Posted on February 19, 2008,

GDC 2008: Red Ring Of Death Strikes Again

All I can say about the following video is “wow”. As people wander around GDC this week, they will end up noticing that the Xbox 360 display is not in proper working condition. The unit they have hooked up has fallen victim to the infamous red rings of death. This is certainly embarrassing that Microsoft’s own stash of 360s are having this problem. I certainly hate posting news like this, because I love the Xbox 360, but there’s just no way around the fact that the consoles were built in a sloppy way. There’s no word on when the display console was built. Let’s just hope it was one of the launch consoles.

Thanks for the tip ‘mhxm42′!


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37 Comments on GDC 2008: Red Ring Of Death Strikes Again


On February 19, 2008 at 8:16 am

That’s really bad, but I would still rather have my 360 Red Rings and all than a PS3.

used cisco

On February 19, 2008 at 9:19 am

“There’s no word on when the display console was built. Let’s just hope it was one of the launch consoles.”

Don’t fool yourself. There’s no way they would bring a display model that was anything other than the most recent build. At the very least they would likely have a model with HDMI. I think we all know, the RROD problem is not really fixed. I think they’ve made some changes to lessen the degree of it (better headsinks, cooler chips, stronger fans, etc), but until they re-engineer a new box, there’s really no way to eliminate the problem of poor engineering. As for “loving” the 360. I don’t understand how thats even possible with as horrible of a piece of hardware as it has turned out to be. I “love” the IDEA of the 360. I love the way it is supposed to work. I love the games. But lets be honest, the actual 360 hardware has been an absolute abomination on many levels. Its loud. Its hot. It consumers copious amounts of power. The DVD drives have been mostly garbage. It fails are an utterly alarming rate. We’re more than 2 years into its life and its still having massive issues. This isn’t surprising, but it’s certainly disappointing.


On February 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

ManOfTeal: your a moron. Give PS3 a year when Home has been released another year of games have been introduced and the cross media bar is capable of being used during game play and the PS3 will blow away the 360. Eally now that HDDVD players has been dropped by Toshiba. Mark my words one year from now PS3 will be the standard. Xbox can’t even keep their systems running at the most high profile time of the year for gaming. What a joke.


On February 19, 2008 at 9:33 am


Calling people names will not make anyone pay more attention to what you say. In fact it makes people pay even less attention because you end up sounding ignorant. Just a nickels worth of free advice……. :cool:


On February 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

i just got the RROD yesterday – i thought my console would be OK – having only bought it a year ago. Although microsoft were very helpful, arranging for it to be sorted out, it still doesn’t hide the fact that i’m pi$$ed off about it.

Maybe Billy G will take a more proactive measure to resolve it after this embarassment


On February 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

christ, that’s embarrassing…

i don’t know how MS will be able to find the nerve to launch the 360′s successor a few years from now and still expect gamers to fall in line like all of this never happened.

i want to believe they’ve learned their lesson but there’s a part of me that just knows better. :neutral:


On February 19, 2008 at 9:47 am

That is incredibly embarrassing, but if the speculated cause (heat buildup) is true it’s not entirely surprising. Those demo consoles are in an extremely confined space with very little ventilation.


On February 19, 2008 at 9:49 am

Matt does have, although in a rude way, a point. if 360 keeps having the problems they have now, then i think most people will walk over to the Japs. I bought a ps3 becuz i dont wanna wake up and see my console is dead. Ps3 has just begun.

Mr. Man

On February 19, 2008 at 10:15 am

You are all butt nuggets.



On February 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

1 of the many reasons why i decided to get a PS3…

I prefer quality not quantity, i prefer PS3 not XBox 360


On February 19, 2008 at 11:36 am

Three tips to avoid RRoD:

1.) Don’t enclose your 360 in a box. (As they did.) Ventilation is your friend.
2.) Don’t stand it upright. This blocks the main vent and makes it harder for the unit to cool. (Again, as they did.)
3.) Don’t leave it on overnight/for longer than six or seven hours. (Why are you even playing that long? Give your eyes a break once in a while, you’ll go blind before you’re fifty otherwise.)

