Some may have scoffed when Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg declared that 360 hardware failures were in the past, but recent numbers are showing that rates of the Red Ring of Death are apparently on the decline.
The Red Ring of Death had the spotlight shined upon its glowy red self in recent weeks thanks to a Game Informer survey that revealed that a shockingly large number of 360 owners have experienced the hardware failure. Microsoft issued a counter of sorts to the data when Aaron Greenberg declared that the company's history of hardware problems was just that - history.
Now some might have been a bit skeptical of Greenberg's declaration of victory over the RROD, but a new study from SquareTrade, a company that is apparently the world's largest supplier of independent warranties, shows that the RROD might actually be on the decline. Has Microsoft finally slain the crimson beast?
The key, SquareTrade says, was the relase of the new Jasper models of 360s, which contained better chipsets than the previous models.
"In Q4 2008, Jasper units started arriving, although we believe units purchased during this period continued to be a mix of Falcon and Jasper models. Even with this mix, we projected the 1-year failure rate to drop below 4%," the study says. "Furthermore, when looking at over 500 units purchased in 2009, fewer than 1% of customers have reported a RROD error as of Aug 2009. It is still too early to definitively assert that Jasper has given RROD a knockout punch, but such an argument may be pronounceable in the coming months. "
The study admits that it might be missing a big part of the picture. Most reports of hardware failures are aimed directly at Microsoft, meaning that SquareTrade isn't seeing a good amount of data. I don't think the 360 will ever shake its image as the console that breaks, but this could be a good sign for Microsoft, even if in the end, the upshot of the study is that the 360 is still decidedly the winner when it comes to hardware failures: only 2.7% of Wii owners surveyed had hardware failures compared to 10% for the PS3 and 23.7% for the 360.