November 25, 2013
Microsoft Acknowledges ‘Disc Drive of Doom’ Glitch In Xbox One
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
On Friday, Microsoft was celebrating record sales of its next-generation Xbox One gaming console; by Saturday, the Redwood, Washington-based software giant was acknowledging that there was a problem affecting some of its new Xbox systems.
Following Friday’s launch, Xbox One owners began reporting to online gaming news sites, such as Kotaku, that their disc drives were malfunctioning. Apparently when they tried inserting a disc into the drive a grinding or clicking noise was heard, followed by an unreadable disc error. The problem was first detected last week when some early buyers reported the error via YouTube videos. But following Friday’s record one million+ units going out the doors, the problem has spread vastly.
Microsoft acknowledged the issue as early as Saturday, posting a statement to Kotaku that this issue is “affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers” and that it is “working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible.”
"Customers have the option for us to send a replacement console right away without waiting until they have returned their old one. This means a customer only has to wait a matter of days, rather than weeks to get back up and running," a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku, referring to the company’s exchange program.
While Microsoft said it would make every effort to resolve this issue by replacing broken consoles, many consumers who experienced the issue are likely wishing there could have been a DIY fix for what has been called, for lack of a better term, the “Disc Drive of Doom,” according to Kotaku.
And while the issue is being handled appropriately, it is nothing new for Microsoft. When the Xbox 360 first launched in 2005, many users reported faults with the hardware which led to three flashing red lights appearing on the front of their consoles, rendering the device unusable. That problem also garnered its own catchy name: the “Red Ring of Death.”
This "Red Ring of Death," although resolved shortly later, apparently returned when Microsoft first unleashed the Kinect sensor for its Xbox 360 systems.
"Microsoft suffered very significant quality control problems with the early Xbox 360 consoles and has put significant effort into its hardware design and manufacturing process to minimize faults," Spencer Izard, an analyst with IDC told the BBC News.
"For launches over multiple countries the volume of manufacturing required by both Microsoft and Sony will always unfortunately yield a minor amount of hardware failures, in one form or another, and we are seeing this with this launch cycle," he added.
Sony acknowledged that consumers were experiencing technical issues as some were finding a blue light continually flashing on the console and others reporting that the system would just turn itself off.
While Sony believes the issue may be more widespread, a company spokesman told Bloomberg, as cited by the BBC, that “some units were reportedly damaged during shipping.”
Still, the spokesman claims that less than one percent of consoles were affected. Even at this rate, it could mean that as many as 10,000 gamers may have experienced some technical issue in their PS4.
It is likely that many people had only become aware of these problems because of postings on social networking sites, noted Izard.
"Overall, I do not believe we will see significant manufacturing problems with either the Microsoft or Sony console but due to social media the relatively few that do occur will become more apparent to those looking to purchase over this holiday season," he told the BBC.
Microsoft has not said exactly how many units were affected by its technical issue, but maintained it was a “very small number.”
According to Kotaku, at least 150 people have complained about their Xbox One on its site by the time Microsoft made its statement Saturday.