back to article Red ring of Xbox death costs Microsoft $1bn

Microsoft is taking a $1bn hit to fix Xbox 360s, conceding residual hardware faults in its games console are causing users frustration and an "unacceptable number of repairs." The software giant said Thursday it's extending the Xbox 360's current one-year warranty to three years from date of purchase to cover a hardware crash …


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  1. Dunhill

    unexpected ??


    I am totally not suprised by the "level of quality" provided by Micro$oft.

    Quality cost money and now BG is not the richest anymore as well, so there is need for more money, prob. by lowering more quality

  2. James O'Shea

    welcome to the social

    So the X Box is going down in flames, _and_ Microsoft has sold few, if any, more Zunes in a year than Apple sold iPhones in a week. And Vista is doing so well that people are advertising that they have machines with WinXP installed on 'em available for sale. Sheer marketing and engineering genius, that's what it is. Innovation at its finest.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only 8?

    I'm now on my 3rd 360 and have to admit that while slow, the customer service I've received hasn't been too bad.

    A friend of mine is now on his 12th return, and the service he's received from Microsoft has been appauling.

  4. John Priestley

    One guy had 8???

    You thought after the first few you would have demanded your money back and a refund on all the games you have bought for it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thirty percent?

    I'm surprised at the figure of 30% failure rate quoted - I bought a 360 a few months after they were released, it failed (as expected) a year later.

    I play on Xbox Live and I don't know anyone who hasn't had their console replaced, although to be fair they all bought their consoles in the first few months and it could have been a manufacturing fault in the early models.

  6. Matthew

    This could be....

    This could be just the kick up the arse Micro$oft need in the ever competitive games console market. Now that Sony has finally released the PS3 i'm sure that any bad publicity, like sony should already know is bad for business.

  7. David Shaw

    Sold or shipped?

    quote "Chris Liddell said 11.6 million devices had sold since the November 2005 launch"

    in other news outlets I'm sure I read "shipped" instead of "sold", also checking M$ statements in January where the 2007 target WAS 13 to 15 million, then lowered to 12 million, now this lower target nearly achieved by "stuffing the channel", in other words there are LOTS of X Boxes sitting on warehouse shelves somewhere!!!!

    see "Microsoft admits XBox 360 channel now fully stuffed" at some Marketing Bog somewhere on earth.

  8. alan lovedog

    why bother making them?

    I find it hard to see when Microsoft expect to actually profit from their console endeavours. They lost well over a billion on the first, things seem to be just as bad with this one. Maybe someone at Microsoft loves the idea of making consoles regardless of profitability.

  9. Jamie

    To be fair...

    To be fair to Microsoft's customer services, I was blighted with a dodgy DVD drive that refused to read anything other than audio CD's and when I spoke to the woman on the phone she was very helpful. I patiently tried the one or two things she suggested (that I knew wouldn't work cos I'd done them, but patience is a virtue after all) and then she took my details and e-mailed me my postage thingy, warning me it'd take 2 odd weeks to come back.

    Fine, so I took it down the couriers (i work in london, so no biggie for me) and less than a week later, the thing was back. Maybe I've been lucky, but that seems like pretty good customer service to me.

    They're not all eejits either. When I mentioned to the first rep I dealt with that I'd got it 2nd hand, but had the receipts and it was still in warranty (apparently means I can't get warranty repair), he did a quick check, told me that technically I wasn't supposed to get the free repair, but the previous owner hadn't registered it so if i called back and pretended it was mine all along, it'd be fine since they'd have no way of knowing. Now that is excellent customer service!

    I'll restate, i'm no MS fanboy, I hate IE and it's strange implementations of W3 standards. I use firefox, thunderbird and Open Office. MS bashing is easy to do, so I thought I'd just share my (rather positive) experience with a company I normally approach with caution.

  10. Pedantic Twat

    The Pedantic Twat strikes

    "The 12 million number had already been cut in January from between 13 million and 15 million",

    I think not. The 12 million number was the result of a cut, not one which had been cut. The number that had been cut was the unidentified number that lay somewhere between 13 million and 15 million.

    Yours, Brigadier Stonkington-Smythe, (retd)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about content?

    I notice it doesn't say anything about whether we'll finally be compensated for downloaded content? If your xbox 360 f**ks up (I've had three now) and you have any downloaded content such as games downloaded from Live Arcade, even if you retain the same hard drive, you do not have a license to use it on a replacement xbox UNLESS you are on the same profile that bought it in the first place and you are logged in to LIVE. So suddenly all other players in the family are locked out from playing games from Arcade etc. And up til now M$ have refused to do anything about it. I and many others are literally hundreds of pounds out of pocket because as well as paying their hefty repair bills, we have a ton of unusable content we suddenly aren't licensed or able to use.

  12. andy moore

    The fix!

    Hands up those who know the towel trick?

    As a PS3 owner (boo hiss I hear you cry) I am amused when yiou find out these little faults as it just adds more bitterness into the battle of consoles.

