Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are in a constant battle for supremacy in the video game console market. While the Wii routinely leads the sales charts, Sony and Microsoft trade off second place with regularity.
One of the biggest complaints about the Xbox 360 is that it can scratch game discs making them unplayable. Several suits have been filed against Microsoft over the allegedly defective design of the Xbox 360. One of the suits is seeking class action status and a document unsealed in connection with the suit sheds light on the disc scratching problem.
According to the document, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 knowing that it could scratch discs if the console was moved from vertical to horizontal while a game was spinning inside. SeattlePi.com reports that most of the declarations in the suit are sealed, but a recently unsealed motion in the case quotes Microsoft employees talking about disc scratching.
One of the employees quoted is Hiroo Umeno, a program manager for Microsoft, who said, "This is ... information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about. When we first discovered the problem in September or October (2005), when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem."
Microsoft engineers determined after the console launched and complaints of scratched discs began to come in, that the cause of the scratches was due to moving the console with a game still inside. Three solutions were considered to remedy the possibility of disc scratching and all were rejected.
One proposed solution was a stronger magnetic field for the disc holder. That was rejected out of fear that it would affect opening and closing of the drive tray. A second option was slowing the speed the drive spins, which was rejected due to longer load times. The final option was adding small bumpers to the disc tray. This was rejected because it would have cost up to $75 million to make the change.
Disc scratching isn’t the only major problem with the Xbox 360 that Microsoft allegedly knew of before launch. Microsoft allegedly knew about the issue that causes the red ring of death failure on some consoles.