back to article Xbox 360 'least reliable' console

Microsoft's Xbox 360 is the "least reliable" game console on the market, according to electronics warranty firm SquareTrade. In the first two years of ownership, 23.7 per cent of Xbox 360 owners covered by a SquareTrade warranty have reported a fatal system error. By comparison, 10 per cent of Playstation 3 consoles broke down …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    square traders?

    I say, I say, worn't that the name of some secret handshake club what had a famous (now defunct) tv butcher as member?

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    They Xbox 360 you say...

    Who knew?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Wii hardware...

    ...-ought- to be reliable, given that it's got about as much processing stomp as an old cell phone. 88mb of RAM? Seriously? Where do you even find chips that small these days?

    Anyway, I, for one, welcome the fanboy flamewar sure to ensue in this comment thread. Welcome mat because there's no popcorn icon.

  4. Lunatik
    Thumb Up

    Impressive...and I'm not talking about the RROD stats

    Yes, the 360, in original form at least, is a lashed up POS with a horrendous failure rate, but the real surprise here is just how reliable the Wii is. Having worked in the consumer electronics field, a 2.7% failure rate for a machine produced on that scale, with a drive mechanism and likely to be subjected to ham-fisted abuse at the hands of kids and parentards is incredible and a real testament to Nintendo's design and manufacturing bods.

  5. Ad Fundum

    Seems harsh ...

    I bought my 360 at 8am on the day of release and I've had one fault in all that time - and that was caused by Microsoft's dashboard patch in the early days. Even though, MS returned it fixed at no cost in less than 4 days from me first picking up the phone to report it.

    I've probably spent 20 hours on it this month so it's still getting good use.

  6. ben edwards

    biased results?

    I'd be wary about asking 'gamers' about the failure rate of their hardware. Experience suggests that when Tall Poppy Syndrome in effect, reported 'bad things' are much higher than reality suggests.

    I work in a game-developing environment with dozens of first-gen xbox 360s/ps3s (total would be over 50 for each platform), and although they are specifically test kits the failure rates are nowhere near what the results here are suggesting - we probably have one RROD every 6 months or so, on consoles running 8-24 hours/day. I haven't seen a broken ps3 in 2 years...well, the kind of damage that wasn't caused by gamer-rage anyway :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree

    My 360 failed twice during it's 3 year warranty. It then failed again a few months ago. MS wanted £90 (or so) to fix it. I politely explained my disatisfaction with the reliability of the console and got a free repair. However, I've had 3 failures now so I expect it to fail again at some point. Can't complain about the warranty service, but reliability and the "red rings" syndrome suck.

    On the other hand, all my Playstation consoles, from One to 3, and PSP still function without fault.

  8. Chimpofdoom!
    Gates Horns


    Onto my 3rd Xbox 360...

    1st 360 (2 days after launch) RROD

    2nd 2 years later - RROD

    3rd one is now starting to show signs of RROD (sluggish, random crashes etc)

    Luckily, I dont play the damn thing enough to warrant replacing it again...

  9. Sampler

    PS3 & Wii Disc Tray Issues

    On slot loading drives?

  10. Robert Grant Silver badge

    "but such an argument may be pronounceable in the coming months"

    File this under "signs that SquareTrade should hire some writers."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in other news,

    the sky is STILL blue,

    water is wet,

    and PHUX still sucks.

  12. Paul 4


    Even 10% is to much, never mind 23%. Thats not a falier rate, thats a recall situation with most products.

  13. Christopher Rogers
    Gates Horns

    No surprises

    But oh well.

  14. Goatan

    more like 100% . . . .

    Everyone I know who owns a 360 has experienced the RROD or disk read errors. Everyone has experienced my old fav the "please insert this disk into an xbox 360"

  15. Citizen Kaned

    of course!

    the wii is just a gamecube with fancy controller. its 10 year old tech. the ps3 and xbox are fairly cutting edge. its like saying a raleigh chopper is more reliable than a f1 car - of course it should be!

  16. Paul Hates Handles

    No shit, Sherlock?

    This really is the definition of "old" :)

    That said, the 360 is a good console, and MS have extended their warranties to three years for RROD failures - their turnaround has improved, as has other issues like hardware failures, noise etc.

  17. richard 69


    on my second 360 after the front flaps broke, then again on the replacement but couldn't be bothered to take back....and it never starts up first time, i get 2 red sections then nothing, have to power off then start again.....the games are good but if i was buying again i would got for ps3

  18. Rob Beard


    To be fair though, Microsoft do now offer a 3 year warranty on the XBOX 360. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Microsoft's biggest fan but one of the things that swayed me into getting an XBOX 360 was the 3 year warranty.

