Microsoft responds to Xbox problem with disc drive

Xbox One console
Image caption It broke first-day sales records but users have reported problems with the Xbox One disc drive

Microsoft has responded to reports that owners of its new Xbox One console are experiencing problems with the disc drive by offering a free download.

Some users have said the drive makes very loud noises when they try to insert a disc and in some cases is not reading discs at all.

Microsoft said only a very small number of users are affected.

The Xbox One was launched on Friday and sold more than one million units in the first 24 hours.

In a statement Microsoft said that those customers who had reported problems and were waiting for a replacement console would be provided "with a free digital download of one of the launch titles published by Microsoft studios."

More than 150 people contacted Kotaku, a gaming news website, claiming their new consoles were faulty. Other users uploaded videos apparently showing the problem to the gaming forum NeoGAF.

The Xbox One is the first new console from Microsoft in eight years and it broke all previous Xbox first-day sales records when it went on sale in the UK and 12 other countries last week.

The company said it had now sold out at most retailers and it was working to replenish stock as fast as possible.

Shipping damage

This is not the first time Microsoft has experienced problems with the launch of an Xbox console. When the Xbox 360 was launched in 2005 some users reported faults with the hardware which led to three red lights flashing on the front of the device and the console becoming unusable. The problem became known as the "red ring of death".

"Microsoft suffered very significant quality control problems with the early Xbox 360 consoles and has put significant effort into its hardware design and manufacturing process to minimise faults," Spencer Izard, an analyst with IDC told the BBC.

"For launches over multiple countries the volume of manufacturing required by both Microsoft and Sony will always unfortunately yield a minor amount of hardware failures, in one form or another, and we are seeing this with this launch cycle," he added.

Image caption Sony has said problems with the PS4 could be caused by shipping

The launch of the Xbox One came a week after the US launch of Sony's PlayStation 4. The two consoles are set to go head-to-head in the crucial Christmas season.

The PlayStation 4 will go on sale in the UK and Europe on 29 November.

The PS4 also experienced technical issues after its launch with users complaining that a blue light continually flashed on the console affecting its operation and others reporting that sometimes the unit suddenly turned itself off.

In its latest statement Sony said several issues had been reported.

"[This] leads us to believe there isn't a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of PS4 units," Satoshi Nakajima, a spokesman for Sony, told Bloomberg.

"We also understand that some units were reportedly damaged during shipping."

Mr Nakajima said fewer than 1% of the consoles sold were affected.

Amazon said it shipped more PlayStation 4 units than any other gaming console in its history and confirmed it was working with Sony to assist the "small percentage of customers who reported issues".

Mr Izard said more people were becoming aware of problems with the new consoles than before because of postings on social networking sites.

"Overall, I do not believe we will see significant manufacturing problems with either the Microsoft or Sony console but due to social media the relatively few that do occur will become more apparent to those looking to purchase over this holiday season," he said.

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