The Xbox One: Strike Two

Image by Evan-Amos (Wikimedia Commons)
Xbox One Console Set By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Eighty days ago, less than three months, the Titanfall Xbox One bundle arrived in our house. After going through quite the ordeal to get the thing set up and online, off into the world of next-gen we sailed on a digital ship. Yes, digital. Digital-only. For eighty days we explored a world of games through a download code and the almighty cloud: Titanfall (digital download), Trials Fusion (bought from the Xbox Store), the new Killer Instinct (free through the Xbox Store), a trials of Project Spark and Kinect Sports Rivals (free through the Xbox store). Sure, there were plenty (Some? Eh, a few.) on-disc games that we could have enjoyed, but with so many games in the house to play, buying physical copies of Xbox One games just wasn’t a priority. Plus, with our Gamefly membership, we knew that there would be a few good rentable titles down the road, like Wolfenstein: The New Order, which arrived in the mail last week.

Excited by the notion of seeing the Xbox One takes its true form as game console immersed in physical media, we popped in the Wolfenstein game disc, the first physical disc our console had ever seen, and were greeted with:

What the…?

I looked at my husband; he looked at me, lividly unhappy.

Folks, anger is something that takes many forms. Our house was angry when we experienced the initial sign-in problems with the device. I’m pretty sure that this time round, our whole neighborhood experienced the anger that flew out of our house that evening.

As with last time, I once again turned to the Internet for help and solutions. I was completely floored by what I discovered. This problem – the grinding disc drive – dated all the way back to November 2013 with Day One models and those that were released shortly thereafter. Reports conflicted as to just how widespread the problem was back then, but we found video after video of frustrated people who were out $500 demonstrating the same problem. Forums were full of more anger from people who couldn’t use their Xbox Ones to play either game discs or Blu-Rays.  The only solution offered was to send the thing back to Microsoft for repair.

This only made things worse.

Several years ago, we sent our old Xbox 360 back to ye olde computer gods after it had red-ringed. The thing came back working after over a month of restless waiting. Did we really have to go through that again. And this time with the device that was “presumably” only a few months old?! Grrrrrr! Fire and brimstone, my friends. Fire and brimstone.

We dove further into the online depths to find other possible and homemade solutions. Do a hard reset! (Already tried it – nope.) Turn the thing on its side! (Okay. Nothing.) Whack its bottom like a spoiled child! (Done several times; turned into blatant abuse.) Fonzi would not have been proud.

Tired, upset, and resigned, we headed to the Xbox One online support center to go through the repair process. Things turned quite somber and sour that night. The next day, it was off to FedEx. Even there things did not go smoothly. (A sign, possibly? Probably.)

The Xbox One-shaped hole in our entertainment center has nothing on the Microsoft-shaped holes in my heart and mind. I never thoughts I’d write up two Xbox-based rants in my lifetime, let along within a three-month span. The Xbox One we got supposedly came in a wave after this disc drive problem had been reported to and identified by Microsoft. Seems to me now that it was just sitting in a warehouse among other working and non-working consoles, and we were just among the unlucky ones.

At one point my husband said maybe this is a ploy by Microsoft to go all-digital. Give ’em bum machines so they have to buy games online. At this point, I wouldn’t put anything past Microsoft. For me, the first Xbox One issue we had was enough to dent their reputation. This second problem put a big, fat hole in their armor. The third time won’t be the charm here if I have to rant about them one more time this year.

In the meantime, if you’ve been on the fence about getting a Xbox One and are thinking about getting the $399 version, you may want to wait until they’ve got this issue resolved(?) for good(?). Seriously, its breaks my heart to think about how many people were/are in the same boat. Or just buy a PS4 – they seem to be pretty problem-free so far. Or stick with the tried and true consoles of bygone days.

As for me, I’m heading over the Steam. That Xbox One-shaped hole is too painful to face right now.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Hatm0nster says:

    Did the machine at least work after that? Funny how microsoft keeps having problems with their machines. They’l probably have to do the same thing with these disk drive errors as they did with the RRoD: extend the warranty for these early consoles.

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    1. cary says:

      I honestly don’t recall if we tried the thing after discovering the disc drive problem, but I’m pretty sure it would have worked just as it had before. (And we really did consider that maybe we should just go digital with it, until we remembered that we also wanted the box for its Blu-Ray player.)

      Our warranty is set at a year (standard, I think?), but yeah, this is something Microsoft is going to have to address in earnest somehow. Though I’ve yet to see any reports about how widespread the problem truly is.

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  2. Walters says:

    Well, this machine came out last year. It’s almost June. I mean I wasn’t interested in an Xbox One at the moment anyways but I mean…I mean damn! That’s…that’s bad. Really bad. And obviously this is how a next-gen system operates. Apparently.

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    1. cary says:

      I’m beginning to think that this is the way Microsoft operates, at least! Do something questionable up front and ask for “forgiveness later. The only thing I know for sure is that if the console has problems once we get it back, we’re going to become a Sony-only household. (And that might not be as great thing either, but I sure haven’t read as many complaints about the PS4 as I have about the Xbox One.)

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  3. duckofindeed says:

    My goodness, I really don’t think I’ll be buying an Xbox One, then. I was sad about giving up “Halo”, but I may not be able to play the new games anyway even if I did buy the console.

    When I first bought my brand new PS2, I got one with a broken memory card slot. Slot 1, of course. The most important one. The store refused to take it back, even though it was basically within 24 hours, and I had to send it in to Sony. Eventually, they sent me back a refurbished one because my original was not repairable. I was pretty mad at the time because I paid for a new PS2, not a used one, but luckily, that used PS2 is the most reliable console I’ve ever had. Still works like new. I hope you have such luck with your Xbox One when it’s finally returned.

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    1. cary says:

      I’m trying to be positive about the whole experience. We’re due to get the thing back next week, so we’ll see how it goes. But maybe it — us getting a console with a bad disc drive — was meant to be, just like with your PS2. Maybe you weren’t meant to have the PS2 that you initially bought; that you and that refurbished model were somehow meant to be together. Sounds silly but, in this crazy world, who knows! After we got our old Xbox 360 fixed, it never had any other problems except that it sometimes had trouble playing really big games like Mass Effect 2. But it still worked up until the day we traded it in.

      I hope your PS2 soldiers on for many years to come. 🙂

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