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Faulty Xbox fuels complaints in Japan

Microsoft 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 enquires" from customers reporting scratches on the outer edges of discs after they had been used in the Xbox game consoles, Microsoft said in a statement. The scratches cause only cosmetic damage to game discs and do not affect their performance, the company said.

The software maker would not say exactly how many faulty machines were reported, but said in the statement, it was "significantly" less than 1% of the systems sold. Microsoft launched the Xbox in Japan two weeks ago, hoping to attract gamers in a market also played in by Nintendo and Sony. Initially, 250,000 consoles were shipped for the Japanese launch and Microsoft has been adding to that supply since then.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft's public relations agency said that the problem "is mostly a Japan issue right now." She was unaware of any similar problems in the US, since the Xbox was launched 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 14 March launch of the Xbox in Europe and Australia, the company said in the statement

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