Sunday, July 8, 2012

Microsoft fails another loyal customer (transcript included)

I've been associated with Microsoft and their creation, the Xbox 360 since its release back in November of 2005. Despite all of its problems, red-rings and all, I've had a great time with it. However, I recently ran into an issue that came up back in 2011, where Xbox 360 consoles wouldn't play certain game discs. After consulting Microsoft on several occasions, they've basically told me that they don't care.

So let's address the problem at hand. Microsoft issued a disc format change to what's called the XGD-3, which holds an additional gigabyte of security. You can see a list of the games utilizing this format right here. While seemingly innocuous, this change of format has rendered certain 360 consoles unable to play the latest games and I guess it started with games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Batman: Arkham City.

What's strange is that people affected by this problem were able to play some of these titles for a while before they began to act up. I for one, reviewed Modern Warfare 3 without an issue at all, but as soon as I put Arkham City in my console? Forget it. Two days ago I opened up a new copy of Arkham City and sat down to play it, but immediately as I put the game disc in, things began to go awry.

I've tried everything to make this game work: signing out, starting it, then signing in, playing online/offline, removing the HDD, clearing the cache, every little thing anyone can think of has been done to try and clear this problem, but alas, nothing works. I even tried running every single game in my library and they all work, with the exception of Arkham City. Just for the sake of testing purposes, I even brought the game over to a friend's that had the Xbox 360 slim model and, wouldn't you know, the game works fine over there.

After concluding it wasn't the game disc, that's what prompted me to search for other people having this problem. I remembered something from last year, where people were having this issue and I happened upon a few articles stating my issue exactly. At that time, Microsoft was replacing consoles, but now?

They couldn't care less.

I've had my Xbox Elite for a bit over two years now I'm not asking for a free console, but I am asking for a fix to a problem I didn't cause. Until I get it, I can't play the new games using this disc format which basically metamorphoses my Xbox 360 into a really expensive coaster.

After calling the service center multiple times and chatting with several customer support representatives, every person I spoke to had something different to say, but they all agreed - they couldn't and wouldn't help me. What you'll read below is the transcript of my conversation with one such rep. Butchered English and all:

(I've emboldened the important bits to make it an easier read)

Please wait for an agent to respond. You are currently '1' in the queue.

Privacy Statement

You are now chatting with '-----'.

Xbox Support: Hi Andrew , thank you for contacting Xbox Support, my name is -----.

Xbox Support: Please give me a few minutes to check on your inquiry.

you: Sure.

Xbox Support: I understand that the game Batman Arkham will not work on your console.

Xbox Support: But that it works on your friends' console.

Xbox Support: Let me quote this one:

Xbox Support: This is happening to consoles randomly to old and new. What happened is that games the were manufactured during the last quarter of 2011 were manucfactured using a new disc technology and that is the XGD-3. XGD-3 is a counterpart of blue ray. What it does is it enhances the video and audio capabilities of a game. As a result of this new technology some consoles are not able to read game in these disc. As an action here in xbox, our engineers have been working on a update to fix this for the mast month. When the update is out, everyone will be notified via xbox live. We do apologize again for the inconvenience.

you: It's the only game that will not work. I just opened it last night and it has no scratches and hasn't been defaced in any way.

you: So I just need to wait for this update to come out then?

Xbox Support: Yes or if not we can have your console repaired.

you: Is there a time-table on when it's going to release? Otherwise I can't use my Xbox until that happens - to play the newest games anyway.

Xbox Support: To see if there is any problem with the optical drive not reading that partiular disc.

you: No thanks. I've already troubleshot and there's nothing wrong with the lens in this particular console.

you: So is there any kind of time-table then?

Xbox Support: To be honest, right now we do not have any information though.

Xbox Support: What we have is that they are working on it.

Xbox Support: But then again there is always an option of sending the console for repair.

you: So then, I can only use this thing to play older games? That's extremely inconvenient.

you: Again, no thank you. All the symptoms point to what you said and that's not going to fix the problem. If the only way to clear it up is to wait for an update then what choice do I have?

you: Would the repairs be free?

Xbox Support: Sorry again.

