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The X-Clamps on the Xbox 360 motherboard (Source: AnandTech)
Console service company Micromart will no longer repair Xbox 360 due to alleged design flaw

UK-based game console repair company Micromart has been fixing video game systems for over a decade. On its website it advertises that it will repair PlayStation 2, original Xbox, PSP and replace screens for other handheld systems.

Micromart, which used to repair the Xbox 360, recently posted a notice on its website that it “has now withdrawn from offering a repair service for the dreaded 3 Red Lights fault.”

The company states that, “This problem is endemic on the Xbox 360 console and the volume has made this repair non-viable.” Micromart will also no longer fix Xbox 360 consoles that display screen freezing problems. The company, however, will continue to support all other repairs to the consoles.

“We were seeing about 30 a week before we pulled the plug on the service,” said Micromart’s Jeff Croft to GamesIndustry. “We saw it over a period of several months and it was just getting worse. It began towards the end of last year. Once the twelve month warranty finished then we started to see more and more machines being sent in to be looked at.”

“The work we had done to the console lead us to believe that basically it was a fault with the motherboard and not something that could be resolved easily. And it wasn't going to go away,” continued Croft.

 “We're not taking that thing on board; we won't repair them. We originally did some work with it but it's labour intensive and it isn't really a feasible repair for us to undertake. We would probably end up charging GBP 100 [$202] for a repair and we still wouldn't be happy with the end result,” he added.

A recent investigation by DailyTech on Xbox 360 warranty returns revealed that up to a third of Microsoft’s latest console fail.

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At what point...
By SiliconAddict on 7/3/2007 9:30:59 AM , Rating: 5
does evidence turn from anecdotal to damning? When you start to get enough of this shit...well it starts to make the case this this IS a widespread problem. Contrary to what the fanbois and Microsoft say.

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 10:12:10 AM , Rating: 2
1. The connotation of "fanboy" is that they are irrationally enthusiastic for the product/company beyond reason - I would consider that a negative trait

2. You say Microsoft is being unethical - what are they doing that is unethical? I'm not much into XBOX, but it seems like they've been paying for in-warranty issues and have extended some warranties. Unethical would be if they didn't honor the warranty.

And don't tell me that Microsoft intentionally planned for the product to fail just after the warranty expired. That's doesn't make any logical sense, and it would be very difficult to design the product so that it "wears out" right at that point in time.

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 10:19:58 AM , Rating: 2
1. The connotation of "fanboy" is that they are irrationally enthusiastic for the product/company beyond reason - I would consider that a negative trait

Irrational is an opinion. They are enthusistic about the product or service they received. No says you have to be as well. Its like freedom of religion - everyone has the right to it, and to speak about it, in public. If you dont like it, dont listen. But its still not right to say they are wrong, just because you believe you are right.

2. You say Microsoft is being unethical - what are they doing that is unethical? I'm not much into XBOX, but it seems like they've been paying for in-warranty issues and have extended some warranties. Unethical would be if they didn't honor the warranty.

What I mean by unethical here, is not releasing statistics about the failures, or admitting that the RROD is a widespread problem. If they did admit, then that would open case for lawsuits. I didnt say they were doing anything illegal. You are correct that they are honoring products under warranty, but with only a 12 month warranty on the product, taking a month turnaround time to get the return item from warranty, and them sending you back a refurbished item that already had problems, I dont see how a 12 month warranty really helped that much. You paid $XXX for a brand new item. Your brand new item broke from manufacturer defect, you should be entitled to a brand new item, free from manufacturer defect.

No one is saying anything about intentially failing, because i agree, thats just stupid talk.

RE: At what point...
By SigmaHyperion on 7/3/2007 10:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
Using that logic EVERY company is unethical. No company in their right mind is going to tell you the failure rate of any of their products. Besides, in general terms, MS already said what it was -- roughly the same as any other consumer electronic device.

Whether you believe that or not is another matter, but even if they told you it was 12.82% would you believe that? Probably not because you already have an idea in your mind on what you think the number really is and if MS doesn't reaffirm it they are being "unethical".

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 10:38:37 AM , Rating: 2
I dont have any number set in mind to be honest, and im not a fanboy of anything. I dont even own a console. I had a 360 for a few months and sold it on ebay once i heard about the RROD issues. But i definately wasn't a fan of the system. I played about an hour a week of madden and that was it.

I don't believe the standard 3-5% return rate from MS, and i defiantely dont believe the 33% return rate posted yesterday.

So before you accuse me of being a fan or a backer of something, just know that I am not on either side. Meerly looking in from the oustide, posting my opinions - whether you like them or not is your business, and you are entitled to your own opinions as well.

RE: At what point...
By Samus on 7/4/2007 5:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
man i wouldn't debate with this guy he's hardcore.

RE: At what point...
By cuteshox on 7/5/2007 5:12:28 PM , Rating: 2

RE: At what point...
By wallijonn on 7/3/2007 10:56:22 AM , Rating: 3
No company in their right mind is going to tell you the failure rate of any of their products.

In the case of Firestone and Cooper tires, the government forced them to disclose their rates, which were bought forth through the number of law suits which involved people dying.

Could Sony have kept their dirty little secret, i.e. exploding batteries, 'secret'? Not when you see the news flashes on the 6pm news.

By that reckoning, the reason why MS hasn't disclosed their figures is because their productsare not exploding, causing fires and personal injury.

