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XBox (Games)

Microsoft Acknowledges 360 Issues, Extends Warranty to 3 Years 205

RamblinLonghorn writes "Microsoft has announced that they are extending the warranty for all Xbox 360s to 3 years. This appears to be entirely retroactive and that 'those who have already paid for such repair charges can expect reimbursement checks for the amount of their console repair.' It seems as though Microsoft is accepting the blame for the hardware malfunctions, but it is worth noting that this warranty modification only applies in the 'Red Rings of Death' situation."
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Microsoft Acknowledges 360 Issues, Extends Warranty to 3 Years

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  • I'd like a 360 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday July 05, 2007 @05:34PM (#19759267) Homepage

    I'd like a 360. I really would. There are games I'd like to play (PGR3, Dead Rising, some others), as well as games coming out I'd like to play (Rock Band and many others). But I keep hearing about failures. I know people who are on at least their 3rd 360. I've seen the estimations recently putting the failure rates as high as ~30% (which, even if is off by 5x is quite high). If you combine that with the noise the things make, I'm hesitant to buy one. I keep waiting for a re-spin of the silicon (moving to a smaller process should help with the heat/noise issues).

    The Elite might have got me but instead of pushing the models down, they just put the Elite on top with a new higher price point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Seumas ( 6865 )
      I haven't had a lot of problems with mine, except that Forza 2 won't play. I've tried four different brand new copies of it and about 98% of the time, the XBOX 360 tries to play it as if it were a DVD and not a game. I literally have to reboot the XBOX about 40 times every time I want to play, before it finally works. Mind you, my 48+ other XBOX 360 games are just fine in it.

      What's weird is when I called a month ago for help with the game (no solutions, they were baffled), it turned out my XBOX had another
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by aichpvee ( 631243 )
        Of course you're assuming that they actually have good consoles. Given that just about everyone I meet with a 360 is on at least their third I'm not so sure that they're even capable of producing enough "good" ones for everyone who already owns one. Leave it to microsoft to bring windows-quality to hardware.
    • I had a DVD drive go out, but no other problems. Considering the hours into the machine, It's no less reliable than any computer. Out everyone I know that has one, I'm the only one that has sent one back. IMO, the seem as reliable as any computer. Disk drives fail eventually, I'm not more sure of anything other than death and taxes. I haven't seen or personally heard of any other problems with them.
      But you are correct, they can be quite noisy and and do put out a great deal of heat. As far North as
      • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @03:57AM (#19764673) Homepage
        I'm astonished to read so many "mine is okay, except a game doesn't work" or "no problem so far, only a broken dvd drive" comments. Don't be so forgiving! This is a game console, not a PC. There's no reason why it should break within such a short timespan! I've bought dozens of consoles, and all of them still work. Some of them are over 20 years old!
        • Game Console or PC, a DVD Drive is still a DVD drive with a different face plate. Especially since they sold me the hardware below cost, I'm willing to cut them some slack. As far as a game not working, I'd be pretty bummed, but it's never been an issue. I've had drives go out on the PS2, Xbox, 360, and several on PCs. I guess I've been in IT long enough not to expect any drive to last more than a few years, even less for the cheap ones.
          • by B1 ( 86803 )
            Game Console or PC, a DVD Drive is still a DVD drive with a different face plate. Especially since they sold me the hardware below cost, I'm willing to cut them some slack.

            Why? You paid $300+ for it. Who cares what it cost *them*? If they sold it to you below cost, why does that entitle them to any more leniency on your part? Are they doing you a favor that way, or does the low cost mean that you owe *them* a favor?

            Would you be harder on them if it only cost them $100 to make the 360?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LKM ( 227954 )

            Game Console or PC, a DVD Drive is still a DVD drive with a different face plate.

            So? You only use it to play DVDs which are (probably) manufactured by or to the specs of the manufcaturer of your console. It's not like a PC where you constantly put all kinds of burned and questionable CDs and DVDs inside. And even on a PC, I expect the DVD drive to last until I replace the PC, which is at least 3 to 4 years.

