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Xbox Reveals the Reason Behind the Red Ring of Death

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Pradyumna Srivastava
Pradyumna Srivastava
My passion lies in solving business problems with tailored literature and psychology and communicating complex ideas to non-technical stakeholders. I am able to jump across verticals to deliver high-performing design solutions.
Xbox reveals the real reason behind the Red Ring of Death. The “red ring of death” was nothing short of a nightmare for Xbox 360 players. The dread of any Xbox 360 user, hardware failure was a prevalent issue that affected a large number of systems before the release of the thin model.

It was previously considered that the breakdown was caused by the system’s inadequate thermals, however, a new official documentary, Power On: The Story of Xbox, has shown that this is only partially true. Its feared sight informed the console’s owner that the console was no longer operable.

Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death

While there have always been faults with video game consoles at launch, the red ring of death was distressingly ubiquitous.

Xbox reveals the reason behind the Red Ring of Death

Microsoft would replace these defective consoles at no cost to the owner, but the corporation never provided an official explanation for the problem – until now, that is! Todd Holmdahl, Xbox’s former head of hardware, said in the fifth segment of the new documentary- ‘Power on: The Story of Xbox’ that connections within the system would break when it transitioned from hot to cold too rapidly.

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Xbox reveals the reason behind the Red Ring of Death

“All of these folks enjoyed playing video games, so they would switch this device on and off, and when it turned on and off, you get all kinds of pressures,” Holmdahl explained.

The Xbox Documentary

As distressing as the incident was for most fans, it might have been considerably more so for Xbox. The documentary presents excerpts from many news reports from the time, as well as how they influenced popular perception. Former Xbox CEO Peter Moore said that the red ring of doom almost killed the company.

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Xbox reveals the reason behind the Red Ring of Death

“By the time we factored in the cost of repairs and missed sales, we had a $1.15 billion problem,” Moore said.

What’s the good news?

Fortunately for fans, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s then-CEO, donated the necessary finances to keep Xbox viable when all hope seemed gone. Former marketing head Albert Penello notes in the video that while Xbox staff may joke at some of the problems that have plagued the firm in the past, “nobody laughs about the red rings” after all these years.

Xbox reveals the reason behind the Red Ring of Death

It’s tough to reconcile that remark with the fact that the Xbox Gear Shop now sells a red ring of doom poster, but perhaps some individuals find it more amusing than others. It’s difficult to imagine someone from that era liking that poster, but at least supporters can say things have improved with time!


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