RE: At what point...
By Oregonian2 on 7/3/2007 12:50:00 PM , Rating: 3
All of those were safety/health threatening issues. Unless the red LED lights starting killing people then it really doesn't get into that category, IMO.

RE: At what point...
By Martimus on 7/5/2007 1:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
Would that mean that the red LED lights turn the machine into HAL? (from 2001) I just remember that red dot, and thought it would fit with the RROD X-Boxes killing people.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 10:46:42 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think that not giving out exact failure rates is unethical. That information is a trade secret, and most companies don't release that unless there is a compelling reason. And, as you said, why should Microsoft (or any other company) freely give out information that could be used against it in a lawsuit, frivolous or otherwise?

RE: At what point...
By staypuff69 on 7/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: At what point...
By Kevil on 7/3/2007 11:09:09 AM , Rating: 2
Its like freedom of religion
Consoles are religions now?? You're right to the extent that everyone has the right to their own beliefs or thoughts but a fanboy does more than just defend their position. They attack those who have different views than them, they hold strong ties to a company/product to the extent that they often ignore any misgivings. Overall fanboy behaviour makes the community a less welcoming place and damages it as a whole. But then this is just my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree.

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 11:46:41 AM , Rating: 2
Now dont start purposely misinterpreting what was said. I suggest you read again what we were discussing.

The "just like freedom of religion" statement probably should have been rephrased to "freedom of speech". It was merely backing up the fact that fanboys of all products have the right to proud of their products, and express their opinions about theirs and other products on the market.

I do agree that there are bad apples in the fanboy market who's puprose to put down everyone else's products out of hate towards those companies. However, its not fair to classify all of them in that category.

There are people who ride Harley's, will only buy Harley's, and who tell everyone else how great they are and that they should get one too if they are looking for a bike. Out of those people - there are some that hate every other manufacturer and put them down, and there are also some that just prefer the Harley and have nothing against other manufacturers.

All im trying to say is that not everyone in that "fanboy" category deserves to be put down. Its like a women making a statement that all men are the same.

RE: At what point...
By wallijonn on 7/3/2007 10:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
And don't tell me that Microsoft intentionally planned for the product to fail just after the warranty expired. That's doesn't make any logical sense, and it would be very difficult to design the product so that it "wears out" right at that point in time.

Then what is "Planned Obsolescence"?

Take any circuit and cut the safety margins to the bone (if a capacitor is rated to +/- 20%, then use the -20% figure in your circuit design; instead of rating the capacitor for 1.5x the actual voltage, just use the actual voltage rating), do a study that says that "x" part will likely have a lifespan of "Y" time and you can almost guarantee, with about 95% - 99% certainty that said product will last "z" days, weeks, months, years. After all, by designing a circuit to save $0.005, multiplied by millions (like capacitors) you can save a buck or two per finished unit, thereby translating into millions of dollars per year.

That is one reason why I buy only Intel motherboards. After going through 3 Abit mobos which showed the "pop corning" capacitor problems, I swore off all non-OEM manufacturers. I have an IBM monitor that is over 25 years old and it has been running for years, I have 2 DEC 21" monitors that are over a dozen years old. But I already see problems with my 2 year old HP 21" monitor.

It really is just a matter of using quality parts, inserting them into well engineered circuits, and doing QUALITY QC (quality control).

In MS's case it would seem that the circuits were poorly engineered, the hardware engineering was minimal, the quality control almost non-existent. Result: excessive returns of defective parts.

Personally, logically, any product that has an >10% return rate is a poor product. I would expect Infant Mortality to only account for <1% of said returns.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 11:00:46 AM , Rating: 2
Then what is "Planned Obsolescence"?

It is a figment of your imagination.

Think about it - why would Microsoft cut corners on quality - or worse yet, design in "planned obsolescence" as you claim? Quality problems could cost Microsoft hundreds of millions of dollars in warranty costs, lost revenue, damage to their repuation, exposure to lawsuits, etc. Don't you think Microsoft managers realize this when they design a volume product like XBOX?

In my opinion, most quality problems are the result of incompetence, not the result from a conscious decision to lower the product cost and useable life. They result from not having a good quality system surrounding the design and manufacture of a product.

Your assertion about the circuit design being bad is unfounded - there is no public information to indicate whether it was bad design, bad manufacturing, bad components, etc.

Regarding motherboards, I also buy only Intel motherboards for their quality. But I don't think you can fairly blame Asus, etc. for the capacitor issues that have plagued that industry. I don't think the MB manufacturer could have known about or avoided using those bad parts.

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 11:03:51 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed.....but someone needs to pay for the poor Quality Assurances practices. Unfortuantely, 99% of the time is the consumer that ends up paying for it.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 11:09:02 AM , Rating: 1
Not sure about your 99% figure, but I'd guess that companies pay dearly in direct warranty costs for such problems, not to mention the value of the damage to their reputation due to poor product quality.

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 11:50:16 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps not 99%, but the idea was that the consumer pays for it in the end, in one way or the other. The companies will increase the prices of other products on the market in a similar category, or increase the prices of the next gen console in order to make up for losses. After all, the bottom line is the shareholders, and increasing the stock price. One way or the other, it needs to maintain or go up, and making money from their products/services is how its done.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 12:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Companies set prices based on the value of the product to the consumer, not based on the cost to produce the product. Therefore, the price is usually as high as the consumer/market will bear, and therefore, higher-than-expected warranty costs are more likely to come off the company's bottom line.

