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XBox (Games) Entertainment Games

Xbox 360 Failure Rate Is 54.2% 607

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-seems-a-bit-high dept.
Colonel Korn writes "The Seattle PI Blog is reporting that a soon to be published Game Informer survey finally shows the failure rate of XBOX 360s: 54%! The survey also shows the rates of failure for the PS3 (11%) and Wii (7%). Impressively, only 4% of respondents said they wouldn't buy a new 360 because of hardware failures."
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Xbox 360 Failure Rate Is 54.2%

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  • Missing Details (Score:2, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:16PM (#29134185) Journal
    I submitted this [slashdot.org] a couple days ago but it looks like they went with a shorter summary submitted today. Here's my summary:

    "According to the print edition of Game Informer, 5,000 surveyed people said the XBox 360 fails over half the time [consumerist.com]. The same survey found failure rates of 10.6% for Sony's PS3 and 6.8% on Nintendo's Wii. Microsoft trounced the competition with over five times the next highest failure rate. The article also notes that the survey revealed a skew to the numbers as the Xbox's were the most used consoles: 'Results said 40.3 percent of 360 owners use the console three to five hours a day, compared to 37 percent of PS3 owners. Meanwhile, the plurality of Wii owners (41.4 percent) play their consoles less than an hour a day.' Even worse news for Microsoft is that only 3.8% said they would buy another Xbox (due to failures) and the survey found they had rather shoddy customer service."

    So it should be noted that a potential skew is that from the surveyed five thousand, Xbox users play their console more than Wii or PS3 users. While this certainly wouldn't explain the skewed percentages, it indicates the consoles are in higher use causing potentially more wear and tear.

    But yeah, bad indicator for Microsoft and this new information actually caused me to wait to buy an Xbox 360 at the new reduced price. I think the 3.8% figure of repeat business is a good indicator that a lot of people agree.

    Off-topic musing: It's interesting this Game Informer dead tree article has such virtual world implications yet the original source [gameinformer.com] chose for it to be only released in their print edition and not on their site. Has GI always done this? An indication of things to come or a death knell for its readership?

  • Re:Which is it? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Samalie (1016193) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:27PM (#29134363)

    From the Article:

    "Just 3.8 percent of respondents said they wouldn't buy another Xbox because of system failures, according to Game Informer. And 36.4 percent of people who had an Xbox 360 fail have purchased more than one Xbox."

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reapman (740286) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:28PM (#29134385)

    Yeah but the difference they noted between the PS3 and 360 for playability was 3%, while the difference in failure rate is about 40%. That's huge.

    I don't think it's news to anyone that the 360's hardware has horrible reliability issues, but it's interesting to see the numbers. Shame really that people allow microsoft to get away with this. If my PS3 or PC died as often as some of my friends 360s I would have given up long ago.

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:29PM (#29134403)

    But yeah, bad indicator for Microsoft and this new information actually caused me to wait to buy an Xbox 360 at the new reduced price. I think the 3.8% figure of repeat business is a good indicator that a lot of people agree.

    Whoa, horsie! You've got that backwards.

    Regardless of everything above, people still love their Xbox 360s. Just 3.8 percent of respondents said they wouldn't buy another Xbox because of system failures, according to Game Informer.

    So even though only 37.7% found the customer service 'very helpful' (how many found it to be 'helpful'?), 96.2% still would buy another XBox.

    That said, these are also lifetime numbers. I would be very surprised if the failure rate of the remaining consoles in households is still 50%, or even anywhere close.

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:33PM (#29134465)

    Note the giant typo in the slashdot summary versus eldavojohn's (emphasis added). From Slashdot:

    only 4% of respondents said they wouldn't buy a new 360 because of hardware failures.

    From eldavojohn

    only 3.8% said they would buy another Xbox

    This is a pretty significant difference, and owing to Slashdot's frequent editorial errors, I'd say trust eldavojohn.

    Or you could RTFA! My summary is correct.

    "Regardless of everything above, people still love their Xbox 360s. Just 3.8 percent of respondents said they wouldn't buy another Xbox because of system failures, according to Game Informer. And 36.4 percent of people who had an Xbox 360 fail have purchased more than one Xbox."

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:3, Informative)

    by brkello (642429) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:36PM (#29134533)
    Well, there's your problem. Your summary sucks and was inaccurate. So I guess sometimes the editors do read submissions! Go Slashdot! 3.8% said they wouldn't buy another xbox after all the problems. That's pretty impressive. You had it backwards.
  • Re:Missing Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by maharb (1534501) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:47PM (#29134723)

    I would be willing to be even more than 300 on average. Rockband and a couple of other games plus extra controllers puts you easily above that mark.

    The Wii is the worst though. The first day of owning a Wii you end up spending more on controllers and games than the console cost.

  • Re:Which is it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:50PM (#29134769)

    You fail at reading comprehension. These two statements:

    "Even worse news for Microsoft is that only 3.8% said they would buy another Xbox"

    "Impressively, only 4% of respondents said they wouldn't buy a new 360 because of hardware failures."

    ..mean the opposite of each other. It's not about 3.8% vs 4%, it's about whether the 4% of people would or would not buy another console.

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by Flea of Pain (1577213) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:15PM (#29135181)
    They also then extended the warranty to 10 years. I have had one replaced, and it was the easiest thing I have ever done. I called them, they sent me a box, I put my 360 in the box and shipped it back. Two weeks later...new XBox! Total cost: about $4.00 for the phone call to claim the warranty, no questions asked.
  • by nohear_t (551965) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:17PM (#29135217)
    Xbox 360s are manufactured and tested by Flextronics at their plant in Guad Mexico, known as Flex-Guad.
    It is not the fault of Flex that these units fail, it is the poor design that went into them and Flex doesn't care because they are only paid to build it.

    Flex runs many different products through their assembly lines for Cisco, Nintendo, Motorola, Avaya, etc and from TFA, other competitors to Microsoft don't suffer failures.

    Xboxs are flawed in so many ways:
    1) Restricted airflow over heatsinks using air dams
    2) Awful heatsink design and little or no thermal paste between Asic and sink
    3) The Asic they use are exposed die with no heat spreader
    4) Microsoft tried to design their own GPU and processor themselves and failed miserably and hired a 3rd party to correct it
    5) Use of lead free solder on their BGAs (very brittle and prone to low yields)

    It is no surprise that many units fail due to excessive playing because the 2 main chips heat up to the point of warping the circuit board itself because it is very thin (cost cutting measure).
    Microsoft placed the two hottest chips near the center of the board and it warps due to heat.  The solder balls crack when the board warps and you get those lovely E74 failures.  Turn it off, let it cool and it works for a bit until it warps again.

    That x-clamp strategy used on the heatsinks was wrong to begin with.  The newer generation Xboxs use solid bolts instead of these locking pins.  If you have ever opened an Xbox you will notice those very LARGE capacitors littering the board which are prone to failure with the heat.  I have myself repaired Xboxes and can tell you those caps do not survive the removal process for CPU and GPU.

    If you are a PCB designer and get a chance to see the XBox circuit board, you can see that Microsoft really didn't build a proper board.  They hired a team of monkeys to cobble together the Xbox and tried to fix thier mistakes 3 board revisions later.  Nintendo however, built a really nice board for low cost using proper design practices.
  • Re:Missing Details (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Moof (859402) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:25PM (#29135365)
    Not true! They will only send you a refurbished Xbox 360 if yours RRoD's (and ONLY RRoD's) within 3 years of purchase, 1 year for all other problems. They changed their repair policy to exclude anything not RRoD from the 3 year warranty. If you think this doesn't affect anything, you should look into the growing number of DVD drive failures that 360's are experiencing.

    My last refurbished console I received had a broken DVD drive out of the box, but I have to pay to have it fixed. I'm stuck helping the drive door open and close. I also periodically get disk wobble that scratches the disks and causes games to have "disk read errors" during games with a lot of disk access. Luckily, the ability to rip games to the HD have helped work around the second issue, but it'd be nice to not have to manually pull the drive tray out to change games.
  • Yeah but servers that run unfailingly for years cost more than $300, and have higher quality parts. In addition, they are most frequenly kept in temperature controlled server rooms.

    The Xbox's on the other hand, are often crammed in dusty cabinets with no ventilation. I'm sure if they were to charge $1000 for a game console, they could make one that would run for years in such an environment. But people aren't going to buy it.

    My Xbox360 sits on top of an open glass stereo rack, so ventilation is not a problem. The Xbox is running probably 2-6 hrs a day [weedkays]. It is our game console [The Wii doesn't get played much], it is our DVD/HDDVD player, and it is our media center front-end; playing recorded HD television, locally streamed videos [Xvid ripped DVDs], and Hulu/Netflix streaming .

    One of my friends has a PS3. It gets maybe 1-2 hours per week of usage when they play some games on the weekend. Of course it is going to last longer, they never use it! :)

    The Xbox360 did get a RROD. Microsoft replaced it quickly and with no hassle, and the refurb unit we got back has been running like a champ, in spite of the heavy work-load.

  • Re:I call BS (Score:3, Informative)

    by SparkleMotion88 (1013083) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:43PM (#29135693)

    Do you really think retailers would put up with 1 out of 2 people returning the XBOX they bought there?

    Retailers only see a very small percentage of the problem. Most issues happen over 6 months after the console is purchased. At that point, it is too late to return it to the store, and you have to ship it to Microsoft for repairs.

  • Re:I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by sheepweevil (1036936) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @02:43PM (#29136521) Homepage

    According to this 5000 respondent survey the failure rate is 54.2%, but the article points out that over 30 million consoles have been sold. I would place little confidence in the 5000 person survey.

