Report Confirms That 16% of Xbox 360s Are Broken
Finally, a third party has confirmed what many have been saying for a while: Xbox 360 failure rates are much higher than the three to five percent Microsoft claims. Though not quite as high as the 30 percent some retailers have suggested, the 16 percent failure rate reported by SquareTrade is way beyond an acceptable rate.
SquareTrade is an independent warranty provider, covering products after the manufacturers warranty has expired, so its numbers don't include 360s that fail while still under Microsoft warranty. Microsoft recently extended the warranty on Xbox, leading SquareTrade to suggest that the failure rate is actually much higher than 16 percent since customers may have been bypassing its reporting system and going straight to Microsoft.
The infamous Xbox 360 failure has been colloquially called the "Red Ring of Death," because the console displays a red ring upon startup (like the photo above) to let its owner know that it's time to dial Microsoft 911. Causes are unconfirmed, but the most recent reports say that poor component choices in a rush to get the 360 out to market are to blame.
SquareTrade's study tracked 1,040 Xboxes over six to ten months after Microsoft's warranty expired. In that time, 171 claims were filed.
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