Console Hardware Failure in 2017

It’s been ten years since Microsoft admitted to the Xbox 360 debacle where @tomchick and many others had multiple shipping boxes specifically designed for Xbox 360 consoles piled up in their living rooms. Do you think if that happened today we’d all be as forgiving as people seemed to be back then?

Thankfully this seems to be something left in the past, but I dunno, it seems like in 2017 we’d probably flip our lids and a lot of more casual gamers might just find something better to do?

Haha, I don’t miss that. I ended up buying something like 5 XBOX 360s?

Yeah, that’s why the launch Xbone was so surprisingly large. It had over-engineered cooling.

It ultimately depends on the response from the company in question.

Look at Samsung’s issues with the Note 7 last year. People thought that it would doom Samsung forever as it would tarnish their reputation beyond repair. But Samsung did a fairly admirable job responding to it, through recalls, replacements, PR campaign, discounts, and a thorough investigation which credibly identified the root cause.

Today their stock price is doing better than ever, the Galaxy S8 is selling really well (though perhaps not as well as the S7 yet), and the Note 8 seems to be getting received well too.

With the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s response was similar. The problems were finally fixed in the long run, the root cause was disclosed, and affected customers were taken care of with an estimated $1 billion in costs to do it.

Yeah, I went through two original Xboxes and three different 360s, that was seriously annoying. I’d have been tempted to bail but I had a bunch of digital content, hated to lose all that.

But as with so many other things, third revision has been the charm for MS. Had my Xbone for three years of steady use, no failures and makes absolutely zero noise.

Whoa whoa… that’s revisionist history there. Microsoft took forever to even admit to a problem. I don’t know that they ever disclosed the actual problem (or problems…). It was all hearsay from people who would try to fix them on their own. Some said it was the X Clamps, others blamed the solder, and still more just said it wasn’t engineered to cool correctly among other things.

Towel trick. Ovens. Jesus…

Was it? I didn’t think they ever actually said what the root cause was, just stuck to general hardware failure terms.

No kidding. I had a 360 crap out before the fault was widely publicized and I had a hell of a time getting anyone at Microsoft to help me correctly. I literally had to reach out to Major Nelson to get anything done. It was a nightmare.

Yeah, MS took forever to admit to having a real problem. Samsung had a similar response, initially saying one battery supplier was at fault, then delaying a couple months before throwing up their hands and going “I dunno?” and recalling all the phones. They eventually figured it out like 6 months later.

You can’t say MS is doing “better than ever” in the gaming division, although I certainly wouldn’t attribute all (or even most) of Xbone’s failure to lead the market to the X360’s hardware problems. Samsung is doing fine, but they spent a large fortune cleaning it up.

For the record, I thought of this thread because I stumbled on old post I made where someone called the 360 the Pinto of consoles and realized it’s been ten years and we’re lucky and happy today.

“Once you’ve chosen the exploding car, it’s comforting to go around picking up your friends. When everyone risks being burned, your own risk seems diminished.” – Gray “The Shape” Nicholson in games™ #77.

Chick had a special batphone to Microsoft HQ so he could keep reviewing games on time IIRC.

If the X360 is the Pinto of consoles, then PS4 and Xbone are the 3-year auto leases of consoles.

Also, timely thread. My PS4 suddenly won’t read discs anymore. I haven’t even started debugging. Maybe it’s a simple fix.

Maybe I’m confusing Microsoft’s response with what people individually saw when cracking open new boxes and seeing what might have changed. I don’t actually know.

In both cases though, it seems like more of a matter of the companies genuinely not realizing how big the problem was, so the initial response was inaccurate or incomplete, then as they discovered how big the problem was they shut up for a bit, made things right for customers, and investigated internally to figure out what really happened.

In Samsung’s case, their first statement was right - one of the battery suppliers was to blame - but then the problem got worse as a new supplier came in and rushed to meet demand, causing similar problems to happen but for different reasons.

The issue with the first version of the Note 7 – with what Samsung calls “Battery A” – was that the battery’s negative electrode had a slight deflection, allowing the positive and negative electrodes to meet. And when that happens, fires start.

The second version of the Note 7 – the second model came with a new battery from a different manufacturer that was supposed to resolve the issue – showed that “Battery B” had abnormal welding burrs (slight bumps leftover by welding) on the positive electrode. The welding burrs caused direct contact between the positive tab with the negative electrode.

Samsung’s battery manufacturing subsidiary, Samsung SDI, made “Battery A,” and Chinese battery manufacturer Amperex Technology built “Battery B.”

Those are the specific problems yes, but the real issue was in design-- they crammed too much battery in the space available.

Anyway, there’s no way MS didn’t know how big the RROD problem was. I mean, people were returning X360s multiple times in a single year.

Samsung definitely handled it differently and better, as much as you can make it better. There were a LOT of people who had already paid to get a new 360 or get theirs fixed long before Microsoft committed to the billion dollars. Like I said, Chick had a stack of boxes from constant shipping. You can say he only spent so much money on that, but the lost time and constant failure to repair it he will never get back.

I paid to have one fixed before they copped to it. I never saw that money again.