Although it’s usually the Xbox 360 RROD (Red Ring of Death) problem that gets all of the headlines, some players have also suggested that the console’s disc drive is broken too, as small vibrations or movements lead to scratched, unplayable discs. Three years after the Xbox 360‘s launch, 55,000 complaints were logged against Microsoft about the issue and so, in a class action lawsuit, players tried to take the company to court. These players argued that the console was defective to begin with and that Microsoft knew this too.
In a court document, a Microsoft manager named Hiroo Umeno confirmed that the optical disc drive team was well aware that the disc drive would scratch discs when the console was repositioned. However, Microsoft maintained that the scratched discs were due to misuse of the consoles by players and that with just 0.4% of the Xbox 360 player base having reported the disc drive problems, the lawsuit should be dismissed.
Microsoft took the case to a lower court and stated that every person involved in the class action lawsuit would have to bring their own proof and would have to file an individual suit. The lower court ruled in their favor, saying that Xbox 360 owners in the United States couldn’t file as a group. But any celebrations will have been short-lived as the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling back in March of this year, saying that the judge didn’t take previous rulings, regarding a lawsuit about premature tire wear in Land Rover vehicles, into account.
At the time, the Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 against Microsoft, saying that as the Xbox 360 owners are arguing that the console’s were defective right from the get-go, it’s unnecessary for them to provide individual proof in order to show whether it breaches Microsoft’s express warranty. Instead, Judge Johnnie Rawlinson stated, “plaintiffs’ breach of express warranty claim presents a common factual question — is there a defect? — and a common mixed question of law and fact — does that defect breach the express warranty?”
Since then, Microsoft has put forward a plea to have the entire case reheard, this time with a larger panel of 11 judges. Unfortunately for the company, no judges at all agreed with them which means that they may have to face a class action lawsuit after all. Class action lawsuits generally cost companies more than individual suits and in this case everybody who owns an Xbox 360 in the United States would potentially be eligible for some sort of compensation. That was the case when Sony settled a class action lawsuit over the infamous 2011 PSN hacking scandal, with anyone who’d had a PSN account at the time of the hack being eligible for a free game.
In the meantime, though, it should be noted that Microsoft does offer disc replacements on first-party Xbox 360 games, if they have been scratched by the console. More information on that can be found here.
Have your discs been scratched by your Xbox 360? Have you gotten a disc replacement from Microsoft? Leave a comment and let us know.