Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Well, balls.

The other night I officially wrapped up my final semester in graduate school. Not only had my final paper been turned in but I completed the rest of the work required of me as a graduate teaching assistant. Smiling like an idiot, I practically skipped to the fridge, grabbed a beer, switched on my Xbox 360, bent down to get “Left 4 Dead 2”, looked back up and jumped back like a snake had bitten me:

Yup, after a year of no issues my system finally suffered the dreaded Red Ring of Death. I was not pleased.

Thankfully though, my sister has a friend who has a spare console (perhaps for just this reason?) and she was kind enough to let me borrow it until my console comes back from Microsoft. While this was the first time my system had malfunctioned, it certainly wasn’t my first personal experience with it: nearly every 360 owner I know has had their console shit itself without provocation at least once, with one friend having his system get the RROD three separate times. Lynsey herself has had it happen twice: once with one ring for a hard drive failure and once with two rings for overheating. She’ll probably murder me for saying it but it’s probably only a matter of time before she gets the dreaded RROD as well.

My question to you fine people is, why the hell do we put up with it?

Now, Lynsey and I have never been big fans of Microsoft but a recent survey by GameInformer found that our feelings are pretty justified: 52% of all Xbox 360s fail. While you can argue the logistics of the survey (e.g. disgruntled gamers are more likely to respond) considering at least my own personal experiences I do not find that number irrational. Not only are the harddrive malfunctions numerous, but the 2-3 week time frame it takes for Microsoft to fix the problem is double to triple that of how long it takes for Nintendo to repair the Wii.

So what’s the deal? Do we all just keep putting up with it because we truly think it’s the best console out there? How many of you have had a 360 fail? Have any of you been so badly burned that you’ll never buy another Xbox? Let us know!


  1. I swear, woman. You're on thin ice with those words.

  2. I've had 2 fail, but never had a RROD - the first error, a month into my 360 ownership, was the DVD drive failing. I could still play anything that was on my HD (sadly, this was before the ability to install games) but it wouldn't read discs. The 2nd time, the video ports failed - I could get audio, but no video.

    The reason I put up with it is simple - the 360 is the best home console right now, easily. I have a 360 and a PS3, and my roommate has a Wii, so there's no maker-bias (I used to be a hardcore Sony fanboy, actually.) The 360 is all around the best - best menu system, best library, best online experience, and best exclusives. Plus, if you're into online gaming, it has the largest online 'membership.' So I'll stick with a 360 and Microsoft until another console comes out that's better. IMO, the 3 best consoles of all time were the SNES, PS2 and currently the 360, so I have no brand loyalty. I want the games I love, regardless of the platform.

    Also, the 360 has more stable framerates, faster load times and better rendering and graphics, compared to the PS3.

    My PS3 is used as a Blu-Ray player. I have 3 games for it, and pretty much only got it for Blu-Ray and MGS4, haha.

  3. My condolences on your loss :(

    That being said I had one failure myself and over three quarters of my friends have also had to send their consoles to the Microsoft morgue. I call it that because every one of us ended up with "new" (refurbished) consoles, so I assume our RROD Boxes were put out of their misery.

    I stick with the Xbox because that's what I have.. When it failed, I just sort of sucked it up because it was cheaper to get it fixed than to buy a PS3 (not even considering how much money I poured into games). It's also what all my friends are playing so that's where the multiplayer is for me.. And by multiplayer I mean left 4 dead.

  4. I was reluctant to invest in a 360 for this very reason. And it only took a week and a half to repair my broken GameCube back at school.

    I read that article too. Additionally, not only do xboxers [heh, heh] have to put up with the RROD, they also pay for xbox live. If the PS3 was good for anything other than sports games I honestly woulda considered going there. Also, I know someone who plays one game on the PS3 and mainly uses the bluray player.

  5. I'm on my third. I know people that are on their 5-9th xbox. We put up with it because XBL is so fantastic. I wouldnt be half as sad to see my PS3 go to the shop.

  6. At least death came swiftly for your Xbox. I had to log probably 20-40 hours on mine between when the video started to go and when it finally red-ringed and I could get them to repair it for free. I experienced pretty much all of Bionic Commando, Fable II, and my first run of Shadow Complex through a green, shimmering haze.

  7. I was fed up with the 360 the fourth time mine failed, finally out of warranty. Then my roommate bought one, because he got addicted to Madden (which I had bought for 360, and he did not want to give up the time he had sunk into franchise mode by switching to PS3) - and I still rarely use it.

  8. Oy. That sucks. I got the RROD two times on my last Xbox before I got rid of it altogether.

    I'm playing on a borrowed box at the moment, and hoping that it holds together until ME2; so far, so good.

    However, I recently picked up a PS3, and I can't say that it's at all clear-cut between the two systems. Xbox does indeed have the superior game library, but there's really no comparison in terms of hardware quality, at least not from where I see it.

    The PS3 is sleek and good-looking, comes with all sorts of built-in connectivity, does BDROM, and runs quietly. Graphics power-wise, the system is capable of things that the Xbox is not (there is no way to see Uncharted 2 and say otherwise), and on the whole, it just feels... classier?

    But yeah, no left 4 dead, no xbox live, Mass Effect, no live arcade...

    it's interesting that Sony and MS chose such wildly different paths at launch but both wound up eating it. Sony made this Lambourghini of a console that cost $700 or something, taking like a $300 loss each time they sold a unit, while on the other hand MS made a cheap-o tonka toy that broke so often that they had to build a whole supply chain and infrastructure just to deal with product replacements.

    I can't imagine the board-room triage meetings that went on during those first three years were very much fun. Yikes.

  9. Wow! So many (broken hearts/minds/wallets) fantastic and thought out responses! That being the case, there really isn't much more I feel I can add to the dialogue. I'll just say that I pretty much agree with the gist of what's been said: I put up with it because I do in fact think it's the best out there. Not to mention all my friends are on XBL, not PSN.

    Thanks again, everyone - this is great!

    ~ Cary

  10. Two consoles for a combined total of 4, admittedly varying, errors. It's not nice and as the majority of those have taken place outside of the warranty period for me, having to pay for repairs (which I did once) or buy an entirely new console (something I did just a few months ago) is not cool.

    But, like everyone else here, I do it because of the games. Put simply, Microsoft are damn lucky their console's library consists of titles that interest me, because if they didn't, I would have stopped giving them my money for problems that should not exist period. You may, if you were generous, forgive one issue as we can't expect all our gaming consoles to work perfectly, but four issues is not good and it has now gotten to the point where I suspect that figure to increase before we move onto whatever is next.

    Live is definitely also where the majority of my friends reside, though my PSN list is low because I've barely played any multiplayer on it. That and I don't know anyone who owns one. I guess it all comes down to circumstance, at the end of the day. :S

  11. Hope your Xbox problems clear up soon.
    I've recently got your 3 podcast & enjoyed them alot. I always get a massive craving to play games when listening to games podcast.
    I also have a big itch to get a PS3 simply for Heavy Rain.