            Especially since they sold me the hardware below cost

            How does that matter? I look at a console and judge its value. I expect the thing to behave like a console, not like a cheap-ass PC I built from parts I found in the dumpster at

    • I bought the 360 when it first came out in November 2004. Red ring of death in Feb of 2007. I was dreading sending it back for repair, but decided to ask Costco what my options were. They said bring it back in to any store and get a full refund.

      So I bought a new package deal, swapped out all the components, and everyone is happy. It's a hard return policy to beat, and is especially handy when dealing with electronic goods (sans TV's, computers and I think cameras, where the return policy is now 90 days).

      • Just a note - a friend bought an iPod at CostCo. Two years later, it croaked. One day while in CostCo, he cracked a remark while talking to a manager about how disappointed he was that it had not lasted more than two years. The guy told him to bring it in. He did, they pulled up his CostCo card to confirm it was bought there (well, SOME iPod was bought there by him), and they gave him a full refund.

        I'm more and more impressed by CostCo every time I hear these stories.
    • Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't heat become a bigger issue when the circuit is smaller and therefore the transistors are more dense? Sure, the process might be operating at a lower voltage, but the density outweighs that. Note that with CPUs the heat issue has become more and more difficult with reduced process size. Now maybe because the Xbox chip won't be increasing its functionality and will therefore have a similar number of now smaller transistors the heat issue could be reduced. But when you move to
  • Red rings of death (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2007 @05:34PM (#19759271)
    ...and for those of us who have no idea wtf the "red rings of death are", see here [teamxbox.com]

    (Posted anonymously to avoid karma whoring)
  • Bravo Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkFencer ( 260473 ) on Thursday July 05, 2007 @05:35PM (#19759283)
    I'm not normally a fan of MS, nor do I own a 360, but this is a great move by Microsoft - and not something they NEEDED to do. They could have just fixed the problems and made it a year or so but by extending this to a three year warranty (retroactive) they are going to save a lot of people money.

    Companies like GameStop who sell extended warranties though might not be happy since I certainly wouldn't buy one now that MS is backing their system up for 3 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft rushes to market the most poorly designed console in history.
      Stonewalls on the insane failure rate for two years.
      Makes 360 owners go through hell each and every time their 360 dies yet again.
      Leaves people with disc scratching drives in the lurch.
      And finally is forced to somewhat admit the problem and fork up a billion dollars.

      Yeah, 'bravo' Microsoft...

      So if you are one of the poor sods who actually bought a 360 you are still looking at your console dieing from a few weeks to few months ove
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DarkFencer ( 260473 )
        Do I think they screwed up and should have done this a long time ago? Sure. Would it have been better if they kept stonewalling and never admitted an issue - or if they did only agree to fix within the year? Absolutely not. They screwed up for a while and are fixing the problem now. If you don't believe that they will also fix the root cause of the hardware now - with a three year commitment to have working systems for their customers, then you're crazy.

        A three year warranty in the electronics industry
      • The original playstation had widespread problems with heat. As in having to prop up the edges on books to let air circulate underneath. It was easy to tell when it was overheating, because video cut-scenes would stutter. Eventually many of the overheating machines did fail. So quite a large percentage of owners had to buy a new one. The only good news was by then a new one only cost $129 or $99.
        • by Phisbut ( 761268 )

          The original playstation had widespread problems with heat. As in having to prop up the edges on books to let air circulate underneath. It was easy to tell when it was overheating, because video cut-scenes would stutter.

          I bought a slim PS2 2 years ago, and making it slim means they removed many fans that would keep it cool. I still need to prop up the edges on books to let air circulate underneath, otherwise, an hour long gaming session is decorated with all sorts of fuzzy colors on screen.

      • by LKM ( 227954 )
        I'd say "Bravo Microsoft for doing more than I expected you to do, even if it is way less than you should be doing."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      360s were constantly failing in demo and media/press review units a least a couple months before the system hit the shelves. Microsoft has know the system was defective by design even earlier.

      And YET they decided to go right ahead and ship a fundamentally defect piece of hardware.

      How can ANYONE in ANYWAY defend that utterly despicable action.