The 360 is just a specialized high-end computer. What happens when you enclose a high-end computer in a little glass box and run it for a long stretch of time?

Hm, I wonder. Let’s try it out.

(post incomplete due to fried motherboard)


On February 19, 2008 at 11:39 am

Quick addendum: I’ve had a 360 since roughly a week after the launch and never RRoD’d because of those three simple rules that I call ‘The Cardinal Rules of Computers’.


Interweb Master

On February 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm


“That’s really bad, but I would still rather have my 360 Red Rings and all than a PS3.”

That quote alone sums up your stupidity, you would rather have a faulty piece of hardware than something reliable, WOW.

Based on the evidence presented by your comment, we at the authority of the interwebs deem you stupid and urge everyone to not pay any attention to your ramblings of stupidity.

Thank You,
This has been a message from someone sane, please refrain from responding ManofTeal, you will only hurt yourself furthur.

For the article: Microsoft really needs to get it’s act together if they want me to buy one of their faulty products to go beside my reliable PSWii, well, either that or I just need to be hit in the head hard enough to become stupid enough to buy one. Maybe,….. hey ManofTeal; does it hurt to be hit in the head over and over again until one becomes as stupid as you?


On February 19, 2008 at 12:30 pm

wow. you know, i’m basically buying a nextgen for GTA IV (because i just can’t wait till 09 for it to come to PC, dig?) but i couldn’t decide whether to go 360 or PS3. i think this article pretty much helped me make my decision. what a shame — i was really planning on getting a 360. but come on… how long has it been out and this problem STILL isn’t fixed?

oy :roll:


On February 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

@Confusion: I totally agree that there are steps you can take to avoid your 360 bricking. Unfortunately, the statistics concerning the failure rate is way too high to consider it user abuse.

I take great care of all my electronics and my launch 360 bricked. I have an Elite now and have my fingers crossed that it will last much longer.

I do think a lot of 360 failures are due to users not doing the right things with them, but at majority of the systems bricking are due to defective design.


On February 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm

@ ManOfTeal: Maybe your not a moron but your logic anlong with most 360 fans is severly flawed and my point still stands, given a year PS3 will be the standard and the 360 will be just another game system that has some serious flaws: poor engineering, extremly loud and has an external instead of intergrated hddvd drive. On top of that Toshiba just announced that they are stopping production of all hddvd players meaning Blu-Ray has won the format war. This news is certainly not going to help 360 in the future.


On February 19, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Who cares who won the format war? Consoles are designed to play games, not movies. That is why Microsoft made the HD-DVD drive an OPTION. They chose to focus on gaming……not other forms of entertainment


On February 19, 2008 at 1:49 pm

@Confusion – I disagree that laying it horizontally would help. I’m not sure what you’re referring to, but having it stand vertically doesn’t block any vents and is better for the console in that more of it is exposed directly to the air (rather than laying against the wood of your entertainment console or whatever).

I applaud this BBC fellow for being so professional in his video. I probably would’ve been cracking a few more poorly done jokes in there.


On February 19, 2008 at 3:36 pm

@ Chris… optimally, it is best to have your system vertically as opposed to sitting horizontally on the wood. You really want the maximum amount of air touching the console. Whenever I know I am going to play for a good amount of time, I also run a fan towards the console.

With my setup, I actually have mine on top of the entertainment center horizontally, but I have a small block underneath the console to prop it above the surface of entertainment center. This way, I am getting air to it from all 4 sides.


On February 19, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I’m with everyone who said the enclosure is what made it rrod.
if the sucker had proper ventilation it’d be FINE.

yes, frantic, insecure, neurotic, and emotional, but not DEAD.


On February 19, 2008 at 3:52 pm

weclock, odds are it would have been ok. It’s just strange that Microsoft would put it inside casing like that knowing that it could potentially red ring. It certainly makes me wonder who is working on their marketing team and why they aren’t taking measures to reduce embarrassments like this from happening.


