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nekrosoft13
07-03-07, 01:37 AM
Nearly one in every three Xbox 360 consoles fail, according to retailer reports


By several metrics, the Xbox 360 is the most successful console so far of this generation. Despite the startling pace of the Wii, the Xbox 360 still has the most consoles sold worldwide and the longest list of games and exclusives. For a gamer looking for online-enabled high-definition gaming today, the Xbox 360 appears to satisfy those needs.

One often overlooked factor when considering a console purchase is reliability, an area that is apparently where the Xbox 360 falls short. Anecdotal evidence is heavily pointing to Microsoft’s latest console as being significantly more prone to failure than what consumers are accustomed to.

Microsoft has said before that its Xbox 360 failure rate falls within three to five percent, what it believes to be well within industry standards. Internet reports from Xbox 360 owners, however, suggest that the failure rate is much higher than that.

In an effort to gain a more accurate picture of Xbox 360 failure rate, DailyTech decided to poll retail outlets that sell the Xbox 360 and with it the option to purchase an in-store extended warranty. Out of all Xbox 360 extended warranties sold, we wanted to know how many were claimed by consumers with defective consoles, thus giving us a more accurate failures percentage.

After contacting several retailers from various regions in North America, the responses were unanimous: the Xbox 360 is the least reliable gaming console in recent history. Current EB Games or GameStop employees who offered information did so under strict anonymity, as it is against company policy to reveal such information to the public. Furthermore, our sources confirmed that EB Games revised its Canadian warranty policies during early 2007 for consoles solely due to the failure rate of the Xbox 360.

EB Games held conference calls for its Canadian stores informing them of the new policy changes and revealing alarming failure rates of the Xbox 360. “The real numbers were between 30 to 33 percent,” said former EB Games employee Matthieu G., adding that failure rate was even greater for launch consoles. “We had 35 Xbox 360s at launch I know more than half of them broke within the first six months (red lights or making circles under the game discs). Two of them were dead on arrival.”

Interestingly, Microsoft has acknowledged that the initial batch of Xbox 360 consoles made during the launch window suffer from below average reliability. In response to an overwhelming defect rate of launch consoles, Microsoft agreed to repair all machines manufactured in 2005 free of charge, and issue a refund for those who already paid for repairs of launch units up until January 1, 2006.

The three flashing red lights – commonly referred to in gaming communities as the “Red Ring of Death” – is a sign of an Xbox 360 hardware failure. The sign is apparently common enough that Microsoft has added an option to its 1-800-4MY-XBOX support line that names “three flashing red lights” specifically.

As a result of the high failure rate of the Xbox 360, EB Games corporate nearly doubled the prices of its one-year, over-the-counter warranty. While the previous warranty would give a customer a brand new console in exchange for the broken one, the new policy now states that the customer will receive a refurbished console instead. The move was made because it was becoming too costly for the retailer to give the customer a brand-new machine, which still carries a store cost close to the MSRP. The price increase and policy change wasn’t exclusive to only the Xbox 360, however, as it also applies to all other Sony and Nintendo consoles sold.

The failure rate nearing a third of all Xbox 360 consoles was found at other retailers too. A Best Buy customer service department manager, who wished to remain unnamed, said that failure rates for the console were “between a quarter to a third” of all units sold.

“We see a ton of [Xbox 360s] come back all the time. We strongly push our customers to buy our service plans no matter what they buy, but it is especially important for them with the Xbox 360,” said the manager. “It’s a lucky thing for us that Microsoft extended the factory warranty to one year, because we were having a hell of a time dealing with the launch units. Now we don’t have to deal with those broken [Xbox 360s] until their second year, for those who have purchased the two year plans.”

In late 2006, Microsoft boosted the warranty of all Xbox 360 consoles to one year, up from 90-days previously. For gamers who are out of warranty, however, a replacement or repair will cost Xbox 360 customers $140.