    My Wii has been fine since I've had it (going on 2.5 years now) and I'm hoping the XBOX will last as long, although I am kind of expecting an RROD later on in it's life (I've got a Falcon Elite).

    I'd be quite worried about the PS3 failures though. I mean it's not as if they have anything other than the 1 year warranty.


  19. Geoff H

    What complexity gets you..

    Now this has got me wondering, what were the failure rates for systems like the NES, SNES or Sega Genesis? I know of systems that still work 20 years after they were manufactured.

  20. Chris Church

    Preparing for an onslaught of insulting responses!

    I love these sort of polls!

    My Xbox has failed once and that was my fault more than anything due to where i had put it and basically caused it to overheat! Never had a RROD. Loads of people I know have never had problems.

    The Wii does next to nothing to start with and is essentially just a cd drive with a blue light.

    Dont have a PS3 so can't comment!

    Basically its just the way the world works now. Things aren't built to last they're built to last just long enough before you then buy a new one. I'd like to see a report showing the past six months and how much of what has failed due to what.

  21. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    Not surprising. I wonder what the "failure rate" - say, system failures requiring a reinstall - of Windows is?

  22. Dale Richards

    Wii Disc Tray

    I'm a little alarmed at how high the percentage is for disc tray failures with the Wii, considering the Wii does not have a disc tray...

  23. Alexis Vallance
    Gates Horns

    No thanks

    Which is why I would never buy a 360. I don't think there has ever been such an unreliable, badly made console.

  24. Jerome 0

    Other Recent Reports

    Reports from the same team of researcher have also indicated that car crashes cause more injuries per annum than cut flowers or soft cheese, and that London is situated in the U.K. more often than Venezuela or Morocco.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old technology is more reliable shocker

    Maybe the reason the Wii is so reliable is that it is using much older, slower cheaper technology yet still carries a relatively hefty price tag allowing them to spend more on components such as the optical drive?

    I wouldn't really say you can draw any meaningful comparison with other consoles in this generation.

  26. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    I fixed the RROD

    A customer brought me his X-Box which sometimes would run for a bit before crashing out with the Ring Of Death. On examination of the heatsinks they were bonded to the chip very poorly with a pad which was not sticky but dry. I cleaned this off and used some expensive thermal paste. The X-Box now runs for much longer before crashing out with the Ring Of Death.

    I suspect the damage has been done. However if Microsoft spent a little more on heatsink compound and maybe even better heatsinks then they would not have this nightmare.

    I have an Atari 2600 console, the one with the wood effect plastic that was very american 1970's. That still works. From 1978.

  27. AlistairJ

    As any fule kno,

    The real money is made from the software. The hardware platform is just that.

    Sadly those ejits at MS can't do hardware. They don't realize you can't make hardware in the same way they do software, it just doesn't work like that I'm afraid. Apple do a lot better.

  28. JeeBee

    All old 360s should be recalled and replaced

    Well here we go - actual warranty data instead of reader polls.

    23% failure rate that went through this company, and around an additional 11% (if 50% of RROD didn't go through the company, this is the slightly less reliable poll data that the company did) on top that went straight to Microsoft for the RROD. Therefore we have a 34% failure rate overall. Appalling. Where is the product recall?

  29. Sir Runcible Spoon

    RROD fixed

    I've had two RROD's, both at very inconvenient times. Last time it was just outside of warranty, so I decided to look up how to sort it.

    £15 and a few hours of work later (cleaning the paste was the hardest part) - getting rid of that stupid 'X' clamp that is the main culprit of rrod and we are good to go - not had a problem since.

    AFAIK the RROD is mainly due to the x-clamp not compensating for motherboard warp when hot, so the heat sinks separate from the chips and they overheat, causing rrod.

    DO NOT USE THE TOWEL TRICK! (If you don't know what this is then you don't have to worry :)

    I love the 360, but M$ suck dead donkey's balls for such a basic design flaw.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Since when did Apple make cutting edge games consoles, or indeed anything cutting edge that plays good games? This is a console thread, now fuck off.

  31. Nick 6

    Not much difference

    The MTBF for XBox360 and Wii seem very similar.

    Assuming constant failure rate, and time=mins per month*24, with a survival rate of 90% and 95% at 2 years, the MTBF is about 4200hrs.

    Someone slap me and tell me why I'm wrong.