On February 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm

–”# ManOfTeal says:
February 19th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Who cares who won the format war? Consoles are designed to play games, not movies. That is why Microsoft made the HD-DVD drive an OPTION. They chose to focus on gaming……not other forms of entertainment

Under any other circumstances, would totally agree with you. *BUT!* This time a gamble on Sony’s part was the choice to make, even if it was to combine a gaming system (again) with a media player. Ever more a gamble with the fact that the media player was in a war, and with Sony’s format war history, even I cringed.

You can say all you want the consoles are designed to JUST play games, but that line in and of itself would be fallacy. The 360 was designed to JUST play games. The PS3 was designed as so much more. You may not like it, but that’s fact. It does both, it plays Blu Ray, it plays DVD’s and it plays games. Is it Sony’s fault that M$ decided not to include a media player? No. Sony decided to include that, and what was the result? The cheapest Blu Ray player on the market. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. It may be about gaming, but now that Blu Ray has come out on top, wouldn’t it be feasible, even if you hate said system, that sales would go up simply because it plays Blu Rays at a cheaper price than stand alone systems?

Am I a Sony Fanboy? Not really, I just love video games. I have a Wii too, and like the Xbox in the video above, my Halo player is on its way back to me after its 6 week long field trip to the maker, hell, I still bust out the old nintendo games once in a while (Faxanadu for the WIN!). All this hate people sport does nothing but make you look like an idiot. Blind nerdy hatred, and it literally makes no sense to me. So, stop the hate, grab a controller, and frag your fellow man, but don’t hate, don’t hate.

*A Message of inspiration from a concerned fellow gamer.*

Iku Tri

On February 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm


You forgot one: If your 360 crashes, let it cool. Going straight back to gaming won’t be good for the already heated consoles.

I though mine was gonna die, but I just let it cool…..


On February 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm

This is truly pathetic. Microsoft might have lessen the failure rates, but the fact of the matter is the system failure rates are still too high compared to the PS3 and Wii. Sony’s PS3 has already proven the type of abuse it can take, from temps ranging from 120*F to below 0*F. The fact of the matter is the PS3 is more well built. Even the Wii is better then the Xbox 360, since the only problem that system has ever had was broken straps and people smacking their friend while playing. Overall Microsoft really hasn’t been doing well to please the consumer at all. They don’t give a rats @$$ about what you think, as long as they are making money and you keep spending yours. Look at Vista, it’s faulty as hell and yet what do they do? They put out a SP1 almost 2 years later. Microsoft is too slow to fix anything, meanwhile the PS3 has weekly updates and system updates just about every month and the Wii…psh, I really can’t think of anything wrong with that system…

You are dead wrong if you think it’s not about the format. Most people who buy a console do not just use it for games. I know a ton of people that bought a PS3 to use as a computer because they lack their own, using the internet browser for school work and personal use. Plus Blu-Ray players still are hovering around $500, which means the PS3 is a steal pretty much with the games, movies, music, and internet. Not to mention the PS3 is wi-fi enabled out of the box! You don’t have to spend freaking $100 on a stupid wireless router. It’s all about the mass market, not what one person wants. Not everyone can afford to go out, spend $400 on a Xbox 360, plus another $150 on the HD DVD driver, plus another $50 on a second controller, plus another $100 on the wireless router, plus another $60 for the games, plus another $25 for a movie, oh wait…theres more….I mean, dear God I could buy a new HD TV for that movie or upgrades for my computer. It’s stupid planning really.

I also had a launch Xbox 360, and followed those rules, and you know what…got the RROD. Those rules are rubbish. Not to be mean, but if the PS3 can withstand the amount of abuse the studies have shown, then why can’t the Xbox 360? I know your thinking, well they are two different companies, why do you want the Xbox 360 to be more like the PS3..well, I don’t..truly I would rather them be different so when people go to the store and look at the two, they instantly know which one works and which one doesn’t. Microsoft has a very long and rough road ahead, and I can almost guarantee that some important head figures did notice this little mishap. Microsoft should be ashamed..tsk tsk tsk.

used cisco

On February 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm


“No. Sony decided to include that, and what was the result?”

