Microsoft and the Xbox

Can I talk about MS here on the Internet and say not very complimentary things –without being kicked offline completely and forever?

Well, I’ll take that chance.

So MS comes out with a cool new console, and the game “Halo”. My son got hooked on it, and played a lot – and he’s very good. Then we get snookered into buying “Halo 2”. Okay, fine, we can handle that.

Then “Halo 3”. The big deal. The top gaming experience. The only catch: you have to have a new Xbox console, the 360. After listening to the kids, and mulling it over for quite some time, we finally caved and bought the Xbox 360 as a joint birthday present for the two of them. Fortunately we were able to Ebay the older one, so ended up spending closer to $200 – not counting games, of course.

Fast forward to just over a year later; yes, the warranty is just a year, unless you experience the “red ring of death” – that’s good for a fix for three years. A free one, too.

Let’s just say that, so far, we’ve spent well over $1000 on Xboxes, games, accessories, etc. Now let’s try to navigate MS’s “help” website. Have you ever noticed that anything at all, on a PC, that says “help”, is actually NOT helpful at all? Well, it’s just like that on the support site.

First, you have to login with your email address; they’ll tell you it isn’t valid. Then you try your Office Live account email, which you didn’t use when you signed up for Xbox Live anyway – heck, you didn’t even have an Office account then.

So you manage to sign in with Office; the next step is to create your gamer tag, etc., but – and this is important – you already HAVE a gamer tag. You can enter your gamer tag till the cows come home, and MS will keep telling you it’s “already taken”. Somewhere there’s a glitch. Sound familiar?

When you try to bypass all this and enter an online repair request, it gets even more exciting. You have to enter the serial number a minimum of five times before it’s accepted; they ask questions as to which lights are blinking, which error messages you received, etc. Finally they’ll tell you that your console is no longer under warranty, even though it’s just a few weeks past the anniversary of your purchase date.

They tell you that you can box the thing up and send it back for repairs, but it will cost you a couple hundred dollars. Is this really fair? After we bought the thing in order to play a game that MS designed to ONLY be playable on one particular console? After all the money we’ve sent their way, we’re getting screwed. And I know it’s not just us – it’s probably you, too. And you, and you, and you.

I hear they’re laying off a few thousand workers – is this the beginning of the end for MS? Has the revolution started? Count me in! I want my money back. And I’m living with a very, very disappointed 11-year-old.


2 comments on “Microsoft and the Xbox

  1. Tina says:

    It’s like they KNOW it will only last a year…planned obsolescence. I’ll bet they were planning to have an all-new system out within a year, but it didn’t work out that way…


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