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Geek: Put the Check in the Xbox ...

“Disposible”, what does it mean?

Dictionary.com defines “disposable” as: “designed for or capable of being thrown away after being used or used up”. That seems reasonable. So what would fall into this category? We here at Kung Fu Drafter feel that common disposables are paper cups, paper towels, soda cans and Xbox 360’s.

Wait. Did we just say “Xbox 360”? You bet your achievement points, we did.

The latest round of Xbox failures, referred to as the E74 error, is just one more way for your $200+ game console to die a sudden and painful death. But this isn’t exactly what you would call a sudden turn of events. In fact if you were to assert there was a “sudden turn of events” at all, it would be that the Xbox units are failing at a slightly lower rate. And that, dear friends, is just plain sad.

What is wrong with this picture: You go take your kid (of yourself) to the store and make the investment of time (and patience) to buy a game console. After much debate, poking and crying by your child (or maybe yourself) you decide to just make your own life easy and purchase the most popular game system on the market. But there are no Wii’s. Ok, what now? “Oh, I’ll just get an Xbox”. So you load your system, an extra controller, a wireless network adapter, a couple of games, and an HDMI cable. Welcome to the $500 neighborhood. But hey, nothing is too good for the kids (and yourself). You get home, hook it all up and you are in nirvana. For the moment.

What you may or may not know is that every time you turn on your new Xbox 360, you are rolling the dice. Will the console actually work? Will it turn on? Will it freak out and report an error? Will you get the new E74 error or the classic Red Ring of Death? Will it go nuts and misfile all your business receipts? Who knows? Who can say? But more importantly, why do we have to worry about what this thing may or may not do?

The list of items above is a pretty standard set-up to begin with when playing an Xbox. That’s alot (that’s right, we here at Kung Fu Drafter say “alot” alot) of cake! That is a car payment (two car payments if you drive a sensible vehicle). That is a good chunk of a small house payment. However you look at it, it is a large investment.

Microsoft is one of the largest corporations on the face of the planet. Yet they have somehow gotten away with developing, marketing and selling a product that has a pathetic failure rate. While Microsoft does not reveal actual numbers it has been widely speculated that failure rates range from 16% all the way to 66%. While it is obvious that the truth lies somewhere in the middle it should also be painfully obvious that this is insane!

Now is Kung Fu Drafter saying “Microsoft you should be ashamed! What would your grandmother say if she knew you were selling this crap?” Yes. Yes, we are.

Even if you said “Oh all those numbers are insane, there is no way the failure rate is more than 10%” that is STILL insane. Failure rates for the Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii are in the neighborhood of 3%. Yeah, we said 3%.

At least Microsoft “honors” its three year warranty. At least now they do. But even so, you have to send in your Xbox, wait for it to be returned, and hope that in the end you have the same model of Xbox that you started with. And after all that inconvenience you will only end up with another X-box 360 that is likely to be as suicidal as the first one was.

And yet we accept this. The X-box 360 (arcade) holds the market as the “cheapest” of the current generation game consoles. In recent months it has even inched passed the Wii for the lead in units sold per month. You have to admit that Microsoft employs the masters of marketing considering that these sales numbers are achieved while keeping the Red Ring stink pretty much under the radar of the average consumer.

How has it come to this? When did gamers, and consumers in general, say “It’s ok to sell me crap at hiked up prices”? When did we stop caring about quality for the sake of a few good games? If you can tell us please leave a post below.

As for us, we are just going to pass on the Xbox 360 and play with our Rubik's Cube. And maybe our toes ...

- KFD -


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