Homepage
          Your analogy fails.

          An engine requires routine maintenance to ensure trouble free operation. That maintenance routine is described in the operators manual.

          What sort of maintenance is required for an optical disk drive?

          As someone pointed out, consoles are not portable. Standard operation would not involve moving the item while it was on. Would you sue a hard drive manufacturer because the heads on your hard drive crashed when you dropped your laptop on the table? No. Would you sue sony for scratching your overpriced blueray disc because it got scratched when you moved the unit while it was on? NO.

          Here's a better analogy.

          you produce a product which has an intended use. During development someone says "hey if I do this while I am using it, it breaks". Its not designed to do that. nor is that use consistent with the intended operational parameters. This is not a design flaw unless the use which produces the problem is similar enough to the intended use to presume a high incidence of mis-use.

          This is really about a lawyer who wants a piece of microsofts pie. Class action lawsuits while capable of forcing a change on the business being sued, do little more than fill the pockets of the lawyers on both sides.

          How about suing for common sense? Is it the blender manufacturers fault that you dropped the spoon into it while it was on? (no blendtec rebuttals please)

      • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @02:43PM (#26135499) Journal

        If manufacturers are going to treat customers as beta testers, and hide from them when the product fails, there are only two recourses, and I recommend both: stop buying the company's product, and file a class-action lawsuit.

        Even if it is fashionable to claim it, Capitalism does not mean "cheat the people".

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Volante3192 (953645)

      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! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:26PM (#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! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Volante3192 (953645) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:35PM (#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! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by brianosaurus (48471) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:56PM (#26134795) Homepage

          I have yet to have a game disc get scratched inside my PS2 or my Wii. I've moved the Wii around while playing, and I know I've moved the slimline PS2 (I'm pretty sure I've even accidentally pulled it off the table without seriously damaging anything). I don't know how they fare in an earthquake, but as you said that's not my primary concern. However, it takes far less than an earthquake to get an Xbox360 to destroy a game disc.

          When I got my xbox360 (before this problem was widely known), I had taken it to a friend's house and moved it somehow (I don't exactly recall.. .maybe reorienting, maybe just tipping it to doublecheck connections) and it scratch the disc to the point that it wouldn't play anymore. This was the first game I had, within days of getting the system, and it pretty much cut a circular groove into the CD. It wasn't a minor scratch; it was gouged. I could see and feel the scratch. And I was annoyed as hell that I couldn't play anymore until I went to the store and exchanged the "broken" game disc.

          Toys R Us was very nice about exchanging the disc. If I had been out another $50 to replace a game I had only played once, I would be much less sympathetic to Microsoft's problem, and probably would have returned the console instead (and bought a PS3).

          Now that I know about the problem, I'm super careful about it. The xbox360 is certainly more prone to scratching than any other device I've ever had. I've never seen a scratch in a disc like the one it made. If Microsoft knew about it (they certainly know now!), I would hope they've fixed it in the current builds, because its a serious design flaw.

          • Real life experience (Score:5, Informative)

            by tootired (91527) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @02:32PM (#26135351) Homepage

            I borrowed a friend's xbox360 when they first came out and rented Project Gotham Racing. While playing the controller caused the console to move a bit (maybe 1/2 inch) and we heard a nasty noise and the game crashed. Upon removing the disc, we found it to be scratched beyond usefulness.

            Since then I have dropped my ps2 from the case it sits in with no ill effects to the disk within. I have purchased a ps3 as well and have had no such problems with it. Needless to say, I did not purchase an xbox360 because of this, although i did have to buy the Project Gotham Game due to damage.

            Combine this with the fact that EVERY one of my friends 360s die about once a year, how could MS be making money on this thing?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by scubamage (727538)
        Hey you, with the logic and the sense making, shush!
    • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:19PM (#26134179) Homepage Journal

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JCSoRocks (1142053)
        This all seems nuts when you realize that there are demonstration videos on the net that show A) how easily the discs can be scratched when moving the console from horizontal to vertical and B) how easy it is to just glue some foam down to prevent the discs from being scratched.

        I can understand a company choosing not to redesign an entire product to prevent something like damage from movement from happening... but we've got spontaneous scratches happening too. It seems like a couple cents worth of foam a
      • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tisha_AH (600987) <Tisha.Hayes@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @04:52PM (#26137345) Journal

        As an engineer who has worked through the conceptual, prototyping, type certification, QA/QC, limited manufacturing to full scale manufacturing stages, this should have been corrected back in the QA/QC testing stage and hardware revisions made to the product.

        Sadly what has happened over the past few decades is an increased reliance to turn over known problems to "risk managers" who assess the probability of the problem, the impact, the cost to make the design modifications vs. the cost of either "passing the buck" to the customer and then paying off the small minority who press the issue.

        The worst nightmare for risk managers is when a problem becomes known to the wider community of customers. Suddenly, their profit calculus flips over on it's head and it turns into fiasco's like this one. I would like to say that this is a rare phenomenon but look at the auto-makers. How many recent model cars have paint peeling off the primer in giant scabs? How many car tires does it take to fail before the cost of paying off the dead or maimed becomes great enough to offset those decisions by risk management?

