Microsoft pays US$1bn for “ring of death”

6 Jul 2007

Xbox 360 customers are seeing red as Microsoft has discovered a “general hardware fault” in some of their consoles, indicated by three flashing red lights, known by gamers as ‘the ring of death’.

To remedy the situation, and reassure customers, Microsoft said it will be extending the warranty on all 360 consoles globally, from one to three years from date of purchase.

The company said it will take full responsibility for repairing or replacing free of charge any consoles experiencing the flashing red lights.

Although Microsoft has just addressed this hardware fault yesterday the extension of the one-year warranty to three years would suggest a backdating of the problem to at least one year ago.

The company also said that customers who had already paid for their own repairs following this fault would be reimbursed. A spokesperson for Xbox 360 in Ireland said: “Microsoft will reimburse any customer who was out of warranty and paid for repairs due to issues indicated by the three flashing red lights error message. Customers should expect to receive cheques in 10 to 12 weeks.”

The Xbox 360 gaming console, which was released in Europe in December 2005, is claimed by Microsoft to have a failure rate of between 3-5pc, which is the industry standard.

However, according to recent reports, retailers of the Xbox 360 console in the US suggest it may be much higher, and added to this, the new warranty extension is the second in the past year.

In late 2006, Microsoft extended the original warranty from 90 days to one year, only to extend it even further as of yesterday, suggesting a greater need to address this hardware failure than previously thought.

By Marie Boran