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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) *
    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 b

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hansamurai (907719)

      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.

      Is the worse news for Microsoft the fact that even when burned customers continue to buy the console, or that they have crappy customer service?

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

        by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:11PM (#29135113) Homepage

        well when you get suckered into buying several hundred dollars of games for that single defective console. your choice to is lose all that money or buy another damn console and try to continue.

        Me? I have mine in a location that is forced ventilated and I have a screaming pack on the bacl of it sucking out all the heat.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Seeing as how heat is the predominate cause of these machines giving up the ghost (whether it be heat killing components, heat changes warping solder, or cheap solder being affected by predictable heat), it would be interesting to compare the failure rate of small form factor computers, laptops, or pre-built gaming computers.

      We've all known for a long time what happens when you let a computer run for 3 years and let the case fans get caked up...

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

      by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#29134355)

      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."

      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.

      You made a little mistake with one of your details. The article says that only 3.8% of people would NOT buy another xbox due to hardware failures. That's GREAT news for Microsoft - the message is that people love the 360 regardless of failure. I find that surprising and just downright weird, but that's what the respondents said. It might be that this is a result of how they asked their question, however. If they said "Have hardware failures of Xboxes led you to decide not to buy a new Xbox?" and they might have asked that of all 5000, not just the Xbox owners. In that case, all the people who never even wanted an Xbox wouldn't answer yes. For all we know, 3.8% of respondents said that hardware failure made them decide not to buy an Xbox but only 10% ever considered buying an Xbox in the first place.

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

        by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:37AM (#29134557) Homepage Journal

        I think that mostly has to do with the fact that
        a)Very little console competition (3 major players + two handheld units) and

        b)huge sunk costs. your xbox goes belly up. do you a) buy all your games all over again for PS3/Wii? buy new drums/guitars for guitar hero/rock band etc? buy 3 new wireless controllers for the new console? or b) buy a new/used/refurb 360 and keep playing?
         
        If you think about it, the average player probably has $300 in sunk costs in 360-specific accessories or games that they'd have to rebuy.

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

          by maharb (1534501) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:47AM (#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.

          • by dimeglio (456244) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:53PM (#29135833)

            Not to mention the cost of the equipment you had to replace and the clinic bills because of the Wiimote's destructive powers (impact damage to plasma TVs, black-eyes, etc.). That's easily several extra hundred dollars.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 20, 2009 @02:44PM (#29137653)

              Not to mention the cost of the equipment you had to replace and the clinic bills because of the Wiimote's destructive powers (impact damage to plasma TVs, black-eyes, etc.). That's easily several extra hundred dollars.

              Hah, that's what you get for not having socialised health care, us Brits can hit each other with our Wiimotes with callous disregard for the true cost!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by lhbtubajon (469284)

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

            I don't understand this comment. Are you saying this because the Wii only comes with one controller and one nunchuk, and you have to buy four, whereas the 360 is different? Or are you saying that the cost of the Wiimote ($40) plus nunchuk ($20) plus Wii motion plus ($10 with a game) is too high?

            I admit if you bought EVERY controller piece you possibly could right up front it would be a lot of money, but who does that? And is it so different for any other console?

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

          by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:35PM (#29135537) Homepage Journal

          I'll be modded down for saying this (I don't care, my karma is excellent and I have no need to whore) but it looks to me like their hardware isn't much better than their software.

          They call it "bugs" in software, and "product defects" in hardware. But it's the same thing -- a shoddy product [yimg.com]. You can get away with that when you have a virtual monopoly.

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

            by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:54PM (#29135853) Homepage Journal

            Yup, look at what happened to American Auto manufacturers in the 70's and 80's - near complete monopoly, 3 big players, quality went to shit and their competitors finally made inroads with quality products. Dunno how well this applies though, since new cars are ~$20,000 and new consoles are ~$150-300

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by mmalove (919245)

              I'd say that's a perfect example. 50+ % failure should be unacceptible. Its why back in the days of choosing between a SNES and a Sega Genesis, I went with the genesis: years of NES cartiges and units that would perpetually fail turned me off to their entire franchise all the way to the Wii.

              And even now, they are SELLING an attachment that attempts to fix the crap motion sensor in the WiiMote.