RE: At what point...
By Timeless on 7/3/2007 6:56:41 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe Microsoft is trying to follow Sony's footsteps with the PS2. IIRC the PS2 had a high failure rate when it first came out too. And in the end, Sony had the most consoles sold. Maybe Microsoft is taking taking it to the extreme this time with its Xbox360. Pretty interesting idea if you ask me...

RE: At what point...
By Parhel on 7/3/2007 4:52:21 PM , Rating: 3
It may not apply to consoles or computer components, but many products are without a doubt specifically designed to fail after a certain amount of use.

Inexpensive vacuum cleaners manufactured in the 1950's are still running perfectly well, but most modern vacuum cleaners will last for around two years of regular use. Why? After the financial failure of ElectroLux, most manufacturers redesigned their vacuum cleaners so that the dust was pulled directly through the motor, causing eventual failure. It doesn't make sense for a manufacturer to make a product that you will only need to buy once and will last forever.

I don't think you see that it electronics as much because the natural progression of technology makes that unnecessary.

RE: At what point...
By Oregonian2 on 7/3/2007 1:08:06 PM , Rating: 3
Nope, for multiple reasons.

One is that selling the console isn't big money maker, it usually is a loss leader. Planned obsolescence is something to make you buy a replacement, that's NOT what Microsoft wants even if they could.

If you've ever done MTBF calculations for a product (as an electronic engineer, I have for some products I've designed), it's a SWAG at best. It's very hand-wavy in terms of part specs and more importantly conditions under which even those numbers were made and how one corrects for the real conditions being different than that. About the only way to have accuracy is if one has a single part that has a really bad reliability so that it dominates, and even then only if it's well characterized for one's usage conditions. Trying to "hit" just-after-warranty is like trying to hit the moon with a bottle rocket. About the only way to do it would be to empirically modify the design using real failure rate statistics but the feedback loop is so slow the product would be obsolete long before being able to achieve the goal. Personally, my goal is to have the calculated be conservatively at least ten years and hope it's much better than that (my stuff might actually be used that long).

That said, consumer gear may tend to be made using parts where the maker says "MTBF? What's that?". May get crap, but still, it won't be a controlled-to-just-after-warranty failure sort of crap.

RE: At what point...
By mindless1 on 7/3/2007 4:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
There was no rational reason why others promoted the idea of it failing just after the warranty period ended. That was merely the point at which repair options shifted from manufacturer to 3rd party.

While it is unreasonable to think a manufacturer tried to make a hardware component fail at a given point, they can still willfully choose design, manufacturing process and parts of lower quality, not expected to last as long in a typical use. The lifespan of the product is expected to go down as they cut corners to maximize profits.

I don't mean to blame the designer and manufacturer entirely though, any moreso than we could blame any evolving tech for being imperfect. The rapid changes in the computing/gaming industry prevent adequate time to develop and debug. Unfortunately that's no consolation for the customer and IMO, at the very least the warranty period should be much longer on moderate to higher priced electronic goods.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 4:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
If you think about the business model of the XBOX - why would they do that? They take a loss on the hardware sale in order to have as many customers with units so they will buy software, services, and accessories. Building a unit that falls apart after a year or two of use contradicts that whole model.

The only logical conclusion is that Microsoft and/or its contract manufacturers may have screwed up - it doesn't make sense that they cut corners on purpose.

RE: At what point...
By Belard on 7/5/2007 3:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Well... perhaps they are designed to fail after a year? yeah, they could put some code in the XBOX that when you first turn it on - it starts its countdown to self-destruction... there is a computer in the Xbox360, afterall.

Not hard to do at all, and perhaps the early xbox models, the code was buggy and caused death too early ;)

ROD & overheating is the most I hear about Xbox360 - geez, theres about 10 different companies selling system coolers for xbox360.

How many for PS3? BTW: Sony says their failure rate of PS3 is under 1% - which maybe true.

RE: At what point...
By deeznuts on 7/3/2007 12:51:16 PM , Rating: 5
People are "fanbois", aka "Fanboys", because they have a positive experience with a service or product. Xbox 360 "Fanbois" have obviously enjoyed their purchases to the fullest extent, have not experienced with vast issues with the console, and wouldnt trade it for anything else. I dont think that deserves to give them a negative classification.
You're wrong. Some people are fanboys because of a positive experience. Some people are fanboys because of hatred for another company. Some are fanboys just because they picked one side. Some are because they like the underdog. There are many reasons for being a fanboy, and positive experience is just one of them.

This goes with everything too. Look at Cubs fans, what positive experience do they have?

RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 1:05:06 PM , Rating: 1
This goes with everything too. Look at Cubs fans, what positive experience do they have?

What positive experience do they have? Man, you are very uninformed. Have you ever lived in chicago? I did for over 3 years. People, aka the North Siders, are not fans of the cubs because they win or lose. They are fans of the cubs because they love the city of Chicago, they love the traditions of the team, they love wrigley field and the classic players: Santo, Banks, Sandberg to name a few.

The majority of White Sox fans reside on the near south side of the city which has a history of being low income & minorities. Not until recently - when they won the World Series - did other people throughout the city start jumping on the Sox bandwagon, but that has quickly come to an end as well.

You're wrong. Some people are fanboys because of a positive experience. Some people are fanboys because of hatred for another company. Some are fanboys just because they picked one side. Some are because they like the underdog. There are many reasons for being a fanboy, and positive experience is just one of them

Ding ding ding! Exactly what i've been trying to say. We all know there are bad apples everywhere. My debate was merely saying that you cannot classify ALL fanboys in a negative sense. Becuase not all are that way.

