Another one bites the dust.

September 25, 2010

My Xbox 360 did what so many before it have done, and got itself a dose of the ole’ Red Ring O’ Death (RROD).
Even though I knew it was a case of when-and-not-if it happened, I was still a bit gypped. I held off buying a 360 for ages, waited until Microsoft revised and re-revised their flawed designs. I thought my Falcon revision might have gained some resistance to the RROD plague, but no. Microsoft can revise all they like and still get nowhere, it seems.

All would’ve been good if it wasn’t for the pretty ordinary experience with Xbox Support that followed:

1. Tried to call the AUS support number but that’s just a recorded message that directs you to the US website then hangs up.

2. Links to the Australian “Online Repair Centre” are broken so that’s a no go. Lots of the pages have broken or empty links, which is just strange for such a high profile product.
http://www.xbox.com/en-AU/support/register-repair.htm = 404

3. Sent an email via the form to support, got a mail back 2 days later asking me to unplug and re-plug the cords! The email then directs me to various broken links, see 2.

4. I finally found a route into the AUS pages through http://forums.xbox.com/22667741/ShowPost.aspx but after registering my repair the online service centre https://myservice.xbox.com/En-au/Pages/Welcome.aspx – wont display the shipping order it describes, so I cant send the box!

5. Eventually, an email from Teleplan turns up with the printable shipping order.

6. Post the box.

7. Online repair process progress page shows all fields “complete” even though I only just sent the thing.

8. Get an email saying they have received my dead Xbox. Repair progress page updated, now shows “repair in progress” ticked.

9. Get an email saying I will receive an (not my) Xbox in the mail. Click the “See your Package tracking information” and…
…I get this: “System Error Occured * An error has occurred in the system, please try again. Repair Status Dummy Link”

Ahh Microsoft you scamp, what next?

…Will the box ever get to my door?

…If so will the refurb’ unit last more than a week?

…Do I actually care any more?

Sour grapes aside, the whole thing puts a big dent in the neutral, benefit-of-the-doubt attitude I had towards Microsoft beforehand. I know everyone likes to hang turds on them for any reason that comes to mind, but this is one experience of mine that (when grouped other experiences of their products) leaves me wondering if the captain’s got a hold of the wheel over there? I understand the console industry is perhaps the most intense example of cost-vs-quality pressures but defect rates above 35% are bad news no matter what muttered, half-arsed excuses you try to boil up.

It makes me wonder how the RROD fiasco will affect Microsoft’s future hardware releases? Coz in my opinion, you’d have to be a bit crazy-in-the-coconut to be an early-adopter of anything they produce, and the console industry is all about intensive early adopter momentum.

Any bets on what Microsoft’s next “coloured object of death” will be?

Update: My refurb’? unit arrived by courier today ~19 days after I lodged my service request. Interestingly, it came with a faceplate and HDD bay cover plate so now I have two of each, woo-hoo?

It is very clean and the fans don’t appear to have any dust on them so I’m assuming they either gave me a new-old-stock unit or partly-new unit (more likely). I was kinda hoping for a Jasper revision but it looks like this is another Falcon, which means it’s days are numbered fewer.

I’ve tested it and it works, the DVD drive seems a bit louder than my old one.

I think I’ll keep hold of the box it came in just in case.

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