Amid reports that it is modifying Xbox 360 repair units with additional cooling gear, Microsoft refused to confirm or deny any changes, instead issuing a standard line about the normalcy of updating hardware.
"Regularly updating console components is commonplace within the industry and is a standard aspect of the business for a variety of reasons including cost reduction, improved manufacturability and improved performance," a Microsoft offical told Gamesindustry.biz.
Speculation arose amid reports that some European 360 owners were receiving repair units with an additional heatsink installed on the Xenos graphics core. A member of Team Xbox has also made a similar claim. Visual evidence of the change is available online.
Though there are no hard statistics to come by, anecdotal evidence of unusually high hardware failure rates for Microsoft's console, often accompanied by an infamous "red ring of death," can be gleaned from a number of gaming forums and web sites. Computerandvideogames.com editors, for instance, report they have lost four Xbox 360 units in the past year.
Most of the speculation about the root cause of the failures centers on heat buildup inside the 360's housing, but not one definitive fix has been reported by the modding community.