RE: At what point...
By deeznuts on 7/3/2007 4:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
Take it easy bruh regarding the cubs, it was a joke. Lovable losers ring a bell?

RE: At what point...
By kellehair on 7/3/2007 10:26:32 AM , Rating: 1
My 360 just got the 3 red lights failure. My warranty expired 2 weeks ago. M$ cut the repair cost to $70 for me but I'm still pissed.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: At what point...
By hr824 on 7/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 2:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's not defective if it failed outside of warranty, right? :o)

My point is that, at least it costs $70 to fix instead of $250, $300, etc. since that is probably closer to the real cost of the repair, considering the complexit as well as the cost to fix other kinds of electronic equipment.

RE: At what point...
By hr824 on 7/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: At what point...
By Christopher1 on 7/4/2007 1:22:54 AM , Rating: 2
Right on! If a system has a problem like this, it should be fixed for free and they should offer a life-time warranty on the console.

Really, this BS about "It has a failure rate equivalent to other consoles!" is just that - BS.

The first Atari's - the first real home console - had a failure rate of almost 0%, they just never broke, but they were exceptionally simple in design.

The Nintendo 8-bit had a failure rate of .01%. Less than 1 out of every ten thousand consoles sold had a manufacturing defect that killed the console. Same thing for the SNES. Same thing for the N64. Same for the Gamecube. Same for the Wii thus far, I still haven't seen any articles where someone has to send one back for a warranty fix unless they dropped it or something similar.

The PS had a failure rate of .01 percent as well, when it first came out. Same with the PS2. I don't know about the PS3, because it hasn't been out long enough for there to be reliable stats.

The original X-Box had a HORRENDOUS failure rate of about 10%. After they beefed up heatsinks and changed a few other things.... it got to the .1% failure rate, still high, but not unacceptable.

33% is too high of a failure rate for any product, and if people have proof that the failure rate is that high.... it's time for a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all customers, because Microsoft is selling a known-defective product, which is illegal by federal law if something fails more than 1% of the time.

RE: At what point...
By TomZ on 7/4/2007 9:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
Can you provide some links to back up your failure rates of 0% for the Atari, 0.01% for the Nintendo, and 0.01% for the PS? I find those figures a bit hard to believe.

RE: At what point...
By hr824 on 7/3/2007 2:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
My point is, if the 33% rate it true then why in gods name would I even bother to throw good money after bad? IF MS wants to keep me as a customer then they should fix there mistakes for free.

If the falure rate was under 5% (still high if you asked me)then it falls under the shit happens catagory and I eat the 70/140 dollars and go about my busness. At 33% ( if true) thats damn near fraud and they lose me as a costumer for ever.

Now if MS admits it mistake and makes it right they have a loyal costumer for life.

I think theres a PS3 in my future;)

RE: At what point...
By geddarkstorm on 7/3/2007 4:36:40 PM , Rating: 3
That's hard to say. If all they have to do is re-solder a transistor back to the motherboard, that can't cost much at all to do--in fact, probably just the cost of paying the employee, but I doubt it would even take an hour to perform.

No matter how complex or simple something is, cost is dependent on what the problem is and how skilled (and hopefully therefore how highly payed) the worker needs to be to fix it.

To someone poor like me, paying 70 bucks to fix a crummy 500 buck console would be like salt and lemon juice in the wound, so it is Not a silver lining at all. However, that's the gambit all consumers risk when buying a product which lasts past its effective warranty, and why I'm not buying any of these horribly expensive consoles.

RE: At what point...
By Belard on 7/5/2007 3:39:00 AM , Rating: 2
In the Consumer repair business - repairs are expensive. And companies HATE doing repairs on warranted products, which can eat the profit on that item.

A failed capacitor or SMT failure on such a console may cost $50~150 per repair. (I don't know what systems M$ has in place for authorized repair centers).

Lets say $1 for the part. At least $50~75 for labor for a simple repair. Ever see the still shots on taking apart a 360? Then having to put it all back together again? It takes time to do all of that. If the service tech is paid 1hr of work - but if takes 3 hours to fix it, then the tech/shop is losing money and time to work on other things. This IS normal as well - every once in a while, there will be a job that takes a little long, but the SIMPLE jobs that take 30mins makes up for it. But if a model is constantly failing and costing more to repair than what they are getting paid for - it becomes a problem.

An expensive piece of consumer electronics fails - its a problem.

RE: At what point...
By FITCamaro on 7/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: At what point...
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 11:52:50 AM , Rating: 3
Thats a good way to go. Especially with the ability to return for a brand new console.

However, we shouldn't HAVE to buy an extended warranty out of fear that something is bound to happen right after 1 year.

RE: At what point...
By ViperROhb34 on 7/4/07, Rating: 0
By OrSin on 7/3/2007 9:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
At first I was thinking. So you dont want the work, what is wrong with you. But it seems they are saying they cant fix it right without charging too much. My guess is the quick and easy fix was not holding and people was sending it back in repairs again. That would kill thier bottom line so I guess I can understand. Luck me my 360 has never died on me , but then again I only use it to stream video.
Maybe one day they will have game I want to play. And for the record I dont like FPS and It seems my friends all perfer the sport games on the PS2 to the same ones that are on the Xbox.