Um, they completely pissed away their grossly uncontested market share by giving up a 1 year advantage to the 360 and due to high pricing, became the ridicule of the industry leading to a massive come-from-behind by Nintendo? Oh, wait, thats probably not the answer you were looking for.


On February 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

–”Um, they completely pissed away their grossly uncontested market share by giving up a 1 year advantage to the 360 and due to high pricing, became the ridicule of the industry leading to a massive come-from-behind by Nintendo? Oh, wait, thats probably not the answer you were looking for.–”

Meh, pissed away a year and by the industry standards you’re quoting released a far higher quality product. That’s right, the 360 is the most unreliable system ever made. Great, good for the 360′s year in advance, at this point still 16% of their systems are failures. You can’t argue this. If you do, I’ll just refer you to the video above. Did you watch it? Didn’t think so.


On February 19, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Rush product to the market and take over the market share is the way Microsoft doing business. Even though that make the product extremely unreliable. But with their marketing skill, usually they can win the battle. The customer can complaint all they want, but they got no other option. Those are the cases for Windows operating system.

I usually wait for 2 years before I upgrade my system to Microsoft “Next Gen” Windows.

used cisco

On February 19, 2008 at 7:07 pm


Oh, I watched it. Did you even ready my first comment above? Apparently not. I know the 360 hardware is an abortion, I don’t deny it. Thats why it blows my mind that people are still buying it, and so many games for it. Its that year advantage I was talking about. Yes, the PS3 is better hardware, no question, but because of the year advantage, because of the huge loss of market share, PS3 is hemorrhaging exclusives left and right. SO much so that the 360 is consistently the lead development platform. Its mind boggling how such a quality refined piece of hardware like the PS3 can be struggling against the 360 with all its problems, RROD, HD-DVD, etc. It just goes to show that if Sony had half a brain, didn’t include blu-ray, had a console ready for launch in 2005 at a normal price, they could have completely DESTROYED the competition again this gen. But no. They chose to get their sack kicked by MS and Nintendo for going on 2 years now while simultaneously taking advantage of their gaming consumer base in order to win a completely non-gaming-related format war. Blu-ray is proving so weak for gaming that companies like capcom would rather force a 5 gig install rather than subject gamers to the huge load times. Yet, somehow people STILL defend Sonys choice to jam blu-ray down our throats. Amazing.


On February 19, 2008 at 9:20 pm

@ used cisco: As I said earlier, lets remember that the PS3 has only been out for a year. Give the PS3 12 more months and it will be the standard and the 360 will be just game system that has some serious flaws: poor engineering, extremly loud and has an external instead of intergrated hddvd drive that is being dropped by the manufacturer.

The point your trying to make about Sony adding Blu-Ray to the PS3 being a mistake is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while. Many people were buying PS3′s for that simply because it has Blu-Ray and now that HDDVD is going away many many more will do the same and that market share you keep brining up will vanish in the next 12 to 18 months.

FACT: The PS3 will keep improving and the 360 will keep failing.

used cisco

On February 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm


I understand what you’re saying, and I agree the PS3 will only get better with time. But when you say this:

“The point your trying to make about Sony adding Blu-Ray to the PS3 being a mistake is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while.”

Are you serious? The most ridiculous thing? I’m sorry, but what I think is ridiculous is that Sony, king of the console mountain was so consumed with winning the MOVIE format war, that they prostituted their GAMING platform in order to do it. It nearly cost them the GAMING market. They are damn lucky that HD-DVD didn’t win. If it had, we’d all be looking at things very differently wouldn’t we? But even so, Blu-ray won. Now what. The 360 still has a big lead that will take at least 2 years to catch and in the meantime the 360 will be the lead platform. And that doesn’t even mention the Wii, who was able to steal the show because Sony was so overpriced that there were pretty much sleeping while Nintendo was off to the races.

