Death to the Machines!

Hi my name’s Loz and I have a problem.

I love my Xbox 360, not an unusual statement for anyone browsing these pages, but yet again I find myself calling its reliability into question after being witness to another red light attack on a friend’s machine. Having been through the treacherous experience of losing a console twice (R.I.P consoles one and two) even the slightest glimmer of a technical failure for my latest machine leaves me cowering in the corner like the world is going to end. A slow loading cut scene or pause in the action has me breaking out in a cold sweat. Quite ironic for a machine that has a well known history for over heating.

So why is it, three years since its release, that owners of a next gen console such as the 360 still find themselves subject to questionable hardware and even costlier warranties, or lack of as the case may now be. Officially speaking, Microsoft has been rather generous with their statistics on the subject of hardware failures, while outside sources, have at one time, listed the failure rate as one in six. From personal experience, closer to five in six friends has suffered the untimely death of their machine.

The word on the street says the new chipsets released in October 2008 should be cutting down the amount of casualties in time, but what about us folk who have a console that predates the newly upgraded models? Unfortunately short of donning a soldering iron, screwdriver and scouring the now rather large selection of Do It Yourself videos gracing YouTube to fix the fearsome Red Rings of Death and beyond, the answer is: not much.

The Xbox customer support team now hardened by the barrage of irate gamers constantly phoning to repair consoles have, from my own recent experience, become rather blunt. In late November last year after finding my ‘replacement’ console dead to the world, I was told “no red rings – no repair” not without a price at least, followed by the courtesy thank you for calling and have a nice day of course. My argument is, with such obviously faulty equipment, when will this never ending cost for continuing our gaming experience end?

Like many, and with the aid of a very generous beau, we opted to get a brand new console (rather begrudgingly I might add after finding out that my replacement console was a matter of weeks past its free repair deadline) rather than pay Xbox to issue me with a second replacement and limited one year warranty. With epic games such as Resident Evil 5 and Final Fantasy XIII on my must own games list due for release very soon, I can’t help but wonder if I will find myself on 0800 I’ve-got-the-lights-again on a lunch break, just through wanting to enjoy the games I’ve waited years (yes years!) to play.

The only immediate prevention seems to be questionable cooling fans which inevitably void the warranty, or outside companies imbued with industry secrets to repair the consoles themselves once they do reach the end of their lifespan. Unfortunately for the time being, replacing consoles seems like an inevitable nightmare for those unlucky, or hardcore, enough to wear one out. Time to start saving the contingency pennies!







27 responses to “Death to the Machines!”

  1. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    Amen sister – I’m on my 7th X-Box 360 (since release day).

    As long as it survives until Resi-5, I’m flying high!

  2. City avatar

    Great first blog..

    Though I cant help but ask (as someone who has never had an xbox, nor will if she has to pay for one) – why do you bother?

    I mean ok, having one for 18months 2 years and then it dies, I can maybe understand then paying for a new one… but 3 or even 7 seems like complete madness!
    And the thing is you KNOW its bound to happen eventually..
    Why not switch to the ps3? (nudge nudge) so far I have found mine to be 100% reliable, and my ps2, now nearly 10 years old STILL works fine.

    To me it just seems a case of everyone with an xbox also had a part of their brain removed..
    you wouldnt keep buying the same car, tv or phone if it broke down over and over, so why not just to say to hell with Xbox?

    Just my 2 cents anyways
    As I said I dont have one and wont because my ps3 does everything I want it too and more.

  3. lordstar avatar

    if its faulty and its not red ringed you force it to redring itself. take that gates you bastard. Shame he does lots of charity I would feel more inclined to hate then guy then.

  4. Loz avatar

    Ahh City, if only the ps3 had the games the xbox did! Its one of the main reasons i love it so much and put up with the failure rate! I was a psx girl for a very long time until i figured wait a sec, i can play awesome games, go on msn AND watch dvds?!? sweeett!

    i will definately get a ps3 eventually, i probably wud be ordering one now if final fantasy xiii wasnt coming out on xbox as well!

  5. city avatar

    Sorry for being completely ignorant, but what doesnt the PS3 have?
    as far as ive seen the ps3 gets more exclusives, and the store is finally catching up!

  6. Snozzeltoff avatar

    I’ve had 4 xboxes since release day and only one has red ringed on me.
    I had the basic model on release day, upgraded to Premium a while later and then i upgraded to the Elite when that came out. Its only my Elite that has died on me, which was a few weeks ago.
    I organised the repair online, UPS picked it up and i got it back exactly a week later with a free 1 month Xbox live subscription.

