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Microsoft Knew Xbox 360 Would Scratch Discs


Microsoft Knew Xbox 360 Would Scratch Discs

As if the Red Ring of Death debacle, which Microsoft knew about but did nothing to prevent wasn't enough, information revealed as part of a class-action lawsuit suggests that Microsoft was aware of another problem, too, and, again, did nothing to fix it before the console's launch. The problem in question relates to the widely-reported scratching of Xbox 360 games discs by the diode inside the consoles' disc drive.

The motion, posted by Seattle PI, details that Microsoft was fully aware that tilting the Xbox 360 during operation would cause the scratching of discs within the system, rendering them unusable. According to Hiroo Umeno, a program manager at Microsoft, "This is… information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about. 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."

Supposedly three solutions were proposed by Microsoft which could solve the problem, all of which were rejected. The first would be to increase the magnetic force used to hold the disc level, which was turned down as it would interfere with the tray loading mechanism. The second, to slow disc rotation rejected as it would lead to noticeably longer loading times interfering with gameplay experience.

The third and, arguably most reasonable would be to install "bumpers" which would cushion the disc if it came unaligned, negating the effect. The latter proposal was considered too expensive; an email between Microsoft's Xbox Escalations Group Senior Group Manager, Douglas Park, and Umeno suggested a price tag of roughly "$35M to $75M" (£23 to £50 million) to make the proposed changes.

Some 55,000 complaints have been received by Microsoft related to scratched discs. In Microsoft's defence, the Xbox 360 user manual and disc drive tray both have warnings advising DVDs be removed from the drive before repositioning the console.

That said, as bad as it may sound for Microsoft to launch a console with a known problem, I don't consider this a major one. I can't really see why anyone would be moving their console between upright and horizontal while in operation. Still who am I to question the sue-happy antics of those crazy Americans?

Any other problems you knew about but didn't think were worth fixing you'd like to tell us about, Microsoft?


Seattle PI.

Motion (PDF).


December 16, 2008, 6:55 pm

unfortunately it seems in this case microsoft hoped buyers would employ common sense... *ARRGH! STUPID SHARD ROLLOVER ADVERT! >:(*


December 16, 2008, 7:02 pm

Well apparently Windows ME was so bad because they decided to go ahead merging NT with 98 (to make windows 2000) instead about halfway through the ME development cycle, so instead of just canning the project they released it half finished, with hilarious consequences!

Andy Vandervell

December 16, 2008, 7:04 pm

@ilovethemonkeyhead: I share your pain.


December 16, 2008, 7:11 pm

Boy am I glad I haven't bought a 360, yet...


December 16, 2008, 7:11 pm

I use my 360 every day, it's become part of my life: watching an avi. dvd, or playing a game...I love it.

There is one problem I have with it; why did microsoft let a bunch of chimps with some sort of emotional problems build it?

Seriously, it makes way too much noise, breaks down (3rd one here), scratches discs AND doesn't have basic things like wi-fi, or play-and-charge kits as standard.

I just hope Microsoft learn from the 360 for the next time around, i'm sure most owners would happily have waited 6 months more for the console to launch, and paid &#16350 extra to have the features I mentioned above. Rant over...seriously who reckons their next console will address the downfalls of the 360, i hope it freakin' does!


December 16, 2008, 7:21 pm

So 55,000 people are surprised that there disc gets scratches because they move the console while its accessing the disc? Errrrm.... Your problem is?

Now, the scratching of discs while the console is level and not moving is another issue. I've had 3 games ruined by this but I'm on my 4th console now (3 others faulty) so hopefully this one will last a bit longer (touch wood!)


December 16, 2008, 8:01 pm

I got my 360 in 2005 and it's still fine... hasn't scratched any discs either. It is noisy, but I install a game now if it bothers me.

Kind of wish it would die now, then I can get one equipt with a hdmi port.


December 17, 2008, 12:22 am

360 hardware i a dog but i still love mine. in microsoft's defence the service i got when i got the rrod was fantastic.

Matthew Bunton

December 17, 2008, 7:06 am

Great games console but very poorly made its a real pity really. Though I doubt MS is that worried about it. I too hope they learn from their mistakes for the next one.


December 17, 2008, 1:53 pm

Congratulations! A thread about the 360's issues and not one comment from a PS3 fanboy! This really amazes me.


December 17, 2008, 8:48 pm


They're all one the Edge-Online site moaning about Microsoft bias becaause the 360 won the hardware of the year award.


December 19, 2008, 3:12 am

Just ordered #6 coffin. 4 with 3-ring syndrome and 2 with disc scratching tendencies. I always play with it horizontal and don't move it off shelf. The replacements I get are always off the 2005 vintage and the last 2 the drives sound like lawn mowers when they start up. I have my evidence that Microsoft hardware is junk and deserve to get whats comming to them. The Wii on the other hand is rock solid.


January 11, 2009, 4:34 am

Why are they so damn noisy, I know it is the fan. PS3 is positivly silent in comparison

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