When compared against other systems, the Xbox 360 is failing at higher rates than its current competitors and predecessors. Former EB Games worker Matthieu G. said that the failure rates for all other consoles were not high enough for the retailer to consider revising its policies, and guesses that most other console systems have a failure rate of less than one percent, including the PlayStation 3. Another EB Games manager, when asked if the store warranty was worth it, conceded that in the hundreds of Wii units sold at that location thus far, zero have come back as defective.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the Xbox 360 is a relatively unreliable games machine, Microsoft officials refuse to comment on its failure rate. Peter Moore, VP of Microsoft’s entertainment division, said to the Mercury News, “I can’t comment on failure rates, because it’s just not something – it’s a moving target. What this consumer should worry about is the way that we’ve treated him. Y’know, things break, and if we’ve treated him well and fixed his problem, that’s something that we’re focused on right now. I’m not going to comment on individual failure rates because I’m shipping in 36 countries and it’s a complex business.”

Similar questions regarding the Xbox 360 hardware met with the man responsible for the design of the console, Todd Holmdahl. He too sidestepped the issue with the Mercury News, saying, “I would say we don’t have a high defect rate. The vast majority of people are really excited about their product, and that we are targeting profitability for next year.”

Asked differently about whether or not the Xbox 360 falls into the ‘normal’ three to five percent return rate, Holmdahl said, “We don’t disclose the actual number,” and “We don’t comment on that.”

No piece of technology, no matter how well designed, should be expected to completely free of failure. The key metric is whether or not a product falls within industry standards of acceptable failure rates – and from findings based off retailer-supported warranty returns, the actual rate of failures could be six to ten times greater than what Microsoft is letting on.

Regardless of what the actual failure rate is, there is consumer perception that the Xbox 360 is a less reliable machine than its competitors. That fact alone should encourage Microsoft to do more than just avoid all comments on failures and only preach on the wonderful experience of its consumer base.


http://www.dailytech.com/Retailers+Estimate+Xbox+360+Failure+Rate+High+as+3 3+Percent/article7892.htm

Jon
07-03-07, 04:47 AM
As a result of the high failure rate of the Xbox 360, EB Games corporate nearly doubled the prices of its one-year, over-the-counter warranty. While the previous warranty would give a customer a brand new console in exchange for the broken one, the new policy now states that the customer will receive a refurbished console instead. The move was made because it was becoming too costly for the retailer to give the customer a brand-new machine, which still carries a store cost close to the MSRP. The price increase and policy change wasn’t exclusive to only the Xbox 360, however, as it also applies to all other Sony and Nintendo consoles sold.

Am I reading this right? So even though Sony and Nintendo are quite reliable EB still doubled the Sony/Nintendo warranty price because so many XBox 360's are failing?

Tyr-Sog
07-03-07, 05:33 AM
Though I do think its higher the MS official report I highly doubt that the failure rate it that high. These's are companies(especially BB and EB) trying to push service contracts, they're the stores money makers. Of coarse they are going to twist facts. Gives them reasons to hike up the price and push those warrenties.

Lfctony
07-03-07, 05:50 AM
Asked differently about whether or not the Xbox 360 falls into the ‘normal’ three to five percent return rate, Holmdahl said, “We don’t disclose the actual number,” and “We don’t comment on that.”

Of course they don't, its an embarrasing number...

Namrok
07-03-07, 06:49 AM
I believe it. Seems every office or review site with more than one 360 has had failures. Hell, a bunch of them with just one have had multiple failures.

ENU291
07-03-07, 08:00 AM
Those figures make sense if we focus on the initial launch units. I believe at least a third of those units had some type of problem.

DRen72
07-03-07, 08:01 AM
I wonder if this also applies to the Elite or just the original units. I was not aware of any technical changes to the Elite that would have made it more reliable than the originals, so I assume its for both.

LurkerLito
07-03-07, 08:07 AM
Am I reading this right? So even though Sony and Nintendo are quite reliable EB still doubled the Sony/Nintendo warranty price because so many XBox 360's are failing?

