According to reports obtained by Gamasutra, a number of subscribers to the North American GameFly video game rental service have received messages regarding an Xbox 360 hardware fault that potentially scratches game discs, making them unplayable.
The issue has previously been discussed at length on a number of fan websites, with the problem being particularly pronounced if users move the Xbox 360 while it is in use. However, some consumers are reporting that their Xbox 360 hardware will scratch discs without being moved.
The disc scratching problem is evidently widespread enough that GameFly has prepared a 'form letter' to send to all consumers who return Xbox 360 discs with defects on them, commenting:
"We have received reports that certain XBOX 360 consoles have caused damage to GameFly videogames. Unfortunately, we have been notified that you recently returned a damaged XBOX 360 game.
As a precaution, we have removed all XBOX 360 games from your GameQ. Please contact Microsoft at 1-800-4MY-XBOX. Please do not rent XBOX 360 games until you have resolved this issue.
In the future, should GameFly receive XBOX 360 games from you that have been damaged, you will be charged a replacement fee."
Representatives from GameFly had not returned calls inquiring about the extent of the problem by press time. Microsoft itself has previously commented to VNUNet regarding post-launch Xbox 360 technical issues: "We have received a few isolated reports of consoles not working as expected. The call rate is well below what you'd expect for a consumer electronics product of this complexity."