    • Extending the warranty is great, but how about actually fixing the problem?
      Supposedly the problem is that the heat isn't disipated properly, which leads to internal parts being warped (ever so slightly), which severs/loosens connections. It's time to fix the damn problem! Move to 65nm chips (which I hear produce less heat). I really want an Xbox360, but I don't have time to put up with a broken unit, even with a 3-year warranty. Fix the problem, get the defect rate down to ~5%, and I'm in! :)
      • by Shados ( 741919 )
        Im fairly sure that Microsoft would have sold an extra 3 to 5 million consoles at least if that problem had been fixed promptly... So there must be one -hell- of a reason they didn't. I'm quite curious what it is, but considering the rep Microsoft is getting on this one, and how many lost sales they are eating (not counting how many publishers are a bit annoyed at this and may decide not to to invest in the 360), something's up...
        • I listent to the MSFT conference call [microsoft.com] regarding this. They indidcated that for the first year or so, the defect rate wasn't that high, but really increased in recent months as units that were over a year old began failing. This increased the need for fixes, but more importantly, gave them a larger data set with which to work with to try to find reasons for the problem. They say they've identified numerous causes for the problem and have made fixes to address those, so that units manufactured from now on
          • by Shados ( 741919 )
            Thats good news, because indeed, the games are hard to pass up. I'm a Wii guy, but i'm not going to ignore the gems that are popping up on the 360.
    • by avoisin ( 105703 ) <swh8@cornell.edu> on Thursday July 05, 2007 @07:53PM (#19761093)
      I work for a high tech company that makes expensive hardware, far pricier than the xbox, and I've come to understand a lot more about the cost of warranties from the supplier end. Extending warranties is essentially a loss for the the manufacturer - you're essentially betting when what you made will fail. That's weighed against the cost of making more durable components and the cost that a customer would not buy your product in the first place.

      When the 360 first came out, someone made a decision that beyond one year it would cost the company too much to repair the consoles relative to the increased sales than would be had by having a longer warranty. They also had to take into account the bad publicity that could (and did) occur.

      I'll be pure engineer here - someone at Microsoft redid the formula, given the knowledge of failures that have happened since release. This time around, the math said that enough future sales would be lost to outweigh the cost of extending the warranty. It's really that simple. It's also interesting to note here that they didn't make it a lifetime warranty (20 years or something). They probably ran that formula too, and decided that the math tips the other way if you let it last forever.

      So did they NEED to do this? If by need you mean "saving face", then no. Being the retrospective hero doesn't help anything, only in the sense that it might affect future sales.
      • by Velops ( 1006755 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:42AM (#19765625)
        The formulas used to calculate warranties are meant to cover manufacturing errors. Every once in a while, a defective unit will get past quality control in the factory due to human error. The warranty is designed to protect customers if they get one of these units.

        The "Red Ring of Death" is likely from a design flaw, not a manufacturing error. A manufacturing error would not account for the abnormal failure rate. It is literally built into every unit that leaves the factory. The only long-term solution to a design flaw is a product recall.

        Extending the warranty is just a temporary solution because Xbox 360s will continue get the "Red Ring of Death".
    • This is a huge turnaround for Microsoft, and what many people were waiting for (this, and evidence that they've actually solved the problem) to purchase a 360.

      However, are we now going to get the much desired retraction from all the 360 fanboys who's anecdotal evidence "proved" that this problem wasn't widespread, or are we going to have to be satisfied with the usual semi-collective "I told you so"?

      Microsoft is claiming this is going to cost them over a billion (1.15) dollars. If you assume that 300 mil is
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Thursday July 05, 2007 @05:38PM (#19759317) Homepage
    Assuming they just do full replace and junk, and pay full retail price, that is >2.5 MILLION failed X-Boxes in the next 2 years. Assuming each repair costs Microsoft only $200, they are budgeting for 5 MILLION failed x-boxen!

    With only 11 million X-boxen shipped, that 33% failure rate is sounding like an UNDERCOUNT!
  • The 360 in my apt has 4 lights lit. It used to be 3, but it's since decided to light the 4th after I attempted the towel trick to fix it (the towel trick worked once, but the second time, it didn't work at all, and shortly after that, the 4th LED lit).

