Microsoft confronts Xbox 360 hardware failures

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Microsoft Australia has sought to reassure its Xbox 360 consumers after continued hardware failures raised concerns for the console’s reliability, with Microsoft stating the failures have no "root cause or systemic issue". 

“While the majority of customers who own Xbox 360 consoles continue to have a terrific experience, we are disappointed when we hear about any customer dissatisfaction,” a Microsoft Australia spokesperson said today.

“There is not a single root cause or systemic issue with any Xbox 360 console but we continue to look at ways to make improvements to our products and services.

“Microsoft takes its customers’ feedback very seriously and we are doing everything in our power to address concerns brought to our attention,” the spokesperson said.

The reports of hardware failure include the alleged addition of heatsinks into repaired Xbox 360 units in Europe. GamePro magazine claims heatsinks are being installed to stop the console overheating, which has been an issue since launch. 

According to an EB Games store manager, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted by Current.com.au, failure rates for the Xbox 360 have dropped in recent times but still outweigh hardware failures for competing consoles.

“We are definitely getting faulty hardware returns of the Xbox 360, but no-where near as much as we used to when it first came out,” he said.

“On initial launch, close to 30 per cent of our [Xbox 360s] were coming back faulty, since then though we’ve only had a handful of consoles come back.

“As a comparison, we’ve only had one Nintendo Wii returned due to faulty hardware and the PS3 has been quite reliable as well with only about five returns so far.”

The store manager pointed to the manufacturing process of the Xbox 360 as a possible cause for its relatively high rate of failure.

“With the Xbox 360 there are so many companies that have their finger in the pie and it could be contributing to the high failure rate. It’s the only machine where the company that’s branded on it, Microsoft, doesn’t actually own everything in the device.

“For example, in the Xbox 360, the CPU is made by AMD and the video card is made by ATI, whereas with the PS3 everything is Sony, they’ve bought the IBM chips and put it all together in the one go, same with Nintendo, it’s all in-house,” he said.

However, Microsoft insists that it is looking after its customer’s best interests and has implemented several policies to address the issue.

“In April, we implemented several changes to our warranty and customer service policies and procedures that are a result of ongoing feedback from our customers. Our objective is to deliver an improved Xbox customer service experience for Xbox 360 consoles that is faster, more efficient and includes shipping free of any charge.

“This is all part of an ongoing customer feedback loop which helps us refine and improve our approach towards customer service, and is just another step in an ongoing process to make the Xbox 360 customer experience first-rate.”

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