RE: Damn
By Murst on 7/3/2007 9:32:56 AM , Rating: 2
It still seems silly that they wouldn't repair it. Common sense would be to raise the price of the repair service for the 360. Unless they believe that they'd need to hire more people and the 360 issue is not a long term problem.

RE: Damn
By Goty on 7/3/2007 9:37:15 AM , Rating: 5
They aren't repairing the consoles because they can't repair the consoles to a satisfactory level.

RE: Damn
By Oregonian2 on 7/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: Damn
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 1:30:32 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't get that from the article - I think they are saying that they can't fix them cost effectively to the point where they are confident in the fix.

If you ignore cost, there is no reason something can't be fixed. Think about opening the enclosure, replacing everything with new parts, and returning it to the customer. That fixes the problem, although it might not be cost effective.

RE: Damn
By Goty on 7/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: Damn
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 4:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't mean they can't fix it - obviously anything with replaceable components can be fixed. The only question is whether the repair is cost effective.

RE: Damn
By Goty on 7/3/2007 4:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Can you please show me where I said that the consoles couldn't be fixed? Also, the repairs not being cost effective is the whole root of the problem here, as has been my stance all along.

RE: Damn
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 5:08:35 PM , Rating: 3
OK, so we agree with one another then!

RE: Damn
By mindless1 on 7/3/2007 4:57:38 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily, it could also be that they don't feel comfortable fixing it even onto the point of "like new" state, charging for this when they expect the same console has a high chance of failing again.

It goes against their reputation, customer perception, to fix something only to have it fail again a year later.

RE: Damn
By OxBow on 7/3/2007 9:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
If they have a standard warrantee on repairs (which they are probably required to have in the UK) then this makes perfect sense. If you can't fix it in such a way that it won't keep coming back, it's not so much how much you charge for the repair, you can't claim to fix it and then let it pummel you with repetitive retuns.

If Microsoft doesn't get a hand on this problem, it's going to sink the 360's profitability.

RE: Damn
By sdsdv10 on 7/3/2007 9:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
Common sense would be to raise the price of the repair service for the 360.

Common sense would also say that if the price were raised to the same as the cost of a new system (the article quoted a price of >$200), why would anyone do it?

That is like saying, it would cost $30,000 to repair a car that originally cost $20,000. Smart money would dispose of the item and just buy a new one.

RE: Damn
By PrinceGaz on 7/3/2007 10:22:32 AM , Rating: 5
Smart money would buy something else, or wait until MS solve the problem with the design before buying a new one.

RE: Damn
By Dactyl on 7/3/2007 10:23:07 AM , Rating: 2
Can you use the HDD and optical drive in other devices?

Maybe some company should start an XBox 360 recycling program where they strip out perfectly good CPUs/GPUs/GDDR3 and sell them back to Microsoft or to someone else.

RE: Damn
By Murst on 7/3/2007 10:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
They could certainly raise the price and not be over the original cost of the 360.

Also, I'm guessing some people would even consider paying more than the original price of the console, depending on how passionate they are about keeping their downloaded games on the original console.

RE: Damn
By Belard on 7/5/2007 3:48:39 AM , Rating: 2
Raise the price?

360 prem = $400
360 Elite = $480 (without HD-DVD drive)
PS3 = $600

Add $50~100 to improve the quality? Then that'll nix the Cost less than PS3 slogan.

By crystal clear on 7/3/2007 10:28:17 AM , Rating: 5
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With the growing number of complaints surrounding the failures of Xbox 360 hardware, both owners and prospective buyers of the games console often wonder if Microsoft is doing anything to improve the reliability of the hardware.

Xbox Killed Baby, Lawsuit Claims

The lawsuit alleges an overheated electrical supply line for an Xbox 360 sparked the blaze, according to an article in InformationWeek, however the suit claims the fire occurred in late 2004. The magazine concludes that the product involved must have been a first-generation Xbox (not Xbox 360) unit.

Microsoft recalled 14 million Xbox power cords because of potential fire hazards in February 2005, about two months after the Warsaw fire occurred.

In a statement released by Microsoft, the company expressed sympathy for the family, "However, we are not aware of any evidence that an Xbox caused the fire."

Microsoft Can't Comment on Xbox 360 Failures

The list goes on & on............

By SandmanWN on 7/3/2007 10:34:00 AM , Rating: 5
The track record for an xbox is start to look eerily like the track record for the Ford Pinto.

By crystal clear on 7/3/2007 10:42:14 AM , Rating: 3
What a response ! short & precise !

By Goty on 7/3/2007 3:09:10 PM , Rating: 3
No, no, Sony had the whole "randomly explodes" title wrapped up with its laptop batteries.

By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 9:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
basically it was a fault with the motherboard

Even though cooling is essential, perhaps lack of proper cooling in the 360 isn't technically the root of the problem.

A faulty motherboard could perhaps be overvolting or spiking power into the processor, shorting capacitors, etc, causing the chip to get too hot. A faulty mobo would also explain the screen freeze issue since the graphics chip is integrated onto the motherboard (not slot type).

So now the question comes down to....Who is the manufacturer of the motherboard, what is there Q/A department like, and will MS take action against them for their inability for quality control?

RE: Cooling
By alifbaa on 7/3/2007 9:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
My guess is that if the answer were that simple, the problem would have been fixed no later than after the initial batch shipped. To me, this feels like an inherent, deeply embedded, design flaw which can't be fixed without a major redesign. If M$ were to undertake such redesign, they would be opening themselves up to litigation to get every console they've shipped so far brought up to date.