    We'll have to call MS when I get home to see if that's covered.

    with any luck, they'll cover it and we wont' have to shell out 150$
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spazmania ( 174582 )
      I attempted the towel trick to fix it

      The only "trick" is burning out the temperature sensors so it runs the fans faster without burning out anything else. You'd be better off just hotwiring the fans direct to the 12 volt supply so it can't attempt to moderate the fan speed.

      Seriously, towel trick? You get the "I'm desperate and not too smart" award. I invented it today. Just for you.
      • I know what it does.

        When MS wants $150 that I don't have to repair the thing, it's worth a shot. It did fix it the first time for about 2 weeks (the unit has been out of the 1-year warranty for about 6 months).

        Especially when a friend of mine did it and his 360 has been working fine ever since... it sucks it worked for him, who could've easily afforded fixing the device.
      • No cuz then MS will figure out that you opened the fucker, and they won't repair it. OTOH, they regularly replace overheated Xboxes.
    • If it's four lights then it means the AV cable is disconnected or faulty.
  • Its amazing when any big company willingly does something like this (without a class action, intense media coverage, etc). What is more amazing is its microsoft doing it. Guess they figure they can't afford to look bad at any level in such a high heat console war.
    • by jamesh ( 87723 )
      It's not really that amazing... I can only assume that Microsoft have figured out that there will be a lot of repercussions of _not_ doing it (class action?), and have crunched the numbers and have figured out this is the best way forward.

      The same situation has happened quite a few times previously, and i've often thought to myself that if the company in question had done something like this at the start, rather than waiting for a whole lot of bad press and legal costs, they would have saved themselves a lo
  • Regardless of your opinion of Microsoft, they have continually impressed me with their willingness (eventual) to own up to issues with the console and extend the warranty retro-actively. I just can't see Sony doing the same thing in this situation. I feel good knowing that if I get the red rings of death (my friend already had one bout with it), that they will pay for it since my console will still be good for several more years now.
    • IF any other manufacturer had a defect rate of 30% (slightly above that according to the largest game retailer there is, being EB) mostly due to heating dissipation design and were getting as many complaints as they were I don't see any other choice. The press has gotten really bad in the last month or so on this issue.

      Had they not made this press release, it would have probably adversely affected sales.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2007 @05:59PM (#19759591)
    Microsoft officially apologizing for Vista and offering XP licenses to those unhappy with it. Meanwhile, they work on a new OS that will actually run on modern hardware.
  • Using their financial numbers as to the cost of extending the warranty to 3 years, MS themselves anticipates a full 3.8 million COMPLETE NEW replacement Xbox 360's to have to send out. That gives you an idea as to the failure rate they are seeing. This is at the current FULL RETAIL cost of the system and not using only repair costs. If it only costs $100 to repair, that would mean an anticipated 11.5 million failures during the 3 year warranty period.
  • Is there any information about customers who have purchased an extended warranty from MS? (as I did after a RRoD prompted a replacement, and my 1 year retroactive warranty was about to expire) Any guesses as if that part of the "repair costs" that they indicated would be refundable?
  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday July 05, 2007 @11:30PM (#19763051)
    I've recently had problems with the USB ports on my PS3, but Sony won't touch it for free since I no longer have my receipt (nevermind that it's impossible for the warranty to have expired by now; I guess the policy saves them some money). So with Microsoft retroactively extending the warranty like this, what happens to those people who voided their warranty, thinking that it was expired?
  • by egNuKe ( 1042382 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:50AM (#19765211)
    http://www.megagames.com/news/html/console/microso ftconfessandfixrrodepidemic.shtml [megagames.com] has gone all the way to say: [quote]Some people would believe that Microsoft have just discovered the issue and fixed it, as expected from a reputable multinational company. But when asked, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division for a "little over first year" the "set of issues wasn't visible at all," but during the last couple of months the company has seen "significant increases, significant call volume, and significant attention" to the problem. During those "couple of months" Microsoft actively denied the problem several times. [/quote]

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay