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Epic Fail: The Perplexing Fail Rate of the Xbox 360
Last Updated on Monday, 7 September 2009 11:00 Written by Wrathie Monday, 7 September 2009 11:00
Talk about your failures: last month, Game Informer did a survey of about 5,000 people to see how often their systems were to break down. A huge 54.2% of them said that their Xbox 360 failed at least once. If you look at it on a grand scheme, the total amount of Xbox’s sold to date is about 30 million, means that about 15.72 million of them would have failed. 15.72 MILLON. Comparatively to the PS3 and Wii? Only 10.6% and 6.8% were to have failed, respectively.
What makes the research more shocking, is that the chances of a 2nd failure (after getting another Xbox 360), is about 41.2%, or abour 12.36 million more units. Comparatively to the PS3 and Wii? Only 14.6% and 11% were to have failed again, respectively.
While some 360 say that it’s unfair to compare it’s fail rate to the Wii, since the system itself isn’t played on often, as 41.4% of users plays it for less than an hour per day, comparatively to the 360s’ and PS3s’ owners, whom about 40.3% and 37.3% of them play there respective systems for more than 3 to 5 hours daily. 360 owners also argue that not enough PS3 have been sold to have a accurate count of the failures, which is skeptical. If 54.2% fail the first time, and about 41.2% fail the second nd time, that is about a 95.4% chance that your Xbox will either fail on it’s first or second buy. Which begs the question: does the failure rate attribute to the large sales the Xbox 360 has? If you take away all the possible failures from 1st and 2nd buys, then approximately 1.91 million have not failed at all. Which is pretty skeptical in itself. This doesn’t mean that the sales were affected because of this, but it also means that this sort of colossal failure would have drawn much more criticism to Microsoft.
It’s also should be noted, that gamers with friends who have a console rate is about 69.9% with an 360, 12.4% with a PS3, and 6% with a Wii. The irony of this is, that I actually know more people with failed PS3s than people with failed 360s.
Customer service wise, the Wii was considered most helpful 56.1% of the time, PS3 51.1% of the time, and 360 37.7% of the time. Which is plausible, since if more people were to have console failures, it would seem that the 360 would have a less helpful time in fixing it. Paradoxically, it should actually mean that the 360 should be the most helpful since the console has a huge fail rate. Both Sony and Wii owners would get their systems back within a week; 360 owners could get it back within a month. The most interesting number of the GI survey was that, about 3.8 percent of Xbox owners, would NOT buy another Xbox if theirs broke down.
Since this survey done by Game Informer was considered controversial (since it was skewed with more 360 owners than the other 2 consoles); another one was done by Electronic warranty company, SquareTrade, and it surveyed 16,000 people randomly (2,500 PS3 owners, 2,500 360 owners, and 11,000 Wii owners) about the fail rate of their consoles. Again, Xbox 360 took top spot, but this time the fail rate was at about 23.7%, PS3 was again around 10%, and Wii was lower to about about 2.7%. It should be noted that more people in the survey who owned a Wii, were most likely to get a warrenty for it (hence why 11,000 was used).
The decreased fail rate for the Xbox 360 can be contributed to the change in processors, as it went from a 90nm CPU/90mn GPU processors (which is considered the cause of the “Red Ring of Death”) to a 90nm CPU/65nm GPU processors. The 90/65 processors actually spiked an increase of fail rates by 10%, only to lower before it was replaced again by the 65/65 processors. From Q3 2008 on ward, the 360 had about less than 4% failures, and a study done on 500 Xboxs released in 2009 revealed that 1% of them have failed. Which is a good improvement for the system.
My overall opinion of the system from day one, was that the Xbox 360 is probably the worst designed game systems ever, and this evidence proves it. The overall designed is flawed, which is the reason for such failures to occurred. While they decided to dumb down the processing (which in hind-sight is a good thing environmentally), they still neglect to REDESIGN the system. The 3.8% figure (of owners who’d not by a 360 if it broke down) baffles me the most, making me wonder if the consumer is really conscious of the fact that their hard earned (or parents earned) money is virtually thrown down the toilet if the system fails. If I had a 360, and it broke down a few times, I’d probably rally a huge protest to MS to make a better system or get a different system and not let MS milk me dry of my bucks. But that’s just me.
Since my biased toward the system is obvious, let me say this to be fair: If they ever do decide to redesign the 360, then I’ll be one of first ones in line to buy one. But for now, I’d rather stick to my 10% failure PS3 and 2.6% failure Wii.