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Defective Xbox One does not guarantee you free launch title

Microsoft says Xbox One owners are entitled to a free launch game only if their console is suffering from a faulty disc drive. Those with bricked or crash-prone consoles are not eligible.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If your Xbox One is completely unplayable, crash-prone, or suffers from Internet connection or Kinect-related issues, you are not eligible for a free launch title game, Microsoft confirmed Tuesday.

Microsoft moved quick to address the mounting concern over the allegedly small number of units plagued with a faulty disc drive, promising to take care of those users by directing them to its advance exchange program that would ensure delivery of a replacement console without needing those users to send in the original. It also softened the blow by giving away one of four Microsoft Studio launch titles for free, which players could still download digitally to their accounts and play without the need of a working disc drive.

But because owners of unusable Xbox One units cannot play games at all -- let alone download them -- Microsoft is not giving away a free title to them. "The digital download is only for the folks having issues with their disc drive because we want to ensure our advance exchange customers can stay in the game," a Microsoft representative told CNET.

This was apparently not communicated fully to Xbox One owners who have been working with Xbox Support. One user told CNET that he received his Xbox One on launch day only to discover over the weekend that it was prone to frequent freezes. It also had serious connection issues that prolonged the downloading of updates and apps, as well as the installation of games to the console's hard drive. However, his unit did not suffer any disc drive problems.

After contacting Microsoft Support and ensuring the arrival of his replacement console, the user was not informed that he would be eligible for a free launch game and came away confused as to the eligibility requirements.

This giveaway restriction may seem to be a backhand to those with more defect-prone consoles. But it would appear that Microsoft sees its free launch title giveaway as less a consolation effort to ease the pain of those with broken consoles and more a way to keep the highest number of owners actively playing as possible, which inevitably excludes those who are incapable of using the console at all.

So if you're Xbox One is too buggy to play, then you do in fact qualify for the expedited exchange program that gets a new console out to you right away. You do not, however, get a free launch title download unless your system has a faulty drive.

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