        What is lost is usually not assigned a dollar value. Intangibles like "goodwill" or "customer loyalty" suddenly plummet. Your once loyal customers begin to write their congressmen not to bail out the auto industry because they have made crap for decades.

        As engineers, most of us love the challenge of making the most optimal solution to any problem. If we find a real challenge we want to come up with elegant solutions. It is intensely frustrating to be overridden by "bean counters" when you know that a few more days, a few more weeks, another round of testing, can make a product better.

        It is the corporate mindset that it is OK to make something with known defects as long as you get your money up front. Executives, stockholders and middle managers all take their compensation packages and cash out as quickly as possible and jump to another ship that they can soon strand in the Saragossa Sea of quick bucks and lack of vision.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by El Lobo (994537)
      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.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        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.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:24PM (#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.

      • by Endo13 (1000782)

        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 obvi

        • by acidreverb (1339035) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @03:25PM (#26136091)

          A new Xbox 360 built by Microsoft loads Gears of War at 1500rpm. The console locks up. The drive crashes and burns with with the disk trapped inside. Now, should they initiate a recall? Take the number of consoles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, they don't do one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Feanturi (99866)
        Most notebook optical drives I've ever seen have a friction-lock spindle that you have to "snap" the disc onto or off of. I would expect you could turn the notebook right upside down while a disc is spinning and not scratch it. But again, as already noted, they are designed to be portable. An XBox 360 on the other hand, is not. I have no idea why anyone would move it around while in use - I mean, the TV isn't coming along with it, why would you suddenly have the need to move the console while in use? There
      • by devjj (956776) * on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @04:01PM (#26136627)
        If anyone needs evidence of the inherent crap that is the Xbox 360 DVD drive, do a little Googling and read up on the sheer number of different models they've been through. Almost every minor revision of the console has brought in a modified DVD drive (usually discernible by the design of the tray).
    • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:29PM (#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.
      • 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! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trojan35 (910785) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:33PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        1) This occurs when simply moving the xbox, not flipping it.

        I had two different disks get scratched from the movement caused by the vibrating fans. I didn't touch it at all. I now own a PS3 and have never had an issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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
    • 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

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      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

    • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:50PM (#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.

    • by sjames (1099)

      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 l

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by somanyrobots (1334451)

      I gotta side with Microsoft on this one.

      That was my first instinct as well, then I RTFA. This is not just scratched discs, and it is not blatantly shaking your hardware. It sounds like even fairly small shifts of the console can cause the discs to be "deeply gouged". That's not just normal scratching, that's an issue with the hardware.

      And Microsoft's actions are a little questionable here. They were aware that it was a problem, so they considered several technical solutions; they decided that all the technical solutions were too costly, so th

    • Re:Oh Noes! (Score:5, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:53PM (#26134753) Homepage

      You don't really even have to get up to shut off the 360, or to turn it on for that matter. Granted, you (probably) have to get up to reorient it, but it should be well shut down by the time you get up after performing a "remote" shutdown.

      Anyway, SCREW YOU for assuming that just because people play a console, that they're messy pizza eaters.

      *Wipes hands on shirt and sits on pizza boxes to cover them*

      My girlfriend plays with the 360, and she doesn't eat pizza! Or anything else, for that matter.

      *Strokes Real Doll's hair*

  • Check Engine (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rakarra (112805)

      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.

    • by Canazza (1428553) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:22PM (#26134223)
      Your car is emitting O2? What make is it! We may have saved the planet!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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!

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      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.

  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flitty (981864) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:13PM (#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: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Ecuador (740021)

      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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:13PM (#26134097) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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, s

    • 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'.

      • 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

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      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

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      ...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.

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

      • 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...

    • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:47PM (#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.

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:15PM (#26134121) Journal

    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.

    • by xpuppykickerx (1290760) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:19PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

  • Easy Fix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kr4u53 (955252)
    Why didn't they just use a laptop disc tray that has the thing in the middle that keeps the disc in place?
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:16PM (#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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:19PM (#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....

  • by biscuitlover (1306893) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:20PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:23PM (#26134227) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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 :-(

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      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.

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:31PM (#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?
  • by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:36PM (#26134465) Homepage

    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.

  • Suprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:44PM (#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.

  • 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.
  • Clarification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @01:54PM (#26134763)
    The documents only state the MS knew that moving or re-orienting an Xbox 360 while it was operating may scratch the disc. As for claims that the Xbox scratches discs while stable and vertical (while it may be true) does not apply to these specific documents.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @02:32PM (#26135347)

    I can't believe that I'm seeing people here blame end users for this problem.

    Consumers are now acting more like battered wives than ever before. Blame yourself - you are the problem...it can't possibly be the manufacturer's fault.

    My car has a DVD player that CONSTANTLY moves around while it is playing - rough roads, fast corners, hard braking - the works.....and guess what - it has never scratched a disc - EVER.

    Why can't one of the richest technology companies in the world figure out what cut-rate Chinese electronics manufacturers figured out years ago?

    -ted

  • by genner (694963) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @03:31PM (#26136173)
    All 6 of us....muahahahahaha.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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