Another thing I find interesting is the fact that it costs about $200 to get it not fixed completely. It makes me wonder what M$ is truly doing for the $140 it costs to send the console to them.

RE: Cooling
By GoatMonkey on 7/3/2007 1:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
For Microsoft it's probably cheaper to send out a new machine than to repair a broken one.

I think they need to add a monster set of heatsinks with heat pipes and an extra fan. That should get the job done until they can fix the actual problem.

RE: Cooling
By mdogs444 on 7/3/2007 1:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
They arent sending out new ones. They are sending back refurbished machines - and in most cases, the refurbed machine is not the one you sent them.

RE: Cooling
By Belard on 7/5/2007 3:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
Refurbished means you're getting a product that IS NOT yours. Repairs is when they fix your unit and give it back to you.

RE: Cooling
By TomZ on 7/3/07, Rating: 0
In Other News...
By bkm32 on 7/3/2007 1:30:16 PM , Rating: 4
Does anyone know how the new X360 Elite is doing? I know its only been 3 months, but since MS denies current X360 failures aren't the result of a fundamental design flaw, I want to know how the newly-designed Elites are holding up.

I've been holding out for a X360 for two years now, and to be honest, I'm extremely apprehensive about spending up to $650 on the Elite, accessories, and games if it breaks, ever. What I mean by that last part is this: I still have my original Sega Genesis from 1989 (purchased Dec. 26th), Sega Saturn from launch year, Dreamcast from launch year, and a refurbed XBOX1 all without any stinking extended warranties. I also have 5-yr old PS2 that's been dropped from up to 4 ft off the ground more than once and is left on for periods of up to 72 hours straight (my kids). Guess what--no warranty. I can go further back to a Sega Master Ssytem (launch) and an Atari VGS (complete with wood paneling) that still work. Oh yeah, NO WARRANTY.

This is what gamers have come to know and quite honestly expect (even the hardcore, early adopters) from their videogame experience. That is, a videogame console that doesn't break especially when mis-treated (as my PS2 from above). Heck, I've even spilled water on my Atari console; dried it off (didn't know about the rice trick as a 7-yr-old); prayed; and turned it on (Pac-Man lives again).

Videogame consoles aren't supposed to break from just playing them. It's an unwritten law much like when you fight with your brother or best friend, "never hit each other in the face or groin". And MS is violating that law, big time.

What we have with the X360 (Pro and Core versions for now) is a paradigm shift backwards. It's great that their Customer Service has been extremely helpful up to this point. My point simply is this, since when did a videogamer begin to need customer service for their console?

My experience with videogames over the past 29 years is not unique, but is rather cliche. It's typical for this very reason alone: there are other things to do besides play videogames (yes, there really are). For some strange reason, Atari, Commodore Business Systems, Coleco, Nintendo, Sega, and now Sony understood this concept. These companies ensured that customers weren't bogged down with CS instead of playing games. MS needs to get this concept.

I want to buy a console to play games; not worry if my systems going to "brick" because I've played too much. That's the whole point--I want to play too much. This is what makes me a gamer.

RE: In Other News...
By otispunkmeyer on 7/4/2007 6:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
i agree, these new consoles seem rather femmer in comparison.

my mates PS2 saw the most horrendous abuse until it finally kicked the bucket. it was dropped, kicked, bashed, it fell off of a mantle piece with the DVD tray out and the front of the tray got smashed still worked.

stuffs been spilt on it, everything...eventually the DVD stopped working and he got a new one on his house insurance. but for a console he bought in the launch year that lasted up untill last year that aint bad. thats like 5-6 years of supreme punishment before it broke.

i have a master system... still works.

the expectation that a console system wont go wrong is definately there. i know alot of people who see them as less hassle and less time consuming than a more complex PC

i rememeber when i got a PS one.... old square grey brick thing. had it chipped too. i remember playing on that day in day out whilst trying to do the same on the £1500 computer my dad just bought was like pulling teeth.

RE: In Other News...
By ObsoleteAcey on 7/4/2007 5:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
You know i couldn't agree more. I have all my original consoles (Master System, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx, Gameboy Advance, Saturn, N64, Gamecube, PS2, PS1, Xbox.. hell i even have my Spectrum (1986), Amiga 500 (1990) and Atari ST) and guess what? EVERY single one works to this day. Electronics SHOULD have an indefinite lifespan provided they are used within manufaturer statted tolerances. The only part that should crap out would be mechanical.. Fans, Optical and Magnetic drives etc

This is the second time i have sent my Xbox360 in for repair with the 3ROD (or RROD depending on what you call it). Luckily in New Zealand we have VERY good consumer laws that protect us even past the 1 year warrenty period... i believe it states that the product must function for it's intended purpose for a "resonable" period of time.. resonable being based on the type of product and price paid. I believe using this criteria, a resonable period for an Xbox360 would be about 5 years so as far as i am concerned, MS have to keep repairing my Xbox for 5 years, so if there is a design fault, they are in for a lot of repairs haha! Also, for any other people in New Zealand who have sent in defective Xbox360s, do not accept refurbished units as replacements. It's illegal for MS to send a refurbished unit back. Under law thay can only do one of 3 things

1. Repair your original unit and return it
2. Replace with a brand new unit
3. Offer a complete refund of purchase price

As for the 30% failure rate, i can believe it may be very close to that. Many people on my friends list are always sending messages to say their xbox is going in for repair. Some people have had no issues at all, but at least 30% have sent their xbox back at least once.

