Microsoft Denies Widespread Reports Of Xbox Disc Scratching

If a defect is identified, Microsoft claims it will repair consoles if necessary at no expense to the customers.
Microsoft has denied receiving widespread reports of Xbox 360s damaging game discs, as alleged in a recent class-action suit filed in Florida.

In a statement sent to InformationWeek late Tuesday, Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans said the company had just learned of the lawsuit and hadn't had time to evaluate it. "However, out of the millions of Xbox consoles in use, Microsoft has not received any widespread reports of Xbox 360s scratching discs."

Jorge Brouwer of Broward County, Fla., filed the $5 million suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Brouwer is seeking class-action status from the court, which would make it possible for others who have suffered similar damages to receive compensation, if Microsoft loses the suit. The lawsuit claims Microsoft has received "thousands" of complaints from people who have had discs damaged by the Xbox.

While denying disc scratching is a problem, Microsoft says it has established a disc-replacement program, and will examine consoles that consumers believe are damaging games. Microsoft claims it will repair consoles if necessary at no expense to the customers, if there's a defect. Brouwer, however, alleges in the suit that the company is replacing only some of the games made by Microsoft, and no third-party games.

The suit alleges that the Xbox 360 was "negligently designed and manufactured" in that the videogame console's laser disc reading assembly contacts and scratches discs. "The scratches to the game discs render them unreadable or otherwise inoperable," the suit says. Brouwer claimed the Xbox 360 he bought in November 2006 destroyed the "Gears of War" and "Madden NFL '07" videogame discs he bought for $50 each.

The lawsuit was filed less than a week after Microsoft extended the warranty protection on the Xbox to cover what the company called an "unacceptable" number of repairs to the consoles. The main problem was a defect that caused a general hardware failure. Microsoft said it would take a financial charge against pre-tax earnings of as much as $1.15 billion in the quarter ending June 30 to cover the cost of the extended warranty protection.

In December, the family of an Illinois infant who died in a house fire sued Microsoft, claiming the blaze was started by an Xbox that overheated.

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