October 30, 2002

Game DVD replacement policy at Xbox

mnemesis recently discovered that his precious Halo game CD (do we call it CD or DVD? I'm not sure what the norm is for Xbox discs) developed a nasty scratch that won't let him play the AotCR level. It brought up what seems to be a very stupid policy on MS's part: they don't offer disc replacement. Maybe they offer something under the standard 30 or 90 day warranty period, but beyond that you're on your own.

Some folks might think that after a year of playing a $50 game, what's so tough about asking someone to shell out another $50 for the same disc, it's certainly worth it, right? I might agree, but I know that other CD/DVD companies out there will at least bend a little and offer a replacement disc for a small fee. Think of the revenue MS is missing out on. I plan on keeping my Halo CD for a long time. If MS charged me $12 for a disc replacement every couple of years, that's not so bad for what should be, based on volume, a $1 or so disc dupe. And I don't think I'd have a problem forking over that kind of money either.

It's this kind of short-sighted thinking on a company's part that forces you, the consumer, to look elsewhere for satisfaction. If someone were to offer me the ability to dupe my existing Halo game disc (CD or DVD? Argh!) I'd take them up on it in a heartbeat. After all, why shouldn't I protect my investment?

My own disc has been showing signs of wear... and the nifty little graphical 'progress bar' that Halo uses is now a slow crawl instead of the fast slide that it once was. Sometimes it even does a little dance and goes forward a bit and then retreats a few steps... like it's retrying a particular scuffed up part of the disc.

Tomeone reminded me that there are some pretty neat little plastic contraptions that you can buy that promise to restore damaged CD/DVDs back to normal. I actually have one of them and it did salvage a CD of mine once. I'll probably be trying it out with my Halo disc soon enough:

Digital Innovations DVD Doctor

Checking out similar products at Amazon, this one was rated quite highly and is cheaper to boot, yet it doesn't have the nifty 'transmission assembly' doohickey that you place the disc in, it's just some liquid and pads:

DiscRestore 3680 DiscRx Pro Series II

Obviously, in the 'old days' Bungie's games came out on standard computer CD and floppy, and I don't think there was ever a problem with duping either media for backup purposes.

Posted by bs at October 30, 2002 4:44 PM

Whoa, a real article! :-)

Nice. I'll try to pick up one of those Disk Doctors later today or tomorrow and let you know how it works out.

Posted by: mnemesis on October 30, 2002 7:58 PM

Well, as one might have gleaned from the HBO forum, I ended up trying to circumvent the problem by getting a new disc at Best Buy, with little success. I still got the same "Your disc is scratched" message on opening AotCR. The current plan involves erasing all Halo info from the HD and starting over, but I'm a little slow getting back to the level in question. That, and all my gametypes are lost! Dang!

Posted by: mnemesis on November 13, 2002 2:19 PM

Well that sucks... you mean even putting in a brand new Halo gamedisc... you still had the error? Wowzers.

I'm sure you're aware, but just play the levels on Easy, and coast on through. It's probably smart to figure out if it really isn't the disc's fault, and if it isn't, you could save yourself some money and return the new Halo gamedisc and save some bucks!

Posted by: Miguel on November 14, 2002 3:40 PM

I was just looking for info on DVD/Game scratch replacement and I found this site that resurfaces DVD's or CD's at only $3.50 per disc. I have not tried it yet, but I intend to...


Posted by: Thomas Martin on February 25, 2003 11:44 AM

Amazing ...
Atleast you were able to scratch your disc ...
Mine came shrink wrapped and scratch free and still I am not able to play the 6th level as it gives me a "DVD damaged or dirty " error .
Yeah right !

And I am living in a country different from the one from which I purchased the game ...
And it is inside the 90 day period also ...

What do I do ??

Posted by: Saurabh Jain on June 17, 2003 11:39 PM

I was crushed when I found out there is no replacement policy. My 6yr old loves his Halo game and plays it often.
Well today while he is at school his 2 1/2 yr old sister decided to rub it on the walls and by the time I got to it, the "shinny side" now has about 1000 scratches. I thought id just hop on their website and find out how to get a replacement like I had done on a few pc games of his, like "Tonka" and was shocked! How could a company not offer a replacement! All I ever hear is how the companies are doing all they can to not let people copy the cds, but who could blame them with this policy!
Everyone knows cds are "fragile" and I dont see why any company should not honor a replacement at a small fee if you send in the old one.
I will keep this in mind when picking out new games to purchase.
And unfortunatly I have to tell my son when he comes home that his game is scratched and unreplacable like his Tonka game was.
By the way...anyone have a used Halo game they want to sell??