“Many people were buying PS3′s for that simply because it has Blu-Ray”

You are correct, the problem I’m talking about is that while many people were buying the PS3 as a blu-ray player MANY MANY MORE were NOT buying it because of its price and underdeveloped library compared to the 360. You must know this is true. Why else has its sales been underperforming. Which would you rather have? A blu-ray player or a game machine? You DO realize that Sony is missing its sales targets for the PS3 every quarter since it launched don’t you?

“FACT: The PS3 will keep improving and the 360 will keep failing.”

Now, C’mon. Even if you hate the 360, you have to agree that they have improved the failure rate somewhat. Sure, its still horrible, but its getting better. The new DVD drives are much better too. I still think they should have issued a recall, but thats a subject for another debate.

Avalon X

On February 20, 2008 at 6:37 am

@used cisco

I disagree with you that including the Blu-Ray player into the PS3 was a mistake. True, it was a hugely risky calculated risk to do so but since Blu-Ray won the format war, it will pay off for them in the end. They aren’t looking at things in a 2 year time frame like you are. They are looking at it in decades. And they will still win this generations console war from the look of things.

Also, we are all not clones. Not everyone thinks like you or wants what you want. I bought first an Xbox 360 because the PS3 wasn’t out yet. Then I picked up a PS3 and I REALLY did want the Blu-Ray player it came with and have been very glad it did. The fact that it is a first rate game machine WITH the Blu-Player and plays DVDs and CDs and everything else except HD-DVD and an MP3 player, etc. ALL IN ONE is fabulous. I don’t want a bunch of boxes filing up my TV Cabinet. One PS3 (I gave my XBox away btw), plus my surround receiver and Cable DVR box and thats quite enough for me. My tiny ipod stand doesn’t count much of a footprint.

I’ve since spent over a $1k on games for the PS3 and over $2k for Blu-ray movies and my library grows every month. I’m in HD Heaven. And my whole family enjoys it with me. That PS3 is like on all day long sometimes between the 5 of us and it has never broke. The cable box plays second fiddle.

So NO, I don’t want a console that only play games. I love the fact it has Blu-Ray built in.

… too bad it don’t take a cable card, and work as a DVR too. o.O … Sony, if you’re reading this, take note. :P

used cisco

On February 20, 2008 at 8:57 am

I see what you’re saying, but………

“but since Blu-Ray won the format war, it will pay off for them in the end.”

This is probably true, but it won’t do them as much good as you might think, simply because there are already cheaper blu-ray players on the market. Within year, even moreso. Buying a PS3 as a blu-ray player was only a big benefit when it was the cheapest solution. And even if it IS true, why should I care? I’m a gamer now. I’m not investing in Sony for 10 years. Your argument isn’t really from the perspective of a gamer. Decades? Give me a break. Why should I be looking out 10 years?

“Also, we are all not clones. Not everyone thinks like you or wants what you want.”

You’re certainly right on this point. However I would counter with the fact that Sony is missing its sales targets. EVERY SINGLE ONE. This tells me that there are a lot more people out there like me, than there are like you.

“ALL IN ONE is fabulous.”

Only if you want “ALL” the features. If you don’t, then you have to pay for them anyway. Clearly more people would prefer a more affordable console with fewer features and thats why Sony is missing sales targets.

“I’ve since spent over a $1k on games for the PS3 and over $2k for Blu-ray movies”

Now we’re getting somewhere. You clearly have more disposable income for entertainment than the average person. The attach rate for the PS3 in its first year was something like 4.5. That means people are only spending about $250 on software. You’re spending FOUR TIMES that much. You clearly don’t represent the average PS3 owner. However, I’m sure Sony wishes you did. :)

There mistake wasn’t so much in just putting the blu-ray in, although, that has cost them this generation. The mistake was the thinking that people would be loyal from the previous generation even at a really high price point. So far, they’ve been wrong. This has allowed MS to gain a lot of traction even with a substandard hardware design that fails like crazy. It has allowed Nintendo to steal the generation.

