Does the Xbox 360 failure rate make it a bad buy?

Xbox 360 failure rateDo you own an Xbox 360? If so then there's a pretty good chance that your Xbox 360 has failed once, contributing to the absurdly high Xbox 360 failure rate which was announced in late April by NoFussReviews.com.

The console failure rate survey found out what anyone who has a few friends with an Xbox 360 can tell you: the consoles die. In the survey of 500,000 individuals NoFussReviews found that 42% of Xbox 360 owners have had their game console repaired or replaced and of those individuals 55% have had to have their console replaced more than once.

Specifically the Xbox 360 failure rate is so bad that 12% of respondents have had to have their 360 fixed three times, 6% have had to have theirs fixed five times and 3% have had their Xbox 360 repaired or replaced more than five times. These Xbox 360 failures include the Red Ring of Death or RROD error, the E74 error and any other general console failure.
When compared the PS3 failure rate of 8% and the Nintendo Wii failure rate of less than 1% it is quickly apparent that the Xbox 360 has had some major issues. This survey isn't the first to highlight a high Xbox 360 failure rate. Game Informer found that its print subscribers reported a 54.2% Xbox 360 failure rate in late 2009 and a survey by SquareTrade which found the failure rate to be 23.7%.

"Nearly three years ago, Microsoft acknowledged an unacceptable number of console repairs and took the unprecedented step of offering a three year warranty for certain errors. We continually work to improve the quality of our products and customer satisfaction with the Xbox 360 is outstanding." said an anonymous Microsoft spokesman, who isn't authorized by the company to speak for attribution, in an e-mail to WalletPop.

"The reported failure rates from an online survey at a gaming blog are statistically irrelevant, and do not warrant further comment," the spokesman wrote.

When it comes to statistical relevance, the survey by NoFussReviews, which surveyed 500,000 individuals, including more than 150,000 Xbox 360 owners, has many more data points than recent surveys from J.D. Powers, Apartments.com and Fannie Mae, which are used to gain insight on the behaviors of all Americans.

Statistical preferences aside, Microsoft was referencing the Xbox 360 warranty extension that occurred in 2007, when the reported Xbox 360 failure rates were around 33%, at a cost of more than $1 billion. Since then the warranty extension was expanded to include consoles that failed due to an E74 error.

With high reported Xbox 360 failure rates being reported it begs the question, "Is the Xbox 360 a good buy?" As a gamer who is on his third or fourth console, the thought had crossed my mind last year when I sent my Xbox 360 back to Microsoft for repairs and the minds of many others who have experienced an Xbox 360 failure.

Before making a snap decision we took into consideration that the SquareTrade survey from late 2009 showed a drastic decline in the number of Xbox 360 failures since Microsoft introduced a smaller, cooler CPU/GPU in late 2008. Also of interest, only 3.8% of respondents to the IGN poll said they would never by an Xbox 360 again.

Even with the high Xbox 360 failure rates it is hard to call the Xbox 360 a bad buy. I still personally recommend the system to friends and family on a regular basis, with the warning to buy a new model with more reliable hardware and a three-year warranty. Ultimately it is up to you, but I wouldn't let the a high Xbox 360 failure rate, which includes consoles Microsoft acknowledged to have a higher than acceptable rate of failure, dissuade you from a purchase today.

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