Posted by: Teresa on August 19, 2003 4:47 PM

I really feel for you Teresa. Yes, you could look for a used copy of the game, but also keep an eye out for sales over at Best Buy, Target, or Circuit City. Every other week or so, they offer some nice discounts on Xbox games. Just a few weeks ago I picked up a copy of Halo for $29, which is nice considering it still goes for $50 list price.

As my article mentions, there are also scratch-repairing products that might do the trick. If the disc is only 'lightly' scratched (even if they're 1000 light scratches) such a product might resurrect the disc for you.

Good luck!

- M

Posted by: Miguel on August 19, 2003 4:58 PM

I went over to my friends house to play some 8 player halo, i left the halo disc in the disc tray, then i put it in my back-pack, maybe the disc came loose or something, cause when i was trying to load up the pillar of autumn the loading bar was going backwards and forwards, and the xbox was giving off a weird sound...so i took out the disc and i found this pretty large circular scratch...i hate microsoft...

Posted by: SuBlime on November 30, 2003 2:34 PM

SuBlime, there is less reason to be frustrated now. The price of Halo for Xbox has dropped down to $30, so it's much less expensive than it used to be.

Posted by: Miguel on November 30, 2003 4:34 PM

Here's another "great way to treat your customers" story. I've been having trouble with my dvd-rom (it fits - the highest format the drive can read is, after all, DVD). I called the XBox 800 number to find out how to obtain a replacement part so I could put it in myself. Now, some may call me a "hack" others an amature. However, I've worked on many types of computers, from $2000+ servers to ancient proprietary PC's. I think I can handle a DVD-ROM swap. Microsoft, apparently, doesn't agree with me because they won't sell me a replacement player. I have to ship my console to them and, for $91.50, they'll replace it. I don't know what they're hiding inside that big black box of theirs but it must be pretty special. Sounds a lot like what they've done with their windoze operating systems and a good reason not to buy M$ stuff.

Posted by: Dave on December 26, 2003 11:36 AM

4/5/04 - I saw that Best Buy has Halo on Sale for $19.95. Time for me to get a new one. Mine is scratched and cracked.

Posted by: John on April 5, 2004 11:47 AM

my xbox scratches my disks i have told them and they have replaced the dvd drive twice but it still does it i have asked for compensation but they say they are dealing with it and they will ring me back but neaver do help!

Posted by: mat on April 19, 2004 7:15 AM

Most "...dirty disk..." errors are caused by a failing DVD-ROM drive not damaged disks. If your system comes back with an error even after getting a new disk it's the drive that's going out. Crack open the xbox, note the brand of DVD drive in it and then go to EBay and buy a new replacement. Believe you-me, i've been there twice already and replacing the drive cured all my issues, infact each replacement drive reserected DVD's that hadn't been readable due to large scratches. YMMV!!!


Posted by: iNetMANN on May 11, 2004 6:11 PM

Hey, iNetMANN, does replacing the DVD-ROM really work? and if it does then how much does it cost and what kind of DVD-ROM do I need?

Posted by: tsunami on May 25, 2004 5:07 PM

Me and my brother got an Xbox for Christmas about 3 years ago just recently him and me bought, NFL 2005, ESPN 2k5, Spider-man 2, and knights of the old republic 2. On every one it plays for about 2 minutes then it freezes and tells me that the game is dirty or damageged. Is it the eye or something.

Posted by: justin.s. on January 25, 2005 8:09 PM

i borrowed my mates Halo2 limited eddition disc. it played fine the first time then i went to play again and it now has a huge gash on it on my box wont play it. i am not happy as i now have to buy a replacement at the full price. MS policy is a load of rubbish, i've now been out and got my box chipped so no more money for MS from ME!!

Posted by: CLUBBER on April 3, 2005 8:52 AM

About a month ago every time I went to play NHL2k6 on my xbox I got the DDerror. Bought another game from bestbuy and still kept getting the error. Went on Ebay and purchased a new DVD drive for the xbox and still on occasions get the DDerror. I'm praying I get a Xbox 360 for X-mas so I can throw this one in the trash.

Posted by: TooOldButStillLoveToPlay on December 21, 2005 4:16 PM
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