Lawsuit: Microsoft Knew the Xbox 360 Could Damage Discs, MS Admitted Warning Label 'Insufficient'

By Nick Breckon, Dec 15, 2008 8:22pm PST A recently unsealed document from a lawsuit against Microsoft claims that the console maker's own engineers knew that the Xbox 360 could damage discs if moved while a disc was spinning.

"This is ... information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about," said Microsoft program manager Hiroo Umeno, according to the document. "When we first discovered the problem in September or October (2005), when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem."

While other consoles use similar disc drive technology, the plaintiff in the case argues that Microsoft knew the uniquely-high speed of the Xbox 360 drive--7,500 RPM compared to 4,000 and 3,500 rpm for the PlayStation 3 and Wii, respectively--could lead to the damage of consumer property.

According to the motion, Microsoft considered several fixes to the problem, including slowing the speed of the drive, and implementing a small rubber bumper--the former would have increased load times, while the latter would have cost Microsoft between $35-75 million.

Microsoft finally settled on implementing its disc replacement program for Microsoft-published games, as well as including a warning label with the console. But according to the motion, Microsoft employees admitted in an internal email that the warning label was insufficient.

A Microsoft employee quoted in the motion said that over 55,000 customers have complained of scratched discs as of April 2008.

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16 Threads | 135 Comments

  • Anyone upset by this is dumb, plain and simple. I don't understand the people saying "I was playing and <something> bumped my xbox, now my disc is ruined, thats microsofts fault!" HOW?! Is it Hondas fault if I accidently bump into an accord? Little known fact, if you bump a car, it dents it! WHAT A CRAZY DESIGN FLAW!!

    The people who dont think it's common sense to not move a fast spinning disc... You people are like the girl in my high school that watched her finger get crushed by a machine in machine shop and all she had to do was realize that her finger was being pulled into moving parts. You are complaining about it while all the intelligent people are laughing at you.

    And, the whole "my discman doesn't scratch discs" defense is just as dumb. Thats because it's made to be portable and get bumped, like a Panasonic tough book (laptop). The toughbook can be dropped on the ground while running and be fine. Do that with any other laptop, and you have a dead hard drive and probably broken boards inside.

    FACT IS, I've had my xbox for over a year and a half now. Not being an idiot, I put it in a stable, safe place. if cords are plugged in, I make sure no one is trying to run around in front of the TV, and thats because I don't want a broken controller or usb plug. This is with a cat and a 6 year old playing on it, unsupervised on saturday mornings. No scratched discs, so don't act like this is some crazy flaw that scratches your discs during normal use.

    Everyone who has scratched a disc, it is your own fault. Be that stupidity (moving the console while on) or accident (someone tripped over the cable), it's still not microsofts fault, they even warned you about it. The only reason the warning may not be enough is because people are really DUMB and might see a warning bigger than the box that says "DONT MOVE THE CONSOLE WHILE ITS ON, DO NOT EVEN BREATHE ON IT, IT WILL DESTROY IT INSTANTLY" and you'll stil have some moron who thinks "Well, I'll only lift it up a little"....

    So stop blaming Microsoft because you don't know how to take care of nice things. I dont understand why you DONT treat it like it's fragile. If you want to get pissed, get pissed about the red rings, cause that IS a fucked up issue.