Re: Very bad experience from MS/XBox!

One of my posts at "香港 (Hong Kong) 地區 Xbox 討論區" dated "05-17-2006, 4:59PM":

Generally spoken, there are also nice shops out there. It’s not everywhere "Wild West" strategy. Though it might be more difficult to find a good shop for whatever goods you want to buy. From my own experience, the cheapest shops have the lowest percentage of good service (means only a few are good) wheras the upper class has the slowest part of good service (mostly send damaged items back to overseas etc…). I’m quite happy with the middle class; looking around a bit for what shop offers what conditions, you might be happy for the lifetime of your item (even if it needs some maintenance). Middle class shops have a more steady flow of items on sale and can easier replace something just by exchange. Cheap shops won’t bother, expensive ones won’t have replacement units.

Computer parts in general have a quite good return and exchange program despite a lower failure rate than the Xbox 360. One has to acknowledge that the 360 has probably the highest failure rate ever of any similar device and Microsoft is struggling with it like someone trapped in quick-sand (can’t get out nor rid of it). The Web is full of reports from gamers and denials from Microsoft. News channels have been reporting about poor fellow gamers who have exchanged their console up to 5 times in a row. Microsoft counters that the exchange rate is still in their expected range but in my opinion, they had a wrong expectation about the heat problem in the first place. With better ventilation, the failure rate would be a fraction of what it is now.

One could expect at latest by now that the return procedure has smoothened; especially given the experience of other markets selling the console way longer than the local one. Return numbers versus sales numbers might still make the failures look a small percentage but nevertheless, it should be a good service. Customers tend to complain rather than give compliments; therefore the overheating problem and in particular the resulting hardware failure and following exchange procedure mark a big black spot on their image.

In the past, about every problem sooner or later "solved itself" simply by following the "hold back and wait" strategy. People complained about release dates, non-published (on local market) games, delays, marketing and so on. In the end, nobody mentions it anymore. But this time, this strategy may well fail because people eventually get tired of complaining about a game delay but they will never be tired to complain about a broken hardware. It is easy to live with a game delay: you just call up and visit the shop again another day. Broken hardware instead is something you have to deal with, right now. Not only can you not use the hardware anymore (but you want, that’s why you bought it) but also you have to be quick in action in order to not miss the expiry date of your warranty.

For as long as there are consoles sold with overheating problems, there will be hardware failures. This will get worse during summer and unless the current console model is replaced by a newer one, they will have to keep exchanging newly bought consoles. There won’t be an escape like hoping for people to get tired or installing a new rule that people have to install a fan on their own (which probably many do anyway).

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