Oh, Just Tell Us the Xbox 360 Failure Rate Already!

By  |  Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm

redringofdeathAnother day, another stab at the Xbox 360’s failure rate.

This time, the estimate comes from Square Trade (PDF), a third-party electronics warranty company. Based on customer reports, the company says Microsoft’s game console has a 23.7 percent chance of dying within two years of purchase. Half the errors reported to Square Trade involved the infamous Red Ring of Death.

Overall, the Xbox 360’s one in four chance of failure makes it far and away the most unreliable console on the market. By comparison, 10 percent of Playstation 3s were defective, and 2.7 percent of Wiis needed repair.

SquareTrade is the same company that in February 2008 said the Xbox 360 has a 16.4 percent failure rate, and we’ve seen other estimaes all over the map. In 2007, GamePro talked to some EB Games and Best Buy employees, who generally estimated that a third of all Xbox 360s had to be sent back for repair. More recently, Game Informer conducted a poll of readers, 54.2 percent of whom said they’ve dealt with an Xbox 360 hardware failure.

The funny thing is, you tend to be skeptical of such high estimates until the Red Ring of Death happens to you. My Xbox 360 kicked the bucket a few weeks ago, and suddenly I started realizing how many friends have gone through the same thing. If someone told me that 99 percent of Xbox 360s were bound to die within 10 years of ownership, I’d be skeptical of the claim, but not overly surprised if it turned out to be true.

Which is why I’d like Microsoft to come clean. Let’s clear the air of all these wildly speculative failure rate estimates and get some precise numbers and facts in order. If I treat my console right, can I expect it to last forever? If not, how long is it before every press of the power button is a crapshoot? And what are the odds that the Xbox 360 will outlast the three-year warranty that comes with every new console purchase?

Of course, I’d be foolish to expect such transparency out of the blue, but I doubt the truth could be much worse than third-party guesstimates and anecdotes. Or is it?


Read more: , , ,

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Mark Says:

    I am on my 7th,

    bought 3 with the red light out of the box, had a few come up with errors and had a few with the POP and freeze, than no longer work. Microsoft must have just taken out the red lights because they found a way past the warranty, because they wanted money each time I contacted them.

    They should be sued! They are such a scam.

    I dont buy anything from LIVE anymore as I cant get a number of purchases to work. I use it more for rentals and NETFLIX.

  2. Tom B Says:

    MSFT has sunk over 20 BILLION into the XBox division to date and has only seen 4 or 5 profitable quarters. Someone tell me WHY they don’t spin this division off to some sucker? Because nobody would be dumb enough to “bite”?

  3. ediedi Says:

    Harry, how often do you estimate you used your 360?
    All these failure reports make me hesitate to use mine now. I’d bate for it to break down – it’s become my media center.

  4. Marc Says:

    Can this be broken down into, say the original motherboard designs and the new ones? Is the picture improving?

    I have an original form 2006, the only problem I’ve had was a faulty disc drive. *Touches wood*

  5. londonlegallad Says:

    I was skeptical of the 360 failure rate claims, until my 11 month old 360 died, despite the fact that I only play it 5-10 hours a week. And then my housemate’s 360 died. If my repaired 360 dies a day or two after the warranty ends, Microsoft can kiss my english arse if they think I’m buying another one.

  6. Jared Newman Says:


    I’m the author of the article, not Harry. To answer your question, I think 5 to 10 hours a week is a fair estimate. Before my console died, I had been out of town for about 6 days, and it red ringed after about 5 minutes of play.


    SquareTrade says there’s a chance that the new Jasper Xbox 360 models are less susceptible to the RROD (Microsoft says this, too), but it’s too early to know for sure.

  7. haha, no. Says:

    Yeaahh, Microsoft needs to find out why they're all breaking and get better parts I guess… or you guys just play too much xbox [:

3 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. SquareTrade Reports on Game Console Failure Rates: Wii Most Reliable « SquareTrade News Says:

    […] more coverage? Check out Technologizer,  Seattle Post Intelligencer, Digital Media Wire, Christian Science Monitor, St. Louis […]

  2. might be old, but i lol'd - The Liberty Lounge Political Forums Says:

    […] we're all right, I guess! Oh, Just Tell Us the Xbox 360 Failure Rate Already!|Technologizer Another day, another stab at the Xbox 360’s failure rate. This time, the estimate comes […]

  3. XboX360 of Ps3 .. - GUNKtv Forum Says:

    […] anderen niet, en de cijfers hangen ook af van hoe de retail store een xbox als 'defect' ziet) Dit artikel gaat over de onduidelijke cijfers. Ik denk dat de middelmoot van de schattingen de beste gok is die je kunt maken, en dat is 25%… […]