A full day into the official launch of the Xbox 360, we have our share of work cut out for us. With any new hardware launch (or software launch, for that matter), you find problems that might not have been clear during the design. I’ve been working with Molly, from our PR Team, on investigating and addressing some of the questoions and issues that have come up now that the Xbox 360 is “out in the wild.”
Even though there are some sensational headlines, it’s important to know that the reports of crashes and overheating are being exaggerated, at least in the mainstream press. Sites like XboxScene and TeamXbox know that the Internet—especially among an enthusiast community—will amplify any issue tremendously. Those that have problems will talk about it, or go online to look for help. Those that don’t have problems probably aren’t online (they’re happily playing games on their new Xbox 360). Sensational headlines sell papers, and because all the news up to now has been pretty positive, journalists (and Sony fanboys) are looking for a different angle to report. Problem is, sites like the Wall Street Journal might not realize that.
I’m not saying the issues aren’t real. We know that electronics can’t be 100% tested before shipping, and that shipping and storage and temperature and all sorts of minute manufacturing defects can affect a unit after a customer gets it home. It would just suck tremendously to have waited in line for 10 or 20 (or 40) hours, only to get your box home and find it doesn’t work. I’d be seriously pissed. It’s one thing to get the wrong kind size jeans--it’s another to get something home that you paid a ton of money for, waited almost a year for, stood in line in the freezing cold for, and basically did everything right to assure your spot at the top of the list, only to find out it doesn't work. And unfortunately, you can't just skip back to the store and trade it in like you can in most cases.
I firmly believe that when an issue affects you personally, it doesn’t matter that you’re in the minority. The problem is happening to 100% of the units YOU care about.
For you with problems, know that our customer service team is pulling out all the stops to make sure you’re taken care of as fast as possible. We have all the hardware we need to provide great customer care. We’re doing everything using overnight shipments (even shipping the prepaid overnight box for customers to use), and I’m told our troubleshooting team is turning around most units in 24-48 hours before overnighting it back. That means you could get a working unit back in less than a week. Not as good as a working unit on day one, but not as bad as some other manufacturers.
It’s been frustrating to see journalists (and some folks in the community) spin it to sound like every unit is crashing. It’s a very, very small percentage of the units that have been shipped. So what about the forums with dozens of pages and hundreds of posts? Once you ferret out the posts of those trying to help, or those asking questions, or those joking around, those claiming to have problems account for a small part of the thread. And many forum members are convinced at least some of those aren’t real.
So at about 8:00 PM, I left to head home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Molly was on the phone with journalists even then. When I got home, I saw where she was quoted by Reuters:
"We have received a few isolated reports of consoles not working as expected," Microsoft spokeswoman Molly O'Donnell told Reuters in a telephone interview.
O'Donnell, who declined to say how many reports the company had received, said calls represent a "very, very small fraction" of units sold. The number of calls was not unexpected, she said.
"With any launch of this magnitude, you're bound to see something happening," she said.
O'Donnell said the best way to resolve the issues is to call 1-800-4MY-XBOX for trouble shooting. If that does not solve the problem, she said, Microsoft will repair or replace the unit.