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US Supreme Court to (finally) rule on Xbox 360 disc-scratching issue

Remember all the furore about Xbox 360 apparently scratching game discs for no good reason other than it felt a bit Darth Vader-y? At one time it got everyone just as riled as that Facebook friend who whines about Game Of Thrones Season 5 spoilers despite having had nine months to catch up. Dude! Get it watched. Anyway, said furore is still, er, furoring, and the AP reports (opens in new tab) that the debate over whether or not Microsoft should be hit with a class action lawsuit is to be heard by the US Supreme Court.

It’s eleven years since 360 owners first reported discovering circumferential scratches on discs after removing them from their machines. Website The Llamma’s Adventures ran tests on the matter in 2007, and concluded that some drives failed to secure their discs solidly in place. (So long ago that the initial study has since disappeared from the internet.)

That same year, a number of those affected by the issues got lawyers involved in order to file a class action lawsuit against Microsoft. A federal judge dismissed the complaint in 2012, stating there were not enough complaints to justify a class action suit. Shortly after the dismissal was reversed by a federal appeals court.

In 2009, Anne Robinson’s unageing robot face even got involved in the matter. BBC Watchdog responded to customer complaints that discs were being mangled by running their own tests, to no avail. Researchers played Xbox 360 games solidly six hours a day for three days, on two consoles of varying age, yet not a single scratch materialised.

The arguments have rumbled on ever since. Microsoft admits that there is an issue, whereby the drive can spin discs so fast they fly into other parts of the console, damaging themselves in the process. But it says that the number of consoles affected is so small – 0.4 perfect of 84 million sold – that there’s no case to answer.

0.4 percent of the 84 millions is 336,000, or – for those who struggle with maths – a bloody big number of bust consoles.

There’s currently no date set for the Supreme Court hearing.

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I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.