Last night the BBC Consumer TV programme, Watchdog, had a pop at Microsoft and the XBox 360 over its reliability.
Many of the people who had purchased X360’s were finding that their machines were failing a short time after one-year warranty period had expired. The BBC say that 250 of them had contacted Watchdog to complain.
The most common cause of failure? The “Red ring of death” that indicates that their Xboxes have become Ex-boxes. The name comes from the front panel of the X360 which shows three flashing red lights, where normally there are green. If all of the lights but the first section are flashing, this indicates a general hardware failure has occurred.
When Xbox fan-boys contact Microsoft, they’ve been told that they have to shell out £80-85 to get their little dream machines fixed, as they out of warranty – even if it is just a little.
Many are attributing this failure to the machines running too hot. Anyone who has played the X360 will know that those babies run _loud_, due to the significant amount of fan-age they require to keep them running cool enough.
Microsoft have issued a statement, the first paragraph of which is
“The vast majority of Xbox 360 owners are having an outstanding experience with their systems. That being said, we have received a few isolated reports of consoles not working as expected. It’s important to note that there is no systemic issue with Xbox 360 – each incident is unique and these customer inquiries are being handled on a case-by-case basis.
The BBC are a little slow on the uptake with this as the problem has been debated on bulletin boards for a mighty long time. Having said that, getting it on broadcast TV is about the best thing that can happen in resolving these problem.
As is usually the case with this type of thing, people who have had their plight discussed, (not so) mysteriously get their machines replaced, after fighting with the companies for ages. A case in point is Alex Ainsow, who has now not only been offered a replacement console, but has had the deal sweetened with some new games.
Rumours of Xbox 360 ver 2.0 have been circulating, with one of the items being that the fan has been made much quieter. This would point to the chips having been reworked to get their operating temperature down.
Previously, Watchdog was fronted by Anne Robinson who later went on to present The Weakest Link. At that time, it struck us that Watchdog was the most aptly name programme on TV.