    Now as long as my J-NTSC 360 doesn’t red ring ill be happy. I don’t want to have to send that to Microsoft Japan.

  7. John.B avatar

    Great first post 🙂

    As for the cooling fans they have caused RR’s for me!

  8. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    Quote: “Why not switch to the ps3? (nudge nudge)”

    I have a PS3. 🙂 – it’s a fantastic BluRay player, and every so often has some really enlightening games (LBP, Resistance, Uncharted). But overall my 360 will always have my favourite control system, all my friends, and it’s the console my girlfriend plays on.

    I love them both, I’d do the same for my PS3 if it kept dying on me. Never leave a good console behind. 🙂

  9. Barry avatar

    Imagine the horror I went through after finally buying a 360 last September, only to for it to give me RROD after a week. I did end up getting a brand new elite model for the same price… but thats not the point!

    It was brand new and years after release meaning they should have ironed out all the infamous manufactoring issues I still managed to handpick a faulty 360!! Bad luck or Bill Gates redemption?

  10. GamerGeekGirl avatar

    I agree with Loz – I have a 360 and a PS3 – but the PS3 just doesn’t compare to the 360!

    The PS3 has had a lot of games late, as eventual ports of 360 games – for one thing, many many developers have complained about how difficult Sony’s Ps3 Dev Kit is to use… Sony – if you want people to develop games for you, don’t make it a pain to do!

    As for the 360 – well, although I do admit I have a personal preference for the controller – It also has by far the best user interface and online service of the three consoles.

    In addition to the ease of it; it has by far the most content in the way of videos (The Guild! Watchmen exclusives! Viva Pinata TV Shows!), Movies (star Wars The Clone Wars!), XBLA Games (Sorry, but I’m not listing the 40+ I own) and even old Xbox Games and the Community Games project to allow bedroom developers to really get into things!

    In comparison, the PS3 is pretty rubbish… I mean, it has flow, The Last Guy, PixelJunk Things, Wipeout HD and soon Flower; but aside from all of 7 things, there isn’t much at all that appeals in their (difficult to browse) store.

    And Home? Well, I entered, danced, had half a dozen male avatars accost me… realised there was nothing whatsoever to do except walk around and be harassed by guys, and logged off. It was just an MMO without fun, or purpose.

    Now, I’m not an Xbox fangirl – I loved the PS2, and I didn’t even own an Xbox – but of all the current-gen consoles, I like my 360 the best.


  11. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    Quote: “realised there was nothing whatsoever to do except walk around and be harassed by guys”

    I do apologise for that, but you wouldn’t give me your A/S/L. 🙁

  12. James avatar

    Ace debut Loz.

    After my 3rd 360 caught scarlet fever, I was sorely tempted to tell Microsoft shove their useless, spontaneously combusting motherboards up their auxiliary USB port.

    But as you so rightly say Loz, the games. All those lovely, lovely games…

  13. Tony avatar

    It’s the games, isn’t it. Once you’ve got a collection you’re tied in to paying those repair fees or buying new consoles. I have two consoles now, one launch day that has been repaired. Twice. And one Arcade that I bought due to not wanting to wait for the launch machine to be repaired and also because I wanted HDMI.

    I see the other comments have turned a bit into the typical 360 vs PS3 so I’ll try and stay clear of that, but one questions occurs. There are more 360s out there for sure – but does anyone know anyone who has bought more than one PS3?

  14. paradox avatar

    nice first blog fran 🙂

    im on my 6th 360 in 3yrs, but i love it, regardless of the reliability issues.
    i find it friendlier online, and more user friendly, plus the updates almost every week get right on my nerves.
    and you know what? if it broke again id go right out and buy a new one straight away.
    my PS3 sits under my TV lonely and neglected, and its only been saved going on ebay for the fact killzone two stiffens my nipples.

    *aims at city* PS3 sucks 😛

  15. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    My first 360 red ringed and I sent it off for repair, the elite came out in the meantime so I bought that. Instead of a reapiered 360, Microsoft sent me a new one, which I sold as I had the elite.

    It then developed a greeny colour scheme after a while, but not everytime I turned it on, but most times. I bough a new one and still ahve the old in the spare room. Any time the screen goes green, I cringe incase this one is going tits up.

    Now I do have a PS3 as well, and only a handful of games, but I do love my 360. For me, the achievements have added a whole other life to the games. I wold never before have played a beaten game on a harder difficulty, I would have moved onto the next game. The achievements reward me for doing so, and I’ve been hooked. Maybe it just appeals to my collector nature, there have been many games where I have had to collect all the gems.coins type things, it’s just now achievements.

    Even so, Microsoft better sort it out for whatever their next console will be.

