Bang On: It's easy to hate the Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 has had quite a poor record when it comes to build quality. My experience with Microsoft's wonder console does little to change what so many people already know: The Xbox 360 is more fragile than paper-mâché in a rain storm. It's almost as though simply glancing at the console in the wrong way can send it into cardiac arrest. It's just so easy to hate it.

I've already complained about my excruciatingly frustrating experience with Xbox support, so we can all rejoice in the fact that this tale does not include any dealings with them. Working for a major retailer, I've had the extended warranty, from the store, since day one. It was probably the best investment I made in a long time. How so? Well, after owning an Xbox 360 for two years, I am now on my fifth console. No, you didn't misread that. The sun didn't hit the monitor slowly blinding you into a stupor making you believe that just read that I'm on my fifth console. I'm really on my fifth Xbox 360 and never once have I experienced a red ring of death.

My first Xbox 360 unit was only three months old when it decided to take its own life. On a glorious day, when I was off from work, I decided to play some MLB 2k7. Maybe my Xbox knew how bad the game was and decided to give me a hand; I couldn't tell you. Whatever it was, though, the console decided to stop reading any and all media. Neither games nor movies would work anymore. Back to the store I went and home came a replacement.

Xbox number two didn't fare much better. In fact, it decided that not only should I not play Project Gotham Racing 3, but I also should not get my disc back. The DVD drive simply lost all power. I have no idea how this happened, but there I was, with a screw driver, prying open the tray to get my darn disc back. Another trip to the store was in order and I was already feeling the pain and anguish of knowing I was going to be stuck in this relationship, continually coming back for more abuse.

If the third time is usually the charm, then the complete opposite is true of the Xbox 360. Maybe Microsoft decided that the third time should be so amazing that you can't help but cry tears of sadness while laughing at the same time. In this case, after putting a game into my Xbox 360, I received a message from the Xbox 360 telling me that I should put the disc into an Xbox 360 if I wanted to access it (hopefully, that reads as insanely as it sounds). Every game rendered the same result. My head almost imploded and, I would swear, the earth's rotation was reversed and the universe caved in on itself, if only for a brief moment. I'm a glutton for abuse, though, so I ran off to get a replacement as quickly as possible.

All of this brings us to yesterday. After watching The Punisher: War Zone on DVD in my 360, the unit must have decided that no game could ever match the levels of awesomeness that the movie captured. Upon putting in my copy of Call of Duty: World at War, I was presented with a black screen and a clicking sound. I ejected the disc to find that the console had created an inch long crack stemming outwards from the center of the disc. This wasn't a scratch; this was an actual crack in my game. Why? How? What the hell? How could this be? I didn't even know what to think. All I knew is that I needed to get it replaced, yet again.

Now I have my fifth Xbox 360 and a new copy of CoD: WaW (discounted by a manager to make up for the lost disc) sitting in my room just waiting to figure out a new way to fail. This one is a Jasper model, the latest build of the Xbox 360 promised to solve the red ring of death issues, but that doesn't do much for me. All I can do is sit and wait for this thing to decide it's time to join its predecessors and commit suicide.

When it works, I love the Xbox 360. It's a great device and, combined with Netflix, has become my main source of entertainment at home. The problem is, though, no matter how much I love the experience of a working console, I hate the Xbox 360 because the joy never lasts. In two years' time, I have gone through four Xbox 360 consoles and now wait on a fifth to die like the rest. Get your act together, Microsoft. It's bad enough that your support system is designed to make me homicidal, but can't you, at least, make a decent piece of hardware? I think I'm going with another company for the next generation. It's just too easy to hate the Xbox 360.

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