Friday, January 29, 2010

The Price of Failure

Apparently, the motto at Microsoft's Xbox 360 division is that "Failure is always an option."

Last February, 1 year and 1 month after I purchased my Xbox 360, the dvd drive failed. This failure made it impossible to play any games on disc, which was the bulk of my library. It wouldn't have been a big deal except my warranty had run out, which meant I had to shell out an additional $100.00 to get the system repaired or pony up, at the time, $300.00 for a new system. Since I had yet to purchase a Wii or PS3 I had to get my system repaired.

I paid the cash, sent it off and within 3 weeks, I got my system returned and working perfectly. Along with the repair, I got an extended 1 year warranty on the system, which was something I never thought I would have to use. That is until about 2 weeks ago my system's dvd drive started acting up again. Sometimes it would read a disc and other times not. Now, lucky for me, I've got that extra year so I was able to send it in under the new warranty.

Now, I can't help but wonder if they even know what they are doing when they claim to repair those machines? Are they just recycling used parts to get machines out the door faster? Are they correctly diagnosing problems or just throwing stuff together hoping it will last? I had a tech on the phone tell me it was my hard drive and he almost had me convinced until the disc wouldn't read when the hard drive was disconnected as well as when it was connected. Besides, when it eventually does read the disc it sounds exactly like a helicopter which I'm sure isn't a good thing.

So, I am sans Xbox and my Modern Warfare 2 for a few weeks. Course, unlike last time I have a PS3 and Wii to play when I get bored of WoW. But all this got me wondering about how the gaming industry handles the multitudes of broken products.

I'm sure that the standard of the gaming industry isn't to just throw something out on the market and decided later how or if they plan to fix it, and yet, at times it sure feels that way. I don't know how many times I found out after installing a new game that I just paid $50.00 to be a beta tester. But yet, no one complains. There are no recalls for the gaming industry. You don't get a broken game and take it back to the store for a new one. We are stuck waiting for them to provide a patch that will actually make the game worth the money spent. If they don't your pretty much stuck with your broken purchase with no real recourse. And this is the way they have been doing business for years and no one has called them on it.

I just don't know why people aren't more vocal about it, especially considering the number of blogs and fanboys out there. It just makes no sense.

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