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Microsoft's console customers have been along a rough ride

Many Xbox 360 fans stay steadfastly faithful to their next generation console of choice.  However, even the majority of the most die-hard fans would admit that Microsoft's quality track record left something to be desired.  The console launched with a 90 nm CPU that tended to run hot and fail -- resulting in an iconic three red LEDs ringing the power light activating, in what is known as the "Red Ring of Death" (RROD).

Microsoft set aside over $1B USD to deal with the defects and has raced to deploy its Falcon 65 nm update in 2007 in hopes of remedying the issues. 

So just how badly hit was Microsoft?  According to a recent survey by Game Informer of 5,000 readers, since the late 2005 launch of the Xbox 360, over 54.2 percent of purchasers experienced a failure.  After sending their console in for repair, a whopping 41.2 percent became acquainted with failure once again.  With 30 million consoles shipped, these numbers would indicate 16.3 million failures and 6.7 second failures.

In comparison, only 10.6 percent of Sony PS3's and 6.8 percent of Nintendo Wii's experienced failure.  And for those who sent their consoles in for repair only 14.7 percent of PS3 owners and 11 percent of Nintendo Wii owners reported failure. 

Some insist the numbers are too low.  Griffin McElroy of Joystiq, a gaming blog that has extensively chronicled the console's issues, comments, "We're not sure what future techno-utopia this poll was conducted in, but a 54.2 percent Xbox 360 failure rate sounds awfully low. Had the survey's participants been comprised entirely of Joystiq staffers, it would have been a bone-chilling 100 percent."

The survey also showed that while Sony and Nintendo completed repairs in a week or two, Microsoft took a month or more.  One bright spot was that 37.7 percent of respondents said that Microsoft's support was "very helpful".  Another promising sign for Microsoft is that only 3.8 percent vowed not to buy future Xbox's due to the failures.  Conversely, 36.4 percent bought more than one Xbox 360 to replace a failing unit.



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