Lawsuit targets Xbox 360 console


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May 24, 2005
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Lawsuit targets Xbox 360 console

Microsoft is being sued over its new Xbox 360 by a Chicago man who alleges the next generation console has a design flaw.

The man behind the class action suit, Robert Byers, argues the power supply and processors in the Xbox 360 overheat, causing it to freeze.

Microsoft has said it will not comment on the pending litigation.

But in November it acknowledged there were problems in an "isolated" number of Xbox 360s.

Gaming era

Microsoft's box is the first of a new generation of games consoles, with greater processing and graphical capabilities than existing machines.

By launching before its rivals, the software giant has stolen a march on Sony and Nintendo, which are planning to release their own machines next year.

The Xbox 360 went on sale in the UK on 2 December, selling an estimated 75,000 units over the weekend, according to sales analysts ChartTrack.

It said the machine has become the fastest-selling home console ever in the UK.

The figure compares with estimated launch sales of 180,000 for Sony's PlayStation Portable in September and 87,000 for Nintendo's DS in March.

Analysts in the US estimate the Xbox 360 has sold some 400,000 units there.

"We are well aware that many gamers are disappointed to have not got their Xbox 360 on day one," said Chris Lewis, of Microsoft's home entertainment division in Europe.

"We are working around the clock to manufacture as many Xbox 360s as we can and are replenishing retail stores in Europe in the weeks coming up to Christmas."

Online complaints

Reports about problems with the Xbox 360 first surfaced shortly after the machine made its debut in the US on 22 November.

In online postings, owners reported that some of the consoles stopped working after a short bout of playing or crashed during a game and flashed up an error number.

If you are going to go after a company, you might as well go after one with lots of cash
Paul Jackson, Forrester Research

Some users posted video and photographs of the crash screens.

At the time, Microsoft spokeswoman Molly O'Donnell said the company had only received complaints about a "very, very small fraction" of all the consoles sold.

"With any launch of this magnitude, you're bound to see something happening," she said in November.

On Microsoft's support website for the Xbox, it lists 10 different problems associated with the new console as well as ways to fix the problems.

The company has offered to repair or replace any defective consoles.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in a federal court in Illinois, seeks unspecified damages and litigation-related expenses, as well as the replacement or recall of Xbox 360 game consoles.

"The US is historically extremely litigious and highly opportunistic in these types of class action," said Forrester Research analyst Paul Jackson.

"If you are going to go after a company, you might as well go after one with lots of cash," he told the BBC News website.

But he added that reports of hardware failures and lawsuits would not be doing Microsoft any favours at a time when it should be trying to capitalise on the lead it has in a games market worth $25bn globally.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/06 10:26:01 GMT