The numbers on Xbox’s Red Ring of Death

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Around 10 per cent of Xbox 360s have been suffering from that irretrievable breakdown known as the “Red Ring of Death, according to the warranty company SquareTrade, although the figure could be much higher.

The problem forced Microsoft to take a charge of more than $1bn for the cost of repairs in its last financial year, but the company refused to reveal what percentage of its consoles were suffering from the failure.

In a blog note, SquareTrade reports a 16.4 per cent failure rate for 360s based on 171 claims made on a sample group of 1040 Xbox warranties that it sold between April and July last year.

There were 102 Red Ring of Death hardware failures among these, with overheating thought to be the main cause.

SquareTrade notes its report only tracks its test group for six to 10 months and “once this same test group is tracked for 24 or 36 months, the fail rate is certain to go up.”

However, Microsoft extended its own warranty to three years for red-ring failures at the time of its writedown last year, so SquareTrade may not be seeing many of the breakdowns that are continuing to occur.

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