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(Editorial) Xbox 360: Full Disclosure or Total Recall
In an interesting opinion piece posted by N'gai Croal, he writes that despite the recent steps by Microsoft to alleviate the technical problems their consoles have been having, that it isn't enough. He proposes either one of two things. 1. That Microsoft give full disclosure on the consoles problems, how many have been fixed, which batches have been affected, when the fixes are coming ,et al. so that customers can make an educated choice. or 2. (the far more controversial option) A total recall of all 360's currently sitting on store shelves in order to get the hardware with a high rate of breakage off the shelves.
To be clear, we understand why Microsoft is reluctant to release any of this information. Returning to our infidelity analogy, giving the offended party a blow-by-blow account of the affair is unlikely to produce a renewed bond between the couple. Not to mention the tort attorneys who are almost certainly circling Redmond with class-action lawsuits; we can see why Microsoft would rather wait for discovery, should that day ever come, rather than fully air its glowing-red dirty laundry at present. But Microsoft can't have it both ways: embracing its loyal customers on one hand, running a cost-benefit analysis on the other, while declining to give those loyal and potential future customers the facts they need to make a truly informed decision about the purchase that they've already made or might make in the future. Its execs can't remain silent about what the problem is and the scope of the problem, while still touting the same "what matters is that we're going to take care of you" line they were reciting before they would even admit that there was a major problem.
At a six percent failure rate--just one percent more than the generally accepted 3-5 percent range for consumer electronics products--that statement would still be operative. At 30 percent, it would be unacceptable. Microsoft is saying, "Trust us," but given the sheer number of anecdotes about broken Xbox 360s and customer service horror stories, gamers ought to be able to quantify precisely how much trust Microsoft is asking of them. And the fact that Microsoft won't put a number to the failure rate and won't say which batch numbers are affected--while continuing to leave flawed machines on store shelves and in consumers' homes; while not even giving people advice on how to manage their Xbox 360's life span without resorting to Microsoft customer service--to us, that is equally unacceptable. The bottom line is that the answer to "Why would you knowingly continue to sell a defective product?" should not be "We're extending our warranty program." It is for this reason that we say that Microsoft must either be thoroughly forthcoming about the Xbox 360's flaws, or initiate a recall.
I, for one, think that neither option is either feasible or the right answer to the problems that the 360 is facing right now, but as always with his stuff, it's an interesting read, and something that I thought other people might be interested in reading.