|MS Denies EA Employee Claim of High Failure Rates Among X360sPublished by patto on Saturday, August 26, 2006
Yesterday we were tipped off by an employee of a major publisher who claimed that the Xbox 360 failure rate—at least within his studio—has been much higher than Microsoft has stated failure rates to be (around 3-5%). The employee suggested that the failure rates were actually as high as 30-50% among the 300 or so consoles they received. He also noted that Capcom's Dead Rising seemed to be making the problem worse, with many of the consoles getting much hotter than usual.
Although our source wished to keep his company name out of it, the bigwigs at Microsoft apparently sniffed it out as an Electronic Arts employee. Responding to this employee's letter, a Microsoft representative told GameDaily BIZ, "We can confirm that the letter was neither endorsed nor approved by Electronic Arts. At this point we have no reason to believe that the claims made in the letter are based on factual data as opposed to being just an individual opinion."
The rep continued, addressing the 30-50% claim, "We can't speak directly to the situation at EA and the conditions of use of each one of our consoles and would encourage you to contact them directly. What we can tell you is that the vast majority of Xbox 360 owners are having an outstanding experience with their new systems. Each incident is unique and these customer inquires are being handled on a case-by-case basis. We have not seen anything out of the ordinary in the current return situation that we experience."
GameDaily BIZ has contacted EA for comment but has not gotten a response as of press time.
The EA worker also complained about the customer service at MS, stating that owning an Xbox 360 would actually cost consumers two to three times the amount of Sony's PS3 price when you factor in repair fees beyond the three-month warranty. To this, MS responded, "The length of warranty and repair charge for unwarrantied consoles is consistent with electronic industry standards. Microsoft prides itself on excellent customer service, and we encourage anyone with a concern about the functionality of their Xbox 360 to contact us at 1 800 4MY-XBOX."
As for Dead Rising's role in this, the speculation is that the game can use all three processor cores of the Xbox 360 simultaneously, thereby leading to the system perhaps running hotter than with other titles. The EA employee's claim regarding Capcom's zombie action game is somewhat reinforced by Internet chatter.
PC enthusiast site Ars Technica, for example, writes, "Dead Rising is making zombies of 360 systems. This game killed my system last night; thankfully, I have a one-year product replacement plan so I already have a replacement, and apparently the demo did the same thing to another member of our forums. This could simply be coincidence, but as always make sure your 360 is well ventilated and nothing is blocking the vents. This game seems to put the hardware through its paces." The G4 message boards and other gaming forums contain similar stories from their members.
For its part, Capcom doesn't seem to think there's any issue with the game leading to overheating. A spokesperson told us, "The game works under the specs of the 360 system and was approved by Microsoft. For anyone having issues with hardware, we have referred them to contact Microsoft for hardware support."
Certainly, there have been plenty of other Xbox 360 titles on the market that utilize multiple (or all three) cores of the console. Some gamers had similar complaints about Project Gotham Racing 3 or Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Could certain Xbox 360 games make the system run hotter? It's possible, but the consoles that have been failing are more likely to be from initial production runs when MS was still scrambling to manufacture enough units to meet demand.
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