It’s been a matter of days since the PS4 and Xbox One first went on sale, and hardcore fans on both sides of the console wars are already scouring the net for reports of widespread tech problems. But as much as people are looking for blue lights of death to replace red rings, no major problems have popped up yet. And based on how Microsoft is responding to Xbox One buyers annoyed by faulty disc drives, next-gen tech issues could be fixed with much more immediacy than we were used to in the previous generations.
There have been reports of multiple Xbox One’s with from disc drive problems, an issue one of GamesRadar’s own Xbox Ones suffered from as well. According to the CVG News story, one victim of faulty hardware got a pleasant surprise from Microsoft: a free game download to enjoy while their physical games weren't playable. It’s a smart, quick fix that wouldn’t have been possible back in 2006; the type that’s easy on consoles in this new day-and-date digital age.
Everyone wants a new system to work perfectly on day one, but flaws and bugs are a fact of life with electronics. When faced with issues like this disc drive malfunction in the past, a company like Microsoft would've spent weeks figuring out a strategy, then sent rebates or coupons to gamers who'd be forced to wait for weeks before they could resume playing. Customer service has sped up a lot in the last decade--and in a way it’s had to, because the Internet allows for widespread errors to gain notoriety much faster. It’s something Microsoft learned the hard way with the 360's Red Ring of Death.
And MS’s strategy of offering a free game as a way of apologizing has already been widely used by its first party competition. When Nintendo unexpectedly dropped the price on the 3DS, early system adopters were given 20 free games to smooth over any hurt feelings. And when Sony made good to users for its massive PSN outage, the PlayStation maker gave out multiple free games. Digital courtesy gifts like those are comparatively cheap when you remove the cost of manufacturing and shipping physical products to consumers, and it all moves a lot faster. This is the kind of fast-paced, efficient customer service we waited years for.
Hopefully this responsiveness is now the norm for next-gen. If something as massively inconvenient as the Red Ring of Death happens again in this console generation, system owners better see corporations on the scale of Microsoft fix its problems in a matter of hours instead of weeks. Anything less would be pretty hard to accept, and you can bet consumers would be voicing that dissatisfaction pretty loudly all over the Internet.