That's how insurance works. Everyone pays for what a small percentage use. Just look at your auto or house insurance, the more people use it, even if you've never used yours, your rates still go up based on averages. It only takes one hurricane in another state to increase your home insurance premiums because they want to recover what they lost and still turn a profit for the shareholders. EB/Gamestop are no different, getting people to buy a extended warranty for a reliable console is pure profit and can easily offset the losses for the 360 failures they receive but by increasing the cost of those warranties they can recover the losses faster. The only real disturbing thing about this is that once the price of things increase they NEVER decrease again.

Marvel_us
07-03-07, 08:09 AM
I believe it. Seems every office or review site with more than one 360 has had failures. Hell, a bunch of them with just one have had multiple failures.

Agreed, IGN's office is on their like 9th system.

nekrosoft13
07-03-07, 11:21 AM
wow, 9 already?

Saintster
07-03-07, 12:09 PM
I have struggling on choosing to replace my 360 with the Elite or PS3. The one thing that has been holding me up is reliability and it seems this article has enforced my gut feeling that although the games rock on the 360 they just are not reliable enough for the investment.

S.I.N
07-03-07, 01:18 PM
Surely there lying.:rolleyes:

KilrB
07-04-07, 08:11 AM
I have a 360 and had to have it replaced about 3 months (actually over the 3 months warranty by 9 days) after i got it at launch. I was dissapointed, but being a computer junkie i have had to deal with bad componets all the time sending things back to RMA and hoping i dont get shafted and get somebody elses RMAed jumk which is what usually happens and i have to pay to ship it to them.

My 360 was a completely different story. They shipped me a box to send it in send me out a brand new one and i was playing again in 3 Frikin Days and it cost me nothing! This is all for a product that was out of warranty.

Since then they have expanded there warranty to 1 year. And i have heard worse reports of service but mine was aweseme.

Something you never hear anyone talk about is what the problems the Wii is having. I am currently in the process of sending my Wii back to nintendo because it cant read disc. This is a huge problem with the Wii and if you go to a Wii fourm you will find how wide spread it is. Nintendo is treating me pretty good so far except how slow they are.

There are also many issues with the wireless and bluetooth devices the Wii uses. Apparently they are so close on the unit they cause interference with eack other. I had a hell of a time getting mine setup to my wireless network. Again if you look around on a Wii forum you will find that this is a huge problem.

But all everyone talks about is what a turd the 360 is. If my new ones takes a dump and i have to buy a new one i will be pissed, but i will buy a new one because its got alot to offer and some great games.

pkirby11
07-04-07, 02:19 PM
Maybe people just don't know what they are doing? I had an original PS2 played the sh!t out of it and it never had any of those dread laser disc reading problems yet I had friends all over the place that did.

I've had a 360 for 2 months now and I've been playing the sh!t out of it, no problems yet. Now I know it's not very long since I've had it but we are talking several hour gaming sessions 3+ nights a week. I just think people are over blowing this, especially when you survey companies that want to sell you warranties just to make money.

I will admit though, Microsoft does need to work on them because the amount that are breaking is still far to much.

pakotlar
07-04-07, 03:34 PM
Maybe people just don't know what they are doing? I had an original PS2 played the sh!t out of it and it never had any of those dread laser disc reading problems yet I had friends all over the place that did.

I've had a 360 for 2 months now and I've been playing the sh!t out of it, no problems yet. Now I know it's not very long since I've had it but we are talking several hour gaming sessions 3+ nights a week. I just think people are over blowing this, especially when you survey companies that want to sell you warranties just to make money.

I will admit though, Microsoft does need to work on them because the amount that are breaking is still far to much.

or you just got a console that is not one of the 30% that will fail this year. no one is overblowing this. my console also has never had a 3light death stroke, but often freezes up or gets disc errors. I'm def not happy with Microsoft's QA on this.

gravioli
07-05-07, 12:29 PM
My second 360 just died a few days ago. After getting the runaround with Xbox support they finally were able to process my repair. They said it will take 4-6 weeks (WTF?!?) to repair the console once they receive it. So much for the 5 business days they claim on their website. :thumbdwn:

2. Faster Service
We are implementing an expedited repair process; upon receipt of the console, Microsoft will repair it and ship it to you within five business days.