It was the single biggest issue that could have destroyed Microsoft's hope of being a strong competitor in the gaming industry. In its early days, the Xbox 360 suffered from a number of technical problems that would render the console useless, many of the issues were identified by a series of red flashing lights on the face of the console, with the three red flashing lights" Red Ring of Death" (RROD) being the most infamous. The situation was so bad back in 2005 that the courts almost ordered a recall of the system. But I've noticed something happening, not many are complaining about Xbox 360's shoddy hardware anymore; in fact the internet is so silent about the issue you could hear a pin drop, and with research after research and poll after poll coming out in favor of Microsoft's console, one must wonder, did the RROD plague that almost destroyed the Xbox 360 die in 2009?
It certainly looks that way. Millions of Xbox 360 have died the RROD death since 2005 forcing Microsoft to extend its warranty to three years, with the company losing billions of dollars in the painstaking process. To its merit, the Redmond giant has made great strides forward in eliminating the issues altogether and Xbox 360 boss Aaron Greenberg now believes the hardware nightmare is now at the back of the company. But might Aaron Greenberg be right? Indeed research has proved he is.
Square Trade, the largest independent warranty provider in the world, recently released survey data which compared the malfunction rates for all three consoles and what they found was very interesting. In the survey, the Wii was found to be nine times more reliable than the Xbox 360 and four times more reliable than PS3, but with that being cleared, there's a big new reality that resulted from the survey. Square Trade's survey data shows that the introduction of the "Jasper" chipset introduced in late 2008, "has likely solved" the RROD problem.
Detailed below are some highlights of the study:
- Looking at the first two years of ownership, 2.7% of Wii owners reported a system failure to Square Trade, compared with 10% of PS3 owners and 23.7% of Xbox 360 owners.
- Excluding Red Ring of Death failures which are covered by Microsoft's 3-year warranty, 11.7% of Xbox 360 owners reported a failure.
- While the Red Ring of Death problem continued to be the major issue for Xbox 360s purchased through 2008, early indications point to the problem abating in 2009.
- The most common types of problems seen with the PS3 and Xbox 360 were disc errors and output issues. The Wii had more power and remote control issues than the other two systems.
The great news for Xbox 360 owners (I'm a proud owner myself) and Microsoft don't stop there, because according to Gamespot UK, Square Trade has since then found the first year failure rate of Xbox 360 dropped to below 4 pecent. "Looking at 500 units purchased in 2009, Square Trade found that less than one percent had suffered the Red Ring of Death," this according to Gamespot UK.
Now I can rest assured while playing some of the best exclusives on my Xbox 360 in 2010, including Mass Effect 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alan Wake and Halo: Reach, I won't have to worry about RROD in the back of my head; neither will you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year gamers. Let's game on: PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii, let's game on.
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12/25/09 Ernice Gilbert