I purchased an Xbox 360 back in November of ’06.  Within the first month it started doing weird things, namely telling me that various games were “dirty discs” and could not be read.  I did the usual thing and would restart the machine and usually the problem went away.  The error came up a lot more frequently with my copy of Gears of War but seemed to go away after I replaced that game with a different copy.  After those initial snafus, things worked more or less great until about a month ago.  I had bought Bioshock and was really enjoying it when my Xbox started going crazy.  After numerous freezes while playing I finally got the “red ring of death” and the machine was dead.  I called customer support and got them to mail me a box since Microsoft extended their warranty by 3 years because of this exact problem.  I was annoyed that my Xbox was going to be gone for over 3 weeks right after I purchased a really fun game, but I figured all of the annoying little problems would be fixed and that would be it.  I was so wrong. 

 Last week I got my “refurbished” Xbox back from the repair center.  I plugged everything in and even set up the wireless and it all worked.  I was hopeful at this point.  As soon as I put Bioshock in the disc tray and turned it on I heard a horrible scratching sound and the screen froze.  I pulled out my disc and discovered that it had been scratched by this “new” Xbox and of course the machine was flashing the dreaded red ring at me all over again.  I was pretty angry at this point and called the customer support people.  I got some guy named Seamus who honestly seemed as surprised as I was.  I told him what happened and tried not to take out my frustration on him as I know how much it sucks to be in customer support.  He apologized and talked to some supervisor who offered me a free game for my trouble.  A free game is great but they offered me a choice from 4 games, none of which retails for more than $20, additionally I don’t have a working system to even play the game on, so it’s pretty useless.  Now I have to wait for the box to come in the mail, to ship it back to TX to get fixed and hopefully get my Xbox back before Thanksgiving.  Thanks a lot Microsoft. 

If you ever are considering buying an Xbox 360, do your homework.  I think the new breed of machine may be more reliable, but there’s a reason the company took the hit on the chin and extended everyone’s warranty by 3 years because of this problem.  The Fedex guy even said that my xbox was the 3rd getting shipped out of his store THAT DAY!  There’s obviously some fundamental hardware problem in the first few generations of the machine that Microsoft is not owning up to and they are putting their customers through this ridiculous repair rigamarole to try and hide it.  They should really just send out new, current generation machines with quality hardware.  My old battered PS2 is still kicking around and I never had a problem with it. 

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