Quality as a Four-Letter Word
This is my equipment: a faulty Xbox 360 that will not sync wireless controllers and a new guitar controller with exactly the same problem as the one I had sent back. It leaves me wondering whether Microsoft and EA are simply opening returns, plugging them in to see if the light comes on and then pushing them right back out the door as repaired.
You raise some good points, but I mostly just say you're paranoid.
The big difference between a retail shop that takes in old consoles that have long outlived the warranty that says they still work and the mystical repair shop that we all send these broken toys to is that the repair shop is made solely to fix any and everything that comes through their door. It's not a retail outlet, so they don't have to worry about the bottom line and maybe fluffing a little bit every other week so they can keep their job.
I doubt very much that Microsoft spent a billion dollars to set up a three year warranty on every 360 sold just so you can send it in to people who give it as through a testing as a retail outlet does when it's got a break between customers.
Though I'm not too sure about EA, but I'm willing to bet that that's mostly just inexperience in the way of the guitar controller and not something as sinister as making a profit off of deliberately defective hardware.
It could also be that the 360 is so fragile and unreliable, everytime you open it to "repair" something that went wrong, you take the risk of breaking something else instead, or just reassembling that sensitive machine in a way which she may not like.
Buy Amstrad, it's some seriously solid stuff.
Please note that it's Microsoft that are doing this, and not Nintendo or Sony. The Japanese have a reputation for reliable goods, such as the Wii, PS3 and even cars made by Toyota. My PSX broke once in the five years I had it, my PS2 never broke and had about 5 minor disc read errors, nothing has ever gone wrong with my PS3 or PSP. My GameCube still works perfectly as well, as does my DS even though I've carelessly dropped it on the floor several times. My Xbox has been wavering towards breaking for a while, and I'm not even going to contemplate buying a 360 until they start producing them with the Falcon chipsets and even then only if the falcon chipsets are less faulty than the current ones.
I ony have one thing to say to this:
Don't buy crap!
Because of all the negative publicity, I have no intention of ever buying an XBOX360, even though thit has some cool features and games.
It does seem annoying... Look at computers... They can run various programs by various programmers in various formats both expected and unexpected from various sources, be it an external harddrive, CD, DVD, Floppy (Old School), and yet run just fine... Yet, somehow, the XBOX360 can't handle running the video game disks made to the exact specifications of the XBOX360 system.
Though, I guess I have to agree with ShmenonPie, I've been a gamer for 13+ years, and never heard of anything half as big happening on rare occasion on the NES, SNES, N64, PSX, PS2, Sega, etc....
As for the guitar, also worth complaining about. It is a controller that, by design, is MEANT for harsh playing conditions... It should be able to handle overly-speedy reactions from the player, I've seen people play the hardest levels on the harshest difficulties, and that puts some major wear on those controllers... If I remember correctly, they cost $30+, so asking them to create a sturdy controller that lasts months, let alone hours, shouldn't be too much.
This is what happens when you rush something to market out of fear of the 900 lb gorilla in the corner (Sony). Microsoft knew that their console was not reliable. They knew there would be a lot of problems. They also knew that they had to get a head start on the PS3 because of how well the system would scale into the future. They jumped the shark to get it to market so it could gain traction before Sony and Nintendo released their machines resulting in a market share about the size of the one the Sega Saturn had during the 32 bit generation. I previously owned a 360 that I purchased on day one. Strangely, while everyone else was experiencing shortages, at least two Meijer stores in Bay City and Saginaw Michigan had them in stock on the second day after release.
My 360 lasted until the following March. MS was prompt and I received a new console within a couple of weeks which I sold immediately as I knew of three people myself with the same problem, and that was four months in. I have since focused on PC gaming until the PS3 is more affordable as I am sold on their quality. I purchased a PS1 on day one and it bricked in 2002 after my dog tripped over the controller card causing it to fall about two feet to a hard wood floor. My PS2 which was also purchased on day one (without wait at Sears in State College, PA, well not really, I waited twenty minutes for the store to open) is still alive and kicking.
I don't own a PS3 or xBox360 or a Wii. I've a PSP I rarely play and a PC. This gives me a degree of detachment, I can't get angry or upset about a broken console. A broken console isn't really something that can happen to me since the only one I have sits on a bookshelf next to an ancient Gameboy most of the time.
In a way, the Wii, for all its flaws (I won't list reasons why people may dislike the Wii, really, the rest of the internet has that covered) has at least one clever point to it. It is sub spec. It does not a have a graphics card that can compare with the PS3 and xBox360.
To some gamers this may seem like I'm talking nonsense, but the dearly held believe that lesser graphics equals lesser games is really as stupid as fanboyism. Try and look at it from an engineering point of view: without that graphics card, the console isn't getting hot and doesn't require either a fan or a heatsink to for with it. So the design of the console has removed 1) alot of heat and 2) moving parts. Both of which can cause breakdowns.
And on top of that, without less stuff to stuff inside, it can be smaller and quieter too, which is probably just as well. As Greg Costikyan described in 2005
"poor gameplay and great graphics will work just fine, as far as the market is concerned" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_8/50-Death-to-the-Games-Industry-Part-I.2)
I suppose its just as well the Wii has such as consistent aesthetic to it (with the "Mii"s etc.) The graphics might not overwhelm the senses, but when it looks inviting and friendly from the start and everything matches that look and feel the graphics look "right", even if they are a bit "last gen".
Buy Amstrad, it's some seriously solid stuff.
Heh, my Gameboy still works too, though the screen is narrowing a little.
I'm no fan of the Wii, I still think the Wiimote is a gimmick and the software (I won't call it games as much of it is unworthy to sit next to the likes of Hello Kitty Island Adventure) on the Wii has no appeal, but I do think the design of the console has something to be admired. Its not a giant leap forward so much as one small step sideways.
But if Nintendo want to continue to sell to, say, the same millions of people they sold Pokemon to in 1998 they need to start making changes. Microsoft has the XNA Creators Club; will Nintendo ever have am equivalent? If not, then everything I've said is incidentaly. Without worthwhile games there is no gameplay. Whether the console broken or not.
I want you to play a game with me. Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine if some other company than Microsoft tried to pull shit like this... imagine if Sony, Nintendo or Apple put out a $300 piece of hardware with this kind of failure rate, and only came out with the extended warranty after the threats of lawsuits began.
How do you think that would turn out for them?
I hear a lot of talk about the XBOX 360's failure rate.
And it IS absolutely unforgivable, despite they usually handle this reasonably well with repairs being free and all.
But I did get one of the very first 360's, the day it was launched. Played perfectly fine for almost 6 years. Not too bad, and the HDD that came with it still works fine today. Never had a SNES, NES or original Gameboy die on me, but that was hardware made in a different era; the chips on those are very robust because of the huge transistors compared to current tech. In fact my dad ruined our SNES once; he left it ON during the night and so the on/off switch got burned out. This was around 1996-1997 and Nintendo graciously repaired it for free (only transport costs) even after warranty had already expired; awesome!
One thing that does sucks is when your old console games lose their battery's charge (remember NES and SNES games have a separate memory powered by said battery to contain save data). Once the battery dies after some years you can no longer (reliably) save, which is sad.
After my first 360 recently died I bought a second hand that died after 3 months on me (just 1 month after warranty expired). My third one is a brand new one, which is much quiter and makes me happy again.
My viewpoint; you get 3 years of warranty on the hardware, and you are aware of this when you buy it. So either don't buy it or be content with 3 years of warranty?
The sad thing about it is the 360 has a high rate of breaking with good customer service, and the PS3 has a lower rate of failure with crappy customer service.