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(Untitled Post)
April 19, 2006

Well, here we have it. The reason why Microsoft Japan can't satisfy local gamers is more than their inability to supply software tailor made to the local market. It stretches beyond the incompetence they've shown in targeting their machine at the correct audience, and it has absolutely nothing what-so-ever to do with their Japanese business practises. Their problem lies in customer service and support, and the lack of care they have in dealing with the end-user is quite frankly, disgusting.

Of course, my sour opinion of their latest console is based on a personal experience that needs to be told. I can't say this situation will be the same for everyone, but if their indifferent Japanese nature is anything to go by, then I'm willing to bet it's game over Japan.

My problem started a few weeks after I bought the launch console when my launch copy of Ridge Racer 6 became unplayable. Removing the game from the unit revealed a series of small, semi concentric circles along the outer edge of the disc that were in fact, rather deep scratches. The marks themselves were no longer than about a centimeter a piece, and were all located in the same region of the disc at various depths from rim. Needless to say, it was unplayable, and figuring it was just a freak occurence I went out and bought a second copy of that game.

All was well for a few months until just recently when Project Gotham suffered a similar fate. The same scratches were in roughly the same places, and the result was the same DoD errors experienced previously. A quick examination of my game collection revealed a further 2 titles in similar states of damage with both Perfect Dark Zero (a game I barely played due to its total crapness) and the awesome, Call of Duty 2 being affected.

I was pissed.

Calling the Xbox Service center in Japan offered the usual responses, "send the machine back and we'll fix it for you", "we might be able to replace the games"... that was until i mentioned I had bought one of the titles from Singapore.

And here's the catch:

Microsoft Japan will replace the games bought locally, but they won't touch the foregin product.

I know. That seems fair enough on the surface of it, but when you stop and consider for a moment that the machine in question was made for the NTSC-J region, as was the copy of Call of Duty 2, you need to stop and ask WTF?! It's no good to claim the game you bought was compatible for your machine and sold in technically the same region, it has to be from the same, very specific corner of that region.

Better yet though, when I stated my reasons for importing it (namely MS Japan's complete inability to release games in a timely fashion) the CSR I was speaking with actually agreed. HE AGREED! He understood why someone might look to import compatible software from countries other than Japan, but was unwilling to do anything in regards to replacing the damaged goods. Not even a refund or a promise to supply the game once it receives a local release... nothing.

So that's left me with this, one copy of Call of Duty 2 that's completely useless, and a claim from MS Japan that the DVD drive wasn't actually defective. Apparently either it's supposed to scratch the discs, or I scratched them myself.

The CSR's words, not mine.

I couldn't believe it, so to drive the point home I went on to mention the rubber pads that previous Xbox drives have to protect software. He again said that the rubber isn't necessary, though failed to comment on why supposed internet experts (thank you Llama) demand that it is. Brilliant!

So according tio Microsoft I'm a liar and a cheater. Awesome work guys! If you had been Sony, you might have gotten away with lying to your customers as the vast majority of them are Moms and Dads, but your product is different. Of the 120,000 owners you proudly speak of in Japan, I'd hazard a guess and say that 99.9% of them are hardcore and follow the technical, underground issues such as the whole rubber thing very closely. If you can't be honest with us, who can you be honest with?

So anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), I'm tempted to sell my 360. I have no intention of relying on MS Japan for my new software, and seeing as how they couldn't promise me this wasn't going to happen again, I'm finding it hard to justify importing new games as replacements will be impossible.

Fantastic way to screw yourself out of support guys!

This saddens me as I consider the Xbox 360 an awesome machine, and have long supported Uncle Bill in his quest for home console domination. My library of original Xbox games numbers in the 100's, as would my 360 collection eventually. Now I just don't care anymore, and I'm convinced that everything you've ever heard about their grand plans for Japan is hogwash. Bullshit lipservice to hide their incompetence from not only the public, but their Seattle Overlords as well.

For now, you can count me out of 360 gaming and I don't know when I'll be back. You've pissed me off Japan, and I'm moving towards Sony faster than you may believe.

You score as of April 19th: 120,000 minus 1

Most recent blog posts from Michael Scott...

cheekylee cheekylee - April 19, 2006 (02:21 AM)
And yet there you are playing Ninety Nine Nights as I read this! How's that going for you? I am REALLY looking forward to that one!

I think that the guy you spoke to was a complete twat. I know most people have nothing but grief against MS, but I happen to think that their customer support is quite simply the best in the world. Who else would package such in-depth help files along with their software? It may well be worth another call, and see if you can talk to someone else, because apart from just one fairly stupid guy, everyone I have ever spoken to at MS has been informed and helpful.
midwinter midwinter - April 19, 2006 (04:07 AM)
I know it looks hypocritical, but I did prepay that game 2 months ago, and cancelling my order wouldn't have gone down too well with that shop inparticular. They have very few Xbox 360 customers so they tend to stock just enough to satisfy demand, and that's it. I'm glad I'm having a chance to play this, though I'm half expecting/hoping that the disc gets eaten again so I can throw it back in MS's face.
Halon Halon - April 19, 2006 (08:11 AM)
That's why you should NEVER buy consoles at launch or close to it. I bought an XBox the day it came out and it eventually had trouble reading disks. I had to replace the DVD drive and everything. My PS2, which I bought about a month after launch stopped working completely. So my advice is to wait at least a year before buying consoles. If I get a 360 (I won't get the PS3 or Revolution since they don't interest me) it will be this November or December, the earliest.
tristis_iranica tristis_iranica - April 19, 2006 (08:49 AM)
Man, that sucks a lot. You're right about the 360 being a badass machine; I enjoy playing it a lot, and I haven't played the almighty Oblivion yet!

I'm starting to think that because it's Japan, the 360s over there weren't given the same TLC because the one I've played on gets frequent use in the upright position and has yet to form a single scratch on any of the games. Hopefully, Microsoft will come to their senses over there.
yamishuryou yamishuryou - April 19, 2006 (09:42 PM)
midwinter, I hope you just realize what you've done.

You're talking about the 666th HG blog post.
Genj Genj - April 20, 2006 (04:05 PM)
This confirms my theory that Japan sucks.
True True - April 23, 2006 (01:16 PM)
For now, you can count me out of 360 gaming and I don't know when I'll be back. You've pissed me off Japan, and I'm moving towards Sony faster than you may believe.

Finally. I thought I would have to sell my soul and purchase a 360 in order for you and me to rumble. And you get to play Shining Wind a lot sooner than I do... that makes me sad.
galactus21 galactus21 - April 23, 2006 (08:20 PM)
Man that sucks. Maybe selling it is a good idea. Just pick another one up in 2 years or something. By then, the consoles should have a far less defective rate. Seems like the 360 might have been rushed a bit, as I keep hearing about the many defective consoles. My 260 has frozen on me a few times on Live, but nothing as extreme as your case.
espnking2002 espnking2002 - August 13, 2007 (11:49 PM)
Microsoft sucks in general.

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