Justin Lowe is your average hardcore gamer. He's fully embraced the HD era, owning both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and loves his Nintendo DS and PSP for gaming on-the-go. He even helps run Aggravated Gamers, an indie gaming podcast. What's special about Justin, though, is he's currently on his twelfth Xbox 360.
"I'm no fanboy," he says, but there's no doubt he's a 360 fan. He purchased his first machine a month after the console launch, but, since then, Justin has not had a working system for longer than a month or two. The list of problems is almost comically large: three red lights of death, two with disc read errors, two dead on arrival, several with random audio and video-related issues and one that actually exploded.
Looking at the situation through Moore's own standards, how has Microsoft performed? "On a scale of one to ten, I'd rate them an 8... at first," says Lowe. His 360 broke in early January, just a few weeks after purchase. For the first six months, Microsoft customer service was polite and replacements sent very quickly. Since then, things have slowly but surely taken a turn for the worse. As the reported number of problems with 360 consoles increases (Microsoft writes them off as "vocal minority"), shipping has started taking longer and customer service less helpful.