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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Todd Holmdahl demonstrates a train-wreck.

So, you know, I read a bit. The web, blogs, news, that sort of thing. I don't have a fifth gen gaming console, like the Wii, or Xbox-360, or PS3. Those things are way beyond my means, but you see a lot of news about them, bluster, sabre-rattling and failure rates.

It's pretty much axiomatic that after the launch of a new gizmo you'll get a lot of news pieces on the web about failures of this device or that. Too fragile, screen scratches too easily, unit sets fire to the cat, blows up grannies, and so on. It doesn't necessarily mean that there's actually any problem.

Dean Takahashi has a Q&A posted with Xbox hardware guy Todd Holmdahl. Go read it.

Now, this is how you don't deal with a unit-failure issue like this (real or imagined). Reading Holmdahl's responses, the reasonable reader can reasonably infer that there's a huge failure problem. Maybe there isn't, but Holmdahl makes it seem like there is one. He's practically screaming it in your face, so much so that it looks like a really, really big one.

How do you reasonably infer that? Imagine that you were in Holmdahl's position, and there was no problem at all. How would you answer the questions, in that case?

Now compare them with Holmdahl's answers - or perhaps I should say answer (singular) since he's really holding the line on this. See the difference? That difference is a disaster. Either from an actual unit-failures perspective, or from a PR perspective.

Whether there's a problem or not, he's just made a whole lot of people certain there is.

3 comments:

  1. I suspect a lot of Holmdahl's evasiveness has to do with various outside troubles M$ is facing over Xbox360 hardware issues. As detailed here, M$ is facing an EU investigation into disc-scratching issues, as well as a couple of lawsuits from people who had their consoles "bricked" by software updates. Anything Holmdahl says could be used against M$ in one of those cases.

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  2. Even so, there are a lot more reassuring ways of saying nothing.

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  3. Related material: The sad tale of Justin Lowe, now on his twelfth Xbox360 console. None of the ones he's had have lasted more than a month or two, and the problems he's had run the gamut, including Red Rings of Death, disc read errors, and one console that exploded (!).

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