              And it's why I'll not buy a Ford or a Dodge product anytime soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Reapman (740286)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Svartalf (2997)

        Heh... There's a certain expectancy of robustness there with a console (Or, rather, there SHOULD be... ;-) ) and that's just not there and mostly hasn't with either iteration of an X-Box.

        I suspect that the crowd's doing the "ooh...shiny" thing and putting up with the unreliable things because "it has the most titles". Sadly, most of the stuff on the X-Box is drek- and the bulk of the stuff I'm interested in has a version for PS3, Wii, or both. I wouldn't buy the 360 based on it's current track record of

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by badasscat (563442)

        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.

        Actually, the difference between play time between 360 and PS3 is more like 8%, while the difference between failure rates is more like 500%. You don't just subtract when you're talking percentage difference. So there's way more of a differential than even you're saying. There's no way wear and tear even comes close to explaining these different failure rates.

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

      by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:29AM (#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.

    • Perhaps because your summary says

      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.

      While the accepted submission says:

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

      This casts an entirely different light on peoples' willingness to support shoddy manufacturing from MS. Note, I own a 360, for almost 3 years now, it has failed RRODed once and I play all the games off the HDD now except for Halo 3, which suffers from performance issues.

      I would like to know if people were asked whether they played mainly downloadable games or games installed to the HDD with regards to all three consoles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by I.M.O.G. (811163)

      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."

      EldavoJohn - the summary Slashdot posted here states 4% wouldn't buy a new Xbox due to failure rates.

      Your summary states that only 4% would buy a new Xbox due to the failure rates

      I think the posted summary is correct. What gives?

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

      by Millennium (2451) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:31AM (#29134439) Homepage

      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.

      One might indeed think this at first glance, but there's a problem with it. What actually fails most of the time on 360s -the cause of the infamous Red Ring of Death- is the graphics card, which isn't a moving part. Because of that, the concept of wear and tear doesn't apply to it, yet it fails before the wear and tear on the console's moving parts ever becomes a factor. Thus, while your statistic might be interesting if true, it isn't relevant.

      The study was poorly done anyway, not so much because of the methods as the measurement used: lifetime failure rates, which will over time hit 100% on any console it's applied to. A more useful approach would have been to study how many consoles failed within specific time periods after purchase: 0-6 months, 7-12 months, 13-18 months, and so on. However, while this particular set of numbers is pretty meaningless, it doesn't change what we already knew: that the 360's failure rate is abysmally high.

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

        by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:54PM (#29135865)

        The study was poorly done anyway, not so much because of the methods as the measurement used: lifetime failure rates, which will over time hit 100% on any console it's applied to.

        I mentioned this in another reply, but the time scale you'd need for a normal console to reach a 100% failure rate would be something like 100-200 years. Seriously. I mean, I have every single major game console of the last 30 years in my house right now, and every single one of them works. The only system that has ever failed on me is the Dreamcast. And yes, I still play them all. (Ok, not equally, but they all get some play.) And I know I'm not alone - there are still many tens of thousands of working Atari 2600's, Coleco Visions, Intellivisions, etc. out there - and the ones that no longer exist are gone not because they broke, but because they just ended up in a landfill somewhere due to perceived obsolescence.

        Most game consoles are going to work until they literally begin turning back to dust. If your system is failing due to dry rot, I think you can be pretty sure it's not a design issue that's at fault.

        For the Xbox 360 to reach 54% failure in the span of 3 years is pretty unbelievable. I can't think of another product in the history of, well, products to reach that high a percentage. Even when Nintendo did its massive recall of Japanese Famicoms due to a design flaw, the actual failure rate to that point was quite low - under 10%. In most industries, a 54% failure rate would lead to involuntary recall, much less voluntary action. (I'm sure that MS's warranty extension was a bid to head this off. It was done out of fear, not kindness.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by brkello (642429)
      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.
    • by denton420 (1235028) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:43AM (#29134651)

      Readers of Game Informer are obviously heavier users of their XBOX360s than the average owner who is casual and does not read any gaming magazines.

      When you want to use statistics you have to use a truly random sample if you want your results to be interpreted as valuable.

