It’s not a secret that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console isn’t the sturdiest gaming system on the planet: first Microsoft extended the system’s warranty from 90 days to one year, then the company took a $1.15 billion charge to extend the system’s warranty to three years, citing an “unacceptable number of repairs” to its flagship gaming system. In the meantime, Microsoft has quietly revised the Xbox 360 hardware and design, trying to make the consoles sturdier and more reliable.
Now warranty firm SquareTrade—which sells warranties on electronic goods—says that the overall Xbox 360 failure rate for normal use is a whopping 16.4 percent. Although this number is lower than the one-in-three failure rates apparently reported by Best Buy, Gamestop, and others, but is substantially higher than the 3–5 percent failure rate claimed by Microsoft, and substantially higher than the three percent failure rate found among PlayStation 3 systems.
SquareTrade says its data is based on over 1,000 Xbox 360 warranty claims. Some 60 percent of the failures are of the “red ring of death” variety, which is covered by Microsoft’s three-year warranty extension. The other 40 percent of failures include disc-read errors, dead video cards, hardware freezes, power failures, and disc trays that sometimes damage game discs.
Typical failure rates for consumer electronics generally fall between 10 to 15 percent during the first four years of service, with higher failure rates for items like portable media players and notebook computers, and lower failure rates for items like televisions.
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