I guess there are some good things about living in Middle Earth :)

RE: In Other News...
By bkm32 on 7/5/2007 2:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
I knew I wasn't alone in this. I also am not dumb enough to believe that a console should last forever (althought that has been my experience). I know that these are very complex machines at the cutting edge of home entertainment, but guess what, they've always been at the cutting edge no matter what generation a console existed in.

If there are any Elite owners out there, please answer the original question,
Does anyone know how the new X360 Elite is doing?

BTW, here's shot out to all the old-schoolers, who still have a working console after 20 years.

Holla back!

The slow leak
By Misty Dingos on 7/3/2007 11:26:17 AM , Rating: 2
If the Xbox 360 is as unreliable as some think it is then it is not in MS's best interest to announce that to the world and rush out there to repair them. Their best interest is in avoiding the issue in public for as long as possible and brew up fixes in the back rooms. Implement the fixes in production and replace broken systems with updated systems from repair facilities. That is the best interest of MS.

The best interest of the consumer is to have a system that works as advertised forever. These two goals are at an impasse.

To remedy the impasse MS will have to repair or replace some 30% of the systems they have sold to date. Worse yet the remaining original 70% of existing systems will have a lower that designed life span. This would be consistent with a system wide defect. So MS will have to conceal from the consumer that until the Xbox 360 has a valid engineering fix the systems sold will break prematurely. And then implement the repair without ever acknowledging the defect was there in the firs place. This will cost MS little in real cash and public perception.

The consumer’s course of action is to force MS to the table sooner with threat of or actual civil litigation. If successful, MS will then admit to deceptive practices and agree to replace, repair or refund for expenses related to their Xbox 360. This will cost MS dearly in bad publicity and hard cash.

Which do you think MS is going to do?

RE: The slow leak
By TomZ on 7/3/2007 11:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
The smart thing for Microsoft to do is to quickly, quietly, repair and/or replace the units, and otherwise do what it takes to keep their customers happy. They also make the necessary design and/or manufacturing changes to correct the problem for new units. That is the smart approach to a quality/PR problem.

The only people who benefit from those types of lawsuits are the lawyers. It costs the company tons of money, and consumers get some token reward.

RE: The slow leak
By Master Kenobi on 7/3/2007 1:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. Class action lawsuits are largely for show. They accomplish very little, but it gives the people crying loudest some sense of satisfaction for "stickin it to the man". Then the lawyers get rich and the people get nothing anyways.

RE: The slow leak
By bkm32 on 7/3/2007 3:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Rock n' Roll was the only way to "stick it to the Man."

Rip-off Britain (not)
By Neophyte1980 on 7/3/2007 7:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
For once it seems like us UK gamers aren't being fleeced for once. Even though the basic price of our 360's is higher, they come with a full 1 year warranty as standard.

I don't personally own a 360 and have no plans to buy one but my brother has one and it's bricked for the second time. The first time was after 14 months, 2 outside of the warranty period. Microsoft happily repaired it for free for him with no shipping costs involved either. 3 weeks ago it broke again and they were more than happy to repair it for him again.

Is there a mandatory warranty period for elecrtonic goods in the US? In the UK all goods come with full guarantee for 1 year although EU law states that you're entitled to claim if the product has not lasted for as long as "reasonably expected". I'm not sure how far that particular law could be pushed or put into practice though.

Back to my bro... He's so utterly fed up with his 360 that he's considering selling it and buying a PS3. In his opinion the 360 is the better console but he's not prepared to have it break a third time. I wonder how many other 360 owners are the same. True, the majority of 360 owners my be happy but, to quote the supposed failure rate and use some very loose logic, 33% of them I'm sure aren't too happy. I would guess that more than 67% of PS3 owners are happy with their console.

Consider this analogy if you will (I'm not too good at these). A UK motoring journalist called Jeremy Clarkson bought a Ford GT on its release. From what I can gather he loved the car but it broke down constantly. In the end he sold it because the nightmare of the breakdowns outweighed and ultimately spoiled the good of driving it.

With all this adverse publicity over reliability I'd be surprised if Microsoft aren't doing something to rectify the issue although I am surprised they haven't already solved the problem to some degree.

RE: Rip-off Britain (not)
By RaisedinUS on 7/4/2007 3:11:52 AM , Rating: 2
Consider this analogy if you will (I'm not too good at these). A UK motoring journalist called Jeremy Clarkson bought a Ford GT on its release. From what I can gather he loved the car but it broke down constantly. In the end he sold it because the nightmare of the breakdowns outweighed and ultimately spoiled the good of driving it.
Seems Edmunds and actual owners disagree.
Looks like the biggest gripe was price/performance ratio, cup holders and even the stripes.
I ask, did you read the article he wrote? Looks like it was a faulty alarm/electrical system, not mechanical.
Of course, you can get a lemon in any brand.

RE: Rip-off Britain (not)
By otispunkmeyer on 7/4/2007 6:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
yeah Roush were responsible for looking after the 26 or so GT's that came to britain in the first place...they put the fancy alarm systems on the cars.

i think jeremy's just kept playing up, really they just needed to get rid of the alarm system...maybes install something less complex.

also, i dont think he found living with the tiny range of the car very helpful. something like 75 miles on a tank? and it was way to wide for alot of london roads.

yes a supercar is supposed to be impractical...thats part of the joy, but i just dont think he thought it would be that impractical, especially when there isnt a petrol station on every corner in the cotswolds.

afterall ferrari proved you can have a practical, reliable super car. just look at the F430.

