Xbox Failure Rate Analysed

“The Xbox 360 breaks five times as often as its closest failure-prone competitor, the PlayStation 3,” starts one of the most sensationalist articles we’ve ever read, taking its cue from the latest GameInformer magazine. “The poorly manufactured, red ring of death-prone console has a 54.2 percent failure rate, compared to 10.6 percent for the PS3 and the Wii’s 6.8 percent.”

According to The Consumerist, “the magazine surveyed nearly 5,000 readers to get the data. And while the 360’s rate is alarmingly higher than the others, it’s still bafflingly low because it blows the mind to imagine that 45.8 percent of the consoles have not broken.” It blows the mind? Really? I’m not sure what The Consumerist is trying to get out of us here, but surely most of those are well within the extended warranty?


“The most shocking number from the survey,” continues the blog, “and frightening from a consumer perspective – is only 3.8 percent of Xbox 360 owners said they’d never buy another Xbox because of hardware failure.”

In my opinion the reported failure rate is alarmingly high and most products with the same failure rate would simply be forgotten about and left in the warehouse to gather dust. But consumers are still buying the Xbox 360 and this is testament to what a great console this white box of wonders really is. In terms of online gaming and the Xbox Live platform of which the console is built on, it is leaps ahead of the competition. Whether or not it has the best games is down to personal preference but it certainly has a huge library of great games.

With it currently at a lower price point than the other systems it stands out on the shelf, and with the reputation of Xbox Live (I believe) coupled with a fantastic library of games, it will continue to see healthy sales despite failure rate figures being published and talked about.

Something else that I find interesting is that the original Xbox struggled to penetrate the gaming market and cost Microsoft a fortune just to get their foot in the door. The system had more power under the bonnet yet wasn’t adopted anywhere near as well as MS would have wanted. However, with Xbox Live and Halo 2 Microsoft managed to not just get their foot in the door but the rest of their leg too. Releasing the 360 early is perhaps one of their best moves this generation and gave consumers a whole year to either experience or read/hear about the experience Xbox Live was bringing to gamers.

After the struggle to get the original Xbox known and wanted MS would need to go to great lengths to get the 360 in the spotlight. Now (this is by no way proven or labelled fact) any publicity is good publicity when you simply want a product to be known. Sure it was in the spotlight for hardware failure but it was (importantly) in the spotlight. Quickly jumped on by slapping a three year warranty on to the console that was valid from the date of purchase, the 360 gained a lot of attention when other consoles were entering the market.

Make what you will of it all. The Xbox 360 is a fantastic console and it is amazing how its qualities have caused most consumers to ignore the bad press surrounding the failure rates and still buy the console. Football teams fail to win games all the time but football fans will still go to watch them.