I know you’ve all read stories about the elusive xbox 360 red ring of death aka RRoD, but it was just announced this past week that apparently the Xbox 360 has a failure rate of about 54%, which is absolutely unacceptable. If the iPhone had a failure rate that high there’s no way that Apple would get away with it or let alone not want to immediately fix the problem, but that’s apparently not how Microsoft wanted to deal with their problem. Instead of correcting the design fault (which I can only assume is what’s causing this issue) they just beef up their warranty to 3 years and fix/send you a refurbished one instead. I don’t know, personally I would rather buy a brand new system that had this problem fixed from the factory than have to send my broken one off to Microsoft for 3 weeks while they fix it (probably not the right way) or send me a refurbished one that was someone else’s broken machine. This whole problem is absolutely ridiculous and despite Microsoft claiming that they’ve fixed the problem in the newer systems there are still people getting the RRoD on those consoles, none of them are safe… Now, including mine.
This isn’t the first Xbox 360 that I’ve been through so I am familiar with the RRoD and it’s pain. I bought a launch system the January after it came out, on ebay since they were impossible to find in the stores, and the thing worked great for a long time. Now, I’m not going to lie, I’ve modded pretty much every console system that I’ve owned in order to save a little money, but I figured that because of that I wasn’t going to flash the firmware on my 360 and actually buy the games for once, plus it was kind of a pain in the ass to do the mod and I didn’t feel like dealing with it. So I amassed quite a collection of games over the first couple of years and realized that a lot of the games I was buying I was beating and never playing again and it just seemed like a waste of money. Now I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t I just trade them in to GameStop or sell them on eBay or something. The thought had crossed my mind, but I always had this feeling like as soon as I sold one of the games I’d get this itch to play it or they’d release some sick DLC that I’d miss out on, so I kept every game.
Seeing as how I was spending so much money on games I decided that maybe the time and effort of modding the system would be worth the savings on games. So I did my research, bought an SATA card for my computer that was compatible with everything and flashed the firmware on the DVD drive. At this point I realized there weren’t too many games out there that I wanted that I didn’t already own so the mod didn’t get much use other than eventually screwing my warranty chances when I got the RRoD on that console. Yep, about 6 months after the mod the 360 crapped out on me. Now I was very careful when I did the mod and knew that there was a warranty stick on that Microsoft could use to tell if I’ve opened the system. I used a hairdryer to heat it up so it wouldn’t show the “void” across the sticker and neatly placed it back on when I closed up the console. However, I absolutely destroyed the back of the console trying to get the damn thing open, so the sticker was pointless. And either way when it broke I knew that I couldn’t send a flashed system to Microsoft for repair. Ok, I guess I probably could have since they probably weren’t testing the firmware on each individual machine at that time, but who knows, it wasn’t worth the risk. Plus I’m pretty sure it was out of warranty anyways.
So I went to eBay and found a listing for a console only, no controllers, no cords, no nothing, just the system, which was all I needed. I picked it up for around $80 and it worked like a charm, up until last night. Over the past week the system has been giving me problems while playing Call of Duty: World at War. I had a few complete freezes which I’d never had before and didn’t know what was going on. Then yesterday the copy of Mirrors Edge that I got on eBay showed up and I popped it in to play and was promptly notified of an update. I updated the game and restarted and everything was fine at this point. Halfway through the intro video it froze up and I had to shut it off, only to be greeted by the red ring of death upon turning it back on. Awesome, I finally get a new game to play and the piece of shit craps out on me.
I turned it off for the rest of the night and tried it again before going to bed just to see if I could get lucky, no luck. It was dead. I checked the Microsoft website and I’m definitely out of warranty and it will cost $99 to fix, and this is where I ran into my dilemma. Do I pay $99 to have Microsoft fix which will leave me without an Xbox for about 3 weeks and probably a refurbished old system (possibly my own) or do I spend the $199 and pick up the Arcade system at Best Buy today and sell the broken one on eBay? I decided that I didn’t want to take my chances with a refurbished one that probably has the same probability of breaking that my original one did where as the newer ones have to at least be a little better, I hope. So I’m going to buy a new Arcade system today and maybe open up the broken one and take a look, or just throw it on eBay for $40.
The whole point of this post was just to bring light to the fact that a 50% failure rate on an electronic device these days is absolutely ridiculous and Microsoft should be held accountable for every single system that breaks no matter when it breaks. I know there are normal failure rates for electronics, but I also know that it’s nowhere near 50%, it’s more like 2% or something like that. What if car makers started selling cars with a 50% failure rate, they would offer a recall and make sure that the problem was fixed, for free. And if the same problem came up again, they fix it again. How is there not a recall on the Xbox 360 when the failure rate is so high? I feel completely screwed having to buy another system. I have a library of games (all purchased) that I love playing and while I do have a PS3, the Xbox 360 is more appealing to me for games due to the Xbox Live community as well as a controller that feels right in my hand, not to mention Netflix streaming. So congratulations Microsoft, you’ve screwed another loyal customer out of money with your faulty system. I hope you sleep well at night and good luck with Windows 7, I’m sure that’s going to be a huge hit after your last attempt at an operating system.