  16. Noozles avatar

    Nice post….

    As for the PS3 debate… Im the same as Paradox.
    My PS3 has turned into a glorified DVD player and occasional LBP player….

    The 360 gets used everyday…. Im on my 4th which aint bad considering I have had one since launch… and its that point that gets me the most… The acceptance that it will die, and I will get another. No other console has that….

  17. Andy Turner avatar
    Andy Turner

    My elite died a few months ago (while I’m living in Korea.) The concept of calling for help in another country was stressful as hell but ended up not being too bad at all…had to shell out £70 to ship it to xbox hospital in Japan but due to the lower numbers over here I had it back inside two weeks….however I do fear the day when my heavily used hard working machine sees red again and like so many others here my PS3 has become an expensive dvd player and I want sooo many games for the 360 that I’ll end up buying a new machine as often as I need to…damn them.

  18. Donna avatar

    As of January all PS3 games must have trophies. So the achievement argument doesn’t stand anymore.

    I have both consoles. If my 360 packed up and MS wouldn’t send me a refurb, then that would be that. I won’t waste money on buying another one. As City said, you don’t keep repeatedly buying a car, camera, phone, etc if it keeps breaking, why should console be any different.

    To answer Tony, I don’t know anyone one who’s bought more than 1 PS3. Also last I read, the PS3 has out sold the 360 in Europe.

  19. Julio avatar

    @ Loz….right on sister!

  20.  avatar

    I think it’s a conspiracy. :>

    I’ve only gone through 2 360’s but still got my original PS3.

  21. City avatar

    Its not a conspiracy, its basically stupidity – why on earth put yourself through the same issues again and again? No one forces you to buy a new one, you do it on your own.
    Its an illogical waste of money, its not even like a xbox is cheaper than a ps3 when you’ve added together the cost of buying everything separate..
    Sorry it just makes me angry when i see intelligent people all singing from the same dumb sheet and all admitting they are there 2nd or 3rd Xbox *sigh*
    Infact, here endeth any sympathy from me regarding rrod. You should all know better..

  22.  avatar

    I wouldnt have called it stupidity, theyve already made a commitment and probably have invested alot of money in games.

    Why should they then spend money on a ps3 then fork out even more for games they already have on the 360? Given the current Economic slowdown, unfortunatly most people havnt got money to burn.

  23.  avatar

    ^^ Barry

  24. Darach avatar

    I’m on my 3rd 360. But I wouldn’t be without it. When my last two died, I went out the very next day and bought a new one. Thankfully, I can afford to do that, but I went with the 3 yr warrantee on the new one all the same. 😉

  25. Ian Donaldson avatar
    Ian Donaldson

    I’ve not been by here for a couple of weeks so please excuse the lateness of my response.

    I enjoyed this first post, but I found it quite strange reading these comments… regardless of mentality, intellect, intelligence… people should be able to make a decision as to whether or not they want to buy the same console after a failure. That decision shouldn’t be classed as “stupidity” or that they’ve had “part of their brain removed”. If those comments had come from one of us mere mortals (ie those who read the articles but are not contributors) then I’d have understood it… to have come from one of the contributors shows lack of impartiality. Surely the point to journalism is to give an objective opinion rather than subjective?

    I’d always enjoyed your posts City, but as someone who has a PS3, XBox 360, XBox 360 Elite, Wii and many others… I find your blinkered “fanboy” approach to your console disturbing and almost fanatical.

    You can be “pro” one thing without necessarily being “anti” another. I would certainly never question someone’s intellect or brain capacity for owning a Wii even though I personally don’t think it’s worth buying. Each to their own, you have your opinion on something and they have theirs… but don’t assume that someone who supports a console that they’ve already spent a great deal of money on (ie the games catalogue, otherwise it’s an ornament) is an idiot. Surely, as an otherwise intelligent person, you understand the irony in that situation?

  26. Lorna avatar

    Someone prefering one console over one which is your personal favourite should be fair enough, City. What isn’t fair is branding people dumb or stupid because they happen to stick by their Xboxes, for the multitude of reasons that others have listed here rather than jumping ship to the PS3. Frankly, your comments were a tad disappointing :/

  27. Dak Reaver avatar
    Dak Reaver

    ahh yes the good ‘ol red rings of death, i have only ever had 1 360 that i had for a year then i heard a funny noise traded it in and upgraded to an elite….smooth sailing ever since, mind you being a GAME employee does have its perks of instant swappage so atleast thats a load of my mind, and actually quite a few friends whose consoles always seem to break it gets me wondering if they use there disc trays as cup holders while they read a book….Ho Hum.

    anyways good luckk with future consoles *fingers crossed*

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