    Anyway a friend was telling me that the red ring is caused by a number of issues - primarily overheating. The issue it seems (bear with me and you'll understand why) is that the 'kick in' temperature on the second CPU fan is set to high and is never engaged after the first CPU fan realises it can not cope.

    Now for the science!

    Place a neat, clean (and very dry) towel over the xbox and leave switched on for a period of time - the xbox will get hotter and cause the second CPU fan to engage and almost instantly the red ring goes away and gameplay, online, media, whatever you do. All become operational again!

    Ta da!

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Can't bear to hurt Bill

    I just cannot bring myself to consider hurting the already suffering bank account of my dearest Bill. In light of this news, I now have full justification for my decision to never buy an XBox whatever - it hurts the bottom line of the most famous monopoly in the world.

    And I can't do that, now can I ? Absolutely not. By practising total abstinence against XBox and Vista, I will bring Microsoft back into the black simply by virtue of not costing them any money.

    The fact that I won't be giving them any money is irrelevant - thanks to me Microsoft loses less !

    Help Microsoft lose less ! Don't buy its products !


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's up with mine then?

    My launch console stubbornly refuses to not work and I feel all left out. Everyone on my friends list has their original console too, how weird.

    But now i can sit here even more smug, knowing that if it did push up the 3-ring daisies, it'll be fixed for free anytime in the next year and a half - excellent.

    And why be on your 8th XBOX? Maybe because the games are too good to miss out on?

  15. Alistair MacRae


    I'm on my second Xbox now. The first one went wrong after I tried to turn it off and it carried running but not displaying. I'm on my second one and its CD tray is now acting up. I'm hoping this 3 year thing includes fixing that.

    My friend has had an Xbox from release. His works fine he did admittedly buy an intercooler fan for it.

    I'm not sure what’s wrong with some people. Microsoft finds a problem with their console and they are now repairing it for free. That I know is what they should do. Why critsize them? The xbox360 is still the most owned console. I'm happy to use mine still as long as if it breaks I get a replacement.

    The main reason why is because it is still has IMO the best selection of games.

    The media extender function is so useful.

    I'm not sure why you take stabs at Microsoft for doing what's expected of it.

  16. Edwin

    Scratched DVDs

    Interestingly, Dutch news is reporting the same figure today but not due to hardware crashes, but due to thousands of complaints that the Xbox 360 is scratching discs due to faulty design.

  17. Guy

    Fair play to them

    I've had my 360 since december and, touching a very large piece of wood, everything is okay. In fact not one of my friends has had to have theirs replaced either and a couple of them are on lauch day models.

    I will tip my hat to them though over the extention of the standard warranty to 3 years. I'll be a little less concerned about failure now as it's not the end of the world if it has to go off for repair for a couple of weeks as long as that repair is free.

  18. Noel Morgan

    Extended Warranty

    What about all the people who have forked out money for an extended warranty for their 360?

  19. Jeff Fox

    Too late

    I had 2 Xbox 360's between sept last year and around a month ago. Both died and both got returned to the shop. That was extremely annoying as it meant that I had to restart the games when I replaced the console. When the second one died I just couldn't face doing it again. Took the 360 back to the shop, sold the games at work and got myself a PS3.

    The games aren't there yet but the system is so much quieter and should come into it's own when Assassins Creed and GTAIV are out.

    As an aside, how many 360's have been sold if you deduct the warranty returns?

  20. Des

    Touch wood

    No red lights/ring of death yet and no complaints either.

    I applaude M$ for finally extending the warranty period and I'm sure there are plenty of people who will benefit from this. They still have a way to go, but fingers crossed I won't have to make use of their bad customer service and in the meantime continue to enjoy the gaming I get from my XBOX 360.

    I've tried Playstation and it just doesn't cut it for me - I guess I'm just a M$ fan holding my breath for Halo 3.

    1 satisfied customer (gamertag: Gen Klinkerofen)

  21. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    The first link to the fix site

    ( is a dud. It is simply an email address harvesting scam. The page is covered in search engine bait for "3 red light fix".

    Check our links next time Gavin!

  22. Sir Runcible Spoon

    first gen console

    I'm probably tempting fate here, but I've had a first-gen 360 since it came out and haven't had a single problem with the beastie, and it isn't as if it hardly gets any use. I've been playing flatout carnage for 8 hours stretches over the last week and it's never over-heated.

    So there is at least one console that was shipped without this problem.

  23. Mark Rendle


    Just fucking stop it, you boring twits. It's not funny, it's not clever, and the point it is supposedly trying to make is an empty truism.

  24. Dave Aitken

    Mircosfot messes up - only consumers hurt

    why - oh - why did anyone ever think that M$ could make a stable, reliable console? Their track record is <fill in own sweary words here>

  25. Julian Rockey


    What's the world of journalism coming to when 'passed' is spelt 'past' in a respectable journal?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hmm... Overheating and then failure... Did MS subcontract Dell to make the motherboards for these...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft feelin' the heat?

    So they're extending the warranty from 1 to 3 years? That's great, but is that just new sales or is it being applied retrospectively - I couldn't see that vital piece of information in the article? If it is being applied to existing owners, then a "well done" is due to Redmond for 'fessin up to having a problem AND - more importantly - being willing to do something about it. Compare that with the situation - also reported today - for poor owners of Sony 600 phones looking for a firmware fix!