      What we have here is known as a sample of convenience. It was easy for Game Informer to simply poll its loyal readers rather than get a truly random sample of XBOX360 owners.

      Might as well ask people at the STD clinic if they have ever had an STD, then extrapolate these results to an entire campus or area. (Yes , unbelievably this has been done before... lol)

      • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:56AM (#29134865)

        Exactly. It's also a volunteer poll, meaning only those who took the time to complete it are counted. Those with a console failure are much more likely to fill out the poll. I'm pretty sure the PS3 failure rate isn't 10% either.

      • by Medgur (172679) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:27PM (#29135393) Homepage
        This bias would also affect the PS3 and Wii stats. Being that the bias is universal, then shouldn't we be able to state that it's non-discriminatory? We can just state:

        54% fail for 360
        11% fail for PS3
        7% fail for Wii

        Caveat:
        Sample may be biased to frequent gamers

        But then... They've likely used the machines the hardest. If it doesn't fail for them... Kind of like those automatic chair testers in Ikea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Toonol (1057698)
        Thanks for posting this. I was going to if nobody else had. The study is interesting, but it would be inaccurate to apply the results to the general population. It's not scientifically conducted.

        The failure rate for 360's is OBVIOUSLY too high, by far. I doubt that the rate is truly >50%, though... a little while back, I saw a report from a retail association that said they were getting a 16% return rate.

        I would think that close scrutiny of some of Microsoft's financial reporting would give you
        • by topham (32406) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @02:16PM (#29137111) Homepage

          Retail return rates are based on the first 30 days or so. A 16% rate there is a significant warning sign.
          Retail rates should be closer to 5% as a maximum.

          Failure rate after a year should be slightly higher, but not significantly higher. Microsofts numbers are downright disturbing, and makes one wonder how many Shipped units include warranty replacement units; numbers which are used to perpetuate more sales but which may have been significantly skewed by replacement units.

          Once users have a significant investments in games for any particular console they are unlikely to switch, inspite of issues.

      • Why is it flawed? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jonaskoelker (922170)

        When you want to use statistics you have to use a truly random sample if you want your results to be interpreted as valuable.

        The sample has to be a truly* random subset of which set, though?

        Maybe you want to know stuff about the xbox brokenness experience of heavy gamers, as opposed to that of the general population.

        Why might you want that? Well, if you're trying to sell research to a crowd of heavy gamers, you want to sell them something that's says something about them specifically (since heavy usage probably predicts increased breakage level, i.e. what makes that group special actually influences the numbers). It narrows the

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

      by jpmorgan (517966) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:50AM (#29134771) Homepage

      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.

      More critically, these results are from a survey and as far as I can tell, the magazine has made little to no effort to account for self-selection bias. That makes this figure pretty much worthless. For those who don't know, self-selection bias is, in this instance, the fact that people who have had failed consoles are more likely to respond to a survey about console failures, than those who have no problems. Thus the sample is not actually representative.

      The smoking gun is that the failure rate in this report, for the PS3 is above 10%. Previous reports have put the PS3 failure rate at less than 1%, in which case these numbers are out by an order of magnitude or more.

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

        by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:02PM (#29135999)

        The smoking gun is that the failure rate in this report, for the PS3 is above 10%. Previous reports have put the PS3 failure rate at less than 1%

        1% is just as ridiculous a number as 54%, if not moreso, because we've all seen widespread reports of 360's failing. But a 1% failure rate of any electronic product is almost unheard-of, especially one with moving parts.

        Generally speaking, a failure rate of 5-10% is considered normal. So the PS3's failure rate is slightly high, but I actually wouldn't expect different from a system that was so bleeding-edge at the time it was launched, and that generated such a massive amount of heat and had an unproven cooling system design.

        Both the Wii and PS3 have numbers that are basically in the expected range. So those serve as your "control", and any self selection bias would be apparent in those numbers as well. The fact is the 360 numbers are coming from the same survey and are 5 times higher than the PS3 and about 8 times higher than the Wii. And this is not a small sample here either. This is meaningful.

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

      by Hatta (162192) * on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:51AM (#29134787) Journal

      Xbox users play their console more than Wii or PS3 users

      My computer is on 24/7. It hasn't failed yet. I expect the same performance out of a game console. 50% failure is unacceptable any way you slice it, and is the reason I have not, and will not buy an Xbox360.

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

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:02PM (#29134969) Homepage

      That's just nonsense. Seriously. Maybe you're too young to remember the NES, SNES or Genesis (or older consoles still), but I'm sure many slashdotters are not: who can forget throwing

      I'm 27 and I've got a 5-year-old son who is still playing my NES. My brother and I played the hell out of it when we were kids - everything from ripped cables to over-mashed buttons on the controllers. But the console and the controllers still work (with a little electrical tape and cartridge fiddling). I've never heard of an NES failing. I had mine crash once or twice while being left on overnight so we could continue in the morning (no 'save' feature in game), but that's about it!

      Now, I can somewhat understand if the failures are due to optical or hard drive failures. Sorta. But 54%? I can see 20% in the first year, sure. But 54% is absurd, especially when you consider that the other game systems (Wii, PS2) have the same device types - and the Wii is likely played by the more abusive "child" player set. (Were they audited in this survey?)

  • by mewsenews (251487) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#29134215) Homepage

    To combine the expandability of a game console with the reliability of a PC stuffed with chinese manufactured expansion cards!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Applekid (993327)

      There are components that are still produced outside of China/Malaysia/Taiwan?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      Chinese manufactured products are only a problem if you're not enforcing the "produce the parts to the specified quality or I'll go elsewhere" clause in the contract. The problem is MS' mentality toward quality not the origin of the parts. If MS wanted to enforce a quality standard on Chinese corps I doubt they would jeopardise a contract with a buyer in these quantities just like everyone else.

  • Suddenly I am really glad I bought that extended warranty.
  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:21AM (#29134275) Journal
    Focused significantly more on quality control and then simply shipped every second 360 casing with packing peanuts and achieved the same result?
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:24AM (#29134313) Homepage
    Now we just need to know how often people play their consoles. I have a Wii. I bought it because it looked fun and it wasn't overprices. Now, I'm not and avid gamer. I only play maybe 1 or 2 hours every couple of weeks. At such low usage, I would be surprised if the thing didn't last for 20 years. Many people I know with Wii's fall into this same category. Contrast that with XBox, where I think many more people are avid gamers, and would use their machines much more. A higher failure rate would be expected. Probably not this much more of a failure rate, but a higher one none the less. Also, take into account the fact that MS will replace your broken unit with a refurb, and that most people who get a replacement unit, will put the unit back in the exact same spot, with poor ventilation and cooling that the previous one was at, and you have a recipe for disaster.
    • by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:36AM (#29134541)

      I don't have an XBox, but I do have a PS3. I wouldn't say I play it a whole lot, but it's in a fairly small cabinet in my entertainment center, and we close the glass door when we're not using it. So every once in a while, my wife leaves the remote on the coffee table overnight, and somehow, the cat frequently managed to step on the remote, which for some idiotic reason powers up the PS3. I think at least on 10-20 occasions, it has sat in the cabinet with the door closed all night long. In the morning, it's literally like an oven in the cabinet, and the fans are screaming so loud you can hear them almost through the whole house.

      I don't say this because I'm proud of how the poor thing gets treated, but I'll admit I'm amazed every time it happens that it still functions at all. By all rights, it should be dead dozens of times over. I don't have an XBox 360, so I can't really make any comparisons, but the PS3 I have in my entertainment center is no fragile piece of machinery.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        why don't you have an exhaust fan cut into the back of the cabinet to solve the problem?

        that's the first thing I do to any furniture that houses electronics. Take the saw to the back to add in ventilation or at least mount an exhaust fan that goes on and off with the gear to actively vent it.

    • "Now we just need to know how often people play their consoles."

      Pray tell, why? A gaming console is merely a dedicated computer. Millions of servers run constantly for years without failing. If the typical failure rate was anywhere near this for a given companies' server, laptop, or desktop computers they would quickly lose market share, yet many people run those at near 100% uptime. Such a number is absurd regardless of usage statistics. Luckily for M$, their customers have come to expect failures and

      • by Bake (2609) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:19PM (#29135251) Homepage

        And quite a lot of those millions of servers are stored in a nice cool and well airconditioned place.

