In the grand scheme of things this story isn’t an epic tragedy, but as a fellow gamer I can feel for the guy:
There’s certainly been no shortage of sad stories involving Xboxes, but when it comes to attempts to get the console repaired, this latest tale from a gamer known only as Nathaniel might have to take the cake. As you can see above, his console (one of the first to hit the market) boasted a good deal of personalization, including signatures from folks at Bungie and the Xbox 360 team, and a spiffy illustration by Rooster Teeth Comics artist Luke McKay. As with many other Xbox users, however, Nathaniel’s console eventually packed it in, and he was forced to send it to Microsoft for repairs. Needless to say, that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
This guy had been carrying his Xbox 360 around to various conventions and events and getting a whole host of developers and such to autograph it for him making it a pretty neat collectible item. When it died and he sent it into Microsoft to be repaired he took pains to call ahead and ask them to be very careful with the casing and to ensure that if they had to replace the whole thing that they put the new innards in the same case. He was assured that would be done. So, of course, the repair folks did the one thing that he didn’t ask them not to do: They washed the case squeaky clean.
Now this poor guy had put a lot of time in on getting his console autographed and having it come back with just a few residual marker smudges on the case just had to be soul crushing in a way that only true fanboys, such as myself, can understand. Again, not the end of the world, but still a pretty major disappointment. His story got onto the gadget and gamer websites and the folks at Bungie (makers of Halo) heard about it and decided they would try to right the wrong:
After the console returned to him wiped clean of the aforementioned “value,” it seemed like all hope was lost. Luckily, the kind souls at Bungie have taken it upon themselves to try and right the wrongs perpetrated in this case, and have mailed Nathaniel a super-ultra-mega awesome package, featuring a Legendary Edition helmet signed by most of the Bungie studio staff, the soundtrack disc signed by Martin O’Donnel, a jacket, t-shirt, limited edition wireless controllers, and much, much, much more.
That was pretty cool of Bungie to do that and it seemed like a happy ending had finally come to pass. Then today Engadget is reporting that Microsoft is also making amends:
Remember that dude Nathaniel whose highly sentimental autographed Xbox 360 console was sent in for repairs and returned maddeningly clean? Turns out he didn’t just get a signed Halo 3 care package. Even more swag arrived this week, including (among other things) an Xbox 360 with signatures from the 360 team and Bungie, and even Bill G himself. Yeah, that Bill G. And we can tell you exactly how damned hard it is to get the man to autograph stuff, the last few times we saw him we asked him sign our chests—no dice.
Now that’s what I call quality customer service. The coolest part about the story? Nathaniel had never asked for any kind of compensation. All he had asked was that Microsoft take a look at their support practices and perhaps put some policy in place to keep something like that from happening again. Still you’ve gotta appreciate the fact that they tried to make amends for the mistake.