Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Cause Revealed

Xbox Finally Reveals the Cause in Documentary

Xbox has kept us all in the dark about the Red Ring of Death for years. It’s true that those that reported it did get a free console from the company when it happened. But it was still a nightmare, for players and company alike. And now we know why, thanks to the documentary that Xbox itself came out with as part of their 20th anniversary.

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In the fifth chapter of Power On: The Story of Xbox, the former head of hardware for Xbox, Todd Holmdahl, explained the reason why. It turns out that the connectors within the console would break if it went too quickly from hot to cold. Meaning, that the usual fix of turning the console off and on when there was something wrong- and something that many game console users do to this day- actually made the problem worse.

All these people loved playing video games, so they would turn this thing on and then off, and when it would turn on and off, you get all sorts of stresses,” said Holmdahl.

Having to deal with a beloved console breaking was awful for players at the time. But according to the documentary, it was a pretty big hit for the brand too. The former head of the company, Peter Moore, said that it nearly destroyed the Xbox.

By the time we looked at the cost of repairs, the lost sales that we factored in, we had a $1.15 billion dollar problem,” said Moore. That might have tanked the Xbox and had it going quietly into the night- or noisily, depending on one’s point of view. But thanks to Steve Ballmer, the once head CEO of Microsoft, floating the funds to Xbox, they managed to survive, and even thrive, if the Xbox Series X is anything to go by.

According to Albert Penello, the former head of marketing, “nobody laughs at the red rings.” Though with the Ring of Death poster in the Xbox store, some of the current employees may be snickering now- or at least able to poke fun of themselves, now that they’re past that dreaded red ring.