By crystal clear on 7/3/2007 10:51:17 AM , Rating: 5
I had put forward these questions in an earlier post-

Defect rate-

Can you list in detail where/what the problems are ?

1)Is it the design of the Xbox itself that is faulty?

2)Are the components of the Xbox made out of substandard material & or not designed correctly or poor workmanship.

Do the components undergo quality checks before assembly.

3)Is the assembly of the Xbox & its components faulty & or of poor quality.

4)Is the Xbox tested for quality control before they leave the factory.

5)Which components are problematic/faulty, is it one specific part or all the parts or sometimes this or that part.

6)Is there a software problem/failure ?

Stop beating around the bush,come to the point !

Be specific & dont give statistics

Identify the problems-Cpu-Graphics-memory-storage-cooling-noise etc.

Can Daily Tech do research on this aspect after it finished with the statistics !

Mine just broke :-(
By ryedizzel on 7/3/2007 11:08:20 AM , Rating: 2
I just finished shipping my Xbox back to Microsoft yesterday. It didn't have the "3 red lights" problem, however it was constantly freezing within the first 5 min of playing it. I bought it in March 2006, so when I called Microsoft I was nervous that it was out of warranty. But they said it was still covered and mailed me a nice box to pack it up and send back to them. And for the record I take VERY good care of my stuff. My 360 has been sitting on a well ventilated entertainment center ever since I got it, and I have it connected to a very expensive surge protector. Anyway I just hope I get it back soon and that they actually fix it.

RE: Mine just broke :-(
By Oregonian2 on 7/3/2007 1:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
My 360 has been sitting on a well ventilated entertainment center ever since I got it, and I have it connected to a very expensive surge protector. Anyway I just hope I get it back soon and that they actually fix it.

That is always my worry. I had Sony fix a stereo receiver (flat rate fix). Took two UPS trips to Texas (from Oregon) to be fixed. They paid the UPS for the second time "going" and both times for the return trip (and both returns were overnight trips!). Took something like 6 weeks, but it was fixed and has been working well for about a year (I wasn't in a hurry for it to get back so it didn't bother me, but it might others). It's tough enough for the trained folk to fix things, I tend not to trust third party fixers who have even less training on the particular products (and probably less product-specific diagnostic equipment or software).

By paydirt on 7/3/2007 10:13:19 AM , Rating: 3
Interesting article. Unfortunately, I REALLY want to play both Mass Effect and Too Human (which are 360 only), so I will be buying a 360 (Elite?) soon. When I do, I will buy the extended warranty from Microsoft immediately after purchase (the paperwork for the $60 option comes with the 360 box)

I guess Ive been lucky
By jeff834 on 7/3/2007 10:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
My 360 came with the first batch, I got it in December 2005, and I play it quite a bit and Ive never had a single problem with it. It seems pretty crazy to me that any company can release an electronic product with a 30% failure rate (or whatever it is who really knows besides MS?) when the industry standard is 3-5%. Personally I probably wouldnt pay to have mine fixed if I had a problem, although I know I would get another one eventually, probably used, after price cuts. As for changing fundamental design, how much of the design of the PS2 was changed when they came out with the slim version? I would say MS could redesign over time to create a more stable system, and as long as that wasnt the only reason I dont see why they would have to bring the other systems up to date.

On Xbox 360 #2
By JAH on 7/3/2007 1:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, my 360 got the dreaded Red Rings of Death two weeks after the warranty had expired, so I paid MS $140 to repaired it. A month later, the repaired console broke again, but this time MS just sent me a refurbished (manufactured in August 2005) console instead of fixing the broken one.

I have no doubt that the refurbished console will eventually croak again (the DVD drive is already making weird spinning noises), but am just hoping it will croak within the new warranty period.

MS repair service time is pretty fast, but they need to get rid of that annoying automated answering system for their customer service line. Having to go through every tedious steps with "Max" just to be able to speak to a live person will piss anybody off - and people already pissed off about their broken console.

By kilkennycat on 7/5/2007 9:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
And Microsoft is extending the warranty worldwide to 3 years. They also will ensure sufficient number of return-cartons for the dead units.

Not surprising... since they still have not fixed the fundamental thermal design flaws that I pointed out in a reply-posting to Anand's original "Xbox360 dissection" article, November 18, 2005.

Recap of the flaws as follows:-

1. Dual-fan Forced air cooling through the CPU and GPU high-density heat-sinks with no filtering and no user-access for cleaning-out the crud that will inevitably accumulate and block up the heat-sinks -- as those of us with experience in PC servicing with affirm. The heatsinks in a PC in a typical domestic environment need to be thoroughly cleaned every six months. The Xbox360 internal heat-sinks cannot be accessed for cleaning without special tools AND breaking the warranty-seal. Presumably M$$ paranoia about user-mods.

2. And compounding the problem cited above, the two offending heat-sinks are jammed right up against the case of the DVD-drive, thus overheating this critical electro-mechanical component.

A electronics-packaging design executed by amateurs without a clue about reliability engineering. Failures due to the above design-faults are only likely to show up after a long period of use. The joke addition of an extra GPU heat-sink in the Xbox360 is the icing on the cake. That heat-sink will receive no air once the other two heat-sinks fill up with crud.

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