Retailers estimate that one in every three Microsoft Xbox 360’s sold fails leaving frustrated owners staring at the red ring of death, or worst a black screen that reads “disc unreadable”. When compared to other systems, former EB games associate Matthiew G said…
"Failure rates for all other consoles were not high enough for EB to consider revising their policies. Most other console systems have a failure rate of less than one percent, including the PlayStation 3".
Not to be left out of the conversation, when another EB Games manager was asked if the store warranty was "worth the price", he mentioned that the Nintendo Wii, with hundreds of units sold at their location has had ZERO come back as defective. We can hear Nintendo executives patting themselves on the back right now, no wait that’s just thunder.
A Best Buy associate who chose to remain anonymous claimed that the failure rate of the Microsoft Xbox 360 was in the ballpark of "between a quarter to a third" of the systems sold.
That said the Xbox 360 is the most successful console of the next gen bunch worldwide and has the largest market saturation to date with an impressive list of exclusive titles. Simple mathematics tells us that the more there are out there the more of a chance that some will fail, but 33% is still very high.
Microsoft stands behind their estimate that the Xbox 360 failure rate is within three to five percent, which they believe is well within the industry standard and in 2006 increased their warranty from 90 days up to 1 year. While they stand behind their estimate, it unfortunately does not seem to be accurate according to retailers of the product.
Based on a recent poll that was conducted by DailyTech with retailers nationwide, the Xbox 360 was unanimously named the least reliable gaming console in recent history. The high failure rate of the 360 has sent EB games officials back to the drawing board to revise their console warranty policy in 2007 and as a result the one year warranty price on a console is now nearly double!
Microsoft has made an effort in the realm of customer service to address the "ring of death" by adding an option to their customer support line (1-800-4MY-XBOX) called "three flashing red lights". Those of us that still have the Johnny Cash "Ring Of Fire" parody still stuck in our heads, please try and control yourselves.
So while the 360 is the market leader with the Wii gaining fast, maybe consumers should be giving the Playstation 3 a second or "third" look before picking up a next gen console. While we admit that things are not looking great for Sony right now, the company is not going to roll over and die, Blu-ray is the current market leader, and the Playstation 3’s list of titles will only improve as time goes by and more developers familiarize themselves with its specs.