    I gave into temptation and got a '360 a wee while ago, and it's imho a pretty good box (particularly like the controllers and I'm a *big* fan of the Call Of Duty game series). That said, I've always been concerned about the amount of heat coming out of the back, (beats my PC, which has a GF8800GTX video card, overclocked processor, 2GB highspeed ram and 3 disks - amongst other bits). From the sound of it one of these 3rd party intercoolers is a wise purchasing decision.

    Oh, and before folks have a go at me being a MS fanboy, I'm not. Vista is - in my opinion - one of the worst OS's I've seen in a long time, (I use XP on *my* Windows kit - it's less trouble). Anyway, back to working on my Debian server ....

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Um, "grammar." Thank you.

  29. Trevor Watt

    Spelling II

    And it is 'Spelled' not 'Spelt.' Spelt is a type of wheat.

  30. Demian Phillips

    8-12 replacement consoles

    Well it looks like Microsoft can brag about being better at something then Sony. PS2 units die regularly (shit drives mostly) and the most I ever heard someone going through was six of them. The guy actually paid full retail for each one on top of that. IMO crazy.

    At least Xbox 360 owners are able to get a free replacement from my windows/office license fees. This puts the losses of xbox (first and 360) at what, around six billion?

  31. Richard Gration

    Re: Spelling II

    Sorry, look it up in a (decent) dictionary. It is perfectly acceptable for the past participle of the verb "to spell" to be spelt "spelt".

  32. Alex

    The warranty extention

    It only covers the 'ring of death' problems. All other omstances of your console turning into a brick are subject to the one-year coverage and fees.

  33. A. Merkin

    XBox 360 Math

    11.6 Million XBox 360's *shipped*, divided by an average of 3.60 returns/exchanges per owner = 3.22 Million units sold.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rush to market - nothing new - why are people surprised?

    So they rushed the console out and QA sufferred, so what else is new? This is a prevalent practice with modern products overall - especially PC products. Viz: games that need to be patched to work or have then endings tacked on to meet the ship date (NWN2 as one example of the former category, FarCry/Kotor2 as examples of the latter), operating systems with much vaunted features scrapped in the pell-mell for launch day etc.

    I think Microsoft probably could have come cleaner, sooner, but when its costing a billion to eat crow I imagine they want to make bloody sure there is a common fault and which supplier they are going to nail to the wall for it. I do feel sorry for people who have sufferred the problem; I imagine there were a fair few parents whose children's birthday present was ruined by the issue as well as the poor sods on their nth replacement. I also honestly don't know what is the right attitude: should we treat PC [type] products like DVDs,TVs, cars and stereos? E.g. complex products that we nonethless expect to work properly from day one? Or should we accept that there is some sort of inherent complexity which means they will never work for everyone, all the time?

  35. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Microsoft are doomed

    This is one example of why Microsoft are doomed. If it wasn't for their lock-in practices they would be nobody now.

    The Zune is a flop, the XBox 360 was Microsoft's attempt at getting a entertainment and media hub into all homes, but they've cut too many corners. You would think they would have learned from the XBox and it's power cable and power supply issues.

    Windows Mobile keeps getting a lick of paint, new buttons and a handful of new features (largely for their own online services) and the rest stays the same as ever (thank god for iPhone, a well deserved kick up the butt for Microsoft).

  36. Colin

    Re: Microsoft are doomed

    ROFL! Are you willing to put money on that?

    Whatever problems MS (sorry I'm not big or clever enough to use a '$' or call them microshaft or whatever ) has with xbox or zune or even vista pale into insignificance compared to the number of companies that have made significant investment in windows in general (and .Net in particular). The fact remains that for the vast majority of computer users linux/osx/insert-your-favourite-os-here are simply not a viable alternative to windows.

    There's a lot of things I don't like about microsoft, but they also do some good things too (I defy anyone to name a better debugger than visual studio). and they aren't going away.

    and as for the 360, ok they messed up, but at least they're trying to fix it. which is more than sony ever did...

  37. Alan Donaly

    Micro$loth are doomed

    Face it shill, fanboy, strawman Bills too old to cut the mustard anymore and all the semitard grade inflated business school graduates who couldn't balance a checkbook if their lives depended on it can't save that bombed out piece of sh*t company. I love this give me more.

  38. Ian McAlpine

    CAD$126 question?

    I'm also on my third Xbox 360, but not for the red ring of death problem. That only appeared for the first time last month.

    Outside of warranty and not prepared to pay $126 for what I believed to be a MSFT problem, I opened the box and fixed it myself... at least so far, so good (fingers crossed!)

    Kudos to MSFT for extending the warranty, but I wonder if it will be extended to those of us who opened our Xbox 360s to fix the red ring of death problem? Somehow I doubt it :-(

  39. James Pickett


    Does this mean that the (normally tautologous) 'unexpected error' messages will be amended to read 'expected error'..?

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