Don't buy the Xbox 360. It's noisy and it breaks.

Dear Mr. Mattrick,

My 360 broke down with red ring of death a while back. Tragically, with the 360 having a 16.4% failure-rate, there’s nothing unusual about that.

What is unusual, is just how difficult it turns out to be to get my 360 repaired. Especially considering just how many millions of consoles that must be going through your system; I kind of thought you would’ve would have streamlined the process to help your users, since it is such an outspread problem.

Having had several iPod’s as well as my Powerbook’s firewire port die on me, you’d think I would have hated Apple by now. But quite the contrary; I understand that hardware dies. It’s brittle stuff. But their support process was so easy and so fast, that I don’t even think about it. In fact, it was almost some sort of absurd pleasure.

  1. On apple.com/support, enter serial number, describe problem and request repair.
  2. Received, the following day the material needed for mailing the product.
  3. Step, step step, I followed the simple instructions.
  4. Have receptionist call delivery guy.
  5. Wait a couple of days.
  1. Get product back (in case of iPod’s, entirely new).

This is entirely contrary to my 360 adventure so far, which will forever combine the 360 and ‘support hell’ in my head:

  1. Go to xbox.com/support.
  2. Search for ‘red ring of death’. No results.
  3. Enter 360 serial in user profile, perhaps to request repair? No; it seems like there is no no particular use for the serial.
  4. Look around for instructions to a problem affecting at least 16.4% of the user base… They’re meager and so corporate it isn’t funny.
  5. Decide to mail Microsoft, to avoid phone robots and outsourced support in India.
  6. Receive 100% robot reply with no information what so ever.
  7. Reply to ask if they can help me out.
  8. Nothing.
  9. Finally call Microsoft support. Talk to the most boring and unimpressed robot drone I have ever talked to! He’s in India and so reading from a script he should’ve gotten an academy nomination. Convince him to send me the shipping label. This takes almost half an hour. 30 minutes… Of “please hold sir, while I process”. This guy has never played a game in his life…
  10. Understand that I need to print my own label. Get my own box (and it specifically cannot be a 360 or Microsoft box!). Get my own packaging material… WHAT?!
  11. Wonder what happens if the 360 breaks in the mail due to insufficient packaging; do I pay, or do they?
  12. I get the e-mail with the label. It wasn’t written for teenage boys, let me tell you.
  13. I wait a few days, because I need to bring the 360 in to work.
  14. Today I try to print the label, I get: “Error: Label information is not available, because the shipment is older than ten days. (Error Code: 300006 )” and no way of contacting anyone to get the fucking thing.
  1. Want to strangle someone and seriously considering either simply buying a new one (no, I won’t give you the pleasure) or simply never getting my 360 up and running again.

Let’s consider this for a moment. Microsoft has sold 18 million Xbox 360 consoles. 18 MILLION! EIGHT-EEN MILLION!

That’s three consoles for every man woman and child living in Denmark.

16.4%, at least, of those consoles are breaking down. It’s unknown whether the newer consoles are better in this regard, but let’s say they are, and that only the first half of the 360’s suffer from this problem. That’s, let’s see… then you have to borrow, one up… 1.476.000 consoles that have gotten red ring of death.

How in the HELL can there not be a streamlined system for getting these things repaired?! How was that not put in place years ago? It’s insane! Absolutely insane.

We’re talking 1.5 MILLION consoles that have broken down over a period of two and a half years.

Roughly speaking, that’s 1645 consoles a day! A DAY!

Let’s be extremely generous and say that 90% of those repairs go right on through, without being routed through India—I don’t believe they do, but let’s just for the sake of argument say that they do—that still leaves 165 people every single day who have to put of with an avalanche of bullshit, just so they can pour even more money into Microsoft when they buy new games for the damned thing.

It’s nice that Peter Morre promised a 3-year warranty on the red ring of death problem, but isn’t that a rather worthless gesture, when the real problem is your entire support network being absolutely insufficient to deal with the problem? Since you can’t build the hardware to last, at least streamline the repair process. That way you won’t get 165 people a day, flip-flopping from loving to hating your console; like me.

Don’t buy a Xbox 360. It’s noisy and it breaks.

And when it does, you’re on your own.

Update: I’ve sent this entry directly to Donald Mattrick, the Senior Vice President of the Interactive Entertainment Business division at Microsoft. As I also stated in the mail, this entry was written when I was very pissed off, but as I’ve now re-read it several times over, I stand by every word of it (to the extent of course, that my guesstimates are even remotely close).

The support system as it operates from the outside, is severely lacking, especially in the light of such serious issues.