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Microsoft is mining the Xbox 360 'Red Ring' controversy for profit, and that's not cool

Microsoft is removal the Xbox 360 ‘Red Ring’ controversy for profit, and that’s not cool

Watching Xbox’s Power On documentary, released last week for free on YouTube, was a delightfully nostalgic journey through Microsoft’s 20 ages in the game console market. A wide variety of interviewees and an impartial assessment of the brand’s highs and lows make the six-part documentary feel authentic.

“Jeepers,” I conception. “I want to play Halo Infinite immediately.”

Then I viewed the episode covering the Xbox 360’s infamous Red Ring of Death, a widespread hardware failure that cost Microsoft more than $1 billion to overhaul. And I remembered how gutted I was when it remained to me.

This doesn’t seem like something to celebrated, but it feels like Microsoft is doing just that by selling a $25 Red Ring Of Death “premium print” to coincide with the new documentary. 

I don’t know how countless novel gamers — those whose precious time and energy were wasted by the 360 hardware failure — feel near this, but my blood boiled at the idea that Microsoft is executive money off this issue. I’m certainly not nostalgic near it, and the idea of having a reminder of the one console that performed me isn’t appealing in the slightest.

Xbox declined to comment near the prints.

I loved my 360. Playing Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter on Xbox Live and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on that console was indispensable in getting me through my first breakup as a 19-year-old in 2006. I was fixated on in-game achievements, playing for long hours to unlock as many as I could. (I’ll admit that I was emotionally dependent on my 360.)

It observed like Microsoft had a loyal fan for life, pending my 360’s front power indicator showed three red ftrips instead of the four green ones. That day’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance session was cut glum. A little online investigation revealed that my beloved console was dead. Microsoft started a overhaul program to sort out the issue. Three or four weeks later (it apparently took much longer in my dumb Ireland than it did in the US), I had a operational gaming machine again.

Unfortunately, some of the magic was gone. I kept expecting the dilemma to happen again, and it sure did. And I went novel few weeks without a console. Great.

Pretty much everyone I knew who played their 360 extensively suffered ended at least one Red Ring – some of CNET colleagues who are passionate gamers recalled having up to five fails. (One did manage to avoid the issue altogether; his 360 was a contained one.) A 2009 study of console failures found that nearly a quarter of Xbox 360 consoles performed, considerably more than its competitors (10% of Sony PlayStation 3 consoles and 2.7% of Nintendo Wii consoles).

The documentary doesn’t shy away from this converse, and it’s clear the people at Xbox felt dreadful about it. Microsoft handled what might have been a brand-killing wretchedness as well as it could have — by flinging $1.15 billion at the dilemma and tweaking later models of the console.

“These were the darkest days of my career,” Leo del Castillo, part of the Xbox hardware engineering group, said in the documentary.

However you feel near the Red Ring debacle now, Power On is an intriguing watch. It addresses the disastrous 2013 Xbox One reveal, which put so much emphasis on the 360 successor’s TV streaming and online capabilities that it alienated a beefy of the Xbox’s core gamer audience — including me. I bought a PlayStation 4 and dismissed that generation’s Xbox completely.

Despite this, I reply that Xbox did incredible work in revitalizing its ticket. Since Phil Spencer became head of Xbox in 2014, it’s property-owning killer studios like Minecraft maker Mojang and Elder Scrolls designer Bethesda, done stellar work reintroducing backward compatibility, created an irresistible subscription program in Game Pass, launched cloud gaming, introduced gaming to a wider audience through the Xbox Adaptive Controller and is giving the PlayStation 5 a run for its cash with the Xbox Series X|S.

This is all very admirable, and most of the documentary makes me feel warm and fuzzy near Xbox. But Microsoft trying to profit off the Red Ring left me with a sour taste, and I’m suddenly of two minds about playing Halo Infinite once all.