During a recent marathon Rock Band 3 game with friends, we broke the disc without removing it from the Xbox.
How, you may ask, did we accomplish this feat of magic? While I'd like to tell you it was because our stellar head banging skills caused the disc to spontaneously combust, the real cause is much more mundane. . .
We shifted the Xbox while it was running.
It turns out that when an Xbox is moved, jostled, or nudged while running, the disc can slip in the tray, rubbing against something inside and causing a ring-shaped scratch around the disc. The scratch, which forms a perfect circle and is referred to as the "Ring of Disc Death," renders the disc unusable and, in our case, ruined a night of rocking out.
Visiting our local GameStop gave me an explanation for the why (the associate told us that vacuuming near a running Xbox could also cause the problem), and a couple of solutions including buffing out the scratch or, for future purchases, buying scratch protection for the games ($3 – $5 per game).
A Manic Mommies listener, Jennifer D. also passed along a few tips from her husband:
#1: Don't store the Xbox standing up. The design is really cool and looks pretty sweet standing up but if you leave it horizontal like the old school Xbox, it prevents the disks from skipping like they do when they're stored vertically.
#2: Install the games to your Xbox hard-drive. This way, when you're playing the games, they aren't actually spinning the disk the entire time, it just reads the game and then plays it off the hard-drive.
Of course the easiest way to avoid the Ring of Death? Turn off the Xbox before moving and handle with care.
Have you discovered 'ring around the Xbox game?'