The Next Generation of Console Gaming is here (and they are broken)

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I've always been a bit more of a fan of the xBox than the Playstation.  In a lot of ways I think the Playstation is probably better but I've always been more drawn to the xBox exclusive titles.   It's just a preference.  Though, I do love me some God of War on the PS3.

This year, I preordered both the PS4 and the xBox One, figuring them to me good adds to our game room.   For both consoles, I attended the midnight releases.   The night of the PS4 release, a Gamestop guy mentioned, "Just so you know, .4% of those have an HDMI Display issue."   

The experience was already tainted, though my PS4 was evidently fine.   If only there were some games on it that were native to the machine generation that I cared to play. :)  The seeds of doubt were firmly planted, though.  I suspected that I would be re-learning the hard-won lessons of the past with respect to 1st-batch issues and electronics.

Then, the xBox One release time came around.  I was more excited about this one because of the launch and announced promising future titles.    I noticed the line was longer for the xBox midnight release (all of them preorders) though the attendees for that release seemed more rowdy and annoying than their PS4 counterparts.  

I got the new console home and put it in under lock and key in my basement game room. I needed to work the next day so no time to play.     Saturday morning, we participated in a St. Jude fundraiser, that evening I finally found myself with knife in hand, unboxing the shiny new xBox One.

I'll admit that I don't really care for the design.  The three B's of design (Big, Bulky and Boring-looking) are the best way to describe it.   Like a black VCR with vent louvres.  About the same size, too.

After going through a Day-One firmware update that seemed a little sluggish considering our internet speed of 100mbs and some xBox Live Account stuff, I was finally presented with the xBox One Dashboard in all of it's very Windows-8 - like appearance.   I popped in one of the three launch titles we purchased and found the drive was making a horrible grinding noise.   The disc was never recognized.

Some googling showed this is indeed a reported hardware failure on the xBox One and the solution is.. you guessed it -- a replacement.

I've written this post, while on hold with Microsoft..    This morning I started a service request with MSFT with their "call me back" option.   2 hours and 45 minutes later, I received my "call back."   Now, I've been on hold for over an hour.

Total time from initial phone contact to getting through the MSFT support gauntlet?  4.5 hours with the majority of my "successful" support coming from the website.   Blog posts tell you to call MSFT but I will say this, the agent told me they were being inundated with problems but had a limited number of Day-1 consoles where these problems had already been fixed.    Apparently they knew about these problems going into launch, given they had time to source new gear and have it staged for RMA replacements.   That is annoying.

Annoying, too is the incompleteness of the support site.  It presents you with two options, an advanced replacement and a standard-exchange.   The definition of each - just WHAT gets replaced - is different from the site versus what the MSFT rep says on the call.  

At any rate, it looks like I'll get ... something.. in advance replacement from Microsoft within the next 2 weeks.   During which, they get to put a hold on the full amount of the console against my card until I send the old one back.   I was nice to the reps and they didn't offer anything for the inconvenience.

I think as news develops and reports spread, we'll learn this was a pretty prolific failure.  I'm sure that Microsoft will replace it but I must say this isn't convenient or fun and I'm very disappointed in this, my favorite software/technology company, for the failure.

Maybe it is for the best.  I can spend my hard-earned holiday off time building a hoverboard or tesla coil instead of being vegged out in front of a next gen console working on meaningless achievements.

But I do sit back and I think about the dad who bought this to be THE Christmas present this year and I think about the fiasco of Christmas morning that will ensue as they open their new console to find it doesn't work.    That's the kind of thing to make a kid stop believin' in the big red guy and the sleigh.  Just sayin'.  :)

If you are looking for that perfect Christmas gift for this season, maybe it isn't an xBox One (for fear of failure) or Playstation 4 (for lack of compelling launch games).    

I hear with the appropriate eye-protection the red rider BB gun can be quite enjoyable.