Xbox Support: If your console is in warranty it will be but if not then you will have to pay $99.00 plus tax on an online repair order.
you: So I have to wait for an update that has no time-table and then even if I sent it in to get repaired for an issue that isn't my fault at all, I'd have to pay for it.

you: This is rather upsetting.

you: In the articles I'm looking at online right now, it said Microsoft would be able to diagnose the issue over Xbox Live.

you: Is there any way you could do that?

Xbox Support: Sorry to keep you waiting.

Xbox Support: Unfortunately Xbox Live can't do nothing about this matter,
Xbox Support: And I know that this could be frustrating on your end, but right now these are the only options that we have.

Xbox Support: If you don't mind what is the serial number of of your console?
you: It's '12-digit number'.

Xbox Support: Right now it shows on the system that the console is out of warranty.

you: Well, yeah.

you: I bought this thing years ago.

Xbox Support: And I have checked with my Tech Lead and was advise, that either wait for the patch or process a repair for the console.

you: This really is unbelievable. I know it's not your fault, obviously, but for something like this to happen is ridiculous. Not to mention telling one of the consumers of the product that they're "just going to have to wait" to be able to play any newer games. It wouldn't be as bad if there was a time-table but there isn't so I could be waiting for longer than a month.

you: Having already been through four red-ringed consoles since the release of the system, this is it for me. Again, it's not YOUR fault, but this is unbelievable. I've been through enough and I don't have the time or patience anymore for this.

you: Thank you for your information, but Microsoft has lost a customer. It might not mean anything to them at this stage, but it should.

you: Thank you again and have a decent rest of your day.


The rep did put a Team Manager on the line with me, but after a lengthy discussion, they concluded that 'nothing was wrong' with the console itself and therefore the only thing they could offer was a repair - for over $100. When asked about the console replacement program from a while back they had no idea it even existed.

I'm not asking for a free handout, I just want a solution for this problem and apparently I'm too little, too late. For argumentative purposes, I've gone through four Xbox 360 red-ring incidents and still I persisted with my love for the console. Now all I can do is wait for a patch that has no time-table or send in my console for repair when it doesn't need it? For something that isn't my fault and for a price? Being a member of the video game press, it's my job to remain unbiased toward any particular console, but after everything I've gone through with Microsoft and this latest debacle; I'm through.

No one should have to go through this much of a hassle to play games. They're supposed to be an escape, entertainment for the mind and body. Instead, this is a poison with no antidote. If you work two jobs like I do, you simply don't have the time to go through something like this and it's clear that Microsoft doesn't care enough to fix this 'small' issue.

I hope no one has to experience what I've been through and if you've purchased a newer 360 then I guess all is well, but I'm just not going to follow that path this time. The time for my support is long past and with that I'll end this rant by the following statement: While this generation has given us some of the greatest games of all-time and developed new and exciting ways of playing games, the hardware has certainly had its dark times.


  1. Why are you angry? You have an old model
    Old models can't read XBD3
    All you had to do was switch to an Xbox 360 slim

    1. Actually I had the newer Xbox Elite 120gb model and if you read the article you'd know it was only almost three years old. You'd also know why I'm upset and the reasons behind it.

  2. @Abba Okoro

    Are you retarded? Why should he have to buy a new 360 model JUST to play the new available games. This is M$ trying to rip off their customers and making them buy new models. Unbelievable how stupid some sheep are

    1. He had an Xbox 360 pro A 5 year old model

      And By using the phrase "M$" Your probably a brainwashed Sony drone

  3. Classic MS. They have been doing this with Windows for years. Intentionally breaking things/not fixing things, so you go out and upgrade to their next product. Now be good little slaves, and buy the new system, and Windows 8. Oh yeah we're also raising Xbox Live to 69.99. You're Welcome. :)

    1. Might want to consider actually buying XBL gold membership at Amazon like everyone else with a brain does. You know where it's cheaper. Need a link?

      Your Welcome!

    2. There's lots of deals for XBL, that's for sure, but we've come to a point where questioning why XBL costs money is a head-scratcher. PSN has come a long way and now it offers everything XBL has and more for free. Yeah, it is missing items like party chat but that's hardly a problem when you're given tons of free games and deals just for purchasing PSN+.

      I wouldn't be against XBL costing money, but PSN sure makes that argument tough to continue with.