Faulty Xbox consoles prompt complaints in Japan

Microsoft Corp. has been forced to repair or replace a number of its new Xbox video game consoles after some game enthusiasts in Japan complained that they had received faulty machines.

Microsoft's customer service group in Japan received a "small number of inquires" from customers reporting scratches on the outer edges of disks after they had been used in the Xbox game consoles, Microsoft said in a statement. The scratches cause only cosmetic damage to game disks and do not affect their performance, the company said.

While the Redmond, Washington-based software maker would not say exactly how many faulty machines were reported, it was "significantly" less than one percent of the systems sold, Microsoft said in a statement. Microsoft launched the Xbox in Japan two weeks ago, hoping to attract gamers in a market also played in by Nintendo Co. Ltd. and Sony Corp. Initially, 250,000 consoles were shipped for the Japanese launch and Microsoft has been adding to that supply since then.

A spokeswoman with Microsoft's public relations agency said that the problem "is mostly a Japan issue right now." The spokeswoman didn't know if similar problems with scratched disks had been reported in the U.S. since the Xbox was launched here in November.

Microsoft said the issue would not cause it to recall the video game console, as some earlier press reports had suggested. It will also not delay the planned March 14 launch of the Xbox in Europe and Australia, the company said in the statement

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