        Your average Xbox is however stuffed inside a closet with the rest of the entertainment center.

  • Impressive? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#29134365)

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

    You mean "appallingly" right? Talk about low standards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      No. Because the use of the word "Impressively" in that context shows author bias, which means that for whatever little weight this had. Close to none to start with, has none now.

  • sounds low (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tim4444 (1122173) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:28AM (#29134389)
    I think that's lower than some of Microsoft's other products. Redmond must be celebrating...
  • I own a 360 and in the year I've had it I've had no problems. However, I know a few people who also have them and the people with consoles that RROD have had the problem happen twice or more whereas everyone else has had no problems. I can understand that the problem is mostly on Microsoft's back but if it's the same people whose consoles are breaking then surely they're doing something to it that's creating problems?

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:35AM (#29134525) Homepage
    at the boardroom is the one thing on my mind.

    Engineer: very few, say less than 5% of people say they will refuse to buy an XBox due to its failure rate

    Ballmer: so what is the failure rate?

    Engineer: uh, more than 50%...

    Ballmer: So....we're boiling a frog it seems?

    Engineer: we may as well be vaporizing a frog. it neither knows, nor cares.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:43AM (#29134659) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft has made the CPU smaller and redesigned the power supply over the last couple of years, has that helped at all? I picked up my first 360 last Christmas, and it's been working fine, but the RROD is always on the back of my mind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by r_benchley (658776)
      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
  • by SparkleMotion88 (1013083) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:49AM (#29134751)
    My 3rd XBox 360 went bad a couple of months ago, and this is the first one that died outside of warranty. I had the option of paying $100 to have Microsoft "repair" it (presumably making it work again, but leaving the flaws that caused it to slowly die in the first place), or I could spend $200 on a new XBox 360 Arcade (which replaces all the parts that are actually broken) and get a fresh 3 year warranty. I chose to buy a new unit, because when you buy a 360, that warranty is the most valuable part of the package. As I see it, I'm not buying the hardware, I'm paying for a 3 year lease on the hardware. I suppose another benefit of buying a brand new unit is that the newer 360 consoles should have less heat-related problems than the originals. So who knows, maybe this one will last a little longer.

    Oddly, the only reason I bought a 360 in the first place was because the DVD drive on my original XBox went bad, and I wanted to get a new console and continue playing my original XBox games. Before that, I only bought a new console when I wanted to upgrade to the latest technology. These days, I only buy a new console to replace a broken one (like the PS2 I bought the first time I had to send my 360 in for service).
  • by ragethehotey (1304253) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:53AM (#29134825)
    "selection bias" ?
  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:54AM (#29134837)

    are actually replacements of an existing unit instead of new purchases. In other words, I believe the total is 30M units shipped to date. How many of those units are distinct owners, and how many are replacement boxes?

    A large portion of the failed units are simply repaired, but many are repalced. In fact, I'm sure that there are quite a few people who don't bother with the warranty and buy new units (I know many who have).

  • I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s31523 (926314) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:04PM (#29134997)
    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. Who knows what this survey consisted of, was it a simple cookie-based web browser poll where the same person can vote over and over again? Do you really think retailers would put up with 1 out of 2 people returning the XBOX they bought there? And honestly using a blanket percentage for failure rate is just plain ol misleading. We need to know the Mean-Time-Before-Fail figure to really get a handle on the quality. So, I call BS on this whole thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591)
      The real question is: what is "Failure Rate?" Is Failure: "Fails to load a game, but a reset fixes it?" The article merely states: "That means 54.2 percent of Xbox 360 consoles fail in one way or another."

      "One Way or another" is extremely broad and could mean anything from a sticky button on a controller to spontaneous combustion.
    • Re:I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

      by sheepweevil (1036936) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:43PM (#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.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:44PM (#29136563)
      In other news, a recent call-in poll on Fox News indicated that 95% of the country is Republican.
  • by nohear_t (551965) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:17PM (#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.
  • by hoppo (254995) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:43PM (#29136533)

    I've heard about units that get so hot they catch fire. Dear Microsoft: if you're reading this, please send me one of those faulty units. I owe more on my house than it's worth, so you could help me solve some of my problems.

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