Monday, April 28, 2008

Media Replacement

I've recently run into a little known Xbox 360 issue. Actually, the small amount of info I have found seems to indicate the problem goes back to the Xbox era as well, but I never had one of those. It seems that the media are a bit on the fragile side and prone to cracking when being removed from the case. It manifests in the form of a tiny crack running radially from the spindle hole. This, of course, makes the disk unreadable. Which is probably a good thing as a cracked disk has a chance of flying apart. Which I have to think would not be real good for the drive.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion. The vast majority of disks are OK and will last you the lifespan of the game, and probably the guy you sell it to. But, like any manufacturing process, it's not 100%. Stuff happens. If I had to guess (no testing here), I would think the choice to embed a hologram in the reinforced spindle ring in order to prove the disk is "real" is what is causing the issue.

I've taken to keeping the games in sleeves, thereby reducing the number of opportunities to crack the disk by accident. The real problem is, I now have two busted games. The first to go, HALO 3, is going to cost $10 to replace. Microsoft has a media replacement program, but only for a very short list of titles.

The second, Lego Star Wars Complete, I'm just going to have to buy, I guess, because Lucasarts insists I have my proof of purchase. That would be the receipt. You kept that, right? Even if I had the receipt, being outside the legally mandated 90 days, they want $15 for a replacement disk. Which brings me to my beef.

Why are you charging me $15 to replace a broken disk? I'm sending you the disk, you can see it's legit, which means I already paid $60 for your license. I'm sure it costs all of about $.50 to make one of these disks now. And I know you don't want to spend $2.00 on shipping, so charge me $5.00 and you've made some.

I'm sure there is some deeply guarded secret of manufacturing that I'm overlooking here. But I have to admit, on the surface, this looks more like customer anti-support.

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