That's roughly half the 33% failure rate once claimed by Best Buy, Gamestop and EB Games, but way above the standard 3-5% failure rate Microsoft announced a year ago... the only official numbers they've ever released. By comparison, their main competition - Sony's PlayStation 3 - hovers in the 3% range for hardware failures.
Gamestop indefinitely suspended sales of product replacement plans for all 360s last October.
Not surprisingly, the dreaded "Red Ring of Death" played a heavy part in our report, factoring into 60% of all service calls. Almost from day one, three flashing red LED lights on the power display (signaling a general hardware failure) has symbolized the 360's reputation as a machine with serious design flaws. Damage caused from severe overheating soon reached epidemic proportions. Peter Moore, Microsoft's then-Vice President of Interactive Entertainment Business, finally responded last July by retroactively extending all Xbox 360 warranties to three years at a cost of 1 billion dollars, but only for Three Red Lights issues.
The other 40% of the Xbox's hardware failures are limited to the standard one-year warranty. Microsoft charges $99 to fix any non-Three Red Lights issue, with a reported turnaround time of 21 days.
Disk read errors account for nearly half of all non-TRL claims. Other problems we see crop up fairly often are fried video cards, hardware freezes, on/off failures and, interestingly, disc tray malfunctions that also tend to damage game discs.
Last June, Microsoft released modified hardware on all new and repaired 360s, adding a second GPU heatsink to fix the console's overheating problems. It's highly unlikely any modified 360s were included in our report.
UPDATED: The full report, including numbers and methodology, has been released.Further UPDATE (9/1/09): Exciting new data on game console failure rates. See the full study here.
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