Recently an unsealed lawsuit document has revealed that Microsoft knew the Xbox 360 could damage discs if they became "unchucked" and collided with optical kit.
They knew the problem existed since the first reports back in "September or October (2005)". The plaintiff argues the company ignored warnings of potential goods damage.
"This is ... information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about," said Microsoft program manager Hiroo Umeno.
"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."
The Xbox 360 drive is capable of high data transfer at 7200 RPM compared to Sony's PS3 at 4,000 RPM and Nintendo's Wii at 3,500 RPM. This speed came at the sacrifice of implementing safeguards to ensure discs would be safe from damage if the console was moved during operation.
They came up with some solutions to the problem with one slowing the speed of the drive and another adding a small rubber bumper to prevent disc gouges. The first would have increased load times considerably while the second would have cost between $35-75 million.
Increasing the magnetic field of the disc holder was also ruled out because it would have interfered with the disc tray opening and closing. They resorted to a disc replacement scheme only for Microsoft titles and cost $20 per disc.
A sticker was also placed on all new consoles warning users not to move them while a disc was being read, including a warning inside the product manual saying to "remove discs before moving the console or tilting it between the horizontal and vertical positions." According to an employee quoted during the motion an internal email stated that this was still too insufficient.
According to a Microsoft spokesperson quoted during the motion, more than 55,000 customers have complained about broken discs as of April 30. Microsoft refuses to comment on this pending litigation.
Microsoft "knew about" disc damage problems with Xbox 360 drive
16 December 2008 | By Simon Priest