    Actually, with a population of 30 million, you can be 99% confident of the result with a confidence interval of +-2% with a sample size of 4,160. Check these numbers here [surveysystem.com]. This means you know with 99% confidence that the actual population failure rate is between 52.2% and 56.2%. Sample sizes don't need to be as large as most people think to produce statistically significant results. Of course, that calculation assumes a random sample from the population, whereas this was sampled only from readers of Game Informer. I could see an argument that the numbers are skewed by selection bias, but the sample size is large enough.

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:4, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @02:57PM (#29136735) Homepage Journal

    I have had one replaced, and it was the easiest thing I have ever done.

    Unless your life in unimaginably suckish or you have severe OCD, I have a hard time believing that's the easiest thing you've ever done.

  • by r_benchley (658776) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @03:05PM (#29136901)
    Xboxe 360s that were manufactured in the latter part of 2008(Falcon and Jasper revisions, I believe) should be fine. Newer models have dealt with the heatsink design flaw that killed so many of the older revisions. On the older models, as the internal temprature of the unit increased, the heatsink would pull away from the GPU and then the GPU would fry, causing the RROD. The chances of a newer model failing are very slim in comparison. That being said, I usually purchase multi-platform titles for my PS3, as part of me has nagging doubts about the 360. After my first 360 went tits up, I swore I wouldn't buy another one, but the JRPGS on the 360 were too tempting for me to pass up. The 360 is an outstanding platform in terms of software, but man does the hardware QA suck.
  • Re:Missing Details (Score:2, Informative)

    by Flea of Pain (1577213) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @03:10PM (#29136997)
    Ya, it was long distance and I was on hold for awhile. Plus side was that I got to listen to the Halo theme song rather than some bland elevator music.
  • by MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @04:19PM (#29138315)

    it was in local news.... _LOCAL NEWS_ in the NYC metro area in 2007... thats 2 full years ago

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/13/technology/13iht-13halo.7093255.html [nytimes.com]

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @06:58PM (#29140653) Homepage

    I guess you've never used an MS keyboard or mouse?

    I had a MS keyboard. Fine for a couple months, then got worn out worse than the average generic Chinese piece of junk. Keys jammed, shiny silver coating got smudged, all that crap. A waste of money. If you're not going for an actual high-end keyboard (Unicomp, Das, Cherry), just get the real cheap stuff. Microsoft is a very pointless "middle of the road".

  • Re:Missing Details (Score:4, Informative)

    by Manmademan (952354) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:12PM (#29140831)

    The difference between PC software and console software is that console software is tailored EXTREMELY closely to the hardware. Just getting another machine to run the same OS won't cut it. Even changing the speed at which the discs load can completely break a game and render it unplayable.

    Using the Playstation as an example, Even the PS2 couldn't run all Ps1 games 100% and that had Ps1 hardware IN it, and was (roughly) 10x more powerful. Original PS3's couldn't run all PS2 games 100% either, and they had copies of the PS2 CPU and GPU inside them. Current PS3's cut the parts for cost reasons, and can't run PS2 software at all. And this is SONY trying to get their own software working on vastly more powerful machines.

    And emulators? Forget about it. PCSX2 is the best PS2 emulator available, and you need at least dual core processor running at 3.0+ ghz to attempt to run anything at a decent speed, and it STILL chokes on games like Shadow of the Colossus and MGS3. Keep in mind the PS2 is a ten year old console with a 300mhz processor.

    So as you can see, Current PCs don't have a prayer of running current console software for a billion reasons, some of which are technical but not all of them.

  • by GauteL (29207) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:47AM (#29144823)

    "A.) Not quite 2/3 of people never have a problem with thier 360. Of the unfortunate 39% who do ...",

    Your maths are still way off. 2/3 + 39% ~ 106%. 2/3 is not the same as 61% and it seems like your extremely inaccurate "rounding" to 2/3 is to trivialise the problem.

    Also 39% is still an extremely high rate. It means that if you and four other friends buy an X-Box it is only around 8.5% chance that none of you will have an error. This is rather unheard of. You might as well use "fortunate" to describe the people that DON'T have hardware failures.

    "B.) True, the warranty is only good for 3 years, but that's three times better than the PS3's and the Wii's one year warranty. That's right, one year and you're out of luck for the competition."

    This was only to avoid loads of class action lawsuits and the 3 year warranty only covers a known design flaw in the XBox.

    "So, PS3 for $300, or XBOX 360 for $250? Which is cheaper again?"

    First, the XBox 360 Pro is $299. Buying the arcade and separate hard drive means you don't get component HD cables and you don't get the head set. Also if you play online you need to purchase the XBox live membership for $45 a year (online play is free on the PS3). Meaning over a year, the XBox is now the most expensive of these two consoles.

    "Which has more games, including all of the best ones? Thought so."

    I own an XBox 360, which I'm so far happy with. I am the only one among three friends who has yet to have a hardware problem.

    You really are trying very hard to defend the inexcusable here. That is the true mark of a fanboy.

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