  32. Nick 6


    Oops, the wii mtbf is about 2x that of the Xbox. I assumed 95% survival when its more like 97.% at 2 years.

  33. foo_bar_baz
    Paris Hilton


    Got to love the 'I have no problem so the statistics must be wrong' comments. What muppets.

    My 360 has no problems, same as about 3/4 of owners. That is still shockingly bad.

    Paris - blonde logic

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nintendo Wii failures?

    Mines been fine so far. Only issue I had was the slot loading mechanism failed once and I rang Nintendo about it and they were all set to replace it under warranty - however as I picked it up to package it, I heard it rattle and a 2p coin dropped out of the slot (which had been put in by my then 1 1/2 year old son).

    I rang Nintendo and told them it was all sorted - but couldn't fault them on their returns policy. It would have been a swap.

    I know people who have had the RROD on their XBox360's. I only know 2 people with a PS3 and they've been fine with theirs. One friend even replaced the hard disk on his and ran Linux - although I think they definately invalidates warranties...

  35. Anonymous Coward


    My Amiga 2000 still works, with the original hard drive and GVP card. It also boots in under 10 seconds from cold start to working desktop.

    Now THAT'S reliability!


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hate MS

    I hate MS and detest them very strongly. But this poll is unreliable and not serious. Therefore I decided to buy one Xbox360 and boy I love it! And the three year warranty no one else offers! MS are really special. I advice everyone to consider a Xbox360 over a PS3 or a Wii. I have a PS3 and really loved it, but frankly I dont play it anymore. It is boring. One hour with the X360 made me a convert! I love the X360 and so will you!

  37. MarkOne

    Interesting... Microsoft are the real losers in all this.

    Worth pointing out the obvious. The 27% Xbox RROD figure ONLY accounts for the consoles that Squaretrade saw, anyone with RROD that contacted Microsoft directly for a repair/replacement is not included in those numbers...

    In Short, the RROD number is woefully short of what it actually is, as most people dealt with Microsoft directly...

  38. MarkOne

    It's clearly not 23% for Xbox

    as the numbers are skewed by people getting RROD fixed directly by Microsoft.

    The report clearly states this:

    "Second, Microsoft’s policy may result in an underreporting of failures by Xbox 360 owners to SquareTrade, relative to the other two consoles. Because the RROD problem is so widely known to be covered by Microsoft’s warranty, we believe that more customers bypass SquareTrade and reported failures directly to the Microsoft. In a survey of SquareTrade customers with Xbox 360s conducted by email, SquareTrade found that over half of our customers who experienced a RROD error reported their problem directly to Microsoft without contacting SquareTrade."

    Of course, neither the Wii or the PS3 have a separate bypass warranty scheme, so those failure rates could be typical (however I suspect the PS3 number are skewed by early 60GB problems).

  39. Neur0mancer
    Gates Horns


    I love my Xbox but I have had the RROD twice. Every single one of my friends in real life and on my friends list has had it at least once.

  40. jai

    yay \o/ sonyftw !!!

    because the wii isn't a serious gaming platorm anyway


  41. Grumpytom


    Maybe a little of SJ's obsessive behaviour recently reported might not go amiss.

    OK, I'll get my coat I think I'm in a M$ theme park.

  42. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @AC at 10:50

    AFAIK, replacing the hard-drive doesn't invalidate the warranty on the PS3, all you have to do is remove a cover, pull out the old drive and replace with a (standard) new one. Installing Linux definitely DOESN'T invalidate the warranty; Sony provide it as an option within the XMB software. I just fail to see the point in doing so on a games console, unless you are doing some seriously custom stuff that requires the cell chip...

    On another note, I know several people who have PS3s, myself included, and none of those have failed. I suspect the failures due to the loading mechanism on the optical drives are largely down to foreign objects being inserted therein, the same probably applies to the Wii. I know one person with a 360. He is onto his fourth one now - two RRODs and a graphics failure. In the end, he gave up and bought a PS3.

    No great suprises with the low failure rate for the Wii either. It is built on simpler and more established hardware - it does a lot less and would therefore be expected to fail less. What does surprice me somewhat is the failure rate of the PS3, I'd expected it to be lower.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2 x RRoD - Still Love It

    I've had a 360 for 3 years. It's just come back from the repair service in Germany for the second time (8 day turnaround). I think of it like a car service, a once yearly PITA.

    The 360s build quality is rubbish, but the Live experience more than makes up for it.

