Last week, VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi (author of The Xbox 360 Uncloaked: The Real Story Behind Microsoft’s Next-Generation Video Game Console) posted an in-depth look at the hardware problems that have plagued the Xbox 360 since the time of its launch. Today, the one named source inside Microsoft for the article, a contract game tester named Robert Delaware, was fired for his participation. In addition to losing his job, it also appears that Mr. Delaware may be facing civil charges from both Microsoft and Excell Data (the temp employment company who arranged his contract).
In the original article (a very long but excellent read), Delaware suggests that Microsoft’s failure to divulge information to the testers working to identify bugs likely resulted in the prolonged existence of many of the hardware errors present in the console. He specifically names a bug present in NBA 2k6 which caused consistent hardware failure and even the Red Ring of Death, as well as issues resulting from the practice of including dashboard updates on retail discs.
Delaware has no regrets about the situation, calling his contribution to the article, “the moral thing to do.”
It should be pointed out that Microsoft is completely in their rights to terminate the employment of someone who discusses sensitive corporate information with the press in such a manner, as well as seek legal action against them. That said, I find it comforting that Mr. Delaware had the courage to speak out on this issue. Companies need to be held accountable for their actions when consumers are suffering from poorly designed products and being willing to put your career on the line to ensure that is worth a lot of respect in my book.
My best wishes go out to Mr. Delaware. Thank you for standing up.