Reports of people having issues with the Xbox 360 have been widespread, with some Xbox 360 users requiring multiple replacements of their hardware. It is hard to gauge the actual level of defective units in the wild, but from a purely anecdotal perspective, it appears that the Xbox 360 is much less reliable than its competition. Microsoft, though, is standing behind the console, having recently extended the default warranty to one year and now enhancing the warranty process.
First, Microsoft is now paying for return shipping for all consoles returned for repair. In addition, consoles repaired under warranty will have the work guaranteed for a minimum of 90 days, longer if the original warranty is still in effect, those out of warranty will have a one year repair guarantee. Microsoft also is apparently moving away from sending refurbished consoles to users, instead returning the original console to the user when possible. This also has the added benefit of not invalidating any of the user’s downloaded content, a problem in the past. Other benefits promised include faster service, and better support staff.
One could certainly frame these improvements in a number of ways. On the one hand, it is great that Microsoft is stepping up to the plate to ensure that the end user has as good an experience as possible when their console breaks. On the other hand, a lot of these fixes should have been built into the process from day one, particularly turn around times, console repair, and support. Nintendo has been lauded online for a couple of particularly good examples of support; perhaps Microsoft is now realizing that a good warranty experience will help reduce online complaints.
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PS3 owners dealing with broken units have had some problems getting their consoles fixed. The reason? Well, it’s all plain as day for everyone to see in the PS3 Warranty Text:
(2) THE PRODUCT IS USED WITH PRODUCTS NOT SOLD OR LICENSED BY SCEA (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NON-LICENSED GAME ENHANCEMENT DEVICES, CONTROLLERS, ADAPTORS AND POWER SUPPLY DEVICES). YOU ASSUME ALL RISKS AND LIABILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF THIRD PARTY PRODUCTS.
In other words: if you didn’t use a PS3-branded or Sony-licensed HDMI cable when connecting up your PS3, you’ve just voided your warranty. This problem was first found be a user over in the AVS Forums who called Sony with a broken PS3. When he told them that he hooked up his console with generic component cables, they told him that his formerly-under-warranty repair would cost him $150. (Fortunately, Target was nicer to him and accepted it as a 90-day return). If you’ve connected your PS3 to your TV with something other than a Sony-branded or licensed cable, and you want to get anywhere with Sony customer service, we can only offer one piece of advice: LIE.
I can understand Sony not offering to repair consoles that are damaged by mod chips or hacks. But “controllers, adaptors, and power supply devices”? That just sounds like Sony is looking for any way it can to wriggle out of liability. Guess it’s time to start looking for the Sony seal of approval on every controller and cable you buy for the console…
Read More | Official Playstation Warranty Text
While the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii both had one year warranties (15 months for the Wii when registered), the Xbox 360 had trailed with a mere 90 day warranty. Now, Microsoft has extended the warranty on all Xbox 360 consoles, past and present, to one full year. Those users who have had to have their consoles repaired in the past will qualify for reimbursement of those fees.
The early Xbox 360 consoles were somewhat notorious for their failure rate. While Microsoft initially downplayed this issue, eventually they owned up to the problems and offered free repairs and a warranty extension for those users. Some complaints on the Internet indicate there are still problems with some Xbox 360 consoles shipped.
Microsoft’s press release announces the warranty extension as a customer satisfaction measure. This may be in response to Xbox 360 issues, but also as a way to address implied reliability issues by the gap in warranty length compared to the other consoles. For whatever the reason, this a good thing for Xbox 360 owners.
The full press release continues after the jump.
A thread in the official Xbox forums indicates that Microsoft is officially extending the warranty of all Xbox 360 systems purchases before 01/01/06 to one year. They are also apparently reimbursing all Xbox 360 console owners that purchased their console within that time frame for any repair charges incurred as well. While no official word has been issued from Microsoft, numerous users from the Xbox.com and NeoGAF forums have apparently called and verified this information. According to the posts, gamers that wish to apply for a credit, or that wish to confirm the extension of their warranty can call 1-800-4MY-XBOX with their Xbox 360 serial number and date of manufacture. Some callers are reporting that a copy of the receipt is required; others are saying that this is not a requirement. Of course, one year from the date of manufacture doesn’t give a lot of time for those who purchased their consoles at launch. For those gamers who have had to send their consoles in for repairs; this seems like a good move on Microsoft’s part. This program would also seem to confirm that there were problems with the first couple of batches of Xbox 360’s built for the console launch.
Update: Dean Takahashi at Mercury News has confirmation here.
The full Microsoft statement:
As part of our standard and ongoing process of analyzing repair data, we recently noticed a higher than usual number of units coming in for repair. Upon further investigation, it was further discovered that the bulk of the units were isolated to a group that was part of the initial manufacturing run of the console. Returns for repair are coming in for a variety reasons and it’s a higher rate than we are satisfied with. We’ve made the decision to comp repairs for consoles manufactured before January 1, 2006, and provide refunds to the small group of customers who have already paid for repairs.
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