    Everyone 360 owner I know has had at least one RRoD, but they keep coming back for more. The PS3 makes a good media center and the Wii keeps the kids happy, but MS really hit the nail on the head when it comes to gaming. I'll be booking my box in for repair again next August I expect.

  44. Alex 32

    @Wayland Sothcott 1

    "I have an Atari 2600 console, the one with the wood effect plastic that was very american 1970's. That still works. From 1978."

    Oh HELL yeah! Now they are built to last - even the games are.. remember the landfill site somewhere in Texas??

    Still got the Vic20, Atari 2600, Speccy 48k rubbered keys, and ZX81..

    but the ZX81 is very tempermental so I won't in clude that in the "Bombproof" category.. considering one such occasion I sneezed in the direction of the '81 and hours of coding vapourised in a colourful hex dump on screen... "why.. WHY?!" *head-smack*

  45. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Ian Bonham

    'My Amiga 2000 still works, with the original hard drive and GVP card. It also boots in under 10 seconds from cold start to working desktop.'

    Sob! My stupidly expensive A4000 died a couple of years ago after the battery leaked all over the motherboard disgorging something about as corrosive as the blood in 'Alien'. Great computer.

    Of the people I know with a 360, two of us are on our third machines (and mine sounds seriously unwell these days) and one is on his second. Only one has their original console and they seem to keep that in a hermetically sealed room.

  46. Dave 129

    @Wayland Sothcott 1

    No where near as old as a 2600, but I had a Sega Megadrive (actually a Jap import so not sure exactly when it was made) and it only died after years of abuse - in fact it didn't exactly die as such, the video output just got mangled and was displaying in mostly shades of blue...

    My Dreamcast (that I brought to Canada) last I tried was still running - but that was my third of them (second was actually a broken German one returned to me when the first died, WTF?!). I actually don't remember what the issue was now with the first one - but man it used to get hammered!

    The Wii is still fine. 2 years on at least and no issues that I have noticed. It is true though, electronics stuff these days just doesn't seem built to last like it used to be. *le sigh* Trying to explain that to my parents is hard work ;)

  47. Anonymous Coward

    13 RRoD's and Counting

    I play my XBOX 360 for approximately 20 hours per day and it is always running 24/7 even when I'm not playing it. I have a gamerscore of 97,280 so yeah I play a little more than the average person. But playing xbox is my only escape from a life of unemployed misery; I lost my job and my health insurance - there is no work in America for the critically obese.

    After the 10th RROD Microsoft upgraded me to an Elite console with the 120GB drive and sent me 10,000 Microsoft Points for free and a 12-month Live Gold subscription and three games. Since having the Elite console, the failure rate is down to about one RRoD per 2-3 months. Thanks Obama!

  48. James O'Brien

    @Nick 6

    I was going to slap you right away then I saw the other post from you and now Im not sure what to do :)

  49. Anonymous Coward

    @ Paul 4

    Agreed, imagine the outcry if cars failed catastrophically like this, or planes, or ships, in fact, i am struggling to think of a worse failure rate for any electronics item in the last 20 years. Im sure there are some contenders but dunno what.

    UK Armed forces equipment must come close though. SA-80Mk1 anyone???

    Grenade 'cos thats what MS hardware designers need shoving up their poo pipes. Have THIS for a thermal failure.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ jai

    Of course it isnt, thats why its outsold both the ps3 and 360 consistantly since launch.

    There, flamed.. Twat.

    Paris, she's a fucking numpty too...

  51. Aaron 10
    Gates Horns

    Almost 10 years old...

    My wife and I brought out the old Sega Dreamcast and played some games on it two days ago. It still works like a, erm, dream after all these years. Not bad for a game system that's celebrating its 10th birthday on 9/9/2009.

    I own a PS3 as well and have no problems with it at all. It is my media computer for about 50% of the time and my game system for the other 50%, so it sees a lot of usage.

  52. asdf

    of course

    Own both PS3 and Xbox and has been said elsewhere your choice until recently has been a well made piece of hardware will a disappointing library of games or a total POS piece of hardware with a better library. I hate both companies about equal and lol I only prefer the xbox because the PS3 controller is a POS (come on Sony how did you let M$ school you on this one, and drop the six axis crap nobody likes it and the Lair fail should have got your attention).

  53. Sooty


    After the mistake sony made with the original playstations, and their massive failure rate, i wouldn't expect them to do it again and carefully design for possible heat damage.

    with microsoft not having a problem with it before they probably weren't as aware of it as Sony. I'd expect their next console to be a lot more robust as well.

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