For all the good things Microsoft has managed with the Xbox 360, here is a console that will be remembered for just one thing in years to come: the Red Ring of Death and hardware failure rate. A new survey has just been published suggesting the overall failure rate of the Xbox 360 is 54.2 percent, while the PS3 and Wii (unsurprisingly) come in much lower.
The Red Ring of Death has been a thorn in the side of the Xbox 360 since it was released. I well remember the first reports of mass hardware failures and Microsoft’s instant dismissal that this was a major problem. The company even claimed hardware failure rate for the Xbox 360 was around 3 percent in the early days.
Microsoft eventually had to admit there was a problem or face consumer abandonment on a par with that of Internet Explorer, another much-maligned Microsoft product. So it spent $1 billion to ensure everyone whose Xbox 360 suffered a fatal attack of overheating could have it fixed or replaced.
But just how big was the hardware failure problem in the first place? Game Informer conducted a survey of around 5,000 of its readers to find out just how bad the problem was. According to Consumerist it found that the overall hardware failure rate for the Xbox 360 is 54.2 percent. The PS3 does around five times better with a hardware failure rate of 10.6 percent, while the Wii performs even better with a failure rate of just 6.8 percent.
The accepted (as in expected by the manufacturer) hardware failure figure for all electronic equipment is around 3 percent, so in truth none of the consoles is doing particularly well. However, while one in 15 Wii owners and one in 10 PS3 owners have experienced hardware failure at some point, more than half (one in two) Xbox 360 owners have. Which is quite simply not good enough.
The survey also found that 41.2 percent of Xbox 360 owners have suffered a second failure after having a console repaired, while 69.9 percent of Xbox 360 owners have friends who have suffered hardware failures. The good news for Microsoft, however, is that only 3.8 percent of respondents claimed the experience had put them off buying another Xbox system again.
Which means Microsoft has essentially got away with delivering a faulty games console. That or there are millions of games fans in the world who would prefer to play Russian roulette with their choice of console than ever own a PS3 or Wii.