Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Bad from Bandai

There has been a lot of forum discussion over the long weekend regarding playback problems in the last batch of Bandai releases. I'm sorry to say that it's just about all true, and we came back from the holiday weekend today to deal with an inbox full of defective DVD reports, and since we were able to ship these titles a couple weeks prior to the street date, we're one of the first retailers to see and have to deal with the unhappy fans who have bad disks.

So here's what we know so far and see from our customer report data:

Disks effected:

Flag, Vol #2 DVD (some reports)
My-Otome, Vol #4 DVD (few reports)
Gundam Seed Destiny, Vol #12 DVD (many reports)
Gundam Seed Destiny, Vol #12 DVD Limited Edition (many reports)

We've already shipped approx 700 of these DVD's combined, the majority being GSD #12. We've received reports of various payback issues with My Otome #4. In the instances of problems with the Flag #2 the disk typically will not play at all (unreadable). For GSD #12 (the regular and limited version come with the same DVD), most customers are reporting that Eps #50 will not play, and in some cases the extra's will not play either.

The problems seem to be with the disk encoding. The problems are widespread (over 20% of total) but do not effect all the disks and, in fact, just as many customers have reported that their disks are playing perfectly, so perhaps the issues are systemic of certain types of players. Of the approx 700 disks we've shipped and have been out for at least a week we've received approx 80 complaints of play problems so far, and most of those are being reported by either Flag or GSD 12 customers. From this data I'm gathering that the defects are being experienced in 10-25% of the discs in each lot, and are concentrated in the GSD 12 DVD's.

Bandai has not yet made any official statements regarding this yet, but out the backdoor they have told me that they are still gathering data and will not make any announcements regarding these problems until at least January 8th which is the official street dates of all these DVD's.

The problems are widespread enough that it's likely Bandai will put forward a direct replacement program. Since the problems are only effecting a portion of the DVD's, we are still shipping these titles (as of today), however, we are not going to ship out anymore replacement disks until we hear the official word from Bandai next week.

For US customers you are still OK to order these, the chances are in your favor that the disks you receive will play fine. If they don't, just contact us and we'll setup a replacement ticket and hold it until we hear from Bandai as to what their procedure will be. We'll make sure one way or another that customers that are having trouble get good disks. I recommend International customers hold off ordering these for a couple of weeks until we know more about the issues. If you are an overseas customer and already have a bad disk just let us know and we'll act as your agent to get you replacement DVD's.

For the record, this will be the third GSD DVD of the twelve that has come from Bandai with some sort of encoding problem in the first batch. It really is time for Bandai to fire their replicator and hire a contractor that has some decent quality control. These types of problems are getting too common in their releases, and if they continue fans will become more reluctant to buy their DVD's - and then we'll have another 'Geneon' fiasco on our hands...

As always, E-Mail me with questions.

UPDATE (1/7/08): Our defective reported ratios for the GSD 12 DVD's has reached 50%, so we are suspending shipments of the individual DVD until we can get replacement stock from Bandai. All new orders will be placed on back order until we have good stock. Thank you in advance for your patience regarding this.

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