It’s about time. Microsoft has finally acknowledged that there are some serious issues with the reliability of the Xbox 360, with an unusually large number of defects and returns of consoles that display the dreaded red ring of death.
Gamerscore Blog is reporting that Xbox.com has posted an open letter from Peter Moore announcing that effective immediately, all Xbox 360s worldwide are covered by a warranty extension to three years for any red ring of death issue. They are also going to do the right thing by existing console owners who have already paid for out-of-warranty repairs by offering them a refund.
You’ve spoken, and we’ve heard you. Good service and a good customer experience are areas of the business that we care deeply about. And frankly, we’ve not been doing a good enough job.
If we have let any of you down in the experience you have had with your Xbox 360, we sincerely apologize. We are taking responsibility and are making these changes to ensure that every Xbox 360 owner continues to have a great experience.
It’s important to note that warranty extension only applies to red ring of death failures and that all other issues are still only covered by the original one-year warranty.
My Xbox 360 luckily hasn’t had any major dramas to date and I already paid EB Games $85 for an extended warranty, but I’m still glad Microsoft has taken this really important step. While they should have acted sooner instead of until now denying that this problem exists, it is nonetheless commendable that Microsoft has publicly acknowledged the Xbox 360’s reliability problems and shown a commitment to fix them.
The one other really important thing that Microsoft needs to do is fix the current situation with Xbox Live Marketplace DRM lockout on replacement consoles. When you have a console replaced, you are locked out of the XBLM content that you have downloaded (and paid for) unless you are signed in to Xbox Live while you use it.
Microsoft are on their way to making all Xbox 360 owners feel a little more comfortable about owning a console with potential design flaws leading to early failures. Let’s hope they are prepared to go all the way.