So, what I’m saying is not that blu-ray was a mistake over all, but that it was a huge disservice to gamers, at least those of us in the majority who don’t have huge amounts of money to spend on entertainment, or at least don’t WANT to be FORCED to spend huge amounts of money on entertainment.


On February 20, 2008 at 9:42 am

@ Avalon X & Used Cisco: Avalon I couldn’t agree with you more. What i can’t understand is why these 360 lovers don’t understand that all they have is a game system. Technology is a wonderful thing and most of want to take advantage of it especially when all the extras doesn’t hinder the game play.

Again Used Cisco, the Blu-Ray may have put the PS3 behind a little in it’s first year but as avalon said thats a very short time in the life of these systems andthat risk is certainly going to pay off down the road. Trust me when I say, 12 to 18 months PS3 will be the mulitmedia standard and 360 and Wii will be just be another game console.

used cisco

On February 20, 2008 at 1:33 pm


We’ll have to wait and see if their long term strategy can overcome the obvious short term losses they’ve suffered. As for me, I’m a gamer. I’m most interested in the console that is getting the most developer interest and widest range of games for the best price. I had really wanted that console to be the PS3, but because of their “long term strategy” (that I would argue is more focused on the movie industry), that console is not currently the PS3. Maybe it will be in the future. If it is, then I’ll be in line with you, for sure. Until then, I’m going where the games are.


On February 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm

@ Used Cisco: It’s just to bad when you guys finally realize the PS3 is far and away superior, the money you have spent on your 360 will have been wasted. Then you’ll go out to you local game store, tail tucked and fork out another 5 or 6 hundred to get a PS3.

used cisco

On February 20, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Hopefully, when we “finally realize the PS3 is superior” the generation won’t be over. Thats my point. For gaming, someday it may be better, but its just not superior, not yet. The game selection is smaller, fewer exclusives, lower quality ports in many cases, smaller online community, etc. I really hope they do sort it out. I want one. There are some games I want to play on it. But I want more games for it, or I want it to be cheaper. The 360 problems are really unfortunate and they piss me off, no question, but damn if the games aren’t fantastic and LOTS of them. If the PS3 has as many good games in a year, they will be doing great, I’m sure. But to be honest, it seems like many games just keep getting delayed, released after the 360 version or canceled altogether. I mean, whats the word on FFXIII now? 2010? Blu-Ray be damned, that really sucks. And unfortunately, it’s not an isolated incident. I mean, we haven’t even gotten into the difficulties the cell is causing developers. (again, I think this wouldn’t have happened if Sony didn’t decide to use their gaming platform to leverage success in their processor business). If Sony isn’t careful, by the time PS3 catches up, everyone will be looking toward the next generation. While you’re in line to pickup FFXIII, I’ll be in line to pick up my Wii2! :)

Anyway, thanks for the exchange, I enjoy discussing this type of stuff with people who don’t feel the need to make it personal. I understand we can’t all see things the same and I’m glad its that way, otherwise, this would be a really boring place. See you around!

Heirdt von braun

On March 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

I agree with those who said PS3 is
superior in terms of technology and
multimedia features. And yes, PS3 is
getting better and better. Last year
firmware updates were substancial (DVD,PS1
,PS2 1080p upscaling, Audio CD upsampling,
Media features expanded such as the
ability to share your PC music/photos/
videos with your PS3 and much more.

However, I admit PS3 is not profitable
right now. But the console is selling much
better. Yes, but it’s not enough!.
Xbox 360 is doing better overall.

Many companies are still very nervous and
hesitating,prove of it is Haze. Now nobody
knows if it will be a PS3 exclusive
anymore. After several delays and the
announcement of a less than stellar launch (in may) it seems
date, people simply don’t trust PS3

Also, Square-enix announced Cristal Engine
has been succesfuly ported to Xbox 360 and
Wii. What are these traitors planning now?
It wouldn’t be that surprising to me to
see FFXIII, Haze and MGS4 on Xbox 360
after a year. After all